Delayed Gratification Technique
Delayed Gratification Technique in Pipe Smoking

With preliminary charring light.

The Delayed Gratification Technique (DGT) for pipesmoking has changed my life. You may or may not be familiar with DGT, so I'll explain.

Simply fill your pipe and give it a solid charring light, then smoke a few puffs or maybe even smoke the first quarter bowl, and put it down. That's it. Pick it up later, after a couple of hours to a couple of days, but preferably the next day, in my experience, and smoke it. If you're like me, you'll find improved, deeper flavor, with the Perique slightly highlighted, if its present, and the other tobaccos tasting more married and smoother.

The first time I noticed this improvement was when driving long distance. I had filled and pre-lit pipes the previous night, because I don't like to perform a charring light while driving. If it's already charred, a single quick light ignites the bowl beautifully with no immediate relights or tamping necessary. The tobacco also stays in the pipe more easily when its surface has been charred than when it's loose, with the char acting as a sort of cap that helps keep the tobacco in place (but don't place a lot of confidence in that seal). When I try to light a fresh pipe while driving, the tobacco expands and spills, embers ignite my clothing, and I find myself running down the median of Highway 9 with my car in a ditch and my pants on fire. Hence the preliminary charring light.

Simply fill your pipe and give it a solid charring light, then smoke a few puffs or maybe even smoke the first quarter bowl, and put it down. That's it.

While convenience, fire safety, and stability are wonderful characteristics, flavor is our most important consideration, and the delay improved my tobacco. DGT is an unobtrusive, unpretentious technique, best used with Virginias and Virginia/Periques, though some find that it works well with English blends as well, as long as the tobacco is on the dry side. Aromatics aren't typically improved by DGT, possibly because of their toppings; Aromatics tend to smoke a bit wetter than other tobaccos, though your own experience may differ. Cavendish, though, is typically not the best choice for DGT.

Delayed Gratification Technique in Pipe Smoking

Without preliminary charring light.

When the tobacco is given the charring light and a few additional puffs, the smoke sifts through the bowl, leaving some of the collateral moisture from the smoke to be absorbed by the tobacco, along with smoke particles that deepen the flavor profile. I don't really know what I mean by "deeper," though no other word works as well. If the tobacco was music, the tone would be deeper; if it was thought, its complexity would be deeper. With DGT and tobacco, the flavor is deeper, lower, and more consistent.

DGT is an unobtrusive, unpretentious technique, best used with Virginias and Virginia/Periques, though some find that it works well with English blends as well, as long as the tobacco is on the dry side.

The charring light is my least favorite part of a bowl of tobacco, though I still like it fine; it's just the least impressive portion of the bowl for me. So DGT also preps your pipes with no charring light necessary; it's already done. Even at the beginning of a work day, I sometimes fill three or four pipes first thing, and just pick them up and start smoking them later. No refilling when I'm busy, no light, tamp, relight, tamp, relight, tamp. Ironically enough, the Delayed Gratification Technique actually provides instant gratification.

I have smoked tobacco that has been sitting in a pipe for up to a week, and it was okay, but not great. For me and the Virginia/Periques I smoke, one day seems to be the optimum delay. Also, results are best if you have at least half a bowl of tobacco left in the pipe. You might consider trying it with your own tobacco for different durations and with different amounts of tobacco pre-smoked, if you don't already utilize the technique. DGT offers an additional dimension of flavor, as well as non-incinerated pants.

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Tagged in:   Pipe Basics Pipe Culture Tips

Comments

    • Howard R. Houck on June 29, 2019
    • Now there's one to which I CAN'T relate. Doesn't your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight? Don't you assiduously avoid letting your CIGAR go out?
      Fifty years ago in Britain, it wasn't uncommon for people to smoke their ciggies by halves, the cost of fags then being among the highest in the world. This coincided with the UK lung cancer rates being the highest in Europe (after Finland, where their excuse was saunas). The experts put two and two together and deduced that when a smoke is stubbed out and later relit, the ash and remaining gunk enters the system along with the other nasties and wreaks havoc.

    • Howard R. Houck on June 29, 2019
    • Now there's one to which I CAN'T relate. Doesn't your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight? Don't you assiduously avoid letting your CIGAR go out?
      Fifty years ago in Britain, it wasn't uncommon for people to smoke their ciggies by halves, the cost of fags then being among the highest in the world. This coincided with the UK lung cancer rates being the highest in Europe (after Finland, where their excuse was saunas). The experts put two and two together and deduced that when a smoke is stubbed out and later relit, the ash and remaining gunk enters the system along with the other nasties and wreaks havoc.

    • Michael L Roberts on June 30, 2019
    • When I heard about this a few years ago, the notion sounded plain silly to me. While I was a pipe smoker first, most of my smoking life (I'm 52) has revolved around cigars...and you never, ever desire to have your cigar go out; it gets bitter upon relighting. I've been back almost exclusively with pipes for the last 5 years and have learned so much that I didn't have the patience for earlier in my life. I can still lean towards too aggressive puffing and this technique really helps me take a break, reset, and enjoy the remainder of the pipe. I don't do it often, but when I do, I absolutely do enjoy the flavors more...and that isn't silly at all.

    • Pete Ersland on June 30, 2019
    • I have been smoking pipes for 60 years. I have often let my pipes go out and have relit many days later.
      I agree it doesn't hurt and most times improves the experience. Comparing it to cigars is silly. they are two different vehicles.

    • Bill Wright on June 30, 2019
    • Couple of thoughts--
      * It's comforting to know I'm crazy on at least two levels.
      First level...lighting a pipe and then letting it sit for a while. Been doing this for a bit over a decade; I work virtually (fully employed, thank you, not freelance) and oft-times I'd get a couple of puffs into a bowl and a phone call would come in to which I had to attend. I'd pick up another pipe, fill and light it only to see the first pipe, then I'd put down the second pipe and work on the first pipe. Being a complete English-style advocate, I do notice the difference.

      Second level-moisture level of my tobaccos. While not desert dry, I find more enjoyment from a blend that dry to the touch. This attribute was mentioned in this article and, I believe, in an early post by this author.

      Finally--cigar leaf is a great blending ingredient. To light a cigar and have it extinguish then relight it two days later---nope, not happening..

      Bill

    • Dwayne on August 5, 2019
    • When I first started smoking a pipe I dumped many bowls of tobacco because of my experience with cigars tasting nasty after being relit. (As an adult with attention deficit disorder I often start a bowl then get sidetracked on something else). My stubbornness and an almost empty tin of a favorite tobacco caused me to finally break down and relight a bowl that had been sitting for about 2 hours...it was delicious! That day changed my life. I began to experiment and started taking mental notes of which blends benefit most from the delay. For my taste preferences, I tend to prelight, tamp, then relight and smoke 4-5 extra puffs to allow the smoke to permeate and marry with the rest of the tobacco in the bowl while it is resting. I then pass a pipe cleaner into the chamber to absorb any excess moisture. I will often prepare a bowl of tobacco and prelight an hour or so before lunch or dinner, knowing it will be very gratifying when I return to it after my meal.

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