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Nasty Taste From a Filter

So I tried a carbon filter for the first time (only been smoking a pipe since DEC ‘17) and it tasted nasty to me.  The taste reminded me of kimchi. Is it possible I just bought old filters that were no good?  Should I try to find another type of filter.  My Rattray pipe takes a 9mm filter and prior to trying this I’ve always just gone without. 


  • Go4BrokeGo4Broke Enthusiast
    @ryanmclellansr what you are describing is definitely not my experience with charcoal filters.  I have two Vauen pipes that take 9mm filters, and for me the flavor is a drier, toned down version of the original tobacco.  I generally only use one for calming down a wetter aromatic that I'm noticing is producing a hot, damp smoke.  I'll also use a 9mm filter for the Danish style Virginias, which because of the toppings they typically use will occasionally produce a hotter smoke for me.What brand did you buy?  I've had good luck with the Vauen "Dr. Perl" filters.
  • @Ryanmclellans, how many bowls have you smoked with that filter before you noticed a foul taste? Maybe the filter needed to be changed from saturation and gunk which caused a foul taste.  Usually, filters need to be changed every two to four bowls, depending on how you smoke.  Filters do not usually go bad, especially if they are wrapped up or packaged.
  • @Ryanmclellansr What's wrong with kimchi!? I've been eating that stuff my entire life! Haha. How interesting that a carbon filter would taste like fermented spicy cabbage... Sounds strange to me that a carbon filter would produce any taste, the only taste that I can see coming from it is like what @Charles said, that if its saturated. Which can happen even on the first smoke if it's a SUPER wet smoke.
  • What I dislike about filters is the way they affect the draw. I find myself pulling harder, and I'm more susceptible to tongue bite as a result. After the second smoke you definitely need to replace the filter or it will change the taste of the blend. Although it does make for a dryer smoke, I don't like using them for that reason. 
  • @Charles I noticed the taste even before I smoked a bowl.  I took some draws after putting the filter in and noticed the weird taste right away.  I thought it would go away but after two bowls of the kimchi taste I took the filter out.

    @Oddjob27 Don't get me wrong I was stationed in Korea for two years and loved Korean food including kimchi.  But it's just not a taste I want in my pipe lol.

    When I get home I'll have to look at what brand it is.  But I bought it at a B&M store that is primarily a cigar shop so who knows maybe it had been sitting around for a decade.

  • @Ryanmclellansr, try cleaning your pipe really well to clear any possible buildup of gunky substance in the shank.  It might be necessary to clean with clear grain alcohol or just use bourbon.  Use a lot of pipecleaners and Q-tips to clean until  they are clear.   

    The change the filter and try another type just to compare.  If that clears up the problem, discard those other filters.  Better yet, try smoking your pipe without the filter and run a pipecleaner though without disassembling the pipe if you have gurgling or moisture build up while smoking.      
  • motie2motie2 Master
    edited March 2018
    Yeah, "try smoking your pipe without the filter." Sound advice!!!
  • @Ryanmclellansr Might I offer another suggestion. Try the Nording Keystones which are clay pebbles used in the Nording Eriksen  pipes. They can be used in regular pipes as well. Just drop a few in the bottom of the bowl before packing your pipe and they absorb any excess moisture. They don't alter the taste of the blend - and you simply dump them put with the spent tobacco when you're done smoking.
  • @Ryanmclellansr Just in case you don't know what Keystones are I thought I'd post a picture for you to make it easier to find should you want to try them out in your pipe.

  • @ghostsofpompeii thanks for the suggestion.  I’ll have to check it out. 
  • Have to agree [email protected], filters affect the draw and néed to be changed to often. Maybe some of the other suggestions will help if one has to have a filter.
  • Screw the filters. 

  • My feeling as well.
  • I don't use them. 
  • BentbrierBentbrier Professor
    I tried filters for a bit when I first started.  Found even pipes made for them smoke better without.
  • DavidR002DavidR002 Professor
    Filters are so cheap I change them with every smoke
  • If a pipe comes with a filter, I'll might use that during the early break-in smokes. After that, not really using filters.
  • BaldPipeSmokerBaldPipeSmoker Newcomer
    edited March 2018
    I'm a filter user. I've never had a nasty taste like that!
  • Nice collection of pix

  • edited October 2019
    If your pipe is clan and not the culprit, it sounds like you need to get rid of those filters.  Carbon filters are used specifically because they do not impart any flavors to the smoke, they might take away flavor, but not add.
    On occasion I use Carbon Filters and Balsa Filters, I don't notice a change in the flavor, just toned down.  I do think the paper filters suck the life out of the tobacco.  All the filter types I have tried work well to dry out a wet smoking tobacco.  I also like the original Yello-Bole scoop style "stingers".  They seem to condense the water out of the smoke without gurgle or affecting the draw.  Most other "stingers" are crap.  The Comoy's "Grand Slam" seems to work ok too, kind of like a Kirsten body or small calabash.  Those types of pipes definitely need to be cleaned after every smoke, in my opinion.  I have seen many cracked shanks in Comoy's "Grand Slam" equipped pipes, and caps and stems fused in Kirsten's which I am sure happened because the were filthy gross.  The "Grand Slams" probably got stuck in the shank and were forcibly removed which cracked the shanks.  I have had two estate pipes that I could not get the shank clean...until I found there was a piece of a nasty old tarred up filter gunked/dried and stuck in the shanks.  One was a Bent Savinelli Spigot with a Carbojn Filter, and the other was a ZEST with a Medico/Dr. Grabow type paper filter....nasty.  The ZEST was passing a pipe cleaner completely through the paper tube filter and just kept coming out loaded with tars.  The Savinelli had a broken end piece of a carbon filter jammed in the bottom of the shank well.  Ultimately I had to use a metal pick on both of them to get the pieces out.  They are spiffy clean now :)
  • I don’t like filters either, seems like they restrict the flow. Also seem to get really nasty in a short period of time.
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