The Art of Pipe Smoking

Hitched wrote another article, the guy has been on a role.

He write about a mutual passion and hobby of ours, pipe smoking. I urge every man to head down to the local tobacconist and purchase a pipe and any assortment of tobacco and delve into a meditation one puff at a time.

Smoking the pipe is so much more than just inhaling tobacco like a cigarette, but i’ll let him explain that.

This is the start of a string of articles aimed at manly hobbies and their benefits to the mind, body and soul of a man.


A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.”
-A. A. Milne

In the years since the rise of feminism, men have slowly lost manly traditions. Things and activities once enjoyed primarily by men have been scoffed at by women. One of these activities is pipe smoking. And no I’m not talking about weed in your pipe, I’m talking the pipe your Grandpa smoked. That sweet smelling smoke he lit up while relaxing reading the newspaper, or sitting in his armchair watching tv.  The pipe was part of his daily activities.

Maybe you’ve never known a man who smoked a pipe, so you don’t know what I’m talking about. Either way it doesn’t change the fact that pipe smoking is a manly activity worth bringing back, it is an art.

Pipes were very common amongst men back in the 30’s and 40’s and up pretty much until the the cigarette took over.  Men of all kinds smoked pipes, from farmers to executives. Today, men who smoke a pipe are taking part in a manly ritual that stretches back to the dawn of time and has continued unbroken to the present.  The pipe smoker belongs to a breed apart from other men. His pleasures are contemplation and relaxation; he does not rush, he is not nervous. His joys are the casual and meditative ones, those of the fireside, the easy chair, and the good book. The pipe stands as a symbol of this type of man, easily recognized by his even frame of mind, his unhurried approach to life’s problems. It is almost always just such a man who chooses a pipe as his path to smoking enjoyment.

Pipe smoking is as much ritual as it is relaxation. There’s a certain satisfaction you get when you pack the tobacco into the bowl just right. Then, the whoosh of the match followed by that wonderful, aromatic smell. Smoke a pipe with one of your favourite drinks in the comfort of your favourite armchair, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect evening.

Pipe smoking is not a habit. Done properly it is an intellectual experience. It is an aid to contemplation, a mellower of moods, a soother of the troubled mind and a friend to the common man. It makes philosophers ruffians and levels any field where two pipe smokers come together. No matter what their differences may be, they will always be able to sit together and enjoy a bowl of tobacco in peaceful harmony.

This is not having a “smoke break” with a cigarette.  In fact pipe tobacco smoke isn’t even inhaled.  Its savoured in the palate of your mouth.  Pipes can range from cheap corncob, to exquisite briarwood pipes. What you spend is totally up to you, but the experience will always be the same.

So go ahead, grab a pipe, some tobacco, matches and a scotch, and enjoy a manly tradition like no other.


14 responses to “The Art of Pipe Smoking

  • Spacetraveller

    Oh Lost,
    The memories!

    One of my grandfathers smoked a pipe. Used to love to smell him…

    But, you say teh smoke is not inhaled…is this true?
    Not a health risk like cigarette smoking? You sure?

    I am all for men doing manly things…like fishing or hunting or whatever they need.

    Hey, for one it gets you guys out of our hair for a bit 😉

  • Hitched

    Space traveller >
    No most pipe tobacco smokers do no inhale the smoke. Same with cigar smokers generally. While any smoke can cause health risks the tobacco used in pipes has far less chemicals than cigarette tobacco and being that it isn’t inhaled directly into the lungs, less damage to them as well.

  • Lost

    Hitch is right ST

    the threat of mouth cancer is still there, though the threat of lung cancer is drastically reduced due to the fact that while smoking tobacco pipe you are not really supposed to inhale it like a cigarette.

    It’s more to taste the smoke and smell the aromas, its about the experience and not the destination.

    also the tobacco used is unlaced and is pure tobacco sometimes containing other leaves and dried fruit pieces to increase the taste and smell.

    But then again, a person who hasn’t smoked a day in his life can die from lung cancer anyways… so live and hope for the best really

  • Spacetraveller

    Thanks guys 🙂

    So why did this art get lost anyway?
    It would be so cool if my granddaughter one day would be able to smell her grandfather the way I used to smell mine 🙂

    • Lost

      Here’s my theory on why its a lost art.
      – It’s time consuming
      – It’s not easy
      – a bowl lasts upwards of 40 minutes not 7-10 like a cigarette
      – smoking in comfort is now banned everywhere (but this came years later)

      People are in a rush all the time and all unwilling to spend 5 minutes to pack a pipe, also people have this notion that whatever they start that need to finish it as fast as they can, where as a pipe is meant to smoke for 5-10 minutes, you set it down let it go out, come back to it when you want another smoke and relight it, so a bowl can last for 2-4 smokes if you are willing to let it sit unfinished

      If your grand daughter was my grand daughter she’d know the smell of pipesmoke…… just be a pipe smoking advocate

  • Spacetraveller

    “If your grand daughter was my grand daughter she’d know the smell of pipesmoke…… just be a pipe smoking advocate”

    Hehe, you smooth operator, you!

    But seriously, now that my eyes have been opened about pipe smoking, I shall ‘weave it in’ into conversations with my male entourage…it is indeed such a manly thing for a man to do.
    It WOULD be great to see more men doing it. If as you say, it is not dangerous for their health.

  • BeijaFlor

    I took up the pipe in the early 1970s, for a few years. I started smoking with cherry-blend tobacco, but tried an English blend (no flavors, no perfumes, but heady Turkish tobacco) and I found it was a much nicer, more satisfying smoke. However, the aroma was not nearly so enjoyable to those around me, even the cigarette smokers in the office! (This was the 1970s, remember, and smoking had not yet been banished to the back steps of the building.) I stopped smoking when I started going to a gym, and found that a smoke in the afternoon cut down my weight-lifting performance to a surprising degree in the evening.

    Pipe smoke (and cigar smoke as well) is quite alkaline – pH 8.5 or so – and it’s irritating to the lungs; but you don’t have to inhale it to enjoy the aroma and taste and the smoking ritual. (This does not mean it’s without risk; mouth cancers are easier to reach, but more disfiguring and no less likely to metastasize.) Cigarette smoke is more acid (pH 5.3 or so) and so it’s more comfortable to inhale – it’s also much milder, and while I was smoking a pipe I found cigarettes quite unsatisfying.

    Smoking a pipe, or a good cigar, is a ritual and almost a social art. The routine of gently packing the pipe, getting it to draw well, keeping it going without getting the pipe too hot, the occasional tamping and relighting, all the way to tapping the spent ash out of the bowl, is suited to quiet and contemplative thought. Cigarette smoking, on the other hand, is merely a habit.

    • Lost

      It’s great to hear from an actual old school pipe smoker.
      You have lots of knowledge on the subject.

      You are right, it is a nice little ritual. i don’t even smoke once a week, therefore my risk must be lower than cigarette smoker

    • BeijaFlor

      I believe that’s true!

      Consider the ritual of enjoying a nice smoke, as a pipe-smoker. Do you have several pipes? (I did, ranging from my first straight-stem Dublin, by way of an unfinished “Author” from Georgetown Tobacco and a ceramic “bent” pipe of the 1970s, to a deep-bowled “Oom Paul” that rested comfortably on my chin.) Which one has stood in your pipe-stand the longest since your last smoke? Fine, that one is ready for the next “go”.

      Now – what do you want to smoke in it? Something perfumed and flavored, like a Borkum Riff … or something mild and natural, maybe with plenty of Burley tobacco … or how about something with lots of the “plum-pudding” taste of Turkish latakia, or the spice of Louisiana perique? There were a couple of my pipes that I kept strictly free of perfumed tobacco. Cherry-scented (or chocolate!) tobacco smells nice, but it burns hot and tastes nothing at all like it smells.

      Damn. In my current situation – retired, no office, no troublesome cube-mates, and a single-handed yacht – I am in a situation that would be EXTREMELY pipe-smoke-friendly. And I still have a couple of my old briars. Maybe …

      • Lost

        You’re retired and you haven’t picked up the pipe again, i’m a little disappointed!

        I have a few pipes, 2 of which are old pipes i have bought in my childhood, i’ll never smoke with these, my next pipe came in the cheap and disposable kind. The last pipe i’ve bought is a Lorenzetti straight stem, this pipe gets extremely hot, or maybe i’m just doing it wrong.
        i’ve been looking for my next pipe already and i think i will purchase one next time i am home, a warden type pipe with a very long stem.

        I find mostly all the pipes offered today have too bag a bowl, it would be nice to just get a medium size bowl, would also keep the weight down

        i need to experiment a bit more with tobacco, keep a journal maybe of the different flavours/types

  • Spacetraveller

    It just clicked…AA Milne is the guy who wrote ‘Winnie the Pooh’!
    Um…is it cool to be associated with a guy who wrote of all things ‘Winnie the Pooh’?
    Would you smoke a pipe with a guy who wrote about a teddy bear?

    Serious question 😀

    • Lost

      It’s cool because Winnie was a Canadian pet Bear owned by a Canadian Soldier named after the city of Winnipeg. The Soldier died in the war and the bear lived the rest of his life in an English zoo.

      But how did AA Milne just click? It’s all kind of from left field.

    • BeijaFlor

      I would enjoy that smoke, most definitely.

      Somewhere in this book-pile of a house is my old copy of The Tao Of Pooh

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