Five Tips for the Perfect Pipe Smoke

A smoking pipe on a piece of wood with smoke from the bowl

There’s something special about the time spent pipe smoking. Whether it’s a contemplative moment by yourself or a long conversation with friends, pipe smoking is a wonderful way to unwind from the world.

One of the joys of pipe smoking compared to other methods is the whole routine that surrounds the practice. Whether you’re trying it for the first or hundredth time, there’s pleasure in the act of preparing your bowl and sitting back for a long draw.

Pipe smoking is one of those things that is easy to learn but hard to master. If you’re searching for the perfect smoke, check out some of our best tips, drawn from generations of experience.

Keep Your Pipes Clean

There’s a lot of debate in the community about the benefits of pipe rotation. In essence, the argument is that you should allow your pipe to rest and dry after use, and having more pipes available extends for how long this can happen. On the other hand, many veteran pipe smokers will only ever use one pipe! Check out our blog on should you set up a pipe rotation for more information on the debate.

Regardless of your opinions on pipe rotation, the fact is that you need to keep your pipe clean to experience a good, consistent smoke. Just getting into the routine of using a pipe cleaner once your smoke has finished and the pipe has cooled will go a long way to ensuring your next bowl tastes clean.

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Find Your Perfect Tobacco

This point should go without saying, but if you’re left wondering if you could have an even better pipe smoking experience, try changing your tobacco. If you experience too much ‘bite’ while pipe smoking, using a different blend could make your smoke much more enjoyable.

There are so many different kinds of pipe tobacco available on the market, including aromatics and non-aromatics. However, the major difference to bear in mind is the blend. The majority of pipe tobacco will feature either burley or Virginia tobacco, or a chosen combination. Burley produces a more mild flavour, while Virginia can be comparatively sweet and sharp.

There is also cavendish tobacco, which can lead to lighter versions of burley or Virginia, so there’s much to consider! Experiment with different blends until you find the right tobacco for you.

A black smoking pipe with tobacco

Pack the Tobacco Right

Another critical aspect of pipe smoking is how you pack your tobacco. This skill is a prime example of the small changes that can make a big difference to your pipe smoking experience.

The tried and trusted method of packing your pipe is known as the three-pack method. First, fill the bottom half of your bowl and part of the chamber with tobacco, and lightly press it down. Second, fill the bowl to the top and press it down a little more firmly, until it is three-quarters full. Finally, fill the bowl again and press down to create a gap between the tobacco and the top of the bowl.

You can test your packing by taking a test draw on your pipe before lighting. Ideally, air should continue to flow freely through the bowl and pipe – if the air feels restrained or there is none, it’s too tight, and you need to restart. Mastering your packing will go a long way to ensuring your tobacco is evenly lit and smoked throughout your pipe.

Master Lighting

Another one of those smoking skills that are easy to learn but hard to master! Your pipe has to not only be evenly lit but also not too hot, as all these factors can impact on your smoke.

There are many opinions on the best way to light a pipe and particularly which instrument to use. Generally, it’s suggested that you use a wooden match or a specific pipe lighter. The most important aspect is ensuring that the tobacco is evenly lit before you begin smoking, which is often achieved by drawing a circular motion with the flame.

If you’ve packed your tobacco ideally and smoke at a relaxed rate, you shouldn’t have to relight your pipe. However, it’s quite common for them to need relighting, so don’t be too concerned. If you notice the pipe becoming almost too hot to handle, this can be a sign that the tobacco is being overheated, which can impact its flavour. If this happens, let the heat go out and relight.

Set the Mood

This point can be easily overlooked, but it’s arguably as important as everything else in this list. Pipe smoking is as much about the setting as it is the smoke, so your ambience plays a notable role in how much you enjoy your pipe.

The most important thing with pipe smoking is taking your time. Give yourself 20 minutes, sometimes even longer, to relax and enjoy your pipe. Having this time will allow you to prepare properly and smoke slowly, which stops the tobacco from overheating. Ultimately, the more you enjoy your setting, whether that’s a location or your company, the more you’ll enjoy pipe smoking.

A woman smoking a pipe outdoors

There we have it, some of our favourite tips to help you get the most out of our pipe! If you love pipe smoking and want to take it to the next level, discover our incredible range of tobaccos and pipes, including our Dunhill pipes range.

Alternatively, browse our blog for many more articles to help you get the most from your pipe smoking experience.

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