Story of Pipe Smoking by Jason Mills
I can remember visiting my best friend when I was younger. It was fun to get together and have adventures like boys do, but one thing I really, really liked was his dad. His dad was an old farm man and looked like it from the weather-beaten lines on his face to his calloused hands. He was quiet spoken and loved smoking his pipe. Since my dad was a non-smoker, this fact really intrigued me as a young boy. I’d see him lighting up and smoking his pipe in complete happiness. He always smelled like pipe tobacco (Sir Walter Raleigh) and now, whenever I smell that brand, I always think of him.
Maybe you had a grandpa who was like my friend’s dad. Maybe you saw him smoking his pipe in quiet contentment and enjoyed that manly smell as I did. Maybe you’ve never known a man who smoked a pipe, so you don’t know what I’m talking about. Either way it doesn’t change the fact that pipe smoking is a manly art.
Why? Well, pipe smoking is as much ritual as it is relaxation. There’s a certain satisfaction you get when you pack the tobacco into the bowl just right. Then, the whoosh of the match followed by that wonderful, aromatic smell. Smoke a pipe with one of your favorite cocktails (maybe an Old Fashioned or a Martini) in the comfort of your favorite armchair, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect evening.
Even in cinema from the 1930s and 1940s, oftentimes you’ll see men with a pipe in their mouths. Movies like The Quiet Man, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and even It’s a Wonderful Life find men of all stripes smoking their pipes. Today, men who smoke a pipe are taking part in a manly ritual that stretches back to the dawn of time and has continued unbroken to the present. Convinced? Then let’s get started.
Since this article is for newbies, I don’t want you to go broke trying something you may not like. So, I’ve provided a list of the minimum items you need to start. When I first started smoking a pipe, I paid $12 for all of my stuff, but prices may vary in your area. Here’s what you’ll need:
A pipe. I recommend starting with a corn cob pipe. Yeah I know it sounds corny (no pun intended) but they’re cheap (mine was $4) and if you find you don’t like smoking a pipe, just toss it with little out of your pocket.
Pipe tamper/tool. Although not absolutely necessary, this is very helpful in packing the tobacco. Mine was $3 and was a combo tamper/cleaner.
Pipe cleaners. Obviously for cleaning your pipe when you’re finished. Most tobaccoists will gladly provide you with a handful at no charge
Wooden Matches or a pipe lighter.
Tobacco. This is where a knowledgeable tobacconist is HIGHLY needed. Tobacco comes in a variety of flavors and strengths. I recommend starting out with a blended flavor. The one I started with is called Almost Heaven and is a vanilla flavored tobacco. My tobaccoist sold me a 3 oz sample pouch for about $5.
Once you have all this, you can get started.