Other stories

A Guide to Helping You Choose the Best Tobacco for Your Pipe


If you want to start smoking a pipe, it is important that you do so the right way. A lot of information is available on how to pack and light a pipe, which makes for very good reading. However, you also need to know how to choose your pipe, and how to choose your tobacco.

The Pipe

Pipes can be expensive and it is likely that you don't want to start by spending a fortune. However, the more expensive the pipe, the better it tends to be. The only option if you are on a budget is to choose a corncob pipe, which offers a good smoke but doesn't cost too much. If you are looking for briarwood pipes, clay pipes or meerschaum pipes, however, you will have to spend a little bit more. Corncobs, as stated, are good, but they do alter the taste a little. In fact, tobacconists will only recommend them with English, natural tobacco blends. They simply make sweetened and flavored blends taste horrible.

If you can't find a corncob pipe and you have to go cheap, you will probably find that the taste becomes quite bitter. However, this can also be temporary, so you may just have to persevere for a little bit. Additionally, if your tobacco is too dry or too moist, or if you're not drawing on it properly, you will also get less enjoyment out of it. So don't blame your pipe for every little flaw immediately.

The Tobacco

You must choose a tobacco that is right for you. Unfortunately, this may mean testing out a huge range of pipe tobacco blends, types and brands. A tobacconist can give you advice based on your likes and dislikes, but you will still have to try them all until you find something that you like.

You will probably associate pipes with the sweet aroma that they emit. Although there certainly are blends that offer this, they flavor is actually very mild. English blends are a lot stronger and are actually not recommended for new smokers. Furthermore, they are not as sweet to the taste either. Hence, you may want to try a sweetened blend to find something not too harsh on the throat. Half the fun is in trying the different flavors.

A few things that you may use to help you choose your first blend:

  • Commercially available blends like Amphora, Captain Black and Sail tend to be quite sweet.
  • English blends are stronger and have a faint after taste of beer, tea, chocolate and/or coffee.

You must also remember that if you change your blend, you will also need to change your pipe, particularly if you go from a sweet blend to an English blend. Mixing the flavors is nothing short of a weird experience that you are not likely to enjoy. And, unfortunately, no amount of cleaning will ever truly be able to get the original taste out. Hence, you may want to invest in two pipes, one for the sweet blends and one for the English ones.

If you have any questions, please ask below!