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Old 05-27-2001, 06:28 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 4,369
I read this in this quarter's issue of Pipe and Tobacco Magazine. This magazine is similar to cA and Smoke, but it is for pipes, pipe tobacco and pipe makers. However, unlike cA or Smoke, these issues deal solely with Pipes and tobacco. You won't find any airplanes, Rolex or auto articles. Just pipes, pipe makers, blenders and tobacco reviews.

I highly recommend this magazine for those interested in pipes. I had to re-type this article, so please forgive any typos, omissions or misquotes.


Most pipe smokers seem to go through various stages during their lifelong quest for the perfect smoking experience. I’m no different. After smoking hundreds of different tobaccos and pipes, I don’t know that I’m any closer to that goal, but it’s a fun ride for sure.

Aromatic tobaccos came first, of course-the more fragrant, the better. I guess I wanted to impress the people around me back then more than I wanted to impress myself. It didn’t take long for that to change, through, once I learned that an enveloping cloud of boysenberry-scented tobacco smoke did not necessarily motivate women to throw themselves in my path. I still smoke an occasional subtle aromatic, but have relinquished those delusions of sexual irresistibility and have reconciled myself instead to unflavored tobaccos.

Coinciding with my gradual shift in smoking mixtures, comments directed at me have also evolved-from the aromatic-inspired “What a wonderful aroma” to the English/Latakis “is there a cat on fire in here?” to the current characteristically horrified Virginia/Perique refrain of “What on earth is that stench-Sir, would you mind standing outside to decompose?” But I don’t care-I enjoy my tobacco much more now. Maybe good flavor and good room aroma are inversely proportional. Or maybe, as I’ve become older and slower and less crazed-looking, people are simply more inclined to tell me I stink.

My choice in pipes has evolved as well, from the reasonably priced to the outrageously extravagant. Most pipe collectors I know have found themselves spending more and more on pipes over the years, rarely backsliding into rational price ranges. If I had known 20 years ago how much money I would one day willingly spend on a single pipe, I would have gone into counterfeiting.

While the prices of my pipes have steadily risen, their sizes have diminished. At one time, all I owned were giant pipes with imposing, ostentatious gravitational force. But that changed, perhaps because I gradually lost the jaw strength necessary to hold them in my teeth without spilling them and setting my lap on fire. Their shapes have changed too. I wouldn’t have a straight billiard back then, No, I had to have big, highly stylized freehands, and the more curves and corners, bells and whistles, windcaps, bands and gadgets, the better. Some of my pipes had so many reflecting surfaces that it was inconvenient to drive with them-unexpected beams of sunlight shot off them like random lasers, blinding other drivers and causing wrecks that sometimes impeded my path.

Those pipes gradually left my collection, though, and more traditional shapes have been finding their way to me. My favorite finished changed slowly, too, from rusticated to sandblast to smooth, and from straight-grain to cross-grain. The cycle could start over again any day.

This sort of thing happens to just about everyone. Some collectors keep refining their stages, buying only one shape, or one brand, or one shape in different finishes in the same brand, o0r one finish in one shape in different brands, or-well, you get the idea. Pipes encompass endless permutations, and you never know which one will get you, or for how long it will hold you before letting you move on.

The movement through different stages in this hobby is natural and inevitable. You can’t fight it. Moving on to different makes or different finishes or different tobaccos is not treason; we don not necessarily relinquish our loyalties-we simply become intrigued with new possibilities. There is no right or wrong order of stages, no preferred progression. The simple fact is, pipe smoking is not a static activity, and change is natural. I guess we all search for that holy grail of the perfect tobacco in the perfect pipe. Maybe the beauty of this hobby is that perfection is always just out of reach, giving us always something more to aspire toward. – by Chuck Stanion editor
I find that I also had a similar experience with cigars. I started off with mild robustos, then went into a maduro craze. I later discovered Cubans and totally forgot about their domestic counterparts. However, with Cubans I started off with robustos, but moved to PC and TPC. Then I rediscoverd domestics, but moved toward coronas and belicosos. Although I never left my Cubans, I have moved toward coronas, gran coronas and belicosos. However, the SLR PC will always hold a special place in my heart and humidor.

So in the long run, I guess change is good!, just don't tell my wife that

"Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!"... Michael Corleone
"Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!"... Michael Corleone
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