The big question that many pipe smokers have heavily debated over the years is which makes the better material for pipe smoking - meerschaum or briar? I'm going to give you a few things to ponder and consider before making your next pipe purchase.

When compared to briar, meerschaum is a more neutral material for smoking pipe tobacco. It's much friendlier on your palate by not imparting any additional scents or flavors beyond that of your fine tobacco. Meerscham makes a great pipe for someone who enjoys a wide variety of pipe tobaccos.

One of the great smoking qualities of meerschaum is that it provides a much cleaner smoke due to its porous nature. The porous stone absorbs tars and other unwanted by-products enabling you to better enjoy the taste of your tobacco. This allows you to truly appreciate the subtle differences between certain pipe tobaccos by providing a much smoother smoking experience.

A light-weight stone that is mined only in Turkey; meerschaum makes the perfect material for a smoking pipe. Meerschaum is noticeably lighter when compared to the same sized briar pipe. This lightness makes it ideal for pipe smokers that like to hang the pipe from their mouth while smoking it. Since pipe smoking is considered to be a relaxing pastime, the added lightness found in meerschaum requires less pressure from your jaw to support the pipe when smoking hands-free.

The color of a meerschaum pipe arguable gets more beautiful over time as you smoke it. Basically, the natural white color of the meerschaum starts to darken over time and can become as brown as briar. As you smoke it the tobacco which is absorbed by the stone is drawn to the surface by the beeswax coating which colors the stone over time.

Meerschaum can get hot to the touch, especially if your drawing down on it a lot, but unlike briar - it won't burn. Traditionally, you'll work to build up a "cake" of carbon along the bottom of the bowl of a briar pipe to provide a protective layer against burning. No need to do this with a meerschaum pipe. Due to this lack of "cake" build up with a meerschaum pipe, you end of with a much purer smoke, unpolluted by the cake found in a briar pipe.

Smoking a strong Virginia for a period of time and then switching to a lighter aromatic might cause some havoc on your taste buds as the two flavors are combined through the cake residue at the bottom of your bowl. Of course this becomes a non-issue if you own several pipes and only smoke similar tobaccos in the same pipe.

I'm sure that we could fill a few pages of pros and cons for both meerschaum and briar pipes, but this should give you a few things to consider when picking out your next pipe. Either way, you can't go wrong, they both make for an enjoyable smoking experience.

About The Author

Chad Meisinger has been enjoying his pipes and cigars around the globe for many years and owns several tobacco related businesses. For great briar tobacco pipes and meerschaum pipes feel free to visit