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My first bowl.

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Newpiper19

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So. I just spent the last 40 minutes smoking my first bowl.  Pipe was a MM Country Gentleman. It was Three Nuns Orange by Mac Baren.It was a learning experience to say the least.  I struggled to keep it lit at first, but figured out that I was not lighting it right.  Spent 10 wood matches learning how to light it.

As I got going I had to touch it up a few times but generally had a decent time keeping it going. I wonder if I packed it to full. I had four coins tamped in there, so maybe I should have broken them up first and not packed it as tight?

So taste wise I am not sure I did it right.  Smelling it from the tin it had a kind of earthy yet bar b que smell.  After I got it started the first things I tasted was something that tasted like wood. There was a very light tangy flavor  behind the woody taste, I would also say there was a smokey taste but faint. There was also a noticeable pepper taste through out.

  Reviews say it is hearty with dark fruits but I didn't get that. Just wood and smokey and a little tangy.  Of course it could be that my not so skilled first attempt sabotaged any chance of good flavor.

So how is this supposed to taste guys?    I was kinda hoping for some sweetness but again it is probably my pallet being young.

Edit to add, I have been thinking about this and wonder if the woody and tangy notes I kept running into was the Virginia. I think maybe woody is the wrong word as other reviewers say it is grassy/citrussy. Well I got the faint tang note of citrus so maybe I just used the wrong words. Though I will say the description of virginia tobacco confuses me. Why is it called sweet, when the flavor is that of grass?
 

Zanaspus

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Don't worry too much about discerning flavors in early bowls. The initial bowls in pipesmoking have your mouth going WTF! That was rude. First you become accustomed to pipe smoking itself, and only after do you become accustomed to tasting things. Personally, I'd go get a pouch of Carter Hall or Prince Albert to get you mouth used to pipe smoke, and only after a few bowls of that would I look for flavors.

Others will disagree. That's just my two coppers.
 

Brewdude

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As far as packing, there are several schools of thought re: coins. Some fold and stuff, others rub them out to varying degrees. Neither method is right or wrong. It's what one prefers as they can each offer a slightly different experience. You'll eventually settle on the one that you prefer.

Just remember not to pack too tight initially. You should feel some resistance, a little more than an empty bowl, but not all that much. After a while you'll get the feel of it.

And what Zanaspus said is spot on about discerning flavors. Some folks can taste certain compounds and others cannot. Identifying them can be part of the hobby but don't get bogged down in that right now. The main thing is - does it taste pleasant to you?

Looks like you're on your way though.


Cheers,

RR
 

huffelpuff

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Any of the 3 Nuns blends are going to be superior tobaccos. Perhaps as suggested a cheaper blend would be in order while you learn how to smoke a pipe. It does seem a shame to waste expensive tobacco until you've gotten the hang of smoking. However if you enjoyed the flavor and don't mind paying for better tobacco then go for it. Flavors will come to you but when you start out don't expect to be able to pick out much more than "I liked that" or "I didn't like that" it takes a long time to figure out what you're tasting. Even experienced smokes can tell you they have to smoke at least a full tin to be able to pick up the flavors that are there and its not unusual to need to smoke 3-4 or more tins to get everything the blend has to offer. Things like temperature, humidity, even what you've eaten or had to drink can change what you taste or think you taste. Keep at it and you will be rewarded.

Jim
 

Blackhorse

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Re loading...you might look up the “Frank Method” on uTube. It’s a different approach for rubbed (fluffy as opposed to Flake that looks like shoe leather) tobacco. It works as well as, if not better than the old three step stuff n go tactic.

Re quality vs less expensive now vs later...pipe tobacco is cheap...I’d always go with quality stuff as it provides motivation and immediate rewards. If I’d started by smoking cheap tobacco it’s unlikely I would have continued.
 

DrT999

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RE: packing. Just remember, it's easier to tamp down than to loosen. Hopefully the shop owner remembered to sell you a 'pipe tool' as opposed to just a pipe nail or tamper? If so, you can use the rod to aerate (poke holes through) the tobacco, being careful not to stick it through the bottom of the cob (I've done that at least once over the decades)
 

GeoffC

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This is a resource that might be of help -> https://pipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_Packing_and_Smoking_techniques

Wife got me a pipe in '97 and I tried Captain Black and wasn't too thrilled. Then I tried Dunhill London Mixture and I was in love along with Dunhill Nightcap. Sadly neither is made anymore but there are a lot of great blends out there.

As a new smoker I can tell you straight Virginia's will be tricky to master and can burn hot and end up in tongue bite. English blends have latakia that cools down the smoke and works well for a beginner. Don't be biased against aromatics, some are quite fantastic and usually from small store blenders such as The Country Squire (Old Toby, Second Breakfast, Rivendale) and J.M. Boswell's (thinking Dan's blend, No Bite Delight, Boswell's Best). Best to just order samples and trying various blends.

https://tobaccoreviews.com is also a helpful resource to see what others such as the famous JimInks have said in their reviews.
 

Newpiper19

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Brewdude":3gvlp646 said:
As far as packing, there are several schools of thought re: coins. Some fold and stuff, others rub them out to varying degrees. Neither method is right or wrong. It's what one prefers as they can each offer a slightly different experience. You'll eventually settle on the one that you prefer.

Just remember not to pack too tight initially. You should feel some resistance, a little more than an empty bowl, but not all that much. After a while you'll get the feel of it.

And what Zanaspus said is spot on about discerning flavors. Some folks can taste certain compounds and others cannot. Identifying them can be part of the hobby but don't get bogged down in that right now. The main thing is - does it taste pleasant to you?

Looks like you're on your way though.


Cheers,

RR
Thanks for the tips on Packing. I will have to try a few different methods for packing and get a feel for this. But how tight should it be? Some give or just a bit springy?

To Blackhorse and everyone, I am so sorry it took me so long to respond. I have had so much mandatory overtime this week and been getting back late. Just didn't have it in me to get on the net much, so I just went to bed.

I think the problem with my first bowl was me. The pipe was hot to hold and I ended up with a very minor scald/irritation on the tip of my tongue and through my mouth. I assume that is the tongue bite I read about. So I have not smoked another bowl just yet, as I wanted to wait for my mouth to heal as nothing was tasting right. Part of the problem was I kept trying to relight it, I thought I was supposed to be putting out lots and lots of smoke like a old fashioned steam train but only got a little from it. So kept re lighting and trying as hard as I could. How much smoke should I putting out? It was just a quick puff, like my breath on a cold winter day.

Hufflepuff, I failed at the first smoking so hard I can't even tell if I enjoyed it or not. I didn't enjoy burning my own mouth lol, and I found myself confused at some things. So I have to actually get a handle on this smoking thing and how to sip this the right way before I can even decide if I like the blend.

DRT999, I only got the multi tool. It has a small shovel on one end, and a tamp on the other. I will get this other tool this weekend. Do you have a link to one so I know what it looks like?


I would rather not waste my time on cheap tobacco. BUT I do wonder if doing any kind of blend is advisable considering I don't know what the individual tobaccos taste like. So my idea was, after this Tin was finished I would buy a few tins of just one type. A tin of pure Virginia, a tin of cavendish, a tin of burley and so forth so that I can actually get a feel for their individual tastes. Would that be wise? My next can was going to be Mac Baren HH pure Virginia though they have the HH latakia as well.

GeoffC. I was avoiding touching aromatics because of somethings I read on another pipe forum how they were goopy and tasted like soap. How can one tell which shops on the big P&C website are small and run by master blenders and who should be avoided? I have been spending time on Tobaccoreview and so many good reviews on that. I really like JimInks reviews they seem professional. He also does not seem to show any bias against Aromatics, but reviews each on its merits.

One thing I don't understand sweetness. I read so many that say Virginia is sweet yet then says the tastes is grass. So how does the concept of sweetness work with pipe tobacco? When I think sweet, I think spoon full of sugar.
 

huffelpuff

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Hey, as to how much smoke you should be putting out.......you aren't smoking a hookah my friend it's completely ok to just put out a small wisp of smoke. You'll find that the less smoke you're putting out the cooler the bowl will be and the better flavor you'll get from your tobacco. Granted you can go too far and it just goes out but what you want is just barely smoldering.

Trying the different tobaccos by type is always a good idea. You'll find that to be quite educational. Good aromatic blends are usually the ones from Just for Him, Boswell, and Country Squire. At least those are the most recommended ones. If availability is an issue you can try to get a pouch of Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic. It gets good scores from folks for not being goopy or soapy and can be gotten from Pipes and Cigars or Smokingpipes.com. Either of them will have the Czech tool as well. For an image just Google Czech tool.

As you get further into this and get better at smoking your pipe you'll find that things you didn't enjoy the first time you tried them suddenly taste really good. So If you try a tobacco and you don't like it don't give up on it. Seal it up in a glass jar and come back to it in 6 months. If you still don't like it seal it back up and try it again in another 6 months. Sometimes the difference is that the tobacco has aged but it could also be that you've gotten better at smoking or that your tastes have changed.  Yes that's right I said that the tobacco aging can make a difference. Things that have a high percentage of Virginia tobacco in them are considered to age the best. I can tell you from personal experience that all tobaccos age and improve even burley. The burley requires many decades of aging to improve though. It gets mellower and richer in flavor but I'm talking about 40-60 years of aging to do it. The oldest burley blend I have dates from the early 1940's and there is a discernable difference. Sorry I've gotten off topic there. Its a pet issue if mine so pay no attention to the babbling old geezer behind the curtain there lol.

Anyway try slowing down and not worrying about how much smoke you put out. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy your smoke much more. Another way to pack your bowl is to put about as much tobacco as you think will fit into the pipe into the palm of your hand turn your pipe upside down over the top of the tobacco and just start to move the pipe in circles over the tobacco. As you do this the tobacco will get caught by the pipe and begin getting forced up into the bowl. Keep circling the pipe until most of the tobacco in your hand is gone. Flip it over and see how it looks. It may need a bit of poking to even out the top. It should be springy. You don't want it too tight. Too loose is better than too tight. Too loose and you just tamp a bit harder. I've found that if its too loose the flame will be hard to suck into the tobacco if its too tight you'll have to suck pretty hard to get the flame into the tobacco. It should offer about as much resistance as trying to drink from a straw.  

Sorry this post is so long. I hope this helps you have a better smoke. Be patient and you will get better. Happy smokes brother.

Jim

Oh and as to what is meant by sweet. If I smoke a Virginia heavy blend and set the pipe down after lighting it and smoking for a bit that when I come back to it and relight it the end of the stem will taste like it was dipped in sugar. That's the most obvious one but you can pick up sweetness in the smoke itself. It takes time and practice and really slowing down to pick up the flavors including the sweetness. It can be sugary sweet or it can taste like honey or even molasses.

Again best wishes
Jim
 

DrT999

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Newpiper19":n8sh9wk6 said:
DRT999, I only got the multi tool. It has a small shovel on one end, and a tamp on the other. I will get this other tool this weekend. Do you have a link to one so I know what it looks like?
There are a lot of fancier versions, but this is the basic:

pipe tool

If your local store doesn't carry one like it, message me your address and I'll mail you one next week.

"T"
 

Newpiper19

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GeoffC":5ngh8woz said:
This is a resource that might be of help -> Wife got me a pipe in '97 and I tried Captain Black and wasn't too thrilled.  Then I tried Dunhill London Mixture and I was in love along with Dunhill Nightcap.  Sadly neither is made anymore but there are a lot of great blends out there.  

As a new smoker I can tell you straight Virginia's will be tricky to master and can burn hot and end up in tongue bite.  English blends have latakia that cools down the smoke and works well for a beginner.  Don't be biased against aromatics, some are quite fantastic and usually from small store blenders such as The Country Squire (Old Toby, Second Breakfast, Rivendale) and J.M. Boswell's (thinking Dan's blend, No Bite Delight, Boswell's Best).  Best to just order samples and trying various blends.

Tobacco Review is also a helpful resource to see what others such as the famous JimInks have said in their reviews.
Thanks for the recommendations on the Aromatics, I will check them out on TR.  Maybe I should give some high quality ones a try.  I have heard of Dunhills London Mixture and Nightcap but they don't seem to be made any more, does anyone make a good facsimile?

So I tried again with my Three nuns and my pipe. I think I did much better smoking it as the pipe never got more then warm in my hand and I could put it to my cheek with no issues.  I did discover I have problem with my new Sutliff butane lighter, it would not light for more then a second... Despite having fuel in it...  SO I resorted to matches.  In the end, I used about 10 or 12 matches over the duration of the smoke due to relights. I feel that is excessive but likely just my inexperience.

Now the smoking was much better. MUCH better and enjoyable. No bite or irritation.   I was able to get "flashes" of flavor and it depended how I drew, but I did get something.  The flavor was faint, but when I got a flash of flavor, it kinda tasted the way the tobacco smelled in the tin, but much much lighter.  

On a whim yesterday I got some Sutliff B20 Black Cavendish. It was cheap.  I know it is a moist Aro, but I just kinda pointed at random at the shelf.   According to TR some of their aro blends are 3 stars and in the ok to good category.  Not mindblowing, not great, but not bad. Just ok. So I will try this one tonight.

Though I only have one pipe, will it cause a lingering taste when I smoke Nuns again?
 

Ozark Wizard

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Probably not so much ghosting will happen in a newish cob. You might consider getting a couple more in case you're worried about it. You never know, you might like the influence of the aromatic next time you try the nuns!
 

D.L.Ruth

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If the tobacco is to moist I'll take about a bowls worth and let it sit out until it reaches my preferred dryness. As Ozark Wizard said, might want to get another pipe or two, just don't get too many...because...that's...a thing. At least my told me there is such a thing as too many pipes :lol!:

And definitely don't give up on tobaccos to quickly i have some that I detested when i first got them and they eventually became favorites. If you never end up liking them they always work as bombs, there is always someone who will like it. As for the lighter eh I still prefer matches and still go through quite a few with each bowl, I just buy them by boxes of hundreds and never worry about it.
 

Newpiper19

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GeoffC":b1oy4mc5 said:
This is a resource that might be of help -> https://pipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_Packing_and_Smoking_techniques

Wife got me a pipe in '97 and I tried Captain Black and wasn't too thrilled.  Then I tried Dunhill London Mixture and I was in love along with Dunhill Nightcap.  Sadly neither is made anymore but there are a lot of great blends out there.  

As a new smoker I can tell you straight Virginia's will be tricky to master and can burn hot and end up in tongue bite.  English blends have latakia that cools down the smoke and works well for a beginner.  Don't be biased against aromatics, some are quite fantastic and usually from small store blenders such as The Country Squire (Old Toby, Second Breakfast, Rivendale) and J.M. Boswell's (thinking Dan's blend, No Bite Delight, Boswell's Best).  Best to just order samples and trying various blends.

https://tobaccoreviews.com is also a helpful resource to see what others such as the famous JimInks have said in their reviews.
Hey guys! Sorry I have been away for so long. I have had SO much OT lately and life has been really busy. I want to say thank you to everyone who replied with advice, recommendations and warm thoughts. I really appreciate it.


Thank you Geoffc for the Pipepedia link. That was very helpful, I need to experiment with all the ways of packing.



So those brands you mentioned, I have been researching, and they are small boutique brands. Almost every blend they have is 3 stars or higher. Are there many other small guys like that who blend their own and are high quality?

I found a place called Just for Him, that has a number of their own blends but I have no idea if they make it themselves or just reblend bulk stuff.

Thanks for the suggestion on the English blends. I will try to pick some up this weekend from the local shop. They have some Crumble Kake English #1, which got 4 stars on TR. So it should be good.


You mentioned JimInks and his reviews. I search his reviews out as they are well written, but one thing I am confused on is what he actually thinks of some of them. What I mean is, even his two star reviews seem good and positive. So how should I interpret that? If he gives something a two star or higher it is worth a try?



 

GeoffC

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So @jiminks is on this forum and recently did a interview on a podcast. He tries to be objective on the blend in regards as a good example of the blend. That is why he is so regarded. You know what you like and you can read his reviews and know what you are getting. He may say something like this is a latakia forward blend. If you are not a big latakia guy you know this blend probably is not for you. At this point being new to the game, get a lot of samples and try different blends. I only reference Jim's reviews so you can find shining examples. Jim may give something a 4 star review but the profile may not be to your liking. Everyone is different but have to start somewhere.
 

Newpiper19

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GeoffC":94co0p1c said:
So @jiminks is on this forum and recently did a interview on a podcast. He tries to be objective on the blend in regards as a good example of the blend. That is why he is so regarded. You know what you like and you can read his reviews and know what you are getting. He may say something like this is a latakia forward blend. If you are not a big latakia guy you know this blend probably is not for you. At this point being new to the game, get a lot of samples and try different blends. I only reference Jim's reviews so you can find shining examples. Jim may give something a 4 star review but the profile may not be to your liking. Everyone is different but have to start somewhere.
Yea, that is why I like his reviews so far, they are very descriptive. I will have to check out that interview.

But I think you are right, I need to get a BUNCH of 1oz samples and just try them. Now what about pouches and other "value" things, should I try them as well? I was under the impression that pouches were inferior products. But this weekend, I am going to my local shop and will pick up, Amphora Gold and Original, 1m and d40 and make that the start of my sampling. I know it is all Sutliff, but that is all the shop carries. Well besides the bulk Gambler stuff, but why bother with that.

They have a bunch of Bokum riff. What is the general consensus on them?


Thanks again sir for your advice. I get the feeling that I may need to start a new thread for some of these other topics lol.
 

D.L.Ruth

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Yes pouches may be cheaper and what not but people still like them or else they wouldn't be so readily available. Carter Hall falls in that category and is a widely popular tobacco (I even keep it around in my stash). The good thing about the cheap stuff is that it doesn't cost much to try it, so if you don't like it then you're not out much and if you do like it you have a good cheap tobacco to have around.
 
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