I turn thirty-two in November so I’m a millennial, part of that anathematized cohort responsible for killing off TGI Friday’s and face-to-face interaction. That being the case, I think I’m one of the least-millennial millennials there is.
That might be the most-millennial thing a millennial has ever said.
An effort to kick cigarettes about a decade ago led me to start vaping. I don’t mean I puffed one one of those customizable coal-rollers that’s gotten everyone worried about burning holes in their lungs: I started with the blu, which was pretty much just a rechargeable electronic cigarette.
I hated it and threw it away after a couple of weeks but randomly saved the charger. I still have it. Later, some friends got into buying those tanked-out hot rods, so I got a middle-of-the-road version as a compromise from Walgreens. It exploded one night on the charger in the kitchen of a home I was house-sitting. I bit the Juul bug around a year ago.
I’ve always preferred smoking analog, which is part of why I enjoy pipes so much. As long as I’m here, millennials won’t kill this hobby!
Actually, if this bizarre contraption is any indication, the folks at Petersham Pipes might have aimed a spear towards the pancreas of pipe-smoking, while guys like my brother twist it in. I present to you the Westminster iTouch E Pipe: I love that the suffix lacks a hyphen; I just live for that kind of stuff.
I only joke about John. He’s got a burgeoning collection of new pipes from Boswell and Ropp and even has a couple of meerschaums. Admittedly, he bought this contraption for its shock value, as its a total freak. I was first introduced to it when he came home the other night and shoved it in my face.
After I regained my composure, I studied the E-Pipe. What we’ve got here is a vaping device disguised as a briar pipe of the bent brandy description. Actually, per Petersham, the finish is actually called mahogany, which is available along with an ivory finish that approximates virgin meerschaum, along with two other head-scratchers.
Normally, puffing on a vape activates a battery-powered heating element called an atomizer that turns the goo in a cartridge or reservoir into an aerosol. You inhale this aerosol, or vapor, if you’d prefer, just like you would suck smoke into your lungs.
This guy has one extra step, though: Yes, despite “iTouch” being in the name, you’re only really forced to touch one component- you turn the atomizer on by physically pressing a brass-colored button on the rear of the “bowl.” After you press it, you inhale as normal. And yes, I understand pipes are not usually meant to be inhaled, but that’s sort of the point of a vape, so you do it anyway.
The pipe looks fine, sort of like a Savinelli Tortuga with it’s little hat, though I think the brass around the implied army mount is a little gaudy.
The whole operation runs on a 18350 battery housed in the bowl, To charge it, you unscrew the cap, take the battery out, and put it on a dedicated wall-wart that John’s got plugged into my kitchen. The battery’s said to last about a day under normal use. Any e-goo you can find will fill the two millimeter bowl, you just twist the stem off to dump it in to a reservoir. John had some leftover sauce in his, but he didn’t remember what it was.
Did I hit it? Yes I did- hard and strong. The verdict?
HuUUUkyughkyughkyugh HUUUUUU-KAU! Ahem.
I forgot how much differently these feel than old-fashioned, pre-CPU smoke. 0/10 would I recommend this outlandish doohickey, but that’s just me. I drew pretty deeply from the plastic-stemmed mouthpiece, so you might be able to moderate yourself better than I can.
Depending on the configuration, these sell for the equivalent of around $75 to $88 on Petersham Pipes, a British website. Is it worth it to me? Hell no. Could it be for you? Maybe.
I’ll admit that it’s an intriguing concept for a pair of millennial contrarians like me and my brother. I mean, I appreciate Gallagher smashing a watermelon as much as the next guy, and that’s what the E Pipe is good for: prop comedy with a cynical dose of irony. Along with the telephone handsets that connect via Lightning and the lo-fi indie music available on 180-gram vinyl are. It’s postmodern art as applied by us dipshits.
Thankfully, I got into smoking a real pipe before I was aware how much of an annoying hipster move it was. I was happy to give the E Pipe back to my brother, but now that I’ve got a once-smoked Dr. Grabow rumbling around the floor mats of my car, I wonder if I could convert it.