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Little Flavor In Estate Briars...

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by ocipio, Mar 28, 2010.

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  1. ocipio

    ocipio Member

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    Smoking only cobs, I finally picked up 2 briars (I think) from an antique store. They are an Englander's Natural and a Thorneycraft BBB own make. I paid $7. I reamed them out, then gave them a 24 hour salt treatment with some 90% alcohol. Hardly any brownish residue came off, so I think it is pretty clean. Those pipes had so much cake that I couldn't fit the tamp 1/4th down.

    I know it takes about 3 or 4 pipe fulls on a cob to get rid of the woodsy flavor, but with these two briars, even after 20 smokes, I don't get much flavor at all. Do cobs always produce more flavor? I am not sure what I am doing wrong with the briars if not.

    These briars are also straight stems. They produce so much moisture that if i take the stem off (yea, i know I am not supposed to) and blow, tons of drops come out. I can do that every 2 or 3 minutes. I _never_ have moisture issues with a cob.

    I'd like to purchase a brand new briar, but am very hesitant to spend the money if it produces the same results...

    Argh, I am just frustrated..
     
  2. Glenn

    Glenn Active Member

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    I smoke both and my results are not the same as your's. My briars taste fine. Now, when new mine smoked hotter and wetter than they do once a decent amount of cake forms. Then they burn cooler and dryer.

    Keep in mind, there are pipes and there are good smoking pipes. Just because they are briar doesn't mean they are a good smoker.
     
  3. Shootinok

    Shootinok Member

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    I gotta agree with Ocipio -
    I started with cobs and an old estate that I cleaned up. The cobs smoked much better, cooler and more flavorful. Then I bought a basket briar and still liked the cobs better. Just recently bought a good Peterson, and now really don't like that basket briar at all.

    The estate is building some cake now and it actually smells good when cooled down. When I got it, it smelled awful!
    Cobs are great, but a good briar is really nice.
     
  4. ocipio

    ocipio Member

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    Thanks for the response.

    So with your new Peterson, how many smokes before it started tasting and smoking as good as a cob? Do you prefer the Peterson to cobs now?
     
  5. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    A briar will take anywhere from none to maybe 20 smokes (new in box) to where it will be performing pretty well.

    My guess on this, to be honest, is that you are relying on corn cobs to absorb a ton of moisture when you smoke, and that you are smoking too fast and/or your tobacco is too wet. I generate three drops of water in a whole pipeful, not every minute. So dry your tobacco out, smoke it real slow, and see what happens?

    Pipe smoke tastes VASTLY different if you are just sipping at it then if you have a real blaze in the bowl. I suspect that you are trying for too much - seek for less, and find more.
     
  6. Rugbysh9

    Rugbysh9 Active Member

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    That was amazingly zen like :( , but good advice none the less
     
  7. Shootinok

    Shootinok Member

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    I'm not sure it does taste "as good as the cobs" I have a couple of the better MM cobs ( a diplomat and a great dane) and they smoke nicer than the MM legend; but then it 's a $4 pipe.
    My new Peterson is a nice smoker right from the first bowl. It seams to pass the smoke effortlessly through the stem, sips nicely and does not gurgle. The cheap briar I bought online almost always gurgles. The Peterson is just barely starting to cake, yet seams to smoke nice and cool.
    I'm sure some of my pleasure with the Peterson is due to the fact that it's a nice pipe ascetically, and partly because I'm getting more experienced, smoking slower etc. Same for the Old no name estate I have - it has sentimental value, and I dedicated it to only one blend. Otherwise I stick to virginia tobaccos. Try slowing down, maybe let you tobacco dry a little before each bowl, and stick a pipe cleaner in the stem when it starts to feel wet (don't worry, they like that).

    The Cobs are pretty hard to beat, but a nice briar is pleasing in more ways than one. Be careful though...PAD is contagious :lol:
     
  8. Strongirish

    Strongirish Member

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    It sounds like you are a wet smoker and the cobs are more absorbant. I experience very little moisture in anything I smoke, but it took me awhile to develope technique. What kind of tobacco do you smoke?
     
  9. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    :lol:
     
  10. 51flgoose

    51flgoose Member

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    Can't say for sure, but my guess is that the pipes you purchased were not exactly top line models to begin with. I have had great experiences with estate pipes - especially after the S&A treatment. I am currently puffing on a James Upshall that I reamed yesterday and S&A'd overnight.... Wonderful flavor ... and a good draw.

    For myself - if I can't identify the maker, I stay away from antique shop pipes - they are usually far more work than they are worth. I did find a Dunhill Cumberland at one and snatched it up immediately... great smoker.

    (Your experience may vary)...

    :lol:
     
  11. piper965

    piper965 Member

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    Cobs are great starting out because you can't really smoke them wrong. You can puff one as fast as you want and not worry about moisture coming through the stem. I think when you start out with a cob though it kinda cheats you a little bit. Eventually you have to re-learn how to smoke a pipe when you move to a briar, because it does take a good slow technique. Look around the forums and start looking at tips for smoking a briar. I def don't have a thing against cobs though! Cobs rule!

    BTW cobs are great if you smoke while doing yard work, because you don't have to worry about them!
     
  12. ocipio

    ocipio Member

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    alright, i took one of my briars and decided to smoke in the basement :scratchchin:

    That made all the difference. Fine white ash all the way to the bottom.. no wetness, full flavor... the the bowl only slightly warmed...

    So i guess smoking outside with the wind (bowl always got hot, lots of moisture, hardly any flavor) is a little above my experience level now... :)
     
  13. Marc

    Marc Active Member

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    Have you considered using a wind cap on your pipe? Or a filtered pipe to help with moisture control and containment?
     
  14. Deckard

    Deckard Active Member

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    I don't have wind caps for my pipes, I use my hand instead. Experiment with gripping the pipe differently until you find one that's comfortable and shields the bowl from the wind.

    If you're getting too much moisture slow down (as has been said) and give the pipe a flick with your wrist. It clears any liquid instantly, although its best used outdoors.
     
  15. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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    So welcome to briar world. Why should you be immune? :wub:

    Briar pipes can be plenty wet until cake develops enough to moderate the moisture; I am reminded of this each time I ream a pipe to bedrock (or buy a new one). Cake happens after a while in new pipes but it doesn't ever happen fast enough for most of us. Smoke slower and smoke tobacco less moist than what you're used to. The pipe will assume a better character over 30-50 smokes. Smoking less than full bowls also helps keep the heel drier as you break the pipe in. Less tobacco means less chance for swampiness in the bowls bottom.
     
  16. jamie7

    jamie7 Member

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    As for getting less taste from a briar it can be partly the pipe's decision. For example I have an old Dr Charles straight billiard that I got cheap and restored. I "decided" that it would be designated to aromatics. Never could get it to bring out their full flavour though. One day I had some english I wanted to smoke and that old pipe was handy so I grabed it and used it. Man! It sings with english blends - and that's what it is dedicated to now.
    Maybe I'm nuts, but maybe certain pipes are just meant to smoke certain tobaccos. Perhaps those estates have more than one kind of ghost. Find it's intended match and don't fight it.
     
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