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What Blends should I start with? HELP!

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luckydogguy

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As a newbie, I don't really know which tabacco blends to start trying. I don't feel like trying something that is cheap and I don't like, maily because I'm afraid it would turn me off to smoking pipes before I ever gave it a fair chance. That being said, can you guys please give my some suggestions of good Virginians, English and Aromatic?

Thanks,
Lucky :confused:
 

puros_bran

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Not knowing your taste its hard to say. Here's some of my favorites.
English: GLP Odyssey Esoterica Penzance, Ashton Artisans Blend,C&D Yale Mixture.

Va: GLP Laurel Hgts. McCllelands 5100 or Christmas Cheer. Astleys 109,

Not Va, Not English: GLP Cairo, McClellands Arcadia

The only Aromatic I can smoke is Petersons Gold Blend. But I really haven't tried many 'premium' aros.
 
A

Anonymous

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Since you're asking, I would recommend that you pass on the aromatic stuff. They have a generic tendency to smoke very hot and very wet. Not to mention that the casings in them tend to be very, very difficult to get rid of once they're in your pipes. If you can't stand not smoking candy, get yourself some of those little cigarillos.

I'm assuming you've read GLP's advice @ http://www.glpease.com/FAQ.html

Happy landings

:face:
 

luckydogguy

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Yak,

A lot of information in that link. Thank you! I will try to incorporate some of the techniques.

Man, there's a lot to this "pipe smokin' thing," isn't there? :pipe:


Lucky
 

glpease

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luckydogguy":4pkfks7h said:
Man, there's a lot to this "pipe smokin' thing," isn't there? :pipe:
There is. Many approach it quite simply, and derive a great deal of pleasure from their pipes and tobaccos. Others delve into it with enthusiasm, passion and an insatiable thirst for getting the most out of the experience that they can, and derive a great deal of pleasure from their pipes and tobaccos. Then, there are those in between, who derive a great deal of pleasure from their pipes and tobaccos.

There's one thing we all have in common. ;)

I'll invite you to look at my page, read through the Briar & Leaf Chronicles, in addition to the FAQ already mentioned. Hang out here, ask questions, post your thoughts, and enjoy. You'll find some inside jokes, but they'll soon become familiar, and we don't haze the newcomers too much. Welcome to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Even after 28 years of pipe smoking, I still learn new things about our pastime, and am as enthusiastic as ever, if not more so, about the hobby. Welcome to it, and may you derive a great deal of pleasure from your pipes and tobaccos - for a lifetime!

-Zero
 

glpease

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luckydogguy":2heitk8m said:
As a newbie, I don't really know which tabacco blends to start trying. I don't feel like trying something that is cheap and I don't like, maily because I'm afraid it would turn me off to smoking pipes before I ever gave it a fair chance. That being said, can you guys please give my some suggestions of good Virginians, English and Aromatic?
It's a big world out there, and during the early years, your tastes will change, your palate will adapt to new flavours, your smoking technique will improve. What you like today may be something you won't like in a month, or a year, or ten. Forgive me if I foray into some other "stuff," rather than answer your question directly. This is "stuff" I wish someone had told ME when I started out...

The early bowls are often a little disappointing to someone new to the pipe. Until we find a tobacco with enough flavour to penetrate the novice's haze, then learn a bit about tending to the pipe, then give our minds time to begin the process of categorizing and characterizing all the new tastes that we experience, we usually don't really grok the whole cloth.

Most tobacconists start the newcomer off with a "mild" blend. This is wrong-minded. A more stout blend will give the palate something to chew on during the early phases of the learning process. "Mild" blends often produce harsher smoke, and this is exacerbated by the tendency to pack too tightly, and to puff furiously to keep the pipe lit.

This leads to my second piece of advice. Don't be afraid to re-light the pipe - 50 times, if necessary. The WORST thing you can do is try to stoke the fire by puffing like a locomotive. Smoking to the bottom of the bowl on a single light is something we all enjoy, when it happens, but there's no shame in using as many matches as needed to get the job done. Save the parlour tricks for slow smoking contests when you're bored with the other stuff. ;)

Then, there's the subject of filling/packing the pipe. This just takes time. You develop a feel for it, and learn different methods for different types of pipes, different tobaccos. Finally, at some point, you do it unconsciously, almost intuitively. But, in the early days, learn not to pack too tightly, or you'll end up with a soggy, gooey mass that is impossible to smoke to the bottom.

Tamping - the weight of the tamper is sufficient. Don't press. The idea is to settle the ash, not compress it. Of course, if your tamper is made out of Roentgenium, you'll have to hold it back a little...

For tobacco recommendations, I'll leave that to the others. I'm a little biased...

-Zero
 

luckydogguy

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Zero,

Thanks a bunch for the invite to the link. I will be taking a lot of notes! :face:



Any other suggestions?



Thanks,
Lucky
 

hazmat

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luckydogguy":4hlr3jym said:
Any other suggestions?
Just keep trying stuff that sounds good to you. I know that's not much advice, but it's about the best I can give. What tastes good to one piper may not to the next so it's hard to say "Sure, these are THE 'baccys you should start with, hands down". When I first started, I had so many open tobacco laying around I didn't think I'd be able to smoke it all. Eventually I zeroed in on those types that really do something for me and use them as a basic reference point when going exploring. But that's really what's good fun about this hobby, you constantly have reason to try "just one more" tin of tobacco. That's as near a win-win situation as I'm aware of.
 

smokey422

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When I get asked this question by a novice smoker, my recommendation is usually to get a sampler pack from Cornell&Diehl. They have them available with both 5 and 8 blend assortments. You will get two oz. of each blend (except for tinned and Pease blends, in those cases you get one). It takes that much tobacco to really get a "feel" for a blend. The best way to do this is to call Craig Tarler at 1-800-433-0080 and talk with him. Explain your situation and what you are looking for in a tobacco and he will be able to guide you. He has done this for many new smokers over the years.

Smokey
 

jhuggett

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Smokey made a great suggestion and mentioned sticking to it... that's what really got me excited about pipe smoking. I was looking for something a little more than the aromatics I was smoking. I bought at tin of S&G Full Virginia Flake. The first few smokes were less than satisfying but I kept with it to finish the tin. All of a sudden I was experiencing these marvelous flavors and a real sweetness that lasted through out the bowl unlike the cheap stuff I was smoking. My next tin was Laurel Flake and that was it... I was hooked.
 

luckydogguy

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Smokey,

thank you . That is something I will definately try when I put an order in. Sounds like the right thing to do. That's basically how I got started with cigars also.

Thanks guys.


Right now I'm enjoying some "haunted Bookshop" courtesy of Davey. Agreat gentleman! Thank you, Davey! :cyclops:

Lucky
 

Justpipes

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luckydogguy":nvj3lq4o said:
As a newbie, I don't really know which tabacco blends to start trying. That being said, can you guys please give my some suggestions of good Virginians, English and Aromatic?

Thanks,
Lucky :confused:
Lucky,

Just cut to the chase and visit this website http://www.wvsmokeshop.com/ and order a tub of Walnut. You will not be disappointed taste wise or economically. Walnut is a very satisfying light to medium English blend that has been around since 1856. Don't let CP's comments fool you!

Mark
 

gospelman

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I'd say for a good English blend, you can't go wrong with GLP's Westminster. It's currently my favorite, and it seems to me to be just about right for someone who has never tried an English baccky.

You might also try Squadron Leader.

Mike
 

showme1or2

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Lucky, in my opinion the best tobacco to start trying is FREE tobacco. Accept anything that is offered and give it a try. You might like it at once, or you might like it enough to try something in its family. Or, you may dislike it so much you avoid anything close to it.

There is no better replacement for experience than....errr....experience. Ya just gotta start smoking.

Keep your eyes peeled for a spring boxpass, too. That is a great way to sample new tobaccos. Also, do you have a B&M nearby?

Feel free to PM me with something you might like to try. If I've got it I will send you out at least a couple bowlfuls (bowlsful?)...enough for a couple smokes. Heck, PM me anyway and I'll send you whatever I've got. (Which ain't a lot compared to some of these collectors but that is how I got started and I'm more than glad to pass it on.)

showme
 

luckydogguy

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WOW! Guys, I'm amazed at the hospitality of the people on this forum! Thank you for your advice and offers of samplers!

I appreciate all the help I can get!


Truly, THANK YOU! :cheers:



Lucky
 

regor

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It shows you just how nice these people can be and how they care :cyclops: :D :D
 

pencils

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My 0.02 worth...

English/Balkan: Westminster, Abingdon, Blackpoint - all by GLPease; Star of the East by C&D

Aromatics: Alsbo Black and Holger Danske Black and Bourbon

Virginia: Not really a fan to be honest but at a push, Old Gowrie by Rattray

I spent 15 years smoking aromatics primarily, and wouldn't discount them as satisfying, enjoyable and tasty, but have moved on in recent years to latakia blends. Aaah, latakia :cheers:
 

Bob Oakley

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My opinion for a new pipe smoker-

Virginia - Rattray Hal o the Wynd. It is a full bodied Virginia and smokes great when let to dry out a little.

English - Two Friends Deacons Downfall is a nice middle of the road English not too heavy in Latakia.

In my opinion, I would stay away from aromatics. I still stay away from them.

I also would wait for any heavy Virginia/Perique blend until you try some other tobaccos. Then Pease Haddos Delight or McClelland 2015 would be very nice.

All nothing but my opinions. But certainly enjoy your "journey."
 

Buster

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As a newbie myself, I've had good luck finding what I love (and don't like) by starting broad and narrowing it down.

1) Get 5 or more different cobs. Even if you have briars, hold off on using them at the very beginning till you have a better idea of what you DON'T like so you don't flavor what could be a your favorite pipe with something you never want to taste again.

2) Check here http://agingfaq.nocturne.org/touchstones.php to get a sense of some of the choice examples of the different major categories. Try tobaccoreviews.com to hone in on the blend that seems the most appealing, and be sure to ask on this forum!

3) Go to your brick & mortar tobacconist, or barring that, try online stores, and try to get 1oz quantities of each of your choices, 1 or 2 from each category. I know pipesandtobaccos.com has a very wide selection of premium tobaccos available in this size. At $3 - $4 a pop, its a great way to try blends without breaking the bank and being stuck with a bunch of something you don't like.

4) Pick up some small bail-top, or mason jars at the hardware store. Anything that seals properly is essential. Most likely your 1 oz tobaccos will come in baggies, which aren't suitable for locking in flavor for very long.

5) Try them at your leisure. Be aware some tobaccos may be moist, and may need to dry out a bit. Take out a bowlful and put it on a paper towel and let it sit for as long as is necessary. A rule of thumb is, if it feels wet, of if squeezing a bit between your fingers causes it to clump like clay, it should dry a bit. Read up about packing and smoking techniques online, and then get ready to smoke. Find a comfy place, relax, take your time, close your eyes, and focus on what you're experiencing, as if you were trying a fine wine. Really set your mind into exploring the tobacco's nuances, how it changes over the course of the bowl, etc. Try both inhaling from mouth to your nose, and just exhaling from your mouth through your nostrils, to experience the flavor. Some taste better one way, some the other, some both. I try to limit myself to 2 bowls a day, one in the morning and one at night. Keep in mind that some tobaccos, especially the strong latakia blends (and for me, virginias) may taste great, but nuke your olfactory system temporarily, so the next tobacco you smoke may taste different than it would if you gave your mouth, nose and throat some time to recover. I take a non-toxic, odorless colored marker and mark each cob on the bottom with a different color for each different category, so I don't get them mixed up. I keep a little chart of when I smoked each pipe last, so that I can give them some time to rest a bit and absorb the juices from the last smoke.

6) Keep a log, describing taste, aroma, and anything else you notice. You will probably find some have just what you want, some are boring, some are plain torture. Try to give each one a fair chance (ie. don't just smoke one bowl and make up your mind), sometimes what you ate that day can effect the flavor.
If there's anything you have that your really can't stand, DONT junk it -- put it back in its mason jar, seal it tightly and put it away. It may just need to sit for a bit, or maybe your palate needs to evolve on its own volition. You may find its the perfect taste sometime in the future, and be wondering why you didn't realize it at first!
After that, its time to find the category of tobacco (or two) that you liked most and delve in. Choose a briar or several to dedicate to that category. Explore it by trying different types, by different makers. Move up to 2oz tins if you can't find 1 oz bulks of a particular blend. Some of the best tobaccos you can smoke, such as GL Pease's blends, were hard to find n 1oz quantites, but they're so good its worth the risk once you have an idea of what type of blend you enjoy. With any tobacco, as long as its in a category you like, there's a good chance you will like it and not be throwing your money away on something you can't bring yourself to smoke.
And if you've found something you absolutely love, get more, in honest-to-goodness manufacturer sealed tins. - I prefer several small portions versus one big one, so I can cellar the other ones in their vacuum sealed state.

And be wary of aromatics. Not only do they seldom taste as good as they smell, and when smoked don't often taste or smell anything like they do out of the tin, they change the taste of a briar (and it can be a real pain to get that taste out), and they have to be smoked very carefully or they taste awful and burn your mouth. Additionally, as it's cheaper to smother bad tobacco in a flavor, than it is to have pure tobacco taste good on its own, there's alot more low grade, trashy aromatics than there are natural blends. If you want to explore them, do your homework first. They do have their moments, but finding something that lives up to what its title and packaging promises is a hobby in and of itself (for me, I've only found one, Dan Tobacco's Sweet Vanilla Honeydew Melon, that is truly delicious)

Above all things, take your time, savor it, and remember it's about relaxation and enjoying yourself.
 
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