Hello everyone, I recently got into the world of pipe smoking. It looked like a great hobby and I love the whole culture behind it. Anyway, I purchased my first blend with my pipe being an English blend. It gives a great smoke and I enjoy the flavor. Can anyone give me any recommendations for any different blends to try next?
What blend did you get?
My first blend was a bulk English blend called "Fox and Hound", sold under different levels at many tobacco shops, but made by Altadis (who, along with Lane, make most of the bulk tobaccos that you see in jars at the shops). I still have some in a jar. Not too bad, and it was an easy tobacco to start with--not too goopy/syrupy, burned pretty smoothly, etc.
I like to have a bowl of it occasionally still, ~7 years later.
If you've gotten your technique down (as far as packing, lighting, drawing/puffing, tamping, relighting, etc) and are wanting to try different types of tobaccos, I'd recommend you go to your local pipe shop (if you're lucky enough to have one) and ask the tobacconist. If you're lucky, the tobacconist will know something about pipe tobacco.
I enjoy most types of tobacco that I've smoked, though my most common smoke is simple burley blends, the "codger burleys" like Prince Albert (it's decent, it's cheap, it's available everywhere, and it's easy to keep lit while I'm doing something else).
If you like the taste of your English tobacco, with that smokiness of the Latakia, look for other English blends.
If you want to try a good variety, you can look online for samplers (or in your local shop if they have them, but I've not been in a B&M that has samplers. Some tobacconists will let you sample a bit while you're in the store, though). Here's a page at PipesandCigars.com for samplers:
For the best information from us, though, let us know the name of the blend you've tried.
Also, be aware that, if you only smoke a bowl or two a week, there's a threshold of enjoyment that you probably won't cross. Once you start smoking daily, especially a couple bowls per day or more, you'll start to really notice a lot more detail in the tobacco you smoke. It's great to enjoy a bowl on occasion, and many people do just that (I have done that for a couple years at a time), but when you smoke frequently, your tasting ability with tobacco will sharpen drastically.
Happy puffing, and welcome!
I cant remember the exact name, I just remember that it is an English blend. I plan on stopping in to to the tobacco shop maybe on Saturday so while I'm there I'll take a look for the name. As far as my packing and tampering technique goes, I'm slowly improving with each smoke. I'm still having some difficulty getting that initial light (about 4 matches) and I seem to be tamping too hard because the tobacco completely goes out sometimes when I try to tamp it down.
It takes a lot of frequent practice for the techniques to become second nature. Over time, you'll find what works for you. Fortunately, smoking is a very enjoyable activity, so it's not a chore to "practice"!
As far as lighting, for me, this varies considerably with the tobacco I'm using and the conditions in which I'm smoking. Most of the time, I need a match or two for a good "charring light". You have a packed bowl, light it, and the tobacco puffs up, sticking out of the bowl. I take a few puffs, then tamp that down and relight with another match or two, getting a good light across the whole bowl.
During the smoke, tamping and relighting just kind of happen as necessary. In 7 years of pipesmoking, I've probably had a handful of bowls that didn't need a relight at some point. The other day, I was smoking a bowl of Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader (a nice English blend), and I relit the thing probably 10 times or more. SL just tends to go out on me for some reason or another.