Buddha belly bamboo is neither scarce (in fact, along with its cousin, Golden bamboo, it’s classified as bambusa vulgaris
(common)) nor, unlike the vast majority of the bamboo work that you and I are likely to run across, does the part used for ferrules have to be dug up. It’s a stem, not a rhizome. Though, following Roman Kovalev's lead, a few pipe makers have begun to incorporate BB in their work, to my mind, when it comes to Roman's brilliant employment of the stuff (to steal a title from a James Bond theme song) "Nobody does it Better".
Looking at the gorgeous, crazy-deep concentric grain, I started to remark aloud something brilliant along the lines of "Doc sure knows his way around strawberry wood". Mercifully, the thought never drew its first breath. This is briar, and scintillating grooves were not created by rusto-blasting, but through use of a unique, revolutionary blasting process & machine of Doc's own design and construction. A smidge over four and a half inches long and delightfully chubby, this BB squat Brandy actually does remind me of Buddha. Not one of the classical representations of Siddhārtha Gautama, but the chubby, laughing manifestation Budai (happiness and good fortune). While I can't guarantee that this amiable Kovalev Brandy will bring you good luck, I'm pretty sure that happiness will be a given.
R. 'Bear' Graves