Teach Me How to Enjoy Aromatics

Smokesum

Well-known member
#61
I'm wondering if many of us dismiss aromatics because they are what we first started with, before we refined our techniques. This thread has inspired me to dig out a few aromatics that I haven't smoked in a very long time. I surprised myself by enjoying a 50/50 mix of Lane 1Q and BCA which I had previously written off. And I'm positively loving some H&H Vermont Meat Candy. When smoked properly, a good aromatic is more than just pipe tobacco on training wheels.
 

tipofthelake

Ignorant Wretch
Patron
#62
My 2 cents worth.

Aromatics are like any other group of tobacco, you either get along with them or you don't.
Personally I am not a fan of black Cavendish heavy aromatics, precisely for the reason that most of them are beyond saturated and are just too much of a faff on to get them to smoke able level.

However I do enjoy European style aromatics where they are more virginia and burley foreward.
A particular aromatic favourite of mine is ennerdale.

If you do wish to persist with aromatics I would suggest a wide chambered pipe or even better a falcon if you have one.

It might just be you do not get on with them full stop, it might just be a learning curve you have to crack., either way I wouldn't flog a dead horse for too long, smoke what you know you like, not what you think you should like.
This made me think of something I had noticed but never really thought about, and that is that blends like ennerdale lose flavor if you over puff but mostly recover if you slow it down, while my experience with blends like ps 3 cherry, blue note, etc. Is that once you overheat them the flavor is mostly gone for that bowl. Your experience may vary, but something to consider.
 

craig

Well-known member
#63
This made me think of something I had noticed but never really thought about, and that is that blends like ennerdale lose flavor if you over puff but mostly recover if you slow it down, while my experience with blends like ps 3 cherry, blue note, etc. Is that once you overheat them the flavor is mostly gone for that bowl. Your experience may vary, but something to consider.
Yes, I have noticed that with ennerdale, that if it overheats it gets a bit sharp and acrid but letting it go out and cooling down brings the flavour back.
I also agree with you about other aromatics once you pass the threshold of even slightly overheating they are basically finished.
 

Cappadoc

Well-known member
Patron
#64
So I have read the thread and a thought passed into my head. That happens with disturbing rarity.
Would using a match for aros make a difference?

Many of you comment on slow, cool smoking to maximize the enjoyment of aromatics. My cadence is pretty good most of the time, but many aromatics seem to escape my ability to enjoy them. I do rather well with a lot of MacBaren blends and they are known for punishing rapid smokers.

Since matches are cooler than lighters, and since I almost always use a lighter, I am wondering if that would make a difference?
 

JustScott

Well-known member
#68
Yes, I can detect the topping in the pouch, but for some reason I never noted it in the smoke..
But my taste buds and nose have been severely abused over the years
For me, CH is definitely topped, but I still wouldn't consider it an "aromatic". I get whiskey and chocolate over the burley/va for most of the bowl. It's funny, most of the times I've smoked full-on aros I only get that sorta sweetened cavendish taste, but more lightly topped blends I actually GET. Another example of that is C&D's Epiphany, of course I taste the tobacco but the plum brandy (to my taster) is super noticeable for the first half to two-thirds of the bowl. But Boswell's "Berry Cobbler" and (super disappointing here, WOW that bag smells good) "Cupcake"? Yeah, sugary black and gold cavendish, and that's it... Maybe the more highly-flavored blends just don't work for me unless it's one of those "perfection" bowls. Like most pipey things, :mystery:...
 

joeahearn

Well-known member
#69
So I have read the thread and a thought passed into my head. That happens with disturbing rarity.
Would using a match for aros make a difference?

Many of you comment on slow, cool smoking to maximize the enjoyment of aromatics. My cadence is pretty good most of the time, but many aromatics seem to escape my ability to enjoy them. I do rather well with a lot of MacBaren blends and they are known for punishing rapid smokers.

Since matches are cooler than lighters, and since I almost always use a lighter, I am wondering if that would make a difference?
I think you’re on to something.

Even though I have an Old Boy and several Zippos, these days I prefer to light pipes with a wooden kitchen match—or actually about three kitchen matches, because I only apply the match flame to the tobacco for a short time. Usually I get a light on the second match for my false light, then I tamp and use the third match for the true light.

I’ve found, as you mention, that I get the bowl lit with much less mouth burn this way—and the tobacco seems to taste better because it’s been lit at the lowest possible temperature. It stands to reason that lighting “American” aromatics at a lower temperature would help preserve their somewhat fragile taste.
 

RedScot

Well-known member
#71
Probably the best pipe smoking advice I ever got was “Just smoke the damn pipe. What is there to think about?”
Amen, brother. Preach!
The only time I "puff" is when I'm lighting up. The rest of the bowl is just a series of gentle sips - if I'm smoking "properly" I almost always have a tiny but steady stream of smoke coming in my mouth part and exiting my nose part. - nearly continuously.
I don't smoke goopy aros often. When I did ("when I was a younger man...") I really paid close attention to how I filled the bowl.
The trick is to figure out the right technique for you, which requires more practice and less thinking.
I'd also recommend PS Blend from the Country Squire. It's got a merest hint of latakia and isn't goopy at all. Funny part is they've got one or two tobaccos on the menu that are much more aromatic, but require a ton more technique to keep 'em from overheating.
 

N80

Well-known member
#73
Probably the best pipe smoking advice I ever got was “Just smoke the damn pipe. What is there to think about?”
Agreed. Some folks enjoy being fussy about stuff. The ritual. The secret handshake. The right glass for the right scotch. Nothing wrong with it if that's what you like and/or need. I get into it a little but am as likely to drink a nice Italian Barolo wine in a juice glass as a wine glass.

I started with aromatics. Lane Limited RLP-6 to be exact. That plus a basket pipe and a book of free matches. Never had any trouble. Still don't. Of course, I have never been a daily smoker so my tobacco probably dried out a bit and made it easier to deal with. And yes, as a beginner I was puzzled by the fact that the aromatic did not taste like it smelled. But I got used to it. It smells good in the tin. It smells good in the room. Friends and family like the smell.....and while that might not be the most important thing, it certainly doesn't hurt.

I've recently branched out and I'm trying non aromatics. My wife says it smells like cigarettes (Presbyterian, Hearth and Home Black House.....I'm assuming they aren't aromatics????).

My 'problem' is that I like everything. For me its kind of like beer, barbecue, scotch and bourbon. I like the good stuff and I can tell the difference....but I can enjoy most any of it in the right setting. I will say this, that Presbyterian must have more nicotine than I'm used to. I was smoking it, clenched, while working outside and it gave me a dizzy buzz I don't get from my aromatics.
 
#74
At this point there is nothing i can really add. With that in mind, I had the same experience as you. Pipe smokers who knew better than I did told me "smoke it slow" and "Let it dry." I never understood it until i got it right. slow? No slower than that... SLOWER. Let it go out, let the pipe cool, go have a beer and come back to it... I mean slow.
More importantly (YMMV) the same applies to "let it dry" You want it dry to the point that it is almost crispy. In the first few pages a lot of people brought up autumn evening. I love that blend... when it is death valley dry, but right out of the can "outch"