When we are now ready to light up, thereby inaugurating our potential pleasure with a baptism of fire. For this all-important act, use only wooden matches or a butane lighter. Paper matches are impregnated with chemicals that will taint the tobacco and its taste, as will lighter fluid. When using wooden matches, pause a second after striking the match, so that the sulfur will burn off and you will not get a bitter mouthful of sulfur smoke mixed in with your tobacco smoke. (A butane flame actually burns hotter than a wooden match, and care must be taken to avoid charring the rim of your pipe bowl during the lighting process).
Pipe lighting is a two-part procedure. The first step is called the false or charring light. Its purpose is to create a completely charred "lid" covering the top portion of your abowlful of tobacco, thereby making a "fire platform" which will permit your carefully packed pipe to smoke evenly all the way down to the bottom of heel of the bowl. To begin the charring light, move the flame from your lighter or match slowly over the entire area of the tobacco, taking care not to scorch the edges of the pipe bowl-it may discolor soon enouvh of its own accord after a number of repeated smokes. As you light the tobacco, draw in on your pipe with long, smooth puffs, thereby sucking the flame down into the tobacco. When the entire top surface of the tobacco has been completely and evenly lit, take the pipe from your mouth and gently press down on the ashes with a pipe tamper (these ashes usually rise above the rim of the bowl during the charring light), pushing them down upon the unburned tobacco underneath...(to be continued)
Prossimo articolo: The baptism of fire - part II