Ask three different people where the Ikebana grading system ends, and you should expect to get three different answers. Part of the reason for this is, quite simply, that they only get rarer and rarer as you go up the alphabet, and so too do the odds that anyone you ask has ever seen, or even heard of say a "K" or "N". Look at it this way: we've been selling Ikebanas received directly from Tsuge for years, and still only have a mere ten "H"s in our archives as new pipes, and just three as estates.
Though the artisans of the Ikebana workshop have gone on to create their own, distinctly Japanese style, there's no denying the early influence of Danish masters Sixten and Lars Ivarsson - the elder's framed portrait hangs in their workshop. And looking at this straight Dublin, what I'm seeing is a Japanese interpretation of a very Sixten way of doing things; a towering bowl, a just-right cant, a fine, slim transition and shank, and a long horn ferrule leading to a slender saddle stem. Overall, it's a lovely and well-balanced set of lines and proportions, made all the more beautiful by the gorgeous grain of not only the briar, but of the horn accent as well.
- Eric N. Squires