the past

When I was a child one of my grandfather-figures1 smoked a pipe and I thought it was the best thing ever. Smelled great, all that tinkering and esoteric knowledge. My sister and I used to beg him fire up the pipe.

A bunch of us in the Army played with cob pipes from the PX but it didn’t stick. After the army I went to college and picked up a Sasieni2 from a local tobacconist and tried on and off.


In the early 90s a gentleman turned me on to cigars, and I smoked Hondurans until the Great Cigar Boom put them out of reach for me.


I really liked DIY vaping (rolling one’s own juice and winding coils), but my travels across different altitudes caused constant leakage.

It’s a shame Big Tobacco was able to throw enough money around that vaping ended up being “deemed” to be tobacco-related by the FDA. Seriously, fsck that noise.

the present

When I went fulltime in the campervan in 2018 I decided to try again. I didn’t/don’t have a lot of extra funds so my rotation is based on functional-but-not-pretty estate pipes. Pipes can be much less spendy than cigars.

I tend to smoke 2-3 bowls a week, and typically before bedtime. Makes a nice accompaniment to reading or watching movies. I don’t go to bars much, but when I do I try to find a local beer bar or brewpub with an outdoor smoking area.


I like simple functionality and clean lines. I generally prefer straight pipes as they are easier for me to clean. I prefer short, lightweight pipes as they are easier to clench.3 I prefer relatively short smokes instead of monster bowls.

I dislike huge pipes, metal bands, and have no interest in meershaum, morta, or clay. I don’t like long-shanked Canadians for some reason.

I don’t like the looks of military-style pipes but I do like the functionality.

I am not great at identifying shapes, but will try.

  • estate pipes4 - most of these were $20 or less.
    • Chacom semi-bent billiard
    • Dr. Grabow Duke - light and slender with a very small bowl
    • Dr. Grabow Lark - light and slender bulldog - cracked stem :-(
    • Ehrlich bent (pot?)
    • Falcon w/three bowls
    • Kaywoodie Signet apple,
    • Peterson’s sports nosewarmer bulldog
    • Medico Crest canadian
    • Old England, a Sasieni second. Odd proportions; shank seems overly delicate to me.
    • Savinelli (second - shield but no name embossed) large billiard. Rather heavy.
    • Savinelli (second - shield but no name embossed) large bent billiard, like above. Rather heavy.
    • Sherwood “Supreme” bulldog
    • Weskit nosewarmer billiard (?). Absolutely tiny.
    • Williard - tiny billiard(?) of Vietnam PX fame
  • some new budget-friendly pipes
    • Missouri Meerschaum cobs and hardwoods
    • eastern European fruitwood, like the Mr. Brog no. 52 Scoot and no. 21 Old Army.
    • a Morgan “Bones” short poker


These are ratings according to me. For example, I can tell that Plum Pudding is exceptionally well-made, but it is not to my taste.

I like latakia smokiness, cedary/rosiny/ambery/incensey notes, leather/saddle and dark fruit like prune. I like an honest grand-dad codgery blend sometimes.

I dislike cloying, wet aromatics. I don’t like floral, perfumey, or boozy notes.


Blends with latakia, and especially with incensey orientals.

Rating Blend Aroma notes Flavor notes  
A++ Cornell and Diehl Star of the East rich and smokey lots of incensey orientals  
A++ H&H Marquee Magnum Opus   leather, charred meat, some tanka? lat, piquant meat like tangy BBQ
A+ Stokkebye Balkan Supreme Big lat and amber/rosin yes, please  
A+ Stokkebye 306 English Oriental Supreme lat smoke, amber, and maybe a bit of leather. Delightful.  
A+ H&H Anniversary Kake lat bomb!    
A+ Sutliffe English Oriental Supreme warm, resiny, amber heavy rich smoke, more rosin than lat  
A+ Cornell and Diehl Engine #99 lat lat, warm rosin, wood smoke, sandalwood  
A+ Lane BS-005 like Balkan Supreme only woodier and more resiny    
A H&H White Knight      
A Sutliffe Balkan II more resiny than lat    
A Match Revelation soft lat, light amber, raisin raood smoke, toasted mallow and nuts, slight rosin/amber  
A Lane BS-005      
A - Cornell and Diehl Odessa mild lat and amber fleeting  
A- Match BS 759      
A- Sutliffe Balkan II      
A- Sutliffe Majestic English medium lat piney? balsam?  
A- Pipes and Cigars Scotty’s University Graduate      
A- Sutliffe Majesic English      
B+ Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding lat with something I can’t ID high quality, lat, musty/mushroomy, black topsoil  
B+ P&C Scottys’s University Graduate mild English decent, but not first rate. Some wood and incense.  
B+ Sutliffe Burma road lat, “warm” flavor    
B Sutliffe English mild, flat, some spice/sour? Rich, cedar notes, pot?  
B Sutliffe Heavy English medium lat nice aroma, maybe some floral when burning?  
B H&H Larry’s Blend medium lat, med amber savory, veers into soapy or would be rated higher  
B Stokkebye Proper English medium lat good, needs more Lat  
B Match Walnut inoffensive, light english,woody. woody, not great. Codger version of English?  
B- Stokkebye English Luxury light lat, light perique too mild. Prefer their Proper ENglish  
C Sutliffe Fox & Hound perique?    
C Sutliffe Lord Nelson? perique? pungent pungent but good. Not for public smoking.  
F Sutliffe Stoved Black Virginia dirt, slightly sweet wiry and flavorless  


Rating Blend Aroma notes Flavor notes
B+ Sir Walter Raleigh (SWR) basil, pho, anise, prune medium codger, light pot
B+ Stokkebye 31 Optimum sweet, stonefruit, codger grandfather nice but not great
B+ Sutliffe Mix 79 boozy in a good way, gummy codger
B+ Lane RLP-6 tanka? dark fruit good codger, burns well when dry
B+ Lane 1Q vanilla pleasant room note
B Prince Albert (PA). horse feed, in a good way leather, tobacco
B Pipes and Cigars Russ’ Cavendish in the Woods sharpish horse feed nice codger
B- P&C Scott’s Butternut Burley mild, caramel? pleasant mild aroma, burley
B- Amphora Original raisin, oak, odd floral? good codger
B- Match Amphora perhaps sweeter (more raisin and vanilla?) very pleasant but too intense. Cut with something plain.
B- Amphora Full Aroma bright orange zest  
B- Match Carter Hall I like it better than actual CH  
C+ Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic Cocoa, candy, bourbon light candy, perfume, soapy?
C Carter Hall (CH) slightly sweet/warm. Light rum and walnut? warm, codgery
C Half and Half (H&H) mild tobacco, cat vomit, honey?, anise cigarettes at first, then leather and light cocoa
C Lane Limited nondescript codger decent codger
F Velvet disgusting cheap booze  


A few aromatics, though I find them relatively difficult to smoke    
Rating Blend Aroma notes Flavor notes
A Cornell and Diehl Epiphany dark, “burgundian”, toffee/caramel rich, the best codger?
B+ Casey Jones Heroes Blend vanilla, tonka, cream traditional but not codger
B+ Sutliffe 150 Mark Twain dark fruit, rum? codger. Very wet, let dry.
B+ Lane RLP-6    
B Sutliffe ZBC - a guilty pleasure raisin nutty, codgery, gf-friendly
B Pipes and Cigars Scott’s Butternut burley    
B Stokkebye 615 Black Coffee treacle, dark chocolate pleasant, some coffee
B Lane Black Raspberry raspberry stonefruit, raisin, rum?
B- Lane Limited citrusy, boozy, fermented raisins  
C Sutliffe Dark Decadence cocoa, chocolate, coffee very wet
C Lane BCA light horsefeed, in a good way very wet and hard to dry out.
F Stokkebye 24 Nougat nougat, caramel, cloyingly sweet whole lotta nothin’
F Sutliffe Caramello fake caramel meh


I don’t know how to categorize these

Rating Blend Aroma notes Flavor notes  
A- MacBaren HH Old Dark Fired smoke, cinnamon “burgundy”, stays cool  
A- Sutliffe Voodoo Queen mocha, cinnamon, spice some smoke, good  
B Match Early Morning light syrup, pancaces savory, good but not memorable  
B H&H Anniversary Kake   dark fruit  
B Cornell & Diehl Engine 611 tanka? white chocolate or vanilla butter cream  
B- Match Nightcap   warm, “reddish” flavor  
C+ Match Flying Dutchman faint wood, faint caramel squares burns hot but smells good. Smoke in public  
C Match Sugar Barrel nondescript codger    
C Match John Rolfe old hotel upholstery, mild caramel    
C H&H Louisiana Red mild perique sourness    
C- Match Elizabethan Rummy? sharp tobacco  
F Match My Mixture 965 light wood with lighter resin floral, perfumey, detergenty. No.  
F Stokkebye 701 Virgina hay, light sweetness very light. I think I don’t like Virginias.  
F Stokkebye Luxury naval flake deciduous wood, grain, protein bark, “brown”, harsh, twiggy. People smoke this?  
F Daughters & Ryan Cockstrong fluffy. Animal fur. Old Furniture No  
F Daughters & Ryan Three Sails Air, cardboard no  
F H&H AJ’s VaPer cigarette light raisin cigarette, slightly acrid. Nope.  

DIY blends

Rating Blend Aroma notes Flavor notes
B codger blend 1.0 - 50% Match Amphora, 50% Granger    

further reading

  1. maternal step-grandfather 

  2. I remember it as Sasieni, though in retrospect a Savinelli seems more likely. 

  3. hold between the teeth 

  4. pipespeak for used pipes.