I will attempt to use what little knowledge I've gained to ramble about the way pipe smokers think and the things they do and enjoy. They may be observations from different online forums, things I've overheard at a pipe shop or club meeting, and even my own ideas. Like all blogs, they will be based on the opinions of the author (me), and we all know that opinions are like assholes - we all have one and they stink.
A little about my experience. When I left the Army in '96, I had an urge to buy a cheap pipe and some Capt Black tobacco. I did just that. I didn't progress/learn anything regarding pipes and tobacco for many years. Why? I didn't know any other pipe smokers that knew more than I did, I didn't smoke that often, and I didn't know where to go for more information. I smoked a couple different aromatics, Peach Cobbler, Warwick, and Black Forrest. I had a couple cheap pipes that I don't even remember what they were or where they are now. My first real pipe was a Savinelli Hercules (like this one, only mine is smooth), which is a rather large pipe (the Hercules line is big), but it smokes like a champ. I still own it, and it is still dedicated to aromatics, which I rarely smoke nowadays.
Around 2001 or 2002, I was in Germany for work and my boss handed me a cigar. I enjoyed it, they were easy to operate, cool new flavors, so I got deep into those for about 5 solid years, heavy into online cigar forums. I still had my goopy/sticky aromatics in a ceramic mason jar with a bad seal, which didn't matter to this tobacco as it never dried out, and I would smoke my pipe from time to time. Spring of '05 rolls around and I realize that cigars, the ones I was buying, cost way too much to ship from Cypress, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany, etc. I decided to go back to smoking pipes on a regular basis.
There were a few online forums I spent most of my time on, one in particular I even helped as a moderator. The same time I was switching back to pipes was when a few other cigar smokers were asking for a pipe section of that forum. I volunteered to watch over it as I was the only one I knew of who smoked a pipe. From that point on, I learned so much. It was like a daily pipe club meeting. Old pipesters, young pipesters, people switching from cigars to pipes, people who were picking up the pipe again after a long layoff... amazing the amount of info you can gain from a decent online forum. I should've known, since that's how I learned so much about cigars so quickly.
Here I am now, not the most experienced, I'm not quite 40, started with a pipe in the mid 90's, and rapidly started learning in '04/'05. I don't have a pipe shop that I consider close enough to hang out at, and being a new father, didn't think it best for me to spend my spare time at a pipe shop away from my family... my job had me away from home enough already.
My tastes started off with heavy latakia and oriental mixtures while I weened myself off cigars, I simply couldn't taste the ligher VA's at that point, my tastebuds were fried. A few months later, I was advised to try a tin of Samuel Gawith Bracken Flake. There's flavor in there and you won't smell like you've slept on a funeral pyre. I quickly jumped into the Virginia and Virginia/Perique blends and haven't come up for air since. I'm so much of a VA/Per whore that of the 30+ pipes I have, only 4 or 5 are not dedicated to the VA or VA/Per genres of pipe tobacco.
I think I'll wrap it up on that.... I'll try to post some tobacco reviews soon, I have a few samples on the way and I just miss doing them. I'll also attempt to have brief posts about different generalized subjects that come up from time to time on pipe forums.