“I don’t really care for this.”
How many times have you thought or uttered these words after trying a new tobacco? We pipe-smokers may not be experts on much, but one thing we feel a lot of confidence about concerns those tobaccos we like versus those we don’t. When a tobacco strikes the palate as unduly bitter, harsh, or lacking flavor altogether, that sense of confidence is turbo-charged. If you’re like me, it may never have occurred to you that there may be room for doubt.
Yes, that’s what I’m writing here. You may be mistaken about what you like or dislike.
“How can that be? That’s rubbish!” you’re probably thinking. I wouldn’t blame you a bit for that reaction. After all, we do know what we like, don’t we? Stick with me here. Keep reading.
When I travel to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on business I usually stay with my friend Scott Stultz at his Marietta home in the apartment in his studio there.
After dinner, Scott and I always retire upstairs to the studio for conversation and to smoke our pipes. We almost always choose to smoke the same tobacco, sometimes popping a tin of tobacco previously unknown to one or both of us.
Our ritual almost always begins with “What pipe are you smoking?” We’ll swap them, look them over, give them back, light up then commence our discussion.
Sometimes, when one or the other of us are particularly excited about the tobacco’s flavor, we’ll swap pipes to taste the tobacco in each other’s pipe after wiping the bit off. We both know that this behavior is almost unheard of, smoking somebody else’s pipe, but it has led to some otherwise inaccessible revelations.