I recently read an article extolling the virtues of Meerschaum pipes and thought the subject of Meerschaum vs Briar to be an interesting one… The main advantages in the pro Meerschaum camp were as follows:
- Meerschaum is lighter than briar in most cases. The nature of this particular material is that it is particularly light when compared to most stones or minerals after the water has been removed from it.
- Meerschaum is porous and acts as a filter, drawing tars and moisture out of the smoke before it reaches your mouth.
- Meerschaum is neutral and imparts no flavour to the tobacco like a briar pipe will. This allows you to get the true flavor of the particular blend you are smoking.
- Meerschaum will not burn like briar. Since you cannot catch a meerschaum pipe on fire, there is no need to build a cake of carbon around the bowl to protect it.
- You can safely smoke any number of different types of tobaccos (aromatics, English, Virginia, burley, etc) back to back without fear of muddling the cake with different flavors/aromas as per a briar pipe, since you actively remove the cake.
- You don’t need to rest a Meerschaum between smokes because the stone absorbs and gives off liquid much quicker than briar and it also cools quicker. This means that you will need to keep fewer pipes in your quiver and you can still smoke as much as you’d like.
- Meerschaum gives you a cooler smoking experience. Because Meerschaum is a much better conductor for heat than Briar (which actually is more of an insulator than conductor), the heat drawn off the smoke contributes to a cooler smoke.
We will be posting a number of articles about Meerschaum over the next few months but in the meantime please let us know your thoughts…