Pipe smoking, though quite traditional in some ways, is still an ever-changing hobby. From new tobaccos, to ultra-rare stamps or shapes, to the latest up-and-coming carvers, there's quite a lot to keep track of. How do we juggle it all? Well, having an extremely knowledgeable staff and great relationships with carvers and blenders alike has allowed us to create some really great original content, but sometimes we do consult outside sources — great sites that we would like to share with you. So in no particular order, here are our top ten pipe smoker resources!
- TobaccoReviews - For helpful reviews of nearly any blend (even those that were discontinued ages ago), this is the place to go. It was actually a Laudisi property from 2001 to 2007 (we're now just one of several sponsors), and its smart "helpful/not helpful" rating system on reviews themselves allows you to find the most reliable content.
- PipeSmokerForum - From tobacco reviews, to advice for beginner smokers, to tips on growing tobacco, Pipe Smoker's Forum is a pretty reliable source on a variety of pipe smoking topics.
- PipesMagazine - Though less focused on detailed tobacco and pipe information, Pipesmagazine is a great source for pipe and tobacco related news. They even have a weekly radio show that's available on the majority of podcast sites and apps. The forums discuss a lot of general pipe smoking topics as well.
- Chris' Pipe Pages - From old catalogs to scans of mysterious patents, there's some really cool stuff tucked away in Chris' Pipe Pages. It's often overlooked, but if you're willing to dig around a bit, you can find some pretty rare gems like a certain 1930s Rossi business card with quite a charming logo.
- Pipedia - Probably the most extensive resource for information on well-known makers and marques outside our site, Pipedia is a user-friendly wiki for all things pipe related. Editors work to keep each article accurate and up to date, generally with some really great pictures, too. As one of Pipedia's contributors, you'll find some of our content there too, in a format that's conveniently organized (one of our interviews appended to a pipemaker's bio or marque's history, for example).
- The Wood Database - Trying to identify accents, exotic woods, and the like can be a somewhat daunting task. The Wood Database offers examples of a variety of exotic and domestic hardwoods you'll find used in pipe making. With its enlargeable photos, detailed characteristics, and descriptions, it's a resource that Eric and I use almost every day. How else do you think we can distinguish Wenge from Macassar Ebony in our descriptions? We ask Adam — or check the Wood Database when even he's not sure.
- G. L. Pease - G. L. Pease is one of our best selling tobacco brands, and so it's necessary for us to know as much about the products as we can. Phone and email conversations with Greg have been quite helpful over the years, but for a quick and easy description and inspiration behind a particular blend, we often use Greg's site itself. And of course, Greg's commentary in his articles can be quite entertaining.
- Passion for Pipes - The author/photographer of Comoy Blue Ribands, Neill Archer Roan knows a lot about pipes and tobaccos. From photos of his personal collection to well thought out articles on every topic from how different heat sources affect your smoke to an analysis of stem work, his personal site has proven to be a great resource for us. I know Shane, for one, is an avid reader of Neill's work.
- Pipephil - Let's face it; some marques' stamping traditions are less than clear, making dating a certain vintage briar quite difficult at times. Luckily, there's Pipephil, a comprehensive study of logos, stamps, and nomenclature, to help with the process. It's user-friendly setup allows you to search for brands by country, name, or logo — making it much easier to figure out whether your Barling is pre- or post-transition.
- Reddit - Last, but certainly not least, we have Reddit's "pipe tobacco" sub-category. Completely open source, it's just a great and friendly place for beginners to ask questions and receive feedback from more experienced smokers. It's also quite user-friendly, with pretty flexible CSS and easy-to-use search bars.
Of course, there's also our excellent customer service department. So if you can't find what you're looking for on these sites, you know who to call.
And there you have it: our top 10 pipe smoker resources. Don't see your favorite site on the list? Feel free to share your preferred resource with us in the comment section below!