Like smoking a cigar, smoking a pipe is an experience rather than just a quick fix of nicotine you can get from a bog-standard cigarette. The enjoyment of packing the pipe tobacco, getting a great light and drawing through the first couple of plumes of smoke is something that is difficult to replicate. Although some people only consider pipes simply something to some from; they play a much larger role in the history of smoking culture and they have more than their fair share of facts associated with them.
Pipe Tobacco Holds More Flavour than Cigarette Tobacco
Ready-made cigarettes are a cheap and cheerful way to get a fix of tobacco; for this reason, tobacco farmers tend to save their higher quality tobacco for pipe smoking products. With this higher quality tobacco, this allows for more subtle flavours to permeate through the smoke onto the smokers palette, which rewards the smoker with a more enjoyable smoking experience.
Pipes Date Back Thousands of Years
With scattered origins, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the first use of pipes happened in the world. Instead, there are varying degrees of use and evolution with smoking, beginning roughly in 500BC. Found in Europe, it is believed that the Scythians; a groups of nomadic warriors who used to live in Siberia used wooden stems or reeds to inhale the smoke from campfires.
Similarly, Greeks and Romans developed a pipe for the sole purpose of smoking, although this is more likely to have been used for smoking herbs or leaves. When Christopher Columbus discovered the tobacco plant in the late 1400s the manufacture of smoking pipes began.
Smoking Wasn’t Always Called Smoking
The term ‘smoking’ didn’t start to take hold until the 1600s; and it continues to be used across the world in various languages and dialects. Before this time, smoking was commonly referred to as ‘dry drunkenness’ or ‘puffing’.
Tobacco Used to be Used as Medicine
Since its discovery by Christopher Columbus, and likely before in its native country, tobacco has been used in a range of medicinal ways. In 1529 it was recorded that breathing in the odour of fresh leaves brought relief of headaches. Additionally, fresh green leaves could be used to relieve colds by rubbing them around the inside of the mouth. In fact, in Europe during the 16th century, tobacco was often prescribed for many of the common ailments.
Briar Roots are Aged First
When a Briar pipe is made, the root is allowed to grow for 30 to 60 years before it is harvested. Following this, the roots are cooked for a few hours, then dried for a number of months before they are made into pipes.
Dirty Pipes are Beneficial
Although it’s important to maintain and clean your pipe after every use, it’s worth remembering the importance of good pipe cake. Caked ash is left around the bowl after a smoke and when left, can reduce the chance of burning your pipe – along with actually enhancing the flavour of the smoke. Although Briar root is used as it is able to withstand a strong amount of heat, cake can provide a protective layer that helps the pipe last longer.