7 Advanced Pipe Smoking Techniques

When you are just getting started with pipe smoking, you will find that there is a whole lot of information available out there. But when it comes to smoking techniques, there is not so much. Preparation, packing, lighting, and tamping are great skills to have, but it is easy to make mistakes in pipe smoking because the activity is much more than that. These are some of what makes the hobby so interesting. While this is not a comprehensive list, here are some pipe smoking techniques to get you started.

1. Retrohaling

Also referred to as snorking, retrohaling gives the look of blowing smoke out of your nose if done properly. It is easier to smell odors than we can taste flavors, and a large part of how we understand flavors is derived from their aroma. So, when smoke is forced through the nose, this increases the impression of flavor in a unique way, but when it comes to pipe smoke, how can you go about retrohaling?

So, think about milk snorting or snorking and the muscles behind your nose, at the top of your throat and around the nasal sinuses needed to do this, and you are halfway there. The remaining half will come from trial and error. You must keep in mind that like most things that pertain to pipe smoking, you might make mistakes getting started and will need to practice until you master the technique.

One last tip, try this technique for at least 20% of the volume of smoke you imbibe or inhale. Avoid retrohaling a big puff, especially if you are not familiar with the move, as you may suffer what is known as a tongue bite of the nose.

2. Finger Tamping

While the tamping game is well and truly sorted for the seasoned smoker, attempting finger tamping as a newbie can help to improve your smoke. When you tamp your tobacco with a tamper, it can impact heavily, leading to the pipe extinguishing itself.

By tamping the tobacco with your finger, you can better understand what the tobacco needs and if you should press firmly or lightly. You may have a reduced amount to relight your pipe by then.

When doing this, you must be wary of the pipe being too hot to avoid burning your fingers. You may want to keep a wipe close by just in case you get some ash on your fingers.

3. Twine Lighting

Are you thinking whether to go with matches or lighters? Try twine lighting. For some people, lighters can become easily hot or behave unwieldy, and for others, matches can be smelly and unreliable, especially in windy settings. Use hemp twine to light your pipe instead. To do it, take a piece of twine, light it up with a lighter, match or any other lighting tool and then use it to get your pipe going. The flame applied combines with the relative combustion rate of hemp, which reduces the likelihood of damage to your pipe.

4. DGT (Delayed Gratification Technique)

Delayed gratification technique or DGT is basically a lighting and smoking practice based on the desire to bring out different flavors from a single bowl. It is quite simple in practice. All you need to do is light your pipe, get it charring, take a few puffs, note the initial flavor, put the pipe down and give some time before getting back to it.

With DGT, you just must let the warm pipe caramelize, stove or stew in its own juice for some time, which can modify aspects or all the tobacco’s flavor once you return to smoking it. However, how this methodology is applied differs from one pipe smoker to another, so you don’t have to be rigid.

5. Breath Smoking

On the web there are tons of step-by-step instructional videos and articles that expound on the breath smoking technique. You may have even stumbled on this method before, but here’s the premise. Roughly speaking, the pipe smoker learns to breathe in and out of their nose at a tempo at odds with the cadence of imbibing the pipe.

Separating the breathing and smoking act can give you great control over smoke volume and puffing pattern, boost flavor, decrease the potential for tongue bite and exhaustion of the palate, and helps with checking on overall pipe temperature. Mastering it is not tough. It only requires some practice and patience. This technique is best practiced in solitude.

6. Tobacco Stacking or Layering

Take your smoking game to another level by layering different tobaccos in your bowl. When you layer with different tobacco varieties at the bottom, middle, and top of your bowl, you can create unique flavor variations that are exciting.

Just like different tobacco brands, there are different formats or cuts of pipe tobacco you can try. Try mixing loose and flake tobacco together, for starters.

This technique not only creates a whole new flavor experience but also allows you to achieve a better burn.

While you don’t need to be an experienced smoker to give this a go, the knowledge and understanding gotten from experience in pipe smoking will help in finding the best combinations.

7. Flake Folding

With flake, you need to keep in mind that no two are the same. So, if you are planning to open a tin of flake to fold and stuff, this may not be a great idea. However, what you can do is split flake half down its length, and stuff down the pipe’s chamber and smoke easily. One of the things you need to keep in mind with flake folding then is the flake’s moisture level and thickness. But if you have chosen the right flake, with sufficient practice, this technique can be an easy flake packing practice done on the go, without the need to keep a plate or napkin by.

If you’ve been looking to learn new styles in addition to the traditional pipe smoking techniques that we all know, try these seven tricks, and you can get on the way to enjoying a great pipe smoke.


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