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Old 05-24-2011, 02:59 PM   #1
Mister Moo
I barely grok the obvious
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Join Date: Oct 2008
First Name: Dan
Location: Lizard Lick, NC
Posts: 1,417
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Default Falcon Pipe - Brilliant Smoker With A Learning Curve

If you grow up playing with a slingshot you may never learn how far and fast (and deadly accurate) a lemon-sized stone can be hurled with a fiber sling. I gotta tell you, Goliath was probably big but his forehead wasn't. Same with fishing - you can have a lifetime of pleasure from a big cane pole, a bobber and 20# test line but it won't prepare you for the kick of a 5-pound smallmouth on ultralight gear.

If you grow up smoking a Falcon pipe you will lean by default that is it a cool-smoking, consistantly tobacco-revealing pipe. I came late to Falcons but, after hearing complaints about how they perform, I have gradually come to my own conclusions. The Falcons is a light, versatile and practically bulletproof pipe. If it is taken on its' own terms the pipe smokes cool and, thereby, will reveal the best of hotter smoking tobaccos. If you have tried and failed with a Falcon, so have I. There was a time when I thought it was a chronically hot-smoking, hard-to-clean novelty that couldn't compare with conventional briar pipes. Well, I was right and I was wrong.

Wrong: it is neither chronically hot smoking nor hard to clean
Right: it is novel and does not compare well to most conventional pipes

Here's what a Falcon sort-of compares well to: a smaller bowled pipe with a wide open draw and slightly thin walls. Here's what my favorite flake pipes are: smaller bowled pipes with open draw and relatively thin walls. While large, thick-walled pipes make up for a multitude of overpuffing sins, little flake pipes need to be finessed. A thin walled Pete tankard is a drop-dead fantastic flake pipe but you cannot bully it like a heavy briar or a large meer.

There is a trick to getting a perfect smoke from a Falcon. If you don't grow up with one, you might not figure out that it doesn't smoke like a typical pipe. In fact, after smoking a Falcon like most briars once or twice you will probably blister your fingers and put the thing in a drawer. The thing about a Falcon is that the open-draw airhole is virtually unpluggable. For some reason this means that, after hard compression of the tobacco by filling or tamp, the pipe still draws. If you pursue a familiar somewhat restricted draw you may get it - but the tobacco will nonetheless be compressed like a rock. Draw on that for a minute and you will have a very hot pipe - too hot to hold, actually.

Finesse a Falcon. Follow a typical fill with light, infrequent tamps only when needed. Allow the open draw to reward you with easy, copius smoke after a couple of quick sips and, maybe, a puff. There is magic in a Falcon if you take it on its' own terms. You cannot bully the pipe - you need to smoke it gently, slowly and easily to see it shine something besides cherry red. I assure you it will reveal the best of hot-smoking tobaccos, any tobaccos really, if you learn the simple nature of this slightly different pipe.
"I hope you had the time of your life."
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