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Pipe Smoking Facts

Just like cigars, pipe smoking is an experience to enjoy rather than for a quick fix of nicotine. The pleasure of packing tobacco, getting a great light and drawing the first few plumes of smoke is a skill that is hard to replicate. Although pipes are just a tool to smoke from, they play a much larger part in the history of smoking than you know and have their fair share of interesting facts.

Pipes date back thousands of years!

It's hard to pinpoint the first use of pipes in the world, from what we understand there are varying degrees of use and evolution with smoking beginning around 500BC. Found in Europe, a group of nomadic warriors that lived in Siberia used wooden stems to inhale smoke from campfires.

It is also known that Greeks and Romans developed a pipe for the purpose of smoking, although these pipes are more likely have been used for herbs or leaves. In the late 1400s Christopher Columbus discovered tobacco and not long after the manufacture of smoking pipes began.

Pipe tobacco holds more flavour than cigarettes.

Cigarettes are a cheap and cheerful way to get a fix of tobacco and so the tobacco farmers would save their higher quality tobacco for pipe smoking products. Due to the superior quality it allows for more subtle flavours to seep through the smoke onto your palette which gives you a more enjoyable experience.

Tobacco used to be used as medicine

Since its discovery by Columbus (and probably beforehand) tobacco has been used in a range of medicinal ways. In 1529 it was believed that breathing in the odour of fresh leaves relieved headaches. Additionally, fresh green leaves could be used to relieve colds by rubbing them around the inside of the mouth. During the 16th century tobacco was one of the most prescribed items for common ailments and even in the 19th century it was used in a medicinal fashion but in a more measured way as they were becoming aware of the potential harmfulness.

Briar roots are aged first

When a briar pipe is made, the root is allowed to grow for 30 to 60 years before being harvested! Following this the roots are cooked for a couple of hours and then dried for a few months before being used for pipes. To read more on briar wood click here

Dirty pipes are beneficial to the smoker

Although you need to clean your pipe after you’ve finished using it, its good to remember the importance of a good pipe cake. This is caked ash left around the bowl after a smoke and when left, can reduce the chance of burning the pipe whilst creating some unique flavours depending on the tobacco used. Briar root may be able to withstand a strong amount of heat but the cake can provide an extra protective layer that helps the pipe last longer.

Written by Oliver Partington