Beginner Pipe and Tobacco Recommendations
If you’re a newbie pipe smoker, and you’re feeling overwhelmed with all your options, you’ve come to the right place. Being a pipe smoking beginner is full of exhilarating experiences that are waiting to be had. However, choosing the right pipe and tobacco to give you those experiences that you’re craving, can be a bit of a challenge. There are so many options when it comes to choosing a pipe and the type of tobacco you want to smoke.
For example, there are many shapes of pipes that affect the flavor and type of smoke you’ll get. There’s also several types of tobacco with different notes and aromas that can cater to your individual preferences. To start off, we’ll cover the types of pipe materials, pipe shapes, and tobacco types to point you in the right direction.
Which Pipe Material is the Best?
There are a few materials used in pipe manufacturing, and they are briar, Meerschaum, and corn cob. These materials are the most accessible, meaning you can get them at basically any pipe store. Each material has its own set of unique characteristics that make it stand out from the other materials.
Let’s begin with the briar pipe. In my opinion, it’s the best option for beginners. It’s the most popular and durable out of the different materials (Meerschaum and corn cob). Briar also lends itself to being extremely flame resistant, and it won’t break if you drop it (that’s a nice feature for a beginner). Another thing to note about briar is that the wood actually imparts a woodsy flavor into the tobacco, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I would say that briar pipes are for the classics, the romantics, and the academics. They have a very noble ambience about them, and will serve you well over the years. Picture Sherlock Holmes and Bing Crosby. These are classic, well-known men that smoked briar pipes, so you’d basically be considered one of the cool kids.
Next, we have the Meerschaum pipe. The Meerschaum pipe is for the rebels and the unique crowd. Some things to note about Meerschaums is that they can develop a nice patina over the years and are also flame-resistant as well. Meerschaum pipes can also be carved into elaborate shapes and faces, which give them an unmatched look compared to other pipes.
Meerschaum pipes are for the adventurers and the nonconformists. They have unique features that make them quite different from the other pipe materials. They are more delicate than briar pipes, but they are still just as durable if well taken care of. They don’t give you that woodsy flavor that the briar does, but it does allow for a more pure rendition of the tobacco flavor.
Lastly, corn cob pipes are definitely a great option for a beginner. The price point is good and a quality cob from Missouri Meerschaum offers a wonderful smoking experience. This type of pipe material is perfect for occasional, beginning, and veteran pipe smokers alike! It's hard to beat the timeless qualities that a cob can offer.
Which Pipe Shapes and Stems are the Best?
When looking for “the one,” it can be daunting trying to decipher the difference between let’s say a Billiard and a Canadian. As for which pipe will give you the best smoke, well that depends on what kind of bowl and stem comes with your pipe. If you think you’ll be holding your pipe a lot, I’d suggest a pipe with a thicker bowl, such as a Bulldog or a Tomato. If you like to talk with your hands, I’d suggest a pipe that can be set down in between hand gesturing, such as a Poker pipe. If you think you’d like to sit awhile and smoke in relaxation, I’d go for a Billiard because of its straight stem, which works well if you’re just sitting and smoking. If you think you’ll be a reading smoker, I’d suggest a pipe with a bent stem, such as a Brandy or a Calabash pipe.
Stem length is also important to note when looking for a pipe. The longer the stem, the longer it’ll take for the smoke to get to your mouth, making it less hot. This is a particularly good feature if you think you’re a quick smoker, and don’t want to burn your tongue. If you’re a slow smoker, a shorter stem is perfectly fine because you aren’t too quick to inhale.
Which Tobacco is the Best?
There are a few types of tobacco with various blends that might overwhelm you if you don’t know what to look for. Since you’re a newbie pipe smoker, I’d suggest something mild like Lane Limited 1-Q. This tobacco is a fantastic option for a newbie smoker who’s looking for a tobacco that isn’t too strong, but smooth, and lightly sweet (Wike, 2021). One five-star review states that this tobacco is like “an old and trusted friend” (Wike, 2021). It has a pleasant taste and smoke, and is a great beginner tobacco for a pipe smoker. Other offerings might include Cornell & Deihl's Autumn Evening or Cobblestone's Walnut Maple Pie or Vanilla Custard, all great options for those wanting that old-fashioned pipe taste and room note.
Choosing a pipe and tobacco is a very personal experience that should be done carefully. Your pipe will become an extension of your personality, and it should be treated as such. If you have a bad experience with a pipe or a type of tobacco, it can ruin the entire experience for you, and we don’t want that. Make sure to do your research so you know when you’ve found “the one.”
Wike, A. (2021, January 21). Top 11 Best-Selling Aromatic Tobaccos. Smokingpipes.com; smokingpipes.com. https://www.smokingpipes.com/smokingpipesblog/single.cfm/post/top-best-selling-aromatic-tobaccos