We began carrying Vauen pipes back in June, on the prospect that they would do well with smokers looking for quality machine-shaped pipes that sport 9-millimeter filters. Thankfully, people love them! Only recently did we get another large shipment and the variety of designs became instant topics for discussion around the office. While most of us had never tried to smoke a pipe with a filter, aside from the Dr.Grabow or 6-millimeter Savinelli triangular-balsa, this was worth investigating. Those of us that tried them out were initially worried about the seemingly-restricted draw due to the charcoal-filled paper filter, but less aggressive puffing actually yielded to a slower-burning bowl with subtly different flavors. Of course, these can also be smoked sans filter, or fit with a 9-millimeter adapter (typically made of delrin and drilled 5/32" through the center like a standard tenon - though we do not carry these, yet).
As mentioned, the range of shapes and finishes on these pieces are what really grabbed our attention. Few companies make 9-millimeter pipes, and they are nearly all noticeable by a bulge in the shank to fit the apparatus. With Vauen, the design plays off of larger, tapered stems that hide the filter like a rabbit in a magician's hat. For the shapes that are not perfectly-turned cylinders (poker), cones (dublin), pear, etc. (with acrylic bowl bases and stems which plug directly into the bowl, cob-style), the designs often feature military mounts. These are all true mortise and tenon pipes, but appear much like Peterson System pipes by separation of shank and stem design. For the bowls themselves, very elegant shapes are produced, including a ball sitting atop a column, a billiard with an elegant keel, and a rounded-off paneled brandy. It's exciting to see these pipes and we are confident that they will do very well. Have a look at them, and you might be surprised yourself!