I was on the phone earlier this evening with my good friend Jeff Gracik, maker of the extraordinary J. Alan brand of pipes. We hadn't talked in a few weeks, so we spent most of the conversation catching up, talking about pipes generally, his pipes in particular, our wives and families, mutual friends and the upcoming Chicago Pipe Show. Amid this wide-ranging discussion, we touched (somehow, I forget how) upon Sébastien Beaud and the brand of pipes that he makes for Smokingpipes.com, Sébastien Beo. Not long after this, my wife reminded me that we had planned to go out to grab a bite to eat, so she and I headed out, but I mentally kept coming back to Sébastien Beo pipes. This line of thinking suggested itself as a post about a pipe brand that I think are particularly good value for money that doesn't get as much attention as I think it should.
I have a Sébastien Beo pipe very similar to the one depicted to the right. I have different pipes for different places and purposes. I've told lots of people that I'm not a great pipe smoker. I don't do all the stuff that pipe smokers are supposed to do: give pipes plenty of rest, rotate them etc. My Beo pipe lives in my laptop bag and has for some time, so it gets smoked pretty much whenever I'm traveling (which lately has been on a near weekly basis). And usually, since, as I said, I'm not a very good pipe smoker, I forget to pack other pipes and it gets smoked four times in a row across two days and then doesn't get smoked again for a few days. Repeat. It's a trooper. It smokes beautifully every time in spite of less than ideal maintenance. And I love it for it. And, as the most expensive finish in the Beo line, it runs all of $85.
It smokes great because it is a superbly engineered pipe. When I first approached Sébastien about making a line of pipes for Smokingpipes.com, I wanted to create something that had that classic French look, but sported the little engineering touches that make high grade, hand made pipes smoke so well, and could be offered for a price that meant that I could keep it in my laptop bag as my emergency travel pipe. Essentially, I wanted a highly utilitarian pipe that smoked like a champ. Sébastien delivered.
But what actually prompted me to write this little missive is that while they've developed a dedicated little following so far, the Beo brand isn't getting nearly as much attention as I think it rightly deserves. Of course, that's just the nature of a new brand. It takes time for folks to discover it. Which is exactly what I think you should do.
And while I'm thinking about it, I better go clean the little guy to get him ready for the next round of semi-abuse when I head out of town again next week...the great thing about great pipes is that if you take care of them just a little bit, they really return the favor.
Back in June, Alyson and I visited Sébastien Beaud, owner of Genod and maker of the Sébastien Beo pipes. We took lots of great video that day and I conducted an interview with Sébastien about Genod, St. Claude, and, of course, the new Sébastien Beo line. Enjoy!
I haven't written an introduction to the newsletter in some time. Ted, Eric and Adam have had that responsibility of late. But this week, with the introduction of the Sébastien Beo pipes, I wanted to grab the proverbial reins. A project Sébastien and I began working on together almost a year ago has now finally begun to come to fruition. We wanted to create exceptionally engineered, classically shaped French pipes. Well, specifically, I wanted him to create them and he was also excited about the project. No one, I promise, would want a pipe that I personally engineered...
We're super excited about these. Adam was just floored when he QC'ed them, far surpassing the expectations that I established by my cursory description before he looked at them. Fit, finish and quality are excellent. The engineering, modeled on Danish handmade pipes, is exceptional. The shapes, in their St. Claude style way, are delightful. And, importantly, ranging in price from $75 to $85, they're reasonably priced to boot.
Sébastien and I worked through the details together, beginning at the Chicago Pipe Show, and then when we went to visit him in St. Claude last June. Following those discussions, I was cautiously optimistic. Having now seen the first twelve dozen pipes, I'm ecstatic. Sébastien has done a marvelous job.
Joining the new Sébastien Beo pipes, you'll find other great selections from Peterson, Savinelli, Luciano and Dunhill. It's also an exciting day for tobacco releases, with new tinned blends from Cornell & Diehl and Daughters & Ryan, plus thirteen new Cornell & Diehl bulks, including a whole mess of blending components for the home blenders out there. Check it all out!
Last year, on our trip to visit pipe makers in France, Italy and Germany, Alyson and I made an important stop in St. Claude to visit Sébastien Beau, owner of Genod pipes. This was a follow up visit from a discussion we'd had in Chicago. I was interested in introducing Danish style engineering to a line of classically French pipes. Sort of a French on the outside, Danish on the inside approach (with apologies to my one Franco-Danish friend to whom this description could also apply). Sébastien had piqued my curiosity with the way he was talking about pipes and his thoughts on the factory that he had just purchased from the previous owner who he had worked with for a few years. Sébastien was younger, receptive to new ideas and we just generally got along rather well.
Just as important, I wanted to be able to offer the pipes for reasonable prices, less than Stanwells, perhaps in the same neighborhood of Peterson's less expensive pipes. At first, Sébastien thought I was asking for the moon. While we were in St. Claude, we started fiddling through the details. At first it still seemed like a challenge, but as we worked our way through it, it seemed increasingly possible. Well, that was almost a year ago.
After occasional correspondence since, Sébastien wrote me, almost out of the blue, to tell me that the first 144 pipes were almost ready.I was tentatively excited. It wasn't until they arrived that I knew that this little project had succeeded. Adam, who is one really hard guy to please, was floored by the quality of the internal construction: 4mm draft holes, chamfered tenons, fluted buttons, transitions handled as they should be. These are the sorts of things that excite Adam. And Adam was excited.
Yet they look like cool old French pipes. Generally on the smaller side (perhaps Dunhill groups 3-4), they're offered (at present) in twelve shapes, all cool older Genod shapes. Presented in three finishes, a sandblast, a contrast brown and a light orange, the whole package is quite fetching.
Sébastien decided on a shortening of his last name for the pipes, yielding "Sébastien Beo" as the brand, differentiating them from the conventionally engineered Genod pipes. I've smoked one of them three times now (they've only been here for four days) and I'm tremendously impressed. The pipe smokes like a charm.
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