Why would anyone want to smoke a pipe made out of partially petrified bog oak? For a lot of reasons actually. Still a lot of pipe smokers are hesitant to take the plunge on morta. Whether they are loyal to briar or just a traditionalist, breaking out into the world of morta pipes can be a big ask. But for me part of the fun of the pipe hobby is mixing things up and trying something new, or at least new to you. In that spirit, here are some of the reasons why smoking a morta pipe is a good idea.
What is morta?
Before we get ahead of ourselves let's quickly go over what morta is and where it comes from. Morta begins its life as an oak tree. Then it falls into water. It mellows out in the water for a few thousand years allowing organic materials in the wood to be replaced by minerals from the water. Now the oak is semi petrified and waiting to be found and harvested (and if it is lucky, made into pipes). Once out of the water the wood must be properly processed and cured before it can be worked. After being graded only an exceedingly small amount of the morta is of sufficient quality for pipe making.
The incredible density of morta makes it very difficult to carve. Morta carvers are known to use tools designed for metal working because it is too hard for woodworking tools. So we've got the rarest portion of rare material that only a few carvers work with successfully. This is a pretty good reason why morta is cool to start. Plus having a pipe made out of wood that is older than the pyramids is pretty sweet.
Taste the tobacco
Morta imparts no flavor to tobacco smoke. This helps contrast it with other non-briar woods used in pipe making. In addition to that morta doesn't absorb the flavors of previously smoked tobaccos. That's right. No ghosting. I have smoked strong Englishes, overbearing aromatics, and the lightest Virginias all out of the same morta pipe without any leftover flavors from any blend. Other morta smokers I know have confirmed this as well. Not ghosting is one of the most appealing aspects of morta. One pipe being useful for a multitude of blends is a luxury.
The benefits of being very dense.
The high density of morta is why it does not ghost. Density is also the key to a couple other factors in the mora equation. Morta conducts heat very well. This means the wood of the pipe is radiating the heat out of the smoke at an accelerated pace compared to other wood pipes. More heat radiating away leads to cooler smoke. Cool smoke is good. Otherwise why would reverse calabashes exist?
But meerschaum doesn't ghost and it has desirable heat transfer qualities too. Morta separates itself by not shattering if dropped onto a hard surface. Aside from being able to be knocked around, morta can be abused when being smoked. It doesn't need to be broken in, doesn't need a cake, and can be smoked very hot without fear. One caveat, if the morta is very thin the rigidity, or a hidden fault, can cause it to crack under the stress of heat expansion.
Smoke in your own personal idiom.
Another plus of morta being rare and being used by fairly few carvers is that a morta pipe is usually pretty unique. When it comes to pipe smokers we all have our own style. We want our pipes to be an expression of that style. Adding a morta pipe to your collection gives you something a little bit different. A little bit distinctive. A morta pipe can be a nice change of pace in the standard parade of briars and cobbs.
Are there any cons to morta pipes?
For the purposes of this article? No.
Run out and buy a morta pipe already.
There you have it. Incontrovertible proof that morta pipes are awesome. So now you need to get your hands on some of that sweet morta right? Right? Well you are in the right place because Winston's has a large selection from Davorin Morta Pipes.
This was originally published on Cigar Pipe and Games and has been republished here with permission of the author.