When it comes to high quality tobacco pipes and handcrafted collectibles, there are a whole range of styles and types from which to choose. If you’re new to collecting rare smoking pipes or just an enthusiast expanding your knowledge of the pipe scene, here’s a quick run-down of the main varieties.
If you’re new to the pipe game, these inexpensive varieties are a perfect place to start your journey. They’re highly effective and require no break in period. Corn cob pipes are primed and ready to be used as soon as you pick one up.
You don’t have to worry about using an unpleasant tobacco and ruining them either, which makes them great for tobacco sampling purposes. Many people keep corn cob pipes on hand during their travels for this reason. Most are manufactured right here in the USA.
Brylon pipes were first developed in the 1960s, originally as a cheaper alternative to briar pipes. Brylon is made up of a nylon and wood composite and they’re tough as nails; they can last a lifetime—a real novelty.
Brylon pipes also sport a resin material resembling sawdust which is, while easy to heat up, practically immune to scratches, dents, and other damages common with tobacco pipes made from less durable material.
The most popular pipe made today, the briar pipe, is good for two primary reasons: it’s fire-resistant properties and the dry, cool smoke it produces thanks to its porous nature. Briar is harvested in the Mediterranean from the roots small shrubs called the Erica Arborea. Brylon may be the sturdiest material in the pipe world, but no type is quite as versatile as briar.
Another advantage is its burl, which absorbs the moisture just like the tree itself does in the natural setting. When you light a pipe, you create moisture. Most artisan pipe makers prefer plateau briar burls (taken from the out part of the burl) because of their superior graining to ebauchon (taken mostly from the center).
You may wonder why Meerschaum pipes are regarded as the best tasting out there. In its natural state in which it’s harvested in Turkey, Meerschaum is extremely pliable, which allows for intricate, creative designs and expert craftsmanship before curing, hardening, and polishing.
These pipes aren’t just eye-catching, they’re also highly functional and long-lasting. The porous material in these pipes acts as a natural filter by absorbing tars and moisture. In fact, you’ll see it transition from stark white to light brown as it garners flavors from the smoke, improving its taste over time.
A good rule of pipe purchasing is to buy the absolute best you can afford. Just remember that “best” doesn’t equal “most expensive.” Pipes are neither cheap nor expensive; they’re good smokers or bad smokers. Carefully consider everything—the aesthetics, the functionality—before making your decision. You want to choose the pipe that’s right for you.
Once you settle on a pipe…have fun, relax, sit back, and puff.