Pipes are an ancient implement for smoking tobacco, and have been clinically proven to help you write novels and solve mysteries.

Probably the most iconic pipe smoker of them all, Sherlock Holmes, here portrayed by the imimitable Jeremy Brett.

Smoking a pipe can also help you save Middle Earth, if you're inclined toward that sort of thing.

Pipes can also help you terrify the general public via radio waves, even if they can't actually see you.

Just The Facts

  1. Pipes were most likely invented thousands of years ago as a way to move fire from one place to another. It wasn't always easy to get a fire going, much less transport it.
  2. Pipe tobacco comes in a metric shit-ton of different styles, with nicotine levels varying widely depending on the blend.
  3. Smoking a pipe requires an investment in time and maintenance, explaining its waning popularity among the video game generation. Yeah, I'm talking about you.

Why You Should Smoke A Pipe

As mentioned above, smoking a pipe is a time-proven method of increasing your potential for creativity. Many pipe smokers use the practice to enhance relaxation, similarly to cigars. Unfortunately, the practice has fallen so far out of the mainstream that it probably won't do anything to endear you to the opposite sex, so you'd better have something else going for you like good looks or piles of sexy money. Smoking a pipe won't improve your looks, but might help you think of ways to increase your income.

Types of Pipe Tobacco

Pipe tobacco is generally divided into two categories: Aromatic and Non-Aromatic.

Aromatic tobaccos use flavored casings in the blend, which impart a distinct aroma. The most popular aromatic by far is Vanilla Cavendish. If you ever wandered by a pipe smoker and thought, "Wow, that smells frigging amazing," chances are it was Vanilla Cavendish. Cherry, coffee, and chocolate are also popular. While aromatics are less likely to anger humorless bystanders who fret over the dangers of second hand smoke, they also have a tendency to burn greasy and are generally less pleasant to the smoker's palate. Most smokers agree that aromatics are more likely to give them "tongue bite," a painful burning sensation on the tongue.

Non-Aromatics are typically higher in nicotine content than aromatics, and while exhibiting less of a heady, pleasant aroma, are less harsh on the smoker's palate and tend to burn more cleanly. Non-aromatics are blends of tobacco, just the same, but use ingredients that have less additives. Latakia, turkish tobacco smoked over peat fires, and Perique, a tobacco unique to Louisiana, are popular ingredients for blending, and are usually cut with less intense tobaccos such as burleys, Virginias, and cavendish.

Common Types of Pipe Material


Briarwood makes an excellent material for carving pipes, as it has a beautiful grain and is highly resistant to fire and heat.


Meerschaum, German for "sea foam," is a mineral collected from alluvial deposits. It can be carved more intricately than wood, and turns from white to an amber color over time.


Clay pipes are the least expensive type, but are fragile and should be handled carefully. Clay disspates heat more quickly than other materials, and when combined with a long stem can result in a cooler smoke.