Well maybe I don't love the cob, but I appreciate it now. Below is the story of my cob and beginning smoking experience.... good luck getting through it...
Four or five years ago I decided I wanted to try pipe smoking. I like tobacco, and wanted to enjoy it in all it's different varieties. The first pipe I bought was a missouri meerschaum legend corn cob pipe, I also picked up a pouch of captain black white to smoke with it. I took the filter out of the pipe for the first smoke because I had been smoking RYO cigs for the last couple months leading up to that moment so I figured I could handle it with no problems... I was wrong. On top of the horrible packing job I did, and the tongue bite I experienced, I also got a mouth full of tobacco crumbs/dust and a few embers at the end. I know that was all my fault for pulling too hard, but it wasn't an enjoyable smoke in any regard. The tobacco tasted horrible and I got a lot of taste from burning the pipe bowl I think. Also my smoking area was unshaded on the afternoon sun part of the house so it was just a bad time all around. Truthfully I was a little turned off by the pipe after that, and for a month I didn't pick it up again.
Spent some time online watching videos and reading up on how to pack it, smoke it, etc. About a month after that first pipe experience I decided to give it another try, a love it or leave it try. Got a few more MM cobs from pipesandcigars, around 7 different tobaccos, cheap pipe lighter, and whatnot. (I had to buy the other pipes because I had tossed the cob in the marsh/yard and the girlfriend's(now ex) dad ran it down with the lawnmower a day or two after. It felt so good to throw the damn thing I don't regret it.)
So the second smoke I had in a pipe was some latakia heavy GL Pease blend that I'd read nothing but glowing reviews about. Hated it again. Kept the filter in there because of all the junk I got in my mouth, so I avoided that at least. Still didn't pack it right and I had to relight after every third puff, very annoying for a cigarette smoker. The tobacco probably was too wet looking at it in hindsight, but I had no practice judging that kind of thing back then. Smoke tasted horrible to me again, but that was mostly because I am not a big fan of latakia. Sometimes I can smoke it, but mostly I smoke aromaticss. That is all personal taste so pay no real attention to it.
Third smoke I packed better in a different pipe with a Virginia blend that might of had perique in it. Was very long ago so I can't say for sure about the perique, but no latakia I remember. Less relights, but still had to light it up about 4 times. Still hated pipe smoking afterwards. No tongue burn but it still smoked hot (yes I know, my fault) and just wasn't pleasant to me in the slightest.
I gave up on pipes then. Gave the pipes away at halloween for people that needed them for their costumes, they knew I had them cause I bitched about it for a couple weeks after the experience. Tobacco got tossed because the latakia smell was stinking up my room and the GF(now ex) complained.
Gave up the idea of smoking pipes completely for 2 or so years after that. Also quit RYO cigs shortly after because the giant tax put on them. It was almost cheaper, and definitely easier, to just buy cartons of Pall Malls.
Two years ago I wanted to quit cigs, but still wanted to enjoy tobacco, I started looking into pipes again. I did more research about different kinds of pipes that are made. Briar, metal , meerschaum, etc. I decided to try a falcon pipe because the metal stem was supposed to give a cooler smoke and they are solidly built. Figured I could quit cigs and smoke the falcon, and just keep it in my pocket without fear of breaking it.
Well I got some boswells tobacco because of all the good reviews it gets on tobaccoreviews.com. Found a used falcon with an extra bowl on the bay that looked pretty good. It took a couple bowls to get packing figured out, but even with the bad pack job and bad smoking technique the experience was a lot better. It did smoke cooler it seemed like. I did get tongue bite the first time with it because I pulled to hard, but no off taste like I got with the cob at first. I improved on my technique and got it down to where I could smoke the whole thing without relighting in the next couple weeks.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. I quit smoking cigs finally with the help of the pipe (as well as support from people here). I ordered another cob as well. Something I could leave outside at work and not care too much if someone ran off with it. It has been almost everyday since I got it and has done a very admirable job. Smokes miles better than my previous experience with them. I can only guess that this is because of the knowledge I have now and not really anything to do with the pipe itself. still use filters in it because I pull to hard on occasion and I don't want stuff getting in my mouth. While I still would rather smoke from one of my metal pipes I don't dread smoking out of the cob at all. I like not caring about chewing up the mouthpiece, or leaving it somewhere, or dropping it in the water while fishing, or it getting rained on if I forget it outside in a thunderstorm, or whatever else might happen to a pipe. I briefly wished that I had stuck with the cob and saved myself probably a thousand dollars on all the pipes I currently have... Only briefly however.
So bottom line: Corn cob pipes aren't terrible.
I still recommend something else for a first pipe. If for no other reason than if you spend $20-50 on a new (or used) pipe you have a bit more invested, and in my case a bit more motivated in making it work out. IMHO a falcon(or the more expensive metals if you can afford them) is the ideal starter pipe because there is no chance of a bad drilling and they are a bit more forgiving. Changeable bowls for trying out different types of tobacco without worry of ghosting is pretty great as well... Sorry but I had to throw a sales pitch for metal pipes in there.