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30 November 2012

Why Briar, Anyway?

       -Posted by bryan-

Man whittling

Think of a tobacco pipe, and the first image that pops into most people's minds is a briar pipe. Oh, sure, most of us have a few non-briars -- a meerschaum or two, maybe a "Missouri meerschaum" corncob, a clay, perhaps a prized calabash -- but most of the wood pipes are briar. It's not too difficult to find pipes made from other woods, such as cherry or olive, and there are lots of other exotics out there, but, still, briar is the standard.

Briar isn't just the usual material for a pipe, it's become a synonym: You can use the word "briar" in place of "pipe" in a sentence and it will make perfect sense. But why is that? How did briar become the most accepted material, more or less, for tobacco pipes?

The traditional story, repeated in almost every history of pipes, is that a French businessman was traveling through St. Claude in the early 1850s, when he stopped to spend the night at an inn in a little village. Some versions of the tale have it that he'd left his meerschaum pipe behind at his previous stop, others say that it had broken in his saddlebag. Either way, he was horrified at the prospect at facing an entire evening without the solace of a good smoke. Asking the innkeeper for advice, he was directed to an old woodcarver who promised to have something ready for him by the morning. Sure enough, at breakfast the traveler was presented with a beautiful pipe carved out of briar. As the French say, voila. The briar pipe suddenly became wildly popular and everyone lived happily ever after.

Personally, I say that story smells worse than a handful of old, dry oak leaves stuffed into an uncleaned churchwarden. (The pipe, not the person.) Let's see... a woodcarver in a then-obscure rural village just happened to have a chunk of properly seasoned wood, gathered from the root burl of a tough old tree that has little other value. Then, skipping those steps in the process that are hugely labor-intensive and require years of foresight, the woodcarver, without a pattern from which to work, was able to solve all the problems of chamber size, wall thickness, draw hole positioning and stem placement overnight?

At least we weren't asked to believe that the Pipe Fairy left a polished bent brandy with beautiful flame grain under the traveler's pillow. In a village that soon became the center of carving pipes from briar, a large supply of which just happened to be locally available. Well, why not? After all, I believed everything that nice gunnery sergeant told me at the recruiting station 35 years ago.

On the other hand, it might have had something to do with the fact that other materials being used to make pipes just weren't able to meet the demands of a growing pipe-smoking population. Not only was the demand for pipes in the 1850s increasing, but the way pipes were being used was changing: Instead of being exclusively smoked at a home hearthside or in a pub -- London even had smoking clubs where men would gather to enjoy a bowlful or two -- people were carrying pipes with them.

The stone pipes originally used by the American Indians, from whom we learned the joys of tobacco, are slow to make and heavy to carry. Clay pipes, the most common material for European pipes for a couple of centuries, were easily broken. Ceramic pipes, which had become popular in the Low Countries (Holland and its neighbors) were more expensive than common clays, but not much more durable, particularly when carried around. Meerschaum was, and still is, obtainable only from a fairly small area of Turkey. Plus, meerschaum is a fairly soft stone and can easily break.

That leaves wood. It's relatively cheap, easy (sort of) to work and is less likely to break than the other materials that had been used. It seems likely that the traditional story of the origin of briar pipes is probably just a convenient just-so story told by someone who was enjoying a nice pipe in the company of friends.

But why briar, specifically? Well, that's another story. You'll just have to be patient, while I look for my pipe.

 

Bryan R. Johnson is a freelance writer who lives deep in the North Woods, where pipes and tobacco are delivered by dedicated men on snowshoes.








Posted by bryan at 12:00 PM | Link | 5 comments


29 November 2012

The Grail of Pipe Luggage Found
 Pipe Briefcases and Pouches from Claudio Albieri

       -Posted by sykes-

I first met Claudio Albieri a few years ago. We chatted at the time, making small talk about our shared passion for pipes, but short of a bit of camaraderie nothing really came of it. This past September, I saw him again at the Dortmund Tabac Fair in Germany. I wasn't deliberately seeking him out and would probably have missed him had he not been sharing a booth with our mutual friend, pipe maker Gabriele Dal Fiume, who was right next to another mutual friend, Mimmo Domenico of briar cutting fame.

When I first arrived at Gabriele's booth, I was immediately impressed with his set up and presentation, especially the selection of various colors of leather to skillfully set off his pipes. And upon closer inspection, the leather was that sort of clean, vibrant, soft, Italian leather against which all other leather is compared. The sort of leather that makes women swoon, or, failing that, at least coo appreciatively and insist on picking it up to feel its texture and breathe in its scent. We got to talking about pipes and I started picking out some of Gabriele's lovely pipes for the site. That's when Gabriele then went to his briefcase for something. While I can barely dress myself, even I still know what a really fine handmade Italian leather briefcase looks like, and Gabriele most definitely had one. I was impressed.

But then Gabriele showed me that it was actually a pipe bag and a briefcase and a laptop bag, and in short order I was the one swooning like a Russian noblewoman in a Tolstoy novel. We temporarily abandoned the pipe transaction to have a conversation with Claudio, who, this whole time, was right there waiting for Gabriele and me to finish business so he could to talk to me.

I saw two examples that day: Gabriele's, bright yellow with brown trim, and Claudio's, blue with yellow trim. In my case, well, dark hair aside and Italian-American wife aside, I'm just not Italian enough to pull off a blue briefcase. It seemed just a bit daring for me (or, frankly, most American pipe smokers I could think of; I'm a bit jealous that I'm not as cool as the Italians I know, but at least I recognize that I'm not; it takes a certain panache to pull off a blue briefcase that I simply lack... but I digress...). So, as things progressed we settled on more sedate and earthier colors for most of the bags that would ultimately end up on Smokingpipes.com (the black and red roll-up is still pretty bold-looking in its own way).

The work was stunning. I immediately and unhesitatingly decided that we really needed to carry these on Smokingpipes.com. I love them. It's like someone finally made the thing I always wished existed. After years of cramming my trusty Martin Wess 5-pipe bag (which, to be fair, has been an extraordinary companion for ten years) in my laptop bag (which, to be fair, is a piece of junk that came free with a laptop... two laptops ago), the prospect of a pipe bag and a laptop bag in one, with space for a book, my Kindle and assorted other odds and ends (all 838 cables I seem to travel with these days) seems so extraordinarily liberating. And I'd be tastefully sharp-looking and all Italian and stuff, which is something my wife has been trying to make happen (with little success) since we met. I'm on the road thirteen or fourteen weeks a year, which doesn't exactly encourage acquiring an impressive wardrobe. But briefcases and luggage are really important to people who spend more than a quarter of their lives living out of them.

They only arrived two days ago, but I've been dropping hints to my wife about Christmas since September. Of course, I'd told her the whole story and shared pictures of them with her. So, hinting, basically came down to: "and you know that pipe briefcase; you know Christmas is coming; you know you could call Ted; hint...hint." Subtle. I know. But I really hope she caught it...

Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

  Sykes Wilford: Founder/President








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


An Artisan's Dilemma
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, November 29, 2012

       -Posted by adam-

Life is full of choices, and it's up to us to decide what is best for us given various situations. I'll refrain from discussing moral topics or those involving struggles of necessity, but drift over to the side that all of us think about from time to time, and especially around this season: Stuff! It's no secret (even here) that I like good food; buying it, making it, dining out, or - most often - buying choice ingredients to make something at home or in the office for my friends and co-workers. In the end, you often get what you pay for. Making it right is the key, really. One could get a perfectly marbled rib-eye steak and ruin it in a hundred ways. Similarly, one could use the finest cloth, leather, briar, or anything else as a raw material, and muddle it up into a solid disaster. So, given the choice, many choose to buy something good as a luxury, as opposed to trying to make it themselves, but how does one measure worth? Not everything can last a lifetime, but a great many things - including pipes - can.

As an artisan, I'm one of those weirdos that sees something really cool and immediately wants to make it [yeah, this is true for food and pretty much anything that doesn't involve computers, gasoline, or a phone-book sized instruction manual]. When my wife first wanted a purse handbag for her birthday a few years ago, she sent me a link to a site that carried Marc Jacobs handbags. At the time (*please see weirdo), I suggested to her that I make one. Suffice to say that this was my first time trying to make a purse handbag, failure ensued. Fortunately, making some pipes to sell to Smokingpipes helped me buy her the one she originally wanted, and I must fully declare how impressed I was when it arrived. The leather is of fantastic quality and the details throughout the design proved its worth to me.

Only a few days ago, Sykes showed me the new leather bags from Italian artisan Claudio Albieri. Not only are they of superb quality materials and craftsmanship-wise, they're also just really smart designs that have clearly been well thought-out in terms of offering something that both looks great and is also very functional. How many pipe cases have you seen that will carry your laptop, too? Sykes has a blog going up really soon which goes more into detail, so I'll simply say that you've got to see these pieces. One thing I'll point out that these bags are all made by an artisan; not a factory. Just like great handmade pipes, you'll notice the extra care that goes into making them.

Tonight you can find not only the new bags from Claudio Albieri, but a fantastic variety of pipes to whet your appetite. Claudio Cavicchi, Maigurs Knets, Scott Klein each have especially impressive pieces going up, as well as always-popular Ashton pipes with staggering blasting details. L'Anatra, Randy Wiley, Winslow, Nording, Savinelli, Peterson, Brigham, and six-dozen estates combine to make another - always different - update from the folks here at Smokingpipes.

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








Posted by adam at 3:55 PM | Link | 0 comments


27 November 2012

New 4th Generation Pipe Tobacco by Erik Stokkebye

       -Posted by ted-

4th Generation by Eric Stokkebye

As if this holiday season couldn't get any better, what with all the exciting, fresh offerings we seem to have been able to release in the last few weeks, we're pleased to announce today the launch of a whole new line of pipe tobacco: 4th Generation. This new line, consisting right now of four blends, is the brainchild of Erik Stokkebye, and it celebrates, as the name implies, four generations worth of passion and toil in the world of luxury pipe tobacco, having begun in Denmark in 1882. Though Erik has been in the tobacco business his entire life, and while he played a role in helping his father Peter develop some of the world’s most popular (and tasty) pipe tobacco blends, 4th Generation represents the first four blends that he's created solely.

This is high quality tobacco, folks. And it promises to be beloved right out of the gate. So be sure and act now. I know I'm dying to get my hands on some! Who doesn't love new pipe tobacco?


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








Posted by ted at 2:05 PM | Link | 2 comments


26 November 2012

Holiday Diplomacy
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, November 26, 2012

       -Posted by eric-

Black Friday has past, and now Cyber Monday is upon us. The gift-giving season approaches implacably, jingle-bells jingling with every step of its inexorable tread. Or so I have rather vaguely gathered from overhearing others - like so many unrepentant bachelors, I have only the most fleeting and insubstantial awareness of most holidays, excepting the one or two that tend to involve females dressing in a particularly provocative manner at parties. Nonetheless, even I can put two-and-two together eventually, particularly when I start hearing the words "special promotion" occurring with ever-increasing frequency about the office.

And yes, as you may have already guessed, that's just what we have for you today - and doubly so. Firstly, from now up through December 31st, all Smokingpipes customers can expect to receive 10% any Lampe Berger fragrance lamps, as well as the fragrances themselves - plus a full 20% off of all Easy Scent products, too. If you're a married man, this might occur to you as particularly advantageous towards acquiring certain pipe or tobacco purchases during this special time of the year. Let the watchword for this season be: Diplomacy. On that matter, I'll say nothing more, but let us pretend I've just nudged you with my elbow and let loose with a conspirational wink. Assuming the missus isn't watching, that is.

And, well now, speaking of conspirational, wouldn't you know it - we're also offering free shipping on all orders over $50. Pure chance, that. Pure chance also that this offer is also good up through December 31st - the exact same timeframe as that other offer I was talking about. You know; the one on all those lovely, decorative fragrance lamps and their various aromatic oils, and such. Some coincidences are just too hard to believe.

Well, enough dwelling on life's curious little circumstances, we have an update to roll out. Today you'll find going up on offer several new lamps from Lampe Berger (nudge), a sharp-looking humidor from Savinelli, a convenient ashtray-and-stand combination by Peterson, plus the introduction of both Savinelli's flavorful little Apertif cigars, and a limited-edition Borkum Riff blend. Of course, for the main attraction, we then have pipes - lots of pipes. Amongst them you'll find the works of the renowned Wolfgang Becker and the fresh, new Michal Novak, plus some very fine Dunhills, all on top of dozensupon dozens of briars from of Tsuge, Johs, Luciano, Chacom, Stanwell, Savinelli, and Peterson - not to mention a good selection of English and Italian estates.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 4:01 PM | Link | 0 comments


21 November 2012

Black Friday Begins Today!
 Newsletter Introduction for Wednesday, November 21, 2012

       -Posted by ted-

If it seems as if we've just sent to you one of these loquaciously long-winded, rhetoric laden newsletters, then I'd like to open by setting the record straight: we did. As previously mentioned, we've prepared our Thursday update for you folks a day early to skirt around the holiday (for your sake, honest). And with it comes a newsletter a day ahead of schedule as well. How else are you going to learn about all the nifty things we're up to 'round here? How else are you going to discover just what we've got up our sleeve for Black Friday?

Oh but before we get to all this business about Black Friday, and specials, and discounts, and what have you, you should really take a look at the new and improved Pipe Locator that Randy has been working on for the last few days. He's really suped-up the way the site handles these kinds of searches; you'll find improved functionality, extra filters, and pretty, pretty pictures. It's all very exciting, and while I'm tempted to type here in great length exactly why it's such an improvement over the 'old way', you're really better off just clicking through to play with it yourself. Besides, you don't want to read all that. No, what you really want to know about now is our Black Friday special, don't you?

I'm really looking for a clever way in, you guys; a carrot to dangle or a rabbit to pull out of a hat, something that sparkles and shimmies with jazz hands, you know? We really want to present something exciting and it needs to be announced the right way. On the other hand, we don't want to hype up anything too much, we'd hate to distort the expectation. QUANDARY!

All right, out with it...

We're offering 10% OFF of all pipe tobacco. Yes, this includes BOTH the tinned and bulk variety. We're running this special from this moment until Monday 9:00 AM EST. On top of that we're, of course, still running our Peterson promotion through the end of the month. Oh, it's a good time to be a pipe smoker, isn't it? It's also a good time to be a gift buyer.

Speaking of gift buying, pipe smoking, and excellent deals, be sure to check out the rest of our update, which includes fresh pipes from Tom Eltang, Kevin Arthur, Ardor, Ser Jacopo, Savinelli, Mastro de Paja, and Peterson, in addition to a bombardment of seventy-two recently restored (many of which are unsmoked) estate pipes. Golly!


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








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


The Pipe Locator Gets an Overhaul

       -Posted by eric-

What's new today? Well, as of about three minutes ago I received an email I'd been waiting for from Randy, our in-house website developer, letting me know Smokingpipes' new-fangled, bleeding-edge, fool-proof, free with (or without) every purchase, handy, dandy, all-natural, aphrodisiacal, and generally indispensable-to-a-gentlemanly-lifestyle search function is up and running. The long and short of it is that our new search system will allow you to apply multiple filters from a variety of categories to perfectly tailor the results to just what you're looking for. And it's just in time for holiday shopping (sheer coincidence, we assure you).

Let's say, for example, that you get an itch for a smooth Billiard with a vulcanite stem. All you need to do is pick "Billiard" from the shapes drop-down menu, "smooth" from the finishes menu, and "vulcanite" from the stem material menu, click the "Find it!" button, and, huzzah, up pops the results. Now let's say you want to pare it down a little closer: You only want a Danish or English Billiard, say. There's no need to go through everything all over again – just pick "Denmark" from the country menu, then after that, "England" (it will save each option you select), and hit "Find it!" again. You'll notice that each option you pick will instantly appear in a list just below the relevant menu, each with a little red-and-white "X" symbol you can click to remove it from your specifications. In this way you can change things up freely and without fuss.

So, try it out and have fun with it, and if you're feeling up to it, you're even welcome to have a go at getting it to bug out - Sykes and Randy have tested it as much as two men are able, but if there's a glitch hiding in there that we haven't stumbled across yet, we'd like to know about it. We're always trying to improve what we have to offer our customers here at Smokingpipes, after all - which of course was the whole idea behind this project in the first place.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by eric at 3:00 PM | Link | 0 comments


19 November 2012

Here's to the Season
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, November 19, 2012

       -Posted by brandon-

Alright, so here we are. The Christmas season is upon us. Life is suddenly filled with Christmas lights, holiday TV specials, and family gatherings. I know what you're thinking... "Not another shameless commercialized plug for a product purchase." Well, forget it. I'm coming to you today filled with the spirit of the season, sitting in my garage, sipping one of my favorite brews and puffing on some Penzance in my beloved Billiard.

Now I have to admit, I'm a bit of a romantic when it comes to Christmas. It's not difficult for me to imagine an era long since passed, an era where men where men and women were women. Small town streets filled with the hustle and bustle of the shopping season. A loping V8 passing by, with the crackling radio sounds of a brass section accompanying Bing into a chorus that would woo any woman.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. As a matter of fact, I think the very reason many of us originally became pipe smokers is romanticism. We're throwbacks to another time, however, in a good way. This being said, I'd like to challenge all of you to pick up your pipe, and pack it with your favorite tobacco. Strike a match and relish those first few puffs in the name of pipe smokers everywhere. Here's to the season, and here's to you.

Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager

 Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager








Posted by brandon at 4:11 PM | Link | 1 comment


16 November 2012

A SmokingPipes Thanksgiving 2012

       -Posted by sutherland-

This week saw our annual company Thanksgiving. Tradition dictates that Adam cook the turkey, but this year he upped the ante, delivering not one but two birds... and a ham. The rest of us pitched in with assorted side-dishes and desserts, while productivity ground to a screeching halt (and remained below par for the rest of the work day).

I'm particularly proud of my contribution: a cranberry-horseradish cream. This type of thing is very much out of my culinary wheelhouse, but I decided to take a gamble because it sounded interesting, and becase I love horseradish-flavored anything. The recipe:

Dump a twelve ouce bag of fresh cranberries into a saucepan, and remove about half a cup to use later. Also add a cup of sugar, a little orange or lemon zest, and two tablespoons of water. Cook over low heat until the sugar melts and the cranberries begin to soften, around ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Crank the heat up to medium, adding the remaining cranberries about half-way through, and cook until the cranberries explode, about ten minutes. Remove the pot from heat, and fold in one-third cup of sourcream and one to two (or maybe three) tablespoons of horseradish. Lick the spoon clean, and serve the cream chilled as a dipping sauce for your turkey, ham, fingers, etc.

As usual, I was running around poking my camera in folks faces:

 

John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer

 John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer








Posted by sutherland at 10:37 AM | Link | 2 comments


15 November 2012

Happy Worksgiving!
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, November 15, 2012

       -Posted by sutherland-

As I am typing this (it's Wednesday), Adam, our resident foodie, is cookin' up turkeys and ham for our company Thanksgiving, or "Worksgiving" as I like to call it. Later today we'll feast on a smorgasbord of meat, stuffing, casseroles, desserts, and all manner of cranberry-themed goodness (including a cranberry-horseradish cream I'm contributing to the event). We'll be sure to get pics up soon - maybe there will even be a few of myself in a food-coma.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, as you may know this year the American version of the holiday falls on Thursday of next week, which of course coincides with our second update. We'll be updating the site a day early on Wednesday, November 21, instead, so no need to peek under the dinner table at your smartphone, or sneak off to a computer to see what's new.

As for this week's Thursday update, we're releasing into the wild pipes by J. Alan and a few pieces from J&J. What's interesting about this pairing is that it allows us a small glimpse into the young-American pipe scene. Jeff Gracik, a.k.a. J. Alan, is an established and well-respected maker, and his pipes in this update showcase quite a range of what he is capable of doing. John and Jared, the dynamic duo behind J&J, are up and coming in the American scene, and while it is said Jeff has played a great role in their mentorship, the two have quickly established their own "voice", and we're proud to offer their work.

We also have great new pipes from Ashton, Cavicchi, L'Anatra, Randy Wiley, Winslow, Nording, Savinelli, and Peterson. Lastly but not leastly, if you happen to be in the mood for something vintage, check out the seventy-plus estates on offer.

John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer

 John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer








Posted by sutherland at 3:42 PM | Link | 0 comments


12 November 2012

Something Sweet for the Season
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, November 12, 2012

       -Posted by ted-

As a pipe and pipe tobacco retailer you might imagine that we respond to our fair share of customer inquiries that sound something like "which blend is better, X, or Y?" Or, "if I like [this] tobacco, what might you recommend in the way of [that]?" Or, "my favorite mixture isn’t made anymore, what might you suggest in its place?" We receive a lot of queries similar to these (and many more), and we’re happy to oblige in the best way we can with our humble opinions and gentle advice.

And as daylight fades a little earlier each night, and as the temperature begins to change around the country from warmish to coldish (coldish being about as far as we ever get down here in South Carolina), I can't help but notice that we're seeing from our customers a lot more interest in (and we're responding to many more questions about) those sweet, seasonal-style aromatics that seem to pair so well with the upcoming holidays. It's happening around the office too, as John is determined to polish off his tin of Peterson Christmas Blend 2012 as quickly as possible, and Brandon has become positively dedicated to smoking Mac Baren's Vanilla Cream Flake each and every morning. The offices of Smokingpipes.com smells like heavenly confection, just as it should this time of year.

I'm not a big aromatic smoker myself these days, yet now even I am tempted to break out an old favorite or two when skies are gray and the days are offering a hint of chill. Something about a warm pipe and a sweet tobacco is just perfect.

And as far as pipes go, today's update brings a great selection that are indeed just waiting to be warmed up by the gentle smoldering of a good blend. This Monday we have on offer fresh works by the Italian artisan Gabriele, English classics and collector pieces from Dunhill, affordable hand-shaped Danish briars from Johs, and batches of trusty smokers from Tsuge, Peterson, Savinelli, Luciano, and Stanwell - as well of course plenty of estate pipes, too. Joining all of those you'll also find new lighters from IM Corona, pipe tampers by Brigham, and cigars from both Rocky Patel and Romeo y Julietta.


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








Posted by ted at 3:58 PM | Link | 0 comments


09 November 2012

The Road to Pipe Land
 SmokingPipes.com Welcomes Brandon Bellegrande

       -Posted by brandon-

The Bellegarde Family Arives

1,200 cubic feet of mobile storage, two cars, a wife, a three month old, a five year old and exactly 1,086 miles… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Though at times it felt that way, it’s not. It’s the logistical makings of my journey to join the Smokingpipes.com team.

You see, several months ago I realized my hobby of all things tobacco pipe had turned into an obsession, and simultaneously, as the pipe gods would have it, Smokingpipes.com discovered their new found desire to hire a six foot, bearded, pipe-smoking Norseman.

So here I am, working in the promised land of pipes, handling pipes that have craftsmanship trickling out of every grain. Imagine… That pipe you’re smoking right now was once a chunk of briar, shaped and sanded into nothing short of engineering bliss, and I get to be a small part of the artisanal process that gets that pipe in your hands and loaded with your favorite tobacco. Isn’t fate sweet?

 

Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager

 Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager








Posted by brandon at 11:04 AM | Link | 2 comments


08 November 2012

West Coast Pipe Show 2012
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, November 8, 2012

       -Posted by adam-

The fourth-annual West Coast pipe show, an event my wife and I look forward to every year, was held in sunny Las Vegas this past weekend. With most other pipe shows, the carvers that attend are usually flying solo, but quite a few wives, of carvers and collectors alike, appear at this one. Perhaps it has something to do with a venue that is not only exciting in and of itself, but that also features a free shuttle to a massive shopping mall on the strip (which just happens to be flanked by about a million-and-a-half other attractive lights, sculptures, shops, and restaurants) that makes our better halves willing to accompany us without even the slightest bit of coaxing.

Pipe guys like to browse a wonderful selection of tobacciana, as well as hang out with each other over coffee in the mornings and pints slightly later (everyone seems to take the time change into consideration when at pipe shows). I was lucky to get five full days in Vegas this year with my lovely wife; arriving early in the morning on Thursday and leaving very late Monday night. Pipe shows are great times to meet up with friends we might only see one time a year; twice, if we are lucky. Ted and John held down the Smokingpipes tables where quite a few face-to-face introductions were made with many of you. It's always great for us to meet with customers as well as other artisans, and quite a few pipes from many artisans will eventually make it to our site, as well as a staggering variety of lovely estate pipes we acquired, once they get cleaned and refurbished.

When it all began, some people were wondering just how well a pipe show would do in glitzy Las Vegas. Everyone attended the first year on a gamble [pun!], but after the show ended that Sunday and everyone was saying their goodbyes, many people I was speaking with were already planning on what they would do at next year's. As it turns out, my wife and I finally made it to the Grand Canyon this time, as well as seeing (per my wife's request) a David Copperfield show. John, Ted, and I all sampled some wonderful rare tobaccos, as well as a few blends that were just released (stay tuned!). Quite possibly the most fun show around, Las Vegas is definitely something to put on your radar for next year. Until then, check our updates on Mondays and Thursdays to see some new wares freshly-offered, and choose a tin or two to bundle up with as the winter's cooler weather begins creeping in.

Now, for today's update we have great handmade pipes from Michael Lindner, Ardor, and Ser Jacopo, in addition to briars by Savinelli and Neerup, plus meerschaums from IMP. This update is also happens to be packed with Peterson's, each just begging to be purchased with a free tin of Peterson tobacco, our promotion this month. There's also lots of estates to be had, as well, a full seventy-count in all.

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








Posted by adam at 4:03 PM | Link | 0 comments


05 November 2012

Smoke and Mocha
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, November 5, 2012

       -Posted by alyson-

It’s been a hectic time here at Smokingpipes over the past several weeks. Along the usual preparations and traveling involved in the run-up to the Vegas show, there have also been numerous special projects, regarding which most of us here have a hand in more than one at a time. Two things that have helped greatly keep us sane have been steady supplies of both quality tobaccos, and good, strong coffee. As it so happens, this Monday’s update brings us two new smoking blends, one each from Brebbia, and the renowned GL Pease. And of course, we’re fortunate enough to have plenty of our own branded blends of coffee at hand as well – the “Brazil Moreninha Formosa” and “Kenya AA”. Believe me, they are indispensable. If you’ve ever wondered what it is that allows us to keep up with the torrential workflow necessary to produce our big, bi-weekly updates of pipes, cigars, tobaccos, and accessories,  you can get a taste of it yourself easily enough, just by checking under our “Gifts” section, where both blends are offered to all and sundry.



But for now, let’s get down to the main course. Today we bring you fine pieces by Rad Davis, Luigi Radice and sons, Castello, and Rinaldo, plus great selections from Tsuge, Peterson, and Vauen, and an outright huge pile of fresh Savinellis. Joining them are estate briars from the Irish and Danish, two new tinned tobaccos, and finally the introduction of the excellent, much-awaited “Mi Amor Reserva” by La Aroma de Cuba.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter








Posted by alyson at 4:43 PM | Link | 0 comments


01 November 2012

Vegas Bound
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, November 1, 2012

       -Posted by sutherland-

I'm excited. Why? Ted Swearingen and I are leaving tomorrow, flying out to Las Vegas for the Fourth Annual West Coast Pipe Show! I've never before been to Vegas, and spending my first trip there with a horde of pipe guys (and occasionally gals) seems like a pretty good initiation.

Will any of you fine folks be there? If you find yourself in attendance, please do stop by and say "Hello". I love meeting customers at these events; in fact, it may just be my favorite thing about pipe shows. This job is pretty great, but actually chatting face-to-face with folks who are on the other side of our internet connection always gives me a renewed sense of purpose.

But that's this weekend; let us now focus our attention on today. November has begun, and with it we bring you a new promotion: Buy a Peterson pipe, get a free tin of Peterson tobacco! We run this promo around this time each year, and it always goes over like gangbusters. It's a good chance to try out Peterson's 2012 holiday blend or the new Hyde Parke, both released earlier this week, as you might recall, and both of which have proven to be mighty popular in short order.

And of course, we've got pipes - just shy of two hundred-and-fifty go up on SmokingPipes today in total, including some beautiful new pieces from Peter Heding, Benni Jorgensen, and Maigurs Knets (one of which has to be seen to be believed). There is also a full six-dozen Savinellis here, including series new to our site, such as the Long John. Enjoy, and hope to see some of you this weekend.

John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer

 John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer








Posted by sutherland at 3:56 PM | Link | 2 comments


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