Teach Me How to Enjoy Aromatics

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Peacock

There is no spoon.
Patron
#1
Ahh... the sweet scent of pipe tobacco. That’s what initially drew me in and still brings about a feeling of nostalgia whenever I smell it.

But I just cannot for the life of me figure out how to enjoy aromatic pipe tobacco. It burns too wet, causing me to go through tons of pipe cleaners. It packs too tight - causing relighted and overtamping (if it’s not already overpacked in the first place). Then if I finally get it lit and smoke-producing, the flavor is lackluster compared to pretty much anything else I smoke. Carter Hall has been an exception though I’m not sure it’s squarely an aromatic.

I’m still new to pipe smoking so please teach me your ways, oh Old Codgerdom. How can I pack, light and smoke through a bowl of Lane 1Q? KBV Festivus Mixture? Autumn Evening? SWRA? Corn Cob Pipe and a Button Nose?
 

headrott

Well-known member
#2
I don’t claim to have an answer, but will say Corn Cob Pipe and a Button Nose Is less an aromatic than some others listed. I find it fairly easy to pack and keep lit compared to say 1Q. That could be because of the cut (cube) comparatively, in my opinion.

Good question that I have no answer to. Will be watching this thread though.
 

Fr_Tom

PSD Chaplain
Old Ted Award Winner
#3
I have tried 1Q, and I have some Autumn Evening waiting for the fullness of time. I like SWRA. The others are unknown to me. SWRA smokes about like anything else to me in terms of packing, etc.

I have decided that black cavendish and I do not get along. It typically tastes thin and a little musty to me. I tend to overpuff probably trying to get some flavor out. It may just be that you are looking for more tobacco flavor in your tobacco, and there is nothing wrong with that.
 

3 Olives

Well-known member
Patron
#4
Jared,
I’d buy a sampler from Wilke. His blends smoke really well right out of the bag. I’d give Lizzie Blood Red Virginia and Rumcake a shot. Vermont Maple Cavendish is good by itself and as an addition to other blends. I like Cherry Cavendish as an addition to other blends. John has 65 blends to choose from. 87985499-918F-4049-8521-22D4BFC7DF89.jpeg
 

MichaelE

Well-known member
#9
Like WrightwoodJohn mentions, it helps to dry it out some before smoking it. When I get a bag of Autumn Evening in, I put it in the jar and leave the lid off for a few days. It dries out nicely and burns good then.

Smoke it slowly. It's the only way you'll keep it from boiling in the bowl. Autumn Evening gets especially harsh if it starts cooking in the bowl, but it is a wonderful smoke if smoked slowly and cooly. Autumn evening is one of the wettest I've ever received right out of the bag.

Other flavors I smoke don't require that much attention, but any aromatic should be smoked slowly and dried some before packing normally.
 

Russ H.

Fight The Good Fight
#10
I will attempt to give you an answer.
One of the biggest problems with aromatics is the fact that many expect the tine note to be just like what you will get when you smoke them. It can be to an extent if one very important step is taken. SMOKE THEM SLOWLY.
Many aromatics have humectants to preserve the tobacco--PG as we call it. Propylene Glycol. This adds lots of moisture to the point you will tell yourself you simply cannot get the tobacco to dry out at all. What one needs to do is to sip these blends slowly when smoking them--just enough to keep the pipe going, and even if you have to relight--it's ok--no sweat. What happens when we puff to hard, and fast with aromatics it causes the tobacco to get real hot, and we know moisture is a product of combustion. The harder we puff--the faster we puff--the more moisture you will get. That moisture has to go some place, and usually it goes up the stem, or makes the tobacco real wet. From there what happens is all the flavor profile is going out the top of your pipe in steam, and chemicals. What you will be left with is a goopy mess in the bottom of your pipe, and up in the stem-mortise, and tenon area.
One of the biggest mistakes a new pipe smoker can make is to begin with a strong aromatic. What usually happens is the smoker is seeking to get the wonderful flavor just like the tin note. So--we begin, and say--where is the flavor?? So we begin to puff harder, and faster in order to attempt to get that flavor. It's all down hill from there because just as I noted we create lots of moisture, and steam, and the result becomes very unpleasant. The key is to gently sip the pipe--just keep it slowly burning, and you will begin to find the flavors you are looking for. Again--smoke----SSLLOOWWLLYY. Aromatics can be tough for a beginner. You will find when you slow down the flavors will come through, and the moisture issues will be less of a factor.
 

Peacock

There is no spoon.
Patron
#11
I don’t claim to have an answer, but will say Corn Cob Pipe and a Button Nose Is less an aromatic than some others listed. I find it fairly easy to pack and keep lit compared to say 1Q. That could be because of the cut (cube) comparatively, in my opinion.

Good question that I have no answer to. Will be watching this thread though.
Noted. I’ll need to get some of this and the Wilke sampler @3 Olives mentioned.
 

SmokeRings

Well-known member
Patron
#12
It is one of the things I kicked myself over for years, I can't think of many aro's that taste like they smell, which is sort of in the name when I think about it, the gang is right on point though, slow way, way down. I find it a bit of a puzzle that so many new smokers are pointed towards the aro blends when they really are expert level blends, if you don't dry them out properly, pack the pipe properly, have a painfully slow cadence it is going to be a massive pain getting on with most aro's. For the record, my experience with SWRA mirrors that of our chaplains, and I do not consider CH an aro, it is topped, but not really an aro. In addition to being a pain to work with, many aro's ghost/goop up pipes something fierce, so be sure you don't use a pipe to smoke a blend if you aren't sure you'd like reminders of your aro with your next Virginia or English or whatever.
 

Coastal Bend

Get off my lawn.
Patron
#13
For some reason this question made me think of what a wit one time offered as the "Perfect Mint Julep."
  • Take two silver Old Fashions
  • In first add two teaspoons of sugar
  • Add one freshly picked sprig of mint
  • Branch water to moisten
  • Use pedestal to crush the mint into the sugar mixture
  • In second Old Fashion add three fingers of 12-year old Kentucky bourbon
  • Hold the second Old Fashion in your right hand
  • Hold the first with the mint and sugar mixture in your left hand
  • Then dump the contents of your left hand and drink the contents held in your right hand.
There must me some reason this came to mind when talking about aromatics. Give me some time, I'll figure it out. :whistling:
 

MakDragon

Optomistic Curmudgeon
Patron
#14
I will attempt to give you an answer.
One of the biggest problems with aromatics is the fact that many expect the tine note to be just like what you will get when you smoke them. It can be to an extent if one very important step is taken. SMOKE THEM SLOWLY.
Many aromatics have humectants to preserve the tobacco--PG as we call it. Propylene Glycol. This adds lots of moisture to the point you will tell yourself you simply cannot get the tobacco to dry out at all. What one needs to do is to sip these blends slowly when smoking them--just enough to keep the pipe going, and even if you have to relight--it's ok--no sweat. What happens when we puff to hard, and fast with aromatics it causes the tobacco to get real hot, and we know moisture is a product of combustion. The harder we puff--the faster we puff--the more moisture you will get. That moisture has to go some place, and usually it goes up the stem, or makes the tobacco real wet. From there what happens is all the flavor profile is going out the top of your pipe in steam, and chemicals. What you will be left with is a goopy mess in the bottom of your pipe, and up in the stem-mortise, and tenon area.
One of the biggest mistakes a new pipe smoker can make is to begin with a strong aromatic. What usually happens is the smoker is seeking to get the wonderful flavor just like the tin note. So--we begin, and say--where is the flavor?? So we begin to puff harder, and faster in order to attempt to get that flavor. It's all down hill from there because just as I noted we create lots of moisture, and steam, and the result becomes very unpleasant. The key is to gently sip the pipe--just keep it slowly burning, and you will begin to find the flavors you are looking for. Again--smoke----SSLLOOWWLLYY. Aromatics can be tough for a beginner. You will find when you slow down the flavors will come through, and the moisture issues will be less of a factor.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
That. Perfect explanation.
 

MakDragon

Optomistic Curmudgeon
Patron
#15
My uncle smoked Captain Black regular exclusively. Of course that's what I bought when I ventured into pipe smoking. Same result here @Peacock !
Somehow I was not getting it. Hot, goopy mess and it DID NOT taste like it smelled in the pouch or my uncle's pipe.
A friend got me to go English route with Fr. Dempsey Blend and then coming to PSF and now PSD, I have branched far and wide.
I love Autumn Evening and some other light aromatics now. But yes, smoke s s s s s s s s s l l l l l l l o o o o o o o o o o o w w w w w w w .
 

Russ H.

Fight The Good Fight
#17
Anyone else remember "It takes a pro to smoke an aro"? I still miss him. @Sasquatch got me turned onto some of the MacBaren stuff, and it really does need to be dryer and smoked dead slow. Keep at the aros. When you get the super slow cadence down, other blends, like Virginia blends are going to be very flavorful and sweet!
There have been a few folks on pipe forums make the following comment so I cannot take credit for it:
"Pipe smoking success is 75% equipment, and 25% technique."
Many times problems can be attributed to error on the part of the pipe smoker. There are no hard, and fast rules to pipe smoking. One simply has to keep at it. Enjoy it.
 

tipofthelake

Fiddlesticksing sick of politics and posturing
Patron
#18
My recommendation, which I did not see though I may have skimmed past it, is to cut your goopy mess 60:40 or 70:30 aro/dry neutral smoking blend. It'll lessen the aromatic qualities somewhat of course, but it'll also dry it out without losing as much of the flavor compared to just setting some on the counter for an hour.
 

tipofthelake

Fiddlesticksing sick of politics and posturing
Patron
#19
There have been a few folks on pipe forums make the following comment so I cannot take credit for it:
"Pipe smoking success is 75% equipment, and 25% technique."
Many times problems can be attributed to error on the part of the pipe smoker. There are no hard, and fast rules to pipe smoking. One simply has to keep at it. Enjoy it.
I would reverse the equipment and technique in this statement.:puffy:
 
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