Next month is the 11th Annual Slow Smoke Competition at the Seattle Pipe Club. Although I have watched this event for about 4 years now, I have never entered. Because there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that I'd win. I have been smoking a pipe for this same amount of time but I wasn't a very competent pipe smoker. I couldn't keep a pipe lit for very long. And I wasn't secure in this part of my identity. Being a female, I stand out like a sore thumb at pipe club and felt quite awkward. But since my retirement I have had more time to devote to this hobby and something has "clicked". Pipe smoking feels natural and I am no longer self conscious. And I can keep my bowl lit. Consistently. For a good length of time. I decided it would be fun to enter this year's competition. There aren't a lot of prizes this time around. But that Scotch sounds good. There will be 15 competitors and many of them have won in years past. In order to stand a chance I will have to train, and train hard. This year's competition will feature a straight billiard style pipe and 3 grams of Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe tobacco. My preferred strategy would be to practise using the same style, unsmoked pipe and the exact same tobacco. I have a lot of tobacco in my cellar, but no Early Morning Pipe. So I have settled with using a similar cut from the same company, Dunhill London Mixture. My husband donated one of his unsmoked billiards for me to practice with, as I do not have a pipe of that style in my collection.
Each evening I head to the basement smoking lounge to practise my slow smoking technique. Last night my time was 52 minutes. Here are the times from last years' event. A time of 52 minutes would put me in the top four. I could live with that. But I would really like to take second place and bring home that Scotch.