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30 August 2012

What Hurts Often Instructs
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, August 23, 2012

       -Posted by eric-

Too often we never really appreciate something until it is gone. Right now, for example, I'm missing my sense of taste, which has completely abandoned me as of about two minutes ago, when Adam gave me a small lozenge from a packet in his desk drawer. Its color was a bright candy orange, its scent fruity and sweet, and its effects akin to gargling novocain. This wasn't a practical joke, mind you; he had a perfectly good reason, which also happens to be the reason I'm writing this. I've had a sore throat for days. And that has meant no smoking.

Not a puff, not a pinch of flake, not even a single draw on the most diminutive of cigarillos. It is, suffice to say, a real drag - especially since I've long found a good dose of nicotine to be uniquely helpful when engaging in any form of writing. Don't even ask me when the last time I had a thick, bloody, char-blackened steak was. What to do? Gargle salt water and wait it out, and steal glances to my left at the zip-lock bag I've stuffed with maduros, habanos, and coffee beans, knowing they'll taste all the better in the end, for having had to do without. Ditto to my right, where my pipe rack and numerous stacks of tins are haphazardly lined in array.

And furthermore, I can make an opportunity of it to advise anyone else to enjoy abusing their good health for as long as they have it. That's what it's there for: enjoyment. Never taking it out and giving it a playful thrashing is like owning your childhood dream car and never allowing it to leave the garage under its own power. Too many years of that and what do you wind up with? A mechanical neurotic; a basketcase of desiccated gaskets that, if finally taken out for a run will, at best, stumble twenty feet in fits and starts like a senile dog, shortly before finally seizing up in great billow of smoke. Better to drive it while you still have the chance, and keep things well-lubricated and limber with use.

On that note, it's one to our update - in which we find plenty to enjoy indeed. Artisans Paolo Becker, Michal Novak, Kevin Arthur, and Massimiliano Rimensi, a.k.a. Il Duca, all bring us fresh creations in a variety of materials, IMP presents us with a dozen new meerschaums, and Brebbia, Neerup, Savinelli, and Peterson all supply us with plenty of briar. Plus, of course, there's another big batch of estates awaiting perusal: a full seventy-two in all.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 4:00 PM | Link | 1 comment


29 August 2012

YWRC Smoker

       -Posted by eric-

smok·er [smoh-ker]

noun

1. a person or thing that smokes.

2. Railroads .
  a. Also called smoking car. a passenger car for those who wish to smoke.
  b. a compartment for those who wish to smoke.

3. an informal gathering, especially of men, for entertainment, discussion, or the like.

 

May 20, 1941 - America has not yet (officially) entered World War II. If you were to mention the "anti-smoking craze", the average citizen would likely respond with an incredulous look and a diplomatic nod, perhaps followed by an utterance of "Uh, huh. You don't say, fella? Well, I must be going." And in the town of Milford, Connecticut, the ladies of the local Young Women’s Republican Club were wondering why their husbands were so keen on collectively disappearing on selected evenings, going off to smoke those stinky pipes and cigars, drink that awful scotch, to lose money at each other at cards, and to return home in the early morning exhausted and disheveled. What could be the fun in that? Well, there was one way to find out. They gave it a go themselves. And to the good fortune of posterity, a photographer from LIFE magazine was at hand to document the debauchery that followed.

Cards? Smoke? Check and check:

 

And check:

 

Assemble an impromptu strip-tease troupe? Why not:

 

Wrestling? Well, it would be another six years before the lines "Anything you can do I can do better; I can do anything better than you." would first be sung, but these girls weren't going to wait:

 

The audience, well on their way towards producing a proper pea-soup strength tobacco-fog, certainly seemed appreciative:

 

At some point, a kindly park ranger apparently stopped by to help the maid light her cigarette. Certainly nothing unusual in that:

 

All in all, it appears to have been a rousing success. Goldilocks here, for example, evidently rousingly succeeded in discovering the simple joy, no doubt long kept a carefully, jealously guarded secret by her husband, of losing at cards:

 

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 2:30 PM | Link | 2 comments


28 August 2012

Tom Eltang's Early Career
 A long road to fame...

       -Posted by sykes-

"The best decision I ever made was to become a pipe maker," says Tom Eltang as he sands a billiard that will soon make its way to South Carolina to Smokingpipes.com. I'm sitting in Tom Eltang's workshop as I write and we've discussed everything from the political situation in Botswana to manufacturing in China, but the conversation, as it always does when I'm with Tom, returned to pipes. Tom Eltang is now one of the most successful pipe makers in the world today. But it has been a long road.

A Tom Eltang pipe also stamped 'Pipe Dan'

Tom first went to work with Anne Julie in 1974. She had taken over the operation when her husband, Poul Rasmussen, died in 1968, and continued to run it as a small operation for the following few years. Tom, who had wanted to make pipes since he was a little boy, had a three year agreement for an apprenticeship with Anne, but at the very end, a position opened at the famous Pipe Dan shop as a pipe repairer. At the time, Pipe Dan had a full time craftsman repairing fifty or more pipes a day. When the repairman died suddenly, they were scrambling to replace him. P. E. Hermann, a briar and pipe making supplies importer, connected Tom with the Pipe Dan folks and Tom became the new repairman for Pipe Dan. The repair work proved to be not quite a full time job for the young Tom Eltang and he also made pipes at pipe Dan, making perhaps two hundred during his three year tenure there.

In 1980, Tom set out on his own, moving into a new workshop he shared with cabinetmakers, and continued to make pipes for Pipe Dan. Many of those pipes, like most Pipe Dan pipes, bore both Tom's name and the shop name. During this period, Tom also made pipes for a German importer under his own name.

Stanwell, the largest and most famous of the pipe factories in Denmark, had long maintained a pipe maker on the road visiting shops in Germany and Switzerland to demonstrate pipe making. In 1982, the craftsman who made these trips for Stanwell died and again P. E. Hermann, having heard this, mentioned the opening to Tom. Tom jumped at the opportunity and found himself on the road in his little VW Polo with pipe making equipment, visiting shops at least six weeks a year in three trips. Tom and a representative from Stanwell would visit the shops for three days at a time, finishing half-made pipes in front of throngs of pipe enthusiasts. The pace was grueling, with extremely long days and constant travel. This continued for four years, until the birth of his second daughter, Sara, while he was on the road in Germany. At that point, he decided he was done with the German pipe tours.

Tom's relationship with Stanwell continued, with Tom finishing the Stanwell Golden Contrast series until 1995. Indeed, Tom continues to design shapes for Stanwell to this day. During this whole period, Tom of course continued to make pipes under his own name that were sold to various shops in Denmark and Germany. The Stanwell Golden Contrast series pipes were made from bowls that Tom specifically selected at the factory and then finished the same way he finished his own pipes.

Tom suggests that his iconic Golden Contrast stain was actually first developed by Bjorn Bengtsson, but he's not certain. The stain itself (actually a two part stain that oxidizes on contact) had been used for black dress pipes previously. The insight was to sand the black stain off, creating the contrast between the harder wood that didn't take as much of the black stain and the softer wood that did, thereby highlighting the grain. Regardless of who first came up with the idea of the stain, it has been in Tom's hands that it has become famous.

During the late 1980s and parts of the early 1990s, a difficult period for many pipe makers, Tom had to find work in addition to pipe making. He always continued to make pipes, but other work here and there was necessary to support his young family. Tom says he was always a full time pipe maker and worked a full schedule pipe making, but at the time, this just wasn't enough. As the 1990s progressed and the pipe market improved, Tom Eltang began to receive the recognition that he deserved. He made his first journey to the Chicago Show in 2001 and moved into his present, now rather famous, workshop in 2004.

Tom has made pipes for almost forty years now. It's easy to forget that the extraordinary popularity and success that his pipes now enjoy is relatively recent, really just the past decade. Yet Tom has always felt it was special to be a pipe maker. It's good now with the global reputation he has and far more demand for his pipes than he could ever satisfy, but for Tom it was always good because it was always about the pipes. As Tom says, "It's good to be a pipe maker!"

Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

  Sykes Wilford: Founder/President








Posted by sykes at 1:43 PM | Link | 0 comments


27 August 2012

New "Gallery"-Style View Goes Live Today
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, August 27, 2012

       -Posted by sutherland-

Good news, everyone! Introduced with today's update is our snazzy new "gallery" style product-view format for items featuring more than one photograph. No longer will multiple shots of a pipe be hand-stitched together into one big image file; rather, you'll now be able to consider each side, each angle, individually, as if you were attending your own private art show, thumb and index finger placed contemplatively on chin.

You might notice the lack of a copyright stamp on the photographs. We're still trying to sort out the best way to handle this and yet still maintain an efficient workflow, but of course, all images are sill copyright by Smokingpipes.com. That said, we don't mind if you share them; as a matter of fact I still get a kick out of seeing our photographs posted in forums and what-not. We just ask that you give us credit or link to us.

So give the new format a test-drive. It's featured on many of the great pipes going up today-- pipes from the likes of Former, Senatorov, Tsuge, Rinaldo, Radice, Castello, Butz-Choquin, Savinelli, and Peterson, along with estate pipes from England and Italy.

This update also features beautiful new humidors from Savoy, new sticks from Alec Bradley with which to fill them, pipe cases and tobacco pouches from Dunhill and Savinelli!

Lastly, we've received more tins of Mac Barren's HH Old Dark Fired Tobacco. "Mac Baren has hit one out of the park." says Rudolph A. in a customer review, and from my own experiences with this blend, I'm inclined to agree. So, if you haven't tried this one yet, I highly recommend picking a tin or three up.

John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer

 John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer








Posted by sutherland at 4:00 PM | Link | 3 comments


23 August 2012

2012 Journey to Denmark Begins
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, August 23, 2012

       -Posted by sykes-

By the time you read this, I'll be in Denmark. Having only been in the country for a few hours, I'll likely be in no condition to write cogently, so I'm writing this newsletter introduction a couple of days in advance. I make this trip annually, always around this time of year; it's something of a pipe pilgrimage, visiting the small Scandinavian country that has given the pipe world so much. This year, Ted Swearingen, Smokingpipes.com's inestimable General Manager, will be with me on his first such trip. While I did the Denmark visit solo for a few years, the last three trips were all accompanied, first by Tony Saintiague (who was then GM of Smokingpipes.com), then by Kevin Godbee, owner and editor of PipesMagazine.com, and finally by Jeff Gracik, maker of J. Alan pipes.

To say that Denmark is a special country for pipes would be rather understating it. This little country has more pipe smokers per capita than anywhere else in the world. It boasts two of the three largest pipe tobacco factories in the world. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century it was a center for pipe factories and workshops. And, of course, it was the birthplace, in the late 1940s and 1950s, of the modern high grade pipe. When Sixten Ivarsson decided that a pipe could be shaped entirely freehand on a sanding disk and, therefore, pipes could assume a myriad of forms, he utterly changed the face of pipe making the world over. Almost all artisanal pipes are today made using methods that were pioneered by Sixten or one of his students. Most of today's top pipe makers were taught by students of Sixten or by students of students of Sixten. It's no stretch to say he influenced hand-made pipes to a greater degree than any other person, ever.

Last year when I was in Denmark, I had the opportunity to video a lengthy chat I had with Lars Ivarsson about his father and about the early decades--through roughly the 1970s--of Ivarsson pipes. We finally got that wrapped up and up on the blog on Tuesday and you can find it here.

Over the next few days, Ted and I will visit with ten pipe makers and visit Mac Baren. While you're reading this, Ted and I will likely be spending time with Tom Eltang in his workshop. We'll keep you updated with blog entries along the way and, hopefully, manage to take some great video for us to get up on the site when we get home.

For now, though, I hope you enjoy tonight's update, including pipes from two famous Danes: Former and Peter Heeschen, along with a bevy of briars from pipe makers the world over. You'll also notice that we're running a summer Lampe Berger sale, offering products to mollify those around you and, hopefully, let you continue to smoke your pipes sans complaint, by clearing and scenting the air. I've found a compromise where I get to smoke my pipe indoors and my wife gets to burn scented oils has aided considerably in domestic tranquility. Apparently, while you can't put a price on domestic tranquility, you can put it on sale…

Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

  Sykes Wilford: Founder/President








Posted by sykes at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


21 August 2012

Video: Interview with Lars Ivarsson
 On Location, Denmark, August, 2011

       -Posted by sykes-

Almost a year ago to the day, I was at Lars Ivarsson's home in the north of Sjaelland, Denmark's largest island. Pipe maker and friend Jeff Gracik made the trip to Denmark with me and he kindly helped take the video presented here. Also present were pipe maker Nanna Ivarsson, Lars' daughter, and her sons, including Sixten (named for his great-grandfather) who makes a brief guest appearance in the video too.

I've long wanted to document Lars' stories of the beginnings of Sixten's career in the 1940s and 1950s, which marked the beginnings of what we think of as Danish modern pipe making today. Without Sixten and those he taught, hand made pipes would be very different today. Sixten's story is central to the larger pipe narrative of the last seventy years and no one is in as good a place as Lars to share those stories.

Anyway, I'll let Lars tell the rest of the story:

Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

  Sykes Wilford: Founder/President








Posted by sykes at 11:34 PM | Link | 0 comments


Purdue: Class of 1941 Pipe

       -Posted by adam-

Purdue: Class of 1941 pipe

It's that time of year again, when students begin returning to college for the fall semester; it was always my favorite time as a student. Growing in up Indiana and living just thirty miles north of Purdue University, I only applied to one college; the university founded by John Purdue in 1869. Nicknamed "Boilermakers" by a reporter in 1891 who was describing the football team, the name stuck. Part of the Big Ten, and having nearly 40,000 students, I'll try to refrain from gushing about my Alma Mater, but I sure did love the place when I was a student from 1999-2003, studying Industrial Design and being part of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Fall has always been my favorite time of year because there is so much hope, excitement, and pride oozing from everyone on campus. It helps that it was football season too! Drew Brees was slinging the football while most students had been participating in "Breakfast Club" before the game, everyone was hitting up local hangouts, and there was always the chance of getting a very cool and eccentric teacher for the first time.

There is no doubt that there is a certain level of energy on a college campus. It's the first place many of us spend living away from under our parents' roof, meet new friends from outside or hometowns, and of course discover some very weird people, protests, and huge parties. If I think back to my first day of orientation, I remember the speaker telling all of us to look to our left, and then to our right; one of these people wouldn't graduate. College is fun, but it's tough. I had my first "all-nighter" working on a design project when I was a freshman, and by senior year was used to not going to bed on any Tuesday nights. My final week of college in 2003 had me finishing projects and studying philosophy, religion, psychology, sciences, and history, and stretched me well past the point of exhaustion. I went to bed Sunday night and didn't sleep again until Friday afternoon. Needless to say, I haven't done that since. Part of a college education is learning not only various subjects, but trying to balance tasks and put up with a lot of seemingly unnecessary stresses. When you graduate from a college or university, there is a sense of accomplishment that can't be taken away.

And what should happen to come in a batch of estate pipes today but a pipe made as a gift for a 1941 graduate of Purdue University. The pipe is actually English-made, stamped "Middleton Selbur Briar" and tacked on the front of the bowl is "19 P 41". I've seen a pipe like this from Michigan class of 1918 before. I would imagine these were a common gift for graduates long ago. 1941 must have been a very interesting year to graduate college, to put it mildly. When I see an estate pipe like this, I wonder what sort of history and stories it has. Did the graduate go off to war? Did he pursue his chosen career? One thing is certain, though, he sure must have been proud of his school. Hail Purdue!

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector








Posted by adam at 10:45 AM | Link | 2 comments


20 August 2012

A Steak, a Beer, and Chirstmas Cheer!
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, August 20, 2012

       -Posted by adam-

As is often the case with foodies, which I consider myself to be, new flavors and textures are things we not only seek out, but try to spread the word about to our friends. This is also true for pipe smokers, is it not? Of course it is. There are always those instances when we might find a rare tobacco and want our friends to enjoy it as well. (Then again, if the tobacco is really good and the supply is limited, we might decide to keep our comments to ourselves until a substantial amount of the tobacco newly-discovered is safely tucked away in our smoking dens.)

This past weekend I had a few new experiences, which Eric and I discussed face-to-face this morning regarding food and drink comparisons while puffing on a pipe and a cigar, respectively. As you may have picked up on by now, beef steaks, blackened on the outside and still clinging to life on the inside, make up the primary staple of Eric's diet, so I asked him if he would like to drive up to a family-owned meat market about twenty minutes into North Carolina. It's a rare site these days to find a mom-and-pop market that not only butchers their own select meats, but also smokes them in-house as well as offering high-quality cheeses and salamis, and even home-made lasagna and salads. I picked up a hard salami variety that I would otherwise have to have shipped from New York City, along with a loaf of their fresh, crusty French bread. Eric picked up one of the same salamis, some provolone cheese from Italy, as well as a pair of thick ribeyes (beautifully marbled) to see him through the weekend. For me, luring Eric into finally seeing this place was part of my informative-foodie personality. It made me happy that he not only liked the people, selection, and quality of foods there, but also that he will now go back because they are simply the best around regarding quality and fresh selection.

Also on my radar are good beers from around the world, and there happens to be a fantastic selection at a grocery near my home. There is not only a store manager there, but a specialized beer and wine manager as well. He goes out of his way to share his passion for the products his store can acquire. A friend of mine asked him to buy a smoked beer from Germany, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen. The order was so small, we had to ask the manger to get us two from the back, as they are not even on the store shelves yet. While my friend loved it (and I did too), the flavor and aroma hit a singular olfactory memory for me; Latakia AO 1860 snuff. Fantastic beer this is! Pipe puffers who enjoy smoked beverages such as Islay whisky or Lapsang Souchong should seek it out.

We here at Smokingpipes try to get the best selection of pipes, cigars, and tobaccos and are always happy when someone comes to our site or physical store on the recommendation of a friend. Working hard to be able to introduce, share, and educate consumers about the best products available is what anyone passionate about such things would try to do. And with that, you can see a selection of fine new and estate pipes tonight, as well as Macanudo cigars. McClelland Christmas Cheer is in stock, and even though we just ran out of the highly-desirable Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired, be sure to check back soon for more to arrive!

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector








Posted by adam at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


17 August 2012

Mac Baren Dark Fired Has Arrived!

       -Posted by eric-

HH Old Dark Fired 100g

There are certain tobacco blends which, due to the importance of some difficult to acquire ingredient, the need for just the right leaf, or the key role of a particularly involved special process, are available only in limited batches - no matter how high they've been rated or how popular their approval. Fortunately, when such a blend does reappear, ready for the market, you can count on Smokingpipes to be one of the very first to make it available. Isn't that's why we issue these special, seat-of-the-pants, irregularly-scheduled updates, after all? Well, having said all that, there's only one more question to ask: Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired, anyone?

 

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 6:03 PM | Link | 0 comments


16 August 2012

Christmas Cheer 2012 is in the House
 Newsletter Supplement for Thursday, August 16, 2012

       -Posted by ted-

It should be mentioned that as we were scrambling today to put together this Thursday’s update, we were simultaneously engaged in hurryingly unpacking somewhat of a gigantic shipment that we’d just received from the good folks at McClelland. This was no ordinary delivery from Mike and Mary McNeil, mind you; this is the day we got in Christmas Cheer 2012. That this blend is newly available is important news and worthy of a second, more focused broadcast, we believe.

And so we’d like to bring to your attention in a most particular way the long awaited arrival of one of the most popular seasonal offerings we’re lucky enough to present each year at Smokingpipes.com. McClelland’s Christmas Cheer; coveted by many a pipe smoker for its generous helping of vintage Virginia, and naturally sweet smoking characteristics, this year’s blend is sure to age exceptionally well considering how complex, though nuanced and smooth, it is fresh from its tin. Be sure to pick up more than a few right out of the gate, because once it’s gone, it’s gone and no two Christmas Cheer vintages are alike.

While we’re at it, it should be observed that we’ve also released a handful of other new blends by McClelland this afternoon. Be sure to check out Contest Blend, Holiday Spirit, the particularly exciting Stave-Aged 35, as well as another new Craftsbury option in Frog Morton’s Cellar. And last but not least, M-94 and M-95 join rank with the rest of our McClelland bulk tobacco selection.

 








Posted by ted at 5:15 PM | Link | 0 comments


A Visit from Ryota, Our Man in Tokyo
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, August 16, 2012

       -Posted by eric-

Ryota Shimizu, our "man in Tokyo", was back stateside this week, working in person with Sykes. Well, "back stateside" in the sense that he, as an American, was back in America. As a Californian, he was in the South for the second time in his life. Since American food (outside certain franchise chains) is hard to come by in Japan, Ted has been seeing to it that Ryota gets to enjoy all he can while the getting is good. So it came to be that last night I joined the two of them, along with Ted's wife Shelly, in partaking of great slabs of Southern barbeque ribs, followed by relaxing with pipes, cigars, Zombieland, and a bit of some very smoky whisky.

Following our little screening of comedic undead mayhem, Ted, Ryota, and I turned to the traditional male smoky-drinky ritual; i.e. swapping off-color anecdotes and discussing our various observations concerning the world. As you might expect, Ted and I had a lot of questions about Japan - Ryota's been there for years, and as an American himself, who is also fluent in Japanese, he could relate things to us from a shared perspective and background. Take, for example, the adoption of Western pop subcultures by Japanese youths. Hip-hop and rap music and fashion have a sizable following over there, large enough that specialty clothing stores catering to the scene are well-established. In order to brand themselves as having "street cred", it became common for these retailers to hire young men who could pass as the genuine American hip-hop/rap article to stand outside their storefronts and entice customers to come inside and look around. The quirk was, of course, that Americans who go to Japan for prolonged periods do so largely as teachers, engineers, photographers, and under other such forms of skilled labor. The result? Ryota , as an American, basking in the surreal experience of being approached by a young Sudanese fellow who spoke very little Japanese and possessed absolutely no understanding of English, and who proceeded to give him a sales pitch based entirely on the premise of his pretending to be an American.

After we'd all had a good chuckle, I pointed out that the emulation of "Hollywood" rebel images by young Japanese wasn't entirely new: There are classic black and white Japanese films featuring young characters who fully embraced the rock'n roll hooligan image of 1950s America. In retrospect it leaves me wondering if decades ago there were ever any, say, Galatians or Estonians who somehow found themselves in a similarly confusing predicament as the gentleman from Sudan did when he approached our Ryota. As the saying amongst writers goes, one of the difficulties with writing fiction is that it needs to be more believable than reality itself often deigns to be. And on that note, fifty or sixty years ago, who would have believed that the art of the pipe, or the artisanal blend, would have reached the level that it has today - or that the average pipe man, be he in America or Japan, Brazil or the South of France, could be presented with an instantaneous update of the freshest tobacciana offerings, all made readily available out of small office on the coast of South Carolina? But that's where we've come to - and that's just what we have for you today.

This update brings us fine new pieces from Peter Heding of Copenhagen, Michael Lindner of Michigan, and Canadian artisan Michael Parks; fresh briars by Ardor, Brebbia, and Savinelli of Italy, Peterson of Dublin, and Danish numbers by Neerup, as well as the Turkish meerschaums of IMP. Joining those, you will of course also find a bevy of estates, as usual, plus a last-minute addition of seven newly-arrived blends by McClelland.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


13 August 2012

Introducing the Talented Sergey Senatorov
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, August 13, 2012

       -Posted by sykes-

The summer always seems to be the season for new pipe makers at Smokingpipes.com. Last week it was the talented Greek Chris Asteriou. This week, it's Latvian pipe maker Sergey Senatorov. The process of beginning to work and getting up to speed with a pipe maker is a fairly elaborate one, with examples of their work going back and forth so that we can see and handle their craftsmanship and style in person, discussions on philosophy of design, and a general period of getting to know one another. Usually, pipe makers contact us. Sometimes, we'll see examples of a pipe maker's work and contact him or her. But ultimately it's all about the pipes. We represent most of the best pipe makers in the world, which, I think, gives us a particular good vantage point from which to spot new talent.

In Sergey's case, we actually saw a couple of his pipes come through as estates before we started talking with him early this year, giving us a head-start on the whole aspect of handling his work in person. We were impressed enough that I reached out to him personally, and, as fortune would have it, he was as excited about the prospect of working together as I was. When the new pipes finally arrived (after a tremendous postal delay; we suspect that they were routed through Nairobi, Hong Kong and Sao Paolo as they made their way to us from Latvia) we were floored by the quality, execution and shaping, especially given the modesty of his pricing.

From a wider perspective, it's fascinating to see pipe makers of such considerable talent pop up outside of the traditional pipe making centers of Denmark, Italy, Japan, and England. In 2003 I was interviewed by Pfeifenbox.de, a German/English pipe news website that was popular at the time. There was some discussion about the aging of the world's top pipe makers, and the fear that the craft would die with that generation. At the time, I was sanguine: I was confident that we would see lots of new talent appear over the coming years. Moreover, I suggested that, because of the internet and globalization, that it would be a global rather than, say, solely a Danish or German phenomenon. Since then, we've seen a profusion of pipe makers from Eastern Europe, Russia, the United States and elsewhere outside the established pipe making centers become prominent. And yet, at the same time, we've seen also fresh faces in Denmark (Lasse Skovgaard and Peter Heding are household pipe names; keep in mind that the interview was nine years ago) and Germany (Jorgen Moritz and Frank Axmacher come to mind, though there are many others), while the likes of Cornelius Manz and Kent Rasmussen, who were discussed as up-and-comers in that article, have become established greats since then.

I have no particular talent for prognostication, but I'm certainly glad I was right about this. Pipes have never been better and the world has never seen this present profusion of highly talented, young artisan pipe makers. It's an unprecedentedly fine time to be a pipe smoker or collector.

Joining the remarkable selection from Sergey today, you'll find as well a vast update of some 171 pipes, including selections from Castello, Radice, Tsuge, Savinelli, Sebastien Beo, Peterson and others! Plus, you'll find the spiffy new Peterson pipe lighters on the site too. Check 'em out!

Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

  Sykes Wilford: Founder/President








Posted by sykes at 4:00 PM | Link | 6 comments


Broken Pipe: Giancarlo Guidi
 Passing of an Italian Pipe Making Legend

       -Posted by sykes-

Just prior to the sending of today's newsletter, I was saddened to hear that Giancarlo Guidi, founder and principle of Ser Jacopo, passed last Monday, August 6th, succumbing to stomach cancer. He had continued to work, making pipes and overseeing the Ser Jacopo workshop, until June. Guidi was a guiding light for the Italian pipe world. It is difficult to imagine Italian pipes today without his artistic influence. He co-founded Mastro de Paja in 1972, leaving a decade later to found Ser Jacopo in 1982. The group of brands that we now think of as belonging to the 'Pesaro School' of pipe making are all made by men who, at one time or another, worked for and were influenced by Giancarlo's passion. Arguably to a greater degree than any other, Giancarlo Guidi's artistic vision has defined and driven Italian artisanal pipe making for the past forty years.

I only had one opportunity to meet Giancarlo, in Pesaro, in 2010. The man loved pipes like few others and, unsurprisingly, was a devoted art student. We overcame considerable communication barriers and enjoyed a remarkably thorough 'discussion', mostly consisting of pointing and facial expressions, about Ser Jacopo pipes and their design language. I had long admired Giancarlo Guidi and that time with him was a real highlight for me.

Having guided Ser Jacopo for three decades, Giancarlo spent much time recently to ensure a smooth transition and to map a plan for Ser Jacopo going forward into the future. Ser Jacopo lost its founder, sadly, but it, and the Pesaro School at large, will not have lost his vision.

Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

  Sykes Wilford: Founder/President








Posted by sykes at 2:56 PM | Link | 0 comments


09 August 2012

IPCPR 2012
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, August 9, 2012

       -Posted by ted-

This last week Sykes, Susan, Bill, Tracy, and I were away from the office and down in Orlando, Florida on account of the 80th annual IPCPR show. This was my first time in the Sunshine State and indeed it lived up to its reputation as being a very warm and humid locale in the summer.

By and large this particular convention stays focused on the cigar side of the tobacco industry, and so naturally, we all ended up acquiring and smoking dozens of them during our seven day expedition. However, and perhaps needless to say, as our attraction ever is and ever will be smoking pipes of the highest quality, we did too obtain a bold and bountiful company of fresh new briar that’s sure to quickly trickle past the threshold of our site soon enough. We also picked up a handful of new accessories you’ll want to keep an eye out for during the next few weeks.

In the meantime, there’s plenty here already to keep you busy. To start, for the very first time at Smokingpipes.com we’re offering the work of up and comer Chris Asteriou, a young Grecian industrial designer-architect with a forte for pipe carving. Also up is new work from the talented Grego Lobnik and ever-popular Lasse Skovgaard. You’ll also find the latest from Randy Wiley, Claudio Cavicchi, Winslow, Ashton, L’Anatra, Nording, Savinelli, Peterson, and Stanwell. And what Thursday update is complete without a whopping 72 estate pipes to add to the fold? Oh and be sure to check out Cornell & Diehl's latest concoction, Guilford Flake!


Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager Ted Swearingen: Vice President, General Manager








Posted by ted at 4:00 PM | Link | 1 comment


08 August 2012

Eighteenth Century Remedies Involving Tobacco
 Don't Try These At Home

       -Posted by adam-

The Country Housewife’s Family Companion (1750)

Being a fan of 18th-century life and general history, I recently came across a book that was written in 1750 by William Ellis (an Englishman) called The Country Housewife's Family Companion (1750). Ellis wrote a number of books about farming, agriculture, and general knowledge he discovered during his travels that might help others with tips, tricks, and home remedies. Below is a compilation of various uses for ailments involving tobacco as an ingredient. It goes without saying that NONE of these should be attempted, but hopefully some of you will find this as amusing as we did!

For those of you who might be interested in picking up a copy of the book, you can find it here, courtesy of Prospect Books.

Tobacco --Is an herb by some accounted wholesome, by others unwholesome. Tobacco, says Dr. Archer, physician in ordinary to King Charles, smoaked in a pipe, is very attractive of moist and crude humours, as water and phlegm out of the head and stomach; and thus it makes a pump of the mouth, for the benefit of some few, and detriment to the health of many others.--It is not good (says he) for those that are of a hot, dry, and cholerick constitution, nor for sanguine people, who are not troubled with rheums distilling upon the lungs. It is bad for the teeth for two causes, from its own heat from a burning oil with the smoak convey'd to the mouth, and from the frequent flux of rheum from the head to the teeth.--It is (says he) bad for the eyes, because the smoak carries such a hot oil with it, that weakens the eyes by its force upon the brain, drawing from the optick nerve.--It is good where cold and famine cannot otherwise be helped, for it heats the body, and defrauds the stomach by offending it, and so there may be the less appetite or craving for food. If chewing it is good for any, it is for those that have cold rheums distilling from the head; on this account I heard a physician say it is excellent, because it alters its cold nature into a hot one, and thus prevents its damaging the stomach and lungs; it is also by its smoak very serviceable in preventing contagious distempers, and therefore is commonly thus made use of by surgeons and others in hospitals, &c. Now to improve this narcotick herb, drop a few drops of oil of anniseeds into an ounce of it, it gives it a pleasant taste, and endues the smoak with several wholesome properties.

A Labourer's Finger stopt bleeding by Tobacco.--One of our day-labourers, that was plashing a hedge, happened to cut his finger with a bill, and was at a loss how to stop its bleeding, till another labourer, working with him, took a chew of tobacco out of his mouth, and by applying thereof stopt the bleeding at once.

The Traveller's Remedy for curing the Itch.--As most of the begging travellers have now and then the itch, they that know the following medicine say nothing exceeds it.--After taking as much flower of brimstone as will lie on half a crown, in a spoonful of treacle, three mornings fasting, they boil salt and tobacco in urine, and rub their bodies over with the same three times in all, and wear the same shirt a week, two, or more.

A very strong Ointment for the Itch.--Beat stone brimstone, then mix it with soap, hogslard, tobacco, and pepper, boil and strain all through a cloth, after taking sulphur inwardly; anoint with this three nights.

How a Man accustomed himself to cure his Tooth-ach with Henbane-seed.--This man named Richards, lying at Rinxsell near Gaddesden, when troubled with the tooth-ach would first put some tobacco into the bowl of a pipe, and some henbane-seed on that, then tobacco, then henbane-seed, till his pipe was full. This he smoaked, and declared it had such virtue as to make worms come out of his teeth, to the cure of the tooth-ach, for that time; for this man never smoaked, but when troubled with the tooth-ach, and then it was in this manner: And no wonder it thus effects a cure, since it is of a stupifying nature like tobacco. It grows in yards and dry ditches, and has pods that hold much small seed.

How a Smith in Hertfordshire cured his Family of the Itch, without Mercury or Sulphur.--This man's family was dreadfully infected with the itch, brought to him by a journeyman, but cured by first taking flower of brimstone inwardly three times, and then anointing twice with a liquor made thus: He boiled two ounces of tobacco in three pints of strong beer, till a third part was consumed, with a piece of allum in the same; and others have since been cured by the same remedy, wearing the same linen for a week.--This remedy I am sure is a very good one, and as it has no mixture of mercury is not dangerous, nor offensive, as it is free of the smell of brimstone.

To cure the Tooth-ach.--Dip a little lint in tincture of myrrh, and put it in or upon the tooth; it is an excellent remedy.--Or stamp a little rue, as much as can be put into the ear, on that side the tooth achs, it will cause a noise, but makes a cure in an hour's time.--Tobacco ashes will clean and whiten teeth well.--A certain cooper burns the rind of ashes, wets them, puts them on leather, and lays it behind his ear, to raise a blister; which cures the tooth-ach, or other pain in the head.

A Wen cured.--Mrs. Roberts, of Shedham, about two miles from Gaddesden, having a wen many years almost under her chin, and as big as a boy's fist, could never get it reduced, till by advice she smoaked tobacco, and from time to time rubbed the wen with the spittle of it; this by degrees wasted the wen, and entirely cured it.

A most potent Remedy for curing the Itch.-- Take tobacco stalks, allum, hogslard, and powder'd salt-petre, the three first must be put into a full quart of strong beer, and when it is warm, the salt-petre must be put into it by degrees, for if it is put in cold, it will lump; the whole must be boiled well into an ointment.--If sulphur in treacle is first taken, I think no itch can resist the remedy; but for a more cleanly one, the following is made use of by some.

How a young Woman lost several of her Teeth.--She tells me, that for curing her tooth-ach she smoaked henbane-seed; secondly, a mixture of tobacco and brimstone; thirdly, gunpowder and salt, in a rag held on the tooth; fourthly, salt and pepper; fifthly, spirits of wine; sixthly, spirit of hartshorn: These at times she smoaked, and applied, to the loss of several of her teeth. Some say, spirit of soot used once a month cures the scurvy in the gums.

The travelling Beggars Way of clearing their Bodies of Nits, Lice, and Fleas.--I believe I may affirm it for truth, that no county in England is so much frequented by beggars as Hertfordshire; and upon asking them of their method of curing the several diseases they are incident to more than others, they tell me that, for clearing their bodies of lice, they boil copperas in water with hogslard, and by rubbing it over their bodies, no lice have power to bite them; on the contrary, it will make them forsake the cloaths they wear, and not damage their skin.--Another says, he is clear of lice by anointing the waistband of his breeches with oil of russel, but this I doubt.--To clear the head of lice, first open and part the hair here and there, then cover the bole of a lighted pipe of tobacco with a linen rag, and blow the smoak into the places, which will make the lice crawl to the outmost parts of the hair, where they may be easily combed out.--To prevent and destroy fleas, boil brooklime, or arsmart, or wormwood, in water, and wash the room.--Or lay the herbs in several parts of the room.

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector








Posted by adam at 2:30 PM | Link | 1 comment


06 August 2012

New Flame
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, August 6, 2012

       -Posted by sutherland-

A couple Monday mornings back, I had returned sleepily to our office ready to dive (or at least, slip) into my work week. But then, just after sitting down at my desk, I noticed to my great dismay that the bamboo shank on my Peter Heeschen Brandy was splitting, and horribly! Now, this was no fault of Peter’s - his work is of the highest level of craftsmanship. The pipe had been damaged in some fashion before I received it, and time and smoking worsened it to the point where it was in serious need of repair. Woe was me. Woe is me.

I needed a rebound-pipe; something to help soothe my aching heart. I took solace in the arms of a little Italian Pot - a Rinaldo - that I had kept noticing in the estate section every time I walked through our store. This pipe is everything I think a Pot should be: a proportionally large bowl canted slightly forward, just-so, and draped with flame grain, birdseye topping its ever-so-slightly rounded rim, and a thin shank and stem all of about 3 inches in length. Like my Heeschen and my old Dunhill Tan Shell before it, I often catch myself staring at the Rinaldo as it sits behind my keyboard.

Given the recent acquisition of this great little smoker, I was, of course, excited to see a bunch of new Rinaldo pipes appear on Pam’s desk. I generally light up whenever a new carver or brand comes in, but this felt like kismet. Doesn’t hurt, either, that I’m generally a fan of Italian pipes, especially those of heavy Given the recent acquisition of this great little smoker, I was, of course, excited to see a bunch of new Rinaldo pipes appear on Pam’s desk. I generally light up whenever a new carver or brand comes in, but this felt like kismet. Doesn’t hurt, either, that I’m generally a fan of Italian pipes, especially those of heavy Pesaro influence. If you harbor similar tastes, I strongly encourage you to check out the six fresh Rinaldo briars we have going up on the site today.Pesaro influence. If you harbor similar tastes, I strongly encourage you to check out the six fresh Rinaldo briars we have going up on the site today.

In addition to the aforementioned Rinaldos, today we also have a great selection of briars by Chacom, Johs, Brigham, Savinelli, and Peterson, along with estates from Italy and England. For you cigar lovers out there, we’ve also got new sticks from Joya de Nicaragua, Oliva, and CAO all available this evening. A bevy of new Lampe Berger lamps and fragrances have just arrived as well, so look for those in today’s update, too.

John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer

 John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer








Posted by sutherland at 4:00 PM | Link | 2 comments


02 August 2012

Experimentation and Conclusions
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, August 2, 2012

       -Posted by eric-

Some of you may recall, shortly before the Fourth of July, I wrote about how I would switch to smoking a cigar for that special day due to various aesthetic (and fuse-lighting) reasons. Well, I'll confess that sort of backfired - since then I've been neglecting my pipes to sample my way through a good portion of our brick & mortar's walk-in humidor. Granted, our shop is, like our website, tailored towards specializing in pipes, so our humidor only takes up one room, whereas a lot of other local places have essentially their whole store as one big humidor (complete with perpetually dripping, fogged-up windows). But Bill Lloyd still keeps a great selection, plus having it concentrated into one room of a 100-year old building, the aroma, aesthetics, and "feel" of our hardwood-floored humidor beats the typical detached strip-mall construction most of the Myrtle Beach area's cigar-centric shops are located in. And then there is the generous employee discount...

And yet, although the past several weeks have taught me an appreciation for cigars, it's also emphasized for me some of the undeniably advantageous attributes of the pipe as well. Put simply, smoking a pipe is unbeatably inexpensive. And by "inexpensive" I do not at all mean simply "cheap", a term we typically use to indicate low cost alone. Owning a good pipe or two provides a means of enjoying some really stellar tobaccos at a mere fraction of the cost of smoking anything else. That's just how it is. A cigar is a cigar, and they have their own unique attractions (and I have certainly narrowed down some definite favorites), but for sheer variety and ease of cost (which leaves one with that much more freedom to sample, share, and experiment), the pipe cannot be beat. (And good luck tweaking a particular cigar's blend to perfectly match your liking by mixing in a touch of tobacco from another.)

A good cigar can be a very good experience, yes, but therein lays another of its limitations. It's an experience. You smoke one, and it is gone. A pipe remains. Like the folding knife that lives in my right pant pocket, the Beo bent Billiard that lives in my left jacket pocket has been a constant companion. If someone who knows me walks into a room from which I've just previously made myself absent and sees a Tatuaje resting on the lip of an ashtray, wisps of smoke rising into the air, they might ask if it was mine when I returned. If they walk in and find my pipe propped up against the ashtray instead, they don't need to ask. They'll see it and know, "That's Eric's pipe. He can't be far."

And so it is that pipes are what we bring you today. Lots of pipes. Dozens and dozens, indeed: the works of Pohlmann, Novak, and Satou each make themselves present; meerschaums by IMP are accounted for; a broad selection from Ardor, Brebbia, Neerup, Savinelli, and Peterson would like to introduce their selves. Lastly, but not by any means the least, there's plenty of estate pipes cleaned, inspected, and looking for new homes.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 4:30 PM | Link | 0 comments


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