How many bowls?

MasterJoda

Well-known member
#1
So I have this issue. I love variety and this spills over into my tobaccy. I have several bulk and tinned blends in my possession that I am yet to try and I picked up 8 new blends in the last week.

My natural inclination is to try a bowl of them all as soon as I can, but I’m wondering if there’s a “better” way. I’m not gonna lie, in my eagerness to try things I find that I lose the details on successive bowls.

Should I rather adopt a 3 bowl minimum of a blend before I move on? Or some other kind of technique?

I realize this is all about what I enjoy, but I also know there are “best practices” that can lead to MORE ENJOYMENT in the end.

If there’s no technique or no obvious benefit, that’s fine, but I just want to throw it out to the collective wisdom of PSD.
 

Spillproof

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sales
#4
This really all comes down to preference and patience, right?

I'd guess I've smoked a couple hundred different blends. I know pretty quickly if something is going to work for me. There are several examples of blends that I put away thinking "meh" and later thoroughly enjoyed, but I can't think of anything I just plain hated initially and later thought was good.

So if you are just exploring - give it a few bowls. If you have a pretty good sense of what you like and don't like - why smoke anything that doesn't please you? Put it away and circle back at some point.
 

JustScott

Well-known member
#5
Honestly, the only "right" answer is, "Do what works for you." You may well be missing subtleties on just-one-bowl-then-move-on, but the subtleties will be there later as well. I generally try to smoke at least a couple bowls in a row of any new blend, but then what usually happens is that I've also re-upped my stock of favorites, and I end up smoking Morley's Best about every other bowl (at least... Last year, after my tobacco order came with 3 or 4 blends I hadn't tried, I just smoked Morley's for like the first week and a half. Then, eventually, I tried the new blends. And that's what works for me, lol...)
 

Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
#6
I love variety and this spills over into my tobaccy.
:beerchug: so do I

I have several bulk and tinned blends in my possession that I am yet to try and I picked up 8 new blends in the last week.
When I first started smoking pipes, I was doing that excessively. At that time, I did have an initial budget of € 2,000 for tobacco. What I did was basically buying 5-6 tins of totally different tobacco.
Once I ran into a type I liked (which were viriginia based plugs and flakes, balkans and oriental forward blends) I would go on tobaccor reviews, check out which blends were supposed to be
similar, and order each one I could find.

So I found myself in a very similar situation.

I did (and am still doing) the following:

a) my 3-5 most favorite blends, I always keep an open tin at hand
b) of the blends I had not yet tried, I would limit myself to 5 open tins per style. I am still doing that, and I still have about 30 vaper flakes at hand that I haven't been able to try yet.

every time I finish a tin, I open a new one within a couple of weeks. That way, I do force myself to kind of stick to a blend for a while (or a couple of blends) and learn about them
before deciding wether or not to get a couple more tins. Doing things this way does give those vaper flakes time to age too.

Now I only smoke a couple of bowls a week (usually no more than 5), meaning it takes me a several weeks to finish a tin if not smoking one blend exclusively. I currently don't have that big
of a pipe and tobacco budget, but I still buy more than I smoke. So this does also lead to a growing cellar.
 

SmokeRings

Well-known member
#7
I usually have a bit of a pattern with my tobacco consumption, I like my codger burley coffee combo to start a day etc. I usually reserve trying new blends for the evening when I have time to focus exclusively on the new blend, and will have a single bowl for maybe three or four days in a row, some system like this might work for you as well.
 

craig

Well-known member
#8
personally I would smoke a tin before moving on then you get a good feel for the blend and then decide if you wish to buy more.
however there have been some blends that I have barely gotten half way through the bowl and been like "yes! this is it!"
however variety is the spice of the life so if you can't wait to try new things have a smoking day of one and another day for another.
 

JRobert

Nuclear Moderator
Staff member
#9
If there’s no technique or no obvious benefit, that’s fine, but I just want to throw it out to the collective wisdom of PSD.
There is no technique that works for everyone. A couple of things I would add though. Don't be in a hurry to write off or trade away a blend, or to cellar many pounds of a blend, especially if you are a new smoker. Your tastes will change -- something you don't like today may be something you enjoy in a year, and something you love today may not work for you in the future. Other factors may be involved as well, such as the season of the year or just your mood. Also don't be in a hurry to acquire a pile of unsampled blends.

I usually order a single ounce of something I want to try (or just one tin) and then I smoke one bowl a day of the new blend until I think I've gotten a pretty good handle on whether I want more. I don't smoke the same blend all day (I have tried this, and it just doesn't work for me) so it takes a while to smoke up an ounce or a tin. I also judge by how unhappy I am when I run out of something (or get close to running out). Smoking too many different things every day can be confusing, so I try to stick with a rotation (the same blends every day) for at least two weeks.
 

craig

Well-known member
#10
There is no technique that works for everyone. A couple of things I would add though. Don't be in a hurry to write off or trade away a blend, or to cellar many pounds of a blend, especially if you are a new smoker. Your tastes will change -- something you don't like today may be something you enjoy in a year, and something you love today may not work for you in the future. Other factors may be involved as well, such as the season of the year or just your mood. Also don't be in a hurry to acquire a pile of unsampled blends.

I usually order a single ounce of something I want to try (or just one tin) and then I smoke one bowl a day of the new blend until I think I've gotten a pretty good handle on whether I want more. I don't smoke the same blend all day (I have tried this, and it just doesn't work for me) so it takes a while to smoke up an ounce or a tin. I also judge by how unhappy I am when I run out of something (or get close to running out). Smoking too many different things every day can be confusing, so I try to stick with a rotation (the same blends every day) for at least two weeks.
sound advice.

one good example of this for me was mac baren Scottish mixture I loved the stuff and smoked it pretty much exclusively for 3 months, after that I got bored of it and haven't smoked it since although it is an excellent blend you can have too much of a good thing.
which is why I switch between my 3 main stay blends and a couple of others I have a couple of ounces of so it keeps things fresh.
 

SmokeRings

Well-known member
#11
There is no technique that works for everyone. A couple of things I would add though. Don't be in a hurry to write off or trade away a blend, or to cellar many pounds of a blend, especially if you are a new smoker. Your tastes will change -- something you don't like today may be something you enjoy in a year, and something you love today may not work for you in the future. Other factors may be involved as well, such as the season of the year or just your mood. Also don't be in a hurry to acquire a pile of unsampled blends.

I usually order a single ounce of something I want to try (or just one tin) and then I smoke one bowl a day of the new blend until I think I've gotten a pretty good handle on whether I want more. I don't smoke the same blend all day (I have tried this, and it just doesn't work for me) so it takes a while to smoke up an ounce or a tin. I also judge by how unhappy I am when I run out of something (or get close to running out). Smoking too many different things every day can be confusing, so I try to stick with a rotation (the same blends every day) for at least two weeks.
That is a fantastic point, there are some blends that will give you a real big poopy face when you realize your not going to have enough to last until another order arrives, that's a great indicator that you should order a fair amount to start cellaring
 

Coastal Bend

Get off my lawn.
Patron
#12
I think @JRobert hits it with his first sentence: "There is no technique that works for everyone." There's good advice offered here already. I would only contribute one should not judge too quickly. It's a pet peeve of mine to read a review on TR in which the reviewer is writing the review partway through the first bowl and declaring it their "new all day smoke..." or condemning it as something not worthy of a landfill. "How can someone decide before even finishing one bowl?" I always ask myself.
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
#13
Well, I've been following this thread for a bit, and my take agrees with much of what's already been said....

Like @Spillproof wrote, I too am pretty quick to condemn a blend. As long as I'm sure the style is not represented in my stash. I'm also reluctant to make purchases based on the idea it will be better received after aging, or my tastes change. But then I'm pretty old and set in my ways. There are, of course, occasional exceptions, but they are rare.

Some blends make me think through an ounce or so. Those might turn into keepers if I keep returning to them. But then, I'm susceptible to the 'ooh, shiny' syndrome, and many of those eventually fall to the wayside.

@JRobert offers much sound advice, particularly regarding the emotional response to being almost out of something and searching for new stock. When you drive through a batch of a blend that's a good indicator of your enjoyment, even if your conscious mind says "Meh" at the time.
 

5star

Well-known member
#15
To me it comes down to practicality. The minimum I can buy is an ounce of bulk or one tin. I’ll typically try 3 bowls of a new blend over the first week or so. If I’m not enthused, I’ll jar it and come back to it in a few months. Afterwards, I’ll try it again periodically till the first purchase is used up. By that time, I’ll have a very good idea of what I think of the blend.
 

easterngray

Well-known member
#16
I simply smoke a blend as long and for as many bowls as give me pleasure. I’m often astonished at how my tastes change over time. I can try a blend and declare it a “new favorite” out of the gate only to discover that eventually the bloom is off the rose and it gets set aside in favor of some other blend. There are times that when I do return to it, it shines as brightly as when first encountered; while all to often it never reclaims a leading spot in my rotation. But I know that my taste in tobacco is often fickle, so I keep it in a jar and one day “we’ll meet again” and perhaps the sparks will fly! ❤️
 

Terminus

Drink Water, Walk It Off
Patron
#17
I flat out gave up trying to be organized. It felt like I was telling myself to finish my vegetables before grabbing the cookie jar. Life is fleeting, trust your gut, open the tin. Tomorrow open another if you want. Hell there are only a few situations that I have ever continually smoked a blend:

A sample I was sent in a plastic bag

Breaking in a new pipe (burley usually)

Seeing jesus smoke (so good you need another round)
 

DrumsAndBeer

Well-known member
#18
I fully agree with heavy Latakia blends and the burn out that can come with smoking the same one over and over. I have experienced that quite a few times over the years.

However, when transitioning into smoking Virginia’s, I highly recommend, at least just once, committing to smoking an entire 50g/2oz tin straight through, nothing else, in a pipe or two that work well with the cut of the blend. You will learn a lot about your own tastes for tobacco this way and a lot about the tobacco you’re smoking. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different moisture levels as you work through the tin too. And take good notes. Some blends gain a certain flare when dried down a bit and others lose something when allowed to dry past a certain level.
 

Second mouse

Well-known member
#19
To further complicate things, consider that the pipes you use factor heavily in the evaluation. I resurrected many a tin from the crap heap by trying them in different pipes. It ain't right, and I try to match as many factors as I know, but I swear those fickle li'l devices have a mind of their own and they are the gate keepers. It would be sexist to compare pipes to women, so don't you dare, either.
Anyway, I evaluate new blends in clay pipes. They are uncomfortable to smoke but tell me the truth.