Originally Posted by edinatlanta
What are you looking for advice-wise?My first piece is get a $30-40 pipe. The quality of construction will be decent. Anything past $100 or so doesn't really have any better engineering (with a few exceptions) just better design, wood etc so you won't be getting a better smoke, just a prettier one. Design doesn't have an impact on the smoke, just get what you like.
I'd say stay away from aromatics as they aren't particularly good smokes (to me at least) and you'll likely move away from them if you take this hobby seriously. You only get that aroma, not the flavor. Also, you probably won't like strong latakia flavors right away.
Other than that, go to a B&M, smell some blends, pick up what you like.
When you do light up, pack the bowl in stages. Fill it up, tamp it down. Fill it up tamp it down, repeat until just a bit below the top. Should be like sucking a drink through a straw, more or less if you've packed it right. Too tight--dig out the tobacco and start again. Too loose, tamp it down put more tobacco in.
To light, suck in while the flame is above, move in a circle formation until everything is charred. Tamp it down, wait a minute, light it up in earnest.
That's really all there is to it.
I'd agree with this too, with the exceptions in my mind being several Japanese pipe-makers, namely Tokutomi, Tsuge, and Satou. I had the pleasure of smoking some of the pipes Tokutomi-san makes at the CPCC (http://www.chicagopipeshow.com/index.php
) and they are amazing. Some, like Tsuge produce large batches of pipes, while guys like Tokutomi and Satou generally have smaller runs (about 40 or 50 pipes a year in the $500 to $2000 range, though I've seen price tags of $15,000 at the show). If I had some frivolous coin to drop, I'd get a pipe made by one of them.
That said, my Peterson 307 does the job for me just fine. I've also got a wonderful meerschaum pipe given to me by a friend in Turkey that has developed a lovely patina over the years from smoking it. It's not a great smoking pipe (most meerschaums aren't, heck even Petersons suffer from some poor engineering), but man I love looking at it. It's a viking head with one of the horns unintentionally chipped (to simulate battle damage, I tell myself after dropping it):
I love the patina on the tips of the horns and on the end of his nose.
I've also got a couple of other pipes made by various low-end Danish makers, but I do like the p-lip on the Peterson for a cooler smoke.
If anybody wants to make the trip to the convention in Chicago this year, let me know and we'll try for an SF meet-up. Lord knows the convention could do with some improvements in the sartorial department (think old guys with pony tails and young guys looking like they just came from RennFest).