Featured Pipe Smoker: N. Ortolano

N. Ortolano

Profession: Photographer and writer, and co-owner of Orleans Apothecary, a vintage shop with my wife.

Location: NW Florida.

Website: ortolano.tumblr.com, orleansapothecary.tumblr.com

Years smoking a pipe: One year with a pipe, close to ten with cigars.

Favorite blends: My preference is usually English, or a mix of Burley and Virginia Bits with a pinch of Virginia Flake and Latakia. Epitome in my hometown of Biloxi, MS has a perfectly blended cherry vanilla that I enjoy when I want an aromatic. It's the most public-friendly tobacco I've found.

Favorite pipe(s): I have about eight briars in my rotation, all Calabresi and all babied. I have a Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman that's my work-day pipe. I don't take the best care of it (I abuse it, actually) but surprisingly, it's also my best smoker.

Favorite pipe smoker: Honestly, Mark Twain. His stance on tobacco usage was brilliant. Google "Nicotine Nannies" if you're unfamilia with it.

What's the best part of smoking a pipe? It's a toss-up, I'd say, between being incredibly inexpensive in comparison to cigars or cigarettes, and infinitely more enjoyable. Once you learn how your face-furnace works, there's nothing quite as relaxing. It's also nice that, while most people are starting to rally against cigarette smokers as a whole, I get nothing but compliments for my pipes.

What's manly about smoking a pipe? What's more manly than knowing how to keep a fire going? Aside from the physics behind it, to choose to smoke a pipe is an exercise in the sort of patience only a true gentleman exhibits. It takes time to pack a pipe. It takes time to enjoy it. But, in the end, the reward is far, far greater than anything else.

How did you start smoking a pipe? I was tired of smoking cigarettes, and wondered what pipe smoking would be like. Started researching the hobby, and fell in love.

What was your most interesting/funniest/compelling/whatever moment as a pipesmoker? Sitting in my truck in a parking lot, lighting my pipe, a police officer walked past my open window and did a double-take. He was shocked to see that it was, in fact, tobacco. I think being 24 years old at the time is
what really threw him off. A close second is the time my best mate, whom I'd recently converted to pipe smoking, bought a new pipe Zippo and filled it with a bit too much fluid. He went to light his pipe and instead, lit his entire hand on fire.


  1. I like that guy. He said some nice things about me a while ago. I haven't forgotten.

  2. Thanks for the kind words VB. You're one of the good ones. I was happy to see your recent pipe post on BM, by the way!

    Thanks so much for the feature, Joffre. It made my night.



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