We’ve covered plenty of information for beginners to the world of pipe smoking, but it is less easy to share advice for those who are more seasoned to the smoke.
Once you’ve been smoking pipes for a while, you tend to pick up your own habits and techniques for preparing, lighting and tamping your pipe, and it can sometimes be a challenge to introduce new ideas to this mix. Plus, every smoker has their own idea of how things should be done and may not always be receptive to others sharing their methods!
However, regardless of how you personally choose to smoke, there are still a number of techniques that an advanced pipe smoker can pick up fairly easily, without having too much of an impact on their pre-existing method of smoking!
Retrohaling, when done correctly, involves blowing the smoke from your pipe out through your nose, rather than your mouth. The aroma of tobacco plays a huge part in your enjoyment of the smoking experience, so it makes sense to try and enhance this aspect.
Aroma helps us to gain a better indication of flavour, so by retrohaling, you may be able to detect some of the more subtle notes present in your tobacco.
The art of retrohaling will likely be down to a bit of trial and error, and like many things involving the pipe, only practice will make perfect. To start with, only try to use a small amount of smoke, drawing the smoke to the top of your throat and out through your nose.
One that requires a little practise, but well worth the effort; breath smoking involves breathing in and out of the nose at a rate different to that which the smoke is taken in and out of the mouth.
By separating the two acts of breathing and puffing, you can gain more control over your pipe. It helps to regulate the amount of smoke you take in and the speed at which you puff on your pipe.
This, in turn, can help to reduce palate exhaustion and tongue bite, as well as keeping the temperature in check. All of this will also contribute to gaining a better flavour, as you are able to appreciate it more.
Delayed Gratification Technique
The point of the delayed gratification technique is to experience all of the potential flavour possibilities your tobacco can give you during a single bowl. Simply pack your pipe, start it charring and take a few puffs to suss out the flavour the tobacco presents ordinarily.
Then you just pop your pipe down and leave it for a while. The warm pipe should cause changes in the tobacco; it may caramelise or develop a more liquid state, which will cause changes in its flavour. You can then return to smoke it and see how it has developed.
There are several different techniques for this method of smoking, so it’s just a case of how you prefer to smoke!
While many seasoned smokers will have their tamping game sorted, attempting finger tamping may improve your smoke. When you use a tamper to tamp your tobacco, it can have too much impact and lead to the pipe extinguishing itself.
By using your finger to tamp the tobacco, you’ll be able to get a better feel of what the tobacco needs, and how gently or firmly you should press. This can then reduce the amount you’ll have to relight your pipe.
Just be wary of the pipe being too hot, as you don’t want to burn your fingers. You may also want a wipe to hand in case you get a little ashy in the process!
Spice up your smoke by layering different tobaccos in your bowl. By packing your pipe with different types of tobacco in the bottom, middle and top of the bowl, you can create some incredible flavour variations.
As well as different brands of tobacco, you can also try different formats or cuts of pipe tobacco. For example, trying a mixture of loose and flake tobacco together.
In addition to creating whole new flavour experiences, the process of tobacco layering or stacking can also help to gain a better burn.
While you don’t necessarily need to be an experienced smoker to give this one a go, the wisdom and knowledge of different tobacco’s flavours that a sage smoker will be aware of will definitely help in the process of finding the best combinations.
Do you have any advanced pipe smoking techniques to share? If so, leave a comment below and let us know your top tips!