Believe me, you haven’t lived til you’ve had a member of the local constabulary stop you on the sidewalk and ask “whatcha smokin in that pipe, son?” only to regail him with a lengthy and detailed summary of the rare Latakias, Balkans, and Orientals that went into the blend you’re chuffing on through that freehand Erik Nording bent Dublin… only to have him walk away in disgust at not being able to bust another “bath salt” addict.
With the ever increasing cost of cigarettes, you’re going to have to fork over a whole week’s tips just to buy a pack of American Spirit, All Natural Additive Free Cigarettes before too long… it’s time to start think outside the carton of Parliaments. Cigars just give you the air of snobbery and reek of establismentism and corporatist greed. Who hasn’t seen caricatures of some fat cat business mogul with a big old stogie stuffed in his greedy gob? Enter… the briar. A trend from days past… the practice of pipe smoking goes back a millennium.
By comparison, bulk pipe tobacco tends to be much less expensive than a pack of smokes, especially if you order and deliver from a state that doesn’t have majorly draconian and oppressive public smoking regulations and high taxes on smokes. Also, it looks cool and smells better than stogies or smokes. Ya can’t smoke them as much though, or you’ll be hacking up a lung inside of a month if you puff a bowl with the frequency of your cheapo cancer sticks. But that doesn’t matter, you don’t have to actually smoke from the thing, just have it hanging from your mouth most of the time and people will notice and ask you questions about it, which you’ll love.
It never really went out of style in the first place, at least not among the black sock wearing Grampa set, which makes the pipe so much more hip. Think: tiki lounge, Esquivel, skinny ties, fedoras, and your 11.5″ Applewood Churchwarden filled with an exotic Turkish blend.
The resurgent trend is still relatively new, but if you wanna be on the cutting edge and way ahead of the learning curve with your friends, make haste, and get the to your local tobacconist, or put that Apple MacBook Air to some good use and google up a nice church warden or calabash… there are many websites that cater specifically to the pipe smoking set, and most are located in states that haven’t enacted ridiculously high tobacco taxes or restrictive public smoking ordinances.
Two good places to start are www.pipesandcigars.com located in Pennsylvania and www.smokingpipes.com over in one of the Carolinas. There’s also a quaint little tobacconist located in an old farmhouse in Homewood Alabama that hand writes their sales slips when you mail order from them. Get a little farther along, you can start scoping out the increasing trend of indie pipe makers. These are usually young and creative types that have taken up making artisan pipes for sale to the select masses. If you get the gumption, though, you could always order up your own block of briar wood and carve out your own unique bowl or better yet, hunt up and hack down your own tree with your always equipped back-axe to fashion your own line of exclusive biars. Well made bowls often sell for a couple hundred bucks. Unload a couple and you’ve made rent on your studio for a month… the possibilities are endless. Take the whole concept a little further and cultivate your own tobacco in your kitschy micro garden… stove it, cure it and puff on it yourself… remove the dollar from the equation altogether! Here’s a youtube viddy to get your started: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_n4f4ej770