The idea of vaporizing has never really appealed to me. The associations that were tied to it always kept me away and I saw no real reason to buy a vaporizer. However, while I was thinking about putting my cigars and pipe tobacco away for winter storage I was thinking about ways that I can continue to enjoy my vast collection of [pipe tobacco without having to brave the harsh Canadian winters. You see, I usually stop smoking my pipes and cigars come winter time. I neither smoke inside my home, car….and, of course, there are no smoking lounges by Canadian law. It was because of this interesting practice – of total smoking abstinence – because of the winter that I decided to look into buying a dry-herb vaporizer that would be compatible with pipe tobacco. While doing extensive research, I finally broke down and bought the famous Pax 2 by Ploom.
The Pax, and the newer Pax 2, are perhaps the most famous and prestigious portable dry-herb vaporizers on the market. many call the Pax, because of its design and functionality, the vaporizer that Apple would make if they were in the market. The following description is via Pax describing their new vaporizer:
A BETTER COMPACT VAPORIZER IN EVERY WAY. STREAMLINED WITH A SLIMMER PROFILE AND SIMPLIFIED USER INTERFACE.
More powerful, but remarkably power efficient. A deeper oven allowing a satisfyingly consistent draw. An elegant, ergonomically redesigned mouthpiece that senses the presence of your lips. A more efficient battery, and intelligent heating and cooling systems to optimize usage. An elegant anodized aluminum surface and integrated LED indicator.
The Pax 2 is slimmer and smaller than its older sibling and it has a longer battery life as well as a larger oven to fit more tobacco into it. One of its great features is that it not only has 4 temperature settings, but also “lip and motion sensing technology that optimize power and temperature during use”. This is a great feature because if you put it down it will put itself into a low-heat setting, then upon picking it up, it will sense the motion and restore the chosen heat setting. Essentially, Pax has mastered the art of elegance and efficiency, bringing a product of unparalleled performance and visual aesthetic.
Now to the tobacco use. One of my greatest worries with the purchase of such an expensive piece of hardware was how it would affect the flavor of the tobacco. The oven takes about a few pinch-fulls of tobacco, and you can squeeze more in there if you’re strong enough. The Pax is built for tight loads in its oven, and you want to get as much moist tobacco in there as possible to increase your vape time. Secondly, I can get about 30 minutes our of a tightly packed oven, which is quite impressive given the meager amount that can actually fit into the tiny device.
With regards to flavor, it is something that is definitely different than that of smoking the tobacco in the pipe, primarily, the lack of smoke. remember, the Pax is simply heating the tobacco up to a point where it vaporizes all of the moisture that is held in the leaves, thus it is only water vapor that is coming out of the device and not smoke. Thus, the lack of combustion has significant flavor implications. I find that the actual flavour of the tobacco, and any of the toppings or casings that are put on it is better-preserved in the vapor then it is with the pipes. However, the lack of smoky notes is something to be missed also.
Finally, cleaning the Pax is just as easy as cleaning a pipe, maybe even easier. All you have to do is remove the bottom magnetic oven lid, pull out the dried tobacco cake, which is quite easy since it shrinks after all the moisture is gone. Then you dip your pipe cleaning in some isopropanol and slid it through to remove any buildup. Best part, you only have to do that every 3-4 uses!
In the end, the Pax 2 is a great device to have if you fear the winter cold or want to enjoy your tobacco in an enclosed area without smelling up the place. For the hefty price tag of $359 CAD may be too much for some, but you get what you pay for when you buy the Pax!
By: Steven Umbrello – Senior Editor