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Ok, My First Smoke....

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by ChrisB, Mar 28, 2013.

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  1. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Mar 27, 2013
    Pipe: Velani Collection E Vulcanite Apple (what does this mean?)
    Tobacco: Mac Baren Black Ambrosia

    Thoughts: I think I packed it a bit loose, but tamped it down hard to rectify as I smoked. The best part of the smoke, in a way, was the smell of the tobacco in the tin...wow! I'd love to have a cake with this flavor. The room fragrance was amazing, but I'm not so sure I picked up anything amazing on the palate/tongue. Decent smoke, but I suspect I will have bigger fish to fry than this sort of smoke.

    1. Is this the right forum?
    2. As I got to the end, tiny bits of hot ash were pulled into my mouth. What gives? is this from tamping themashes a few times?
    3. It went out 6 or 7 times over 45 minutes. Is this normal?
    4. At the end it went out after after almost each puff. What gives?
    5. is this bad for my first time?

    Lucky Duck and fishnbanjo like this.
  2. Coda

    Coda Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2012
    You're still alive, so it couldnt have been that bad. Questions 2, 3 and 4 should be resolved with more practice loading the pipe. Dont worry about relights though...
  3. Spillproof

    Spillproof Mostly Harmless Moderator

    Apr 5, 2012
    Congratulations, you're on your way.
    You have a Velani Collection pipe with a Vulcanite stem and it's a shape called an "Apple."
    E probably indicates the finish of the pipe but I'm guessing there.

    1. Sure, this or the Ask an Old Fart forum seem right to me. But what do I know?
    2. Is it a brand-new pipe? New pipes take some dirtying up before they sing.
    3. Totally normal. Relights are a part of the game.
    4. Sounds like it got wet on you. Many aromatic blends get wet when puffed hot.
    5. You did great. You didn't swallow your pipe or burn your nose so you're ahead of some of the other members here.
    ShawnP, Coastal Bend, dBear and 5 others like this.
  4. mongo

    mongo Active Member

    Dec 24, 2012
    Welcome Chris... from one newby to another. I'm learning here that you pretty much gotta practice practice practice. I was so excited the first time I smoked a bowl to ash without a relight that I posted up here that I did so. Looking back.... maybe kinda silly to do so, but hey... it was a big moment. You will have moments like these too. I'm still in the search for the perfect tobacco, likely will have a stable of several. Have a mild form of PAD.... ( you will learn the acronyms soon enough), can never have enough pipes I guess. Have fun in your journey.
    dBear, fishnbanjo and Mark Dawson like this.
  5. Thuber88

    Thuber88 Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    Yes, on relights, when you find the right tobacco, plan on extra lighters, not just lights sometimes.:rolleyes:
    But it is all technique, the pack can vary from one tobacco to another, the puff is learned.
    You did well, and you kept going, good job!:th1:
    I try not to suck in hot coals however:)
    fishnbanjo and Mark Dawson like this.
  6. Brit abroad

    Brit abroad Active Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Carry on!
    dBear, fishnbanjo and Mark Dawson like this.
  7. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    1. Yes
    2. Probably the newness of the pipe. Could also be the tobacco. Some tobacco is just ashy like that. I'm a big MacB fan, but I'm not familiar with Black Ambrosia. I don't much care for aros, so it's not a blend I would try.
    3. and 4. Relights are normal, and it takes time to develop a smoking cadence that works for you. Generally, pipe tobaccos (especially MacB blends) really sing when "sipped" (i.e. smoked very slowly). It takes some time to get your own filling, lighting, and puffing style down, but once you do you're gonna love it.
    5. Not bad at all for your first time. Keep at it.
  8. MDaws79

    MDaws79 Member

    Jan 10, 2013
    Sounds like you did better than me my first pipe. I still have more imperfect smokes than perfect ones, but none were unenjoyable. Tastes vary of course, but my recommendation for a new pipe smoker would be try some non-aro's. Peter stokkebye's Cube Cut, Luxury Navy Flake and Luxury twist flake come to mind. To me, its hard to beat the flavor of a good tobacco as opposed to an aro.
    dBear and fishnbanjo like this.
  9. Mount Mandolin

    Mount Mandolin Active Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    I'd say you did well for your first try, and at the risk of infuriating our resident Mac Baren fans, I would suggest trying something a little more even-tempered to learn on. I know that you're a cigar smoker from your thread in that section, and I think you ought to try some non-aromatic tobaccos first, because they have more of a natural tobacco taste, and they are also easier to smoke without moisture or tongue bite issues.

    Mark Dawson's suggestions are good, especially Luxury Navy Flake and Luxury Twist Flake, but you'll need a quick course on flake tobacco, which is no big deal. Even easier would be to pick up some good ribbon cut tobacco, because ribbon burns very easily and is generally very forgiving when you are learning the technique. These things may or may not help you, but my opinion is that they would.

    All of this is just one dude's opinion, though. My "right way of doing things" may be very different from the next guy's, and these forums can be a bit confusing for that reason. Still, experiment, practice, keep at it. The rewards really are worth the learning curve.
    dBear, fishnbanjo and Mark Dawson like this.
  10. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

    Aug 23, 2011
    Trial and error. Depending on the pipe, the blend smoked, one can still find challenges with smoking. Even those of us a couple of years down the road.

    Do some research and a lot of reading; experiment until you find your footing. Smoking too fast/hot was for me an obstacle I had to overcome to find pleasure and enjoyment with the pipe. I think the first thing I managed to have success with was finding a method of filling or packing my pipe properly. In fact, regardless of where you are on your journey with pipe smoking, there are some basics everyone should focus on initially.

    And mind you this is merely my thoughts, your individual experience may prove otherwise. But it reads as if you're somewhat feeling your way throughout the entire process starting to end with the hopes of finding success. As I'm sure most of us have in our beginnings.

    As far as blends are concerned, you're going to be surprised how they differ from tin note to actual taste when smoking. This is one of my first revelations in pipe smoking. Not to say the scents and smells won't be there in the smoke, but not as you may think they would be per se. So recommending a blend to someone can be tricky. I may absolutely love a certain blend whereas you may like absolutely nothing about it whatsoever. This is where you'll need to research and experiment to gain insight on what may or may not strike your fancy. As I recall, there wasn't as much information being produced in regard to search results when I started in 2004. I honestly selected my first blend (an over the counter, or grocery store blend) simply because of the packaging. Amphora Full Aroma. It sounded good? So at least you have a multitude of sources of information available to you. This forum being an excellent source thereof. It is up to you now to seek the knowledge, as they say.

    Learning how to pack your pipe is essential. Really it is. It is the most basic and elementary of the initial stages of the process. I recall researching many methods trying every one I'd read about. I use the gravity method now. I just fill, tamp lightly with my finger, thumb, or fancy tamper/tool if I'm feeling so inclined, and repeat usually 3-4 times until its packed just below the rim and the tobacco has a spring like feel when touched or compressed.

    Lighting or charring your tobacco is for me a 3-4 stage process as well. I touch the flame to the tobacco in a circular pattern watching it stand up with each pass of the flame. I'll usually tamp lightly and repeat the process. This may occur several times before my tobacco is ready to smoke without attention or relighting.

    At this point you'll need to discover your individual smoking cadence. In essence the manner in which you smoke. Most any pipe smoker will tell you that the cooler you can smoke your tobacco, the most flavor and pleasure you will derive from it. This is where you'll invest a lot of time and experimentation in my opinion as it is perhaps the most challenging part of pipe smoking. Smoking to slow or inattentive will result in relights. Smoking too fast will result in the tobacco becoming too hot losing it's flavor quality or tasting sour, or hay-like. These are indications you may be smoking too fast. Is the bowl of your pipe hot to the touch? If so you're going too hard/fast. I actually learned a proper cadence smoking a clay. When you can smoke a clay pipe and hold the bowl, you've mastered your smoking cadence in my opinion...

    Moisture in the bottom? Are you exhaling back into the stem? I had this problem initially. My bowl would end up a soppy mess near the bottom because I was exhaling into the stem which seeped moisture and saliva into the stem and bowl and being absorbed by my tobacco.

    Mind you, these are just things I personally found out in my particular journey and experience. It's important that you determine what works best for you ultimately. Take advantage of everyone's input, but find what works specifically for you and your experience. Like Mandolin said, the pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow. The frustrations in learning the fundamentals are worth the rewards.
  11. derrickyoung

    derrickyoung Member

    Jul 18, 2011
    I would second/third or whatever we are at for a easier smoking tobacco but would add to stick with the same blend for awhile. As you see from others advice various blends behave different. It becomes very hard to gauge what is working and what is not working for you when your cycling through 30 blends of tobacco in 15 different pipes. This was a lesson I learned the hard way
    Mark Dawson and fishnbanjo like this.
  12. fishnbanjo

    fishnbanjo Active Member

    Feb 27, 2013
    Welcome to the madness, you've been given some great advice, take your time and pay attention to how you pack the pipe. In the old pre-PC days the advice was to place the first 1/3 of tobacco in with the hands of a child, the next 1/3 with the hands of a woman and the final 1/3 with the hands of a man. Think about what that means since it would be unkind to make this a statement as it sits today since we have many woman smokers among the ranks and I would be mortified giving out that as an answer but light, medium and firm in your packing and be judicious in keeping the method the same until you find that you are no longer thinking about it. Enjoy many smokes ahead.
  13. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2012
    I like some of the Mac Baren blends, but my $.02...I'd get something basic/easy like Carter Hall or Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic to learn on. Those two are push the red 'Easy' button easy.
    Ozark Nick and Mark Dawson like this.
  14. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

    Jul 18, 2012
    Sounds like most of the ground has been covered, but that doesn't stop a PSF member from chipping in anyway. I would agree that relights are normal. However, regarding question #4, when it comes to that point I'd say it is time to stop. Also, knowing when to stop could prevent the question #2 problem. After all, no one wants to suck hot ash. :byg:

    Happy smoking. Sounds like you're off to a fine start.
    derrickyoung likes this.
  15. ChrisB

    ChrisB Active Member

    Mar 27, 2013
    Thank you all so much. What a generous community.
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