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SmashTheState's avatar

Pipe smokers: Is a real calabash worth the price?

Asked by SmashTheState (14228points) June 4th, 2010

I’ve been smoking a pipe for about six or seven years now, and I’ve developed my palate to the point where it’s worth investing in pricier tobacco blends and better pipes. I had a cheap Medico pipe to start with, then when it broke (as a result of having a cop slap it out of my mouth while I was being arrested, as a matter of fact) I switched to a corncob. I was happy with that for a couple of years before I upgraded to a briar pipe, and can taste the difference.

My local tobacconist shop has recently acquired a real calabash, which they’re selling for $250. Real calabashes are exceedingly rare and I’m sorely tempted to buy it, but that’s an awful lot of money for someone as poor as I am, and I can get a calabash-shaped briar for a fraction of the price. Can anyone tell me if there is any appreciable difference between a real calabash and a calabash-shaped imitation, either in flavour or function?

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9 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

@SmashTheState Once smoked a pipe..but, I also went the cheap route. Don’t have any experience with real calabash, but looking forward to the answer to this question. i’m not much help!

CMaz's avatar

Can’t afford it. Don’t buy it.

Epically if there is a future possibility of you getting another pipe slapped out of your mouth.

Have you ever thought of changing to chewing gum?

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz me either… :)))

SmashTheState's avatar

@ChazMaz A calabash is too large to carry around. I wear a police tactical vest with shitloads of pockets to carry all the stuff I need to carry (including my pipe(s) and tobacco) and none of the pockets are large enough for a calabash. It’s expensive, yes—about ⅔rds of the total money I have to live on for a month after rent is paid—but considering the pleasure I get out of smoking a pipe, it might be worth it, but only if the experience is significantly better than what I can get out of a cheaper pipe. Hence my question.

I don’t want to give up smoking my pipe. I’m vegetarian, I don’t drive a car, I don’t drink alcohol or use any other intoxicants; I think I’m entitled to a risky pastime or two in my life. I don’t smoke every day, and not even every week. I’ve gone months without touching my pipe when I’m not in the mood. When I am in the mood, I might smoke four or five bowls a day. I just wish tobacco was cheaper. Thanks to heavy “sin taxes” here in Kanada, the tobacco I smoke is about $1200 a kilo.

BoBo1946's avatar

@SmashTheState wow…very interesting. Hey, go for it…like my old friend would have said, “a poor man has to have a little fun!”

Cruiser's avatar

I say go for it! Some people buy big screens and high power lap tops or luxury autos, get your fancy pipe and smoke it!! Enjoy!

gorillapaws's avatar

So you have $375/ month to live on and you’re considering purchasing a $250 pipe? Sorry but that’s not an equation I can get behind. It would be cool to get, but the reality is that it’s beyond your means.

Maybe you can find some form of supplemental income, and save money on the side?

kluge's avatar

I dont know the first thing about pipe tobacco, but I’d try Pyrex first. There is a wide variety.

I guess you just have to try to decide how a calabash would make you feel.

Maybe you would get a better return on your investment off a Hakko soldering iron.

abcbill's avatar

I have had the opportunity…and have taken it…to bid on some nice Calabash pipes on the ‘Bay. Didn’t win.

In retrospect and without sour grapes being consumed, sorta glad I didn’t. They are sort of a PITA. The seal between the meerschaum cup and the gourd body is a bloody SOB to keep air-tight and the cleaning of the gourd itself after a number of bowls of tobacco (I smoke quite strong English-style blend that are heavy on the Latakia and Stoved Virginias) is a chore.

I have a couple of pipes that are patterned on the Calabash principal…and they are great…and have the same downside issues. The difference is that they are about the same size as a regular largish pipe. Much easier to maintain.

Like the saying goes…“pays yer money, lad, and takes yer choosing”. If the purchase is more for novelty value…I’d say don’t bother. If you are a serious “brother of the briar” and really want the Calabash experience…and have the bucks…do it.

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