Though the Ardor name has been in business since 1974, the Rovera family's pipemaking goes back all the way to 1911 - a full century to this date. Since the introduction of the Ardor brand, the Roveras have (with a bit of prodding by Steve Monjure), produced a select few series in honor of certain members of the global pipe community. This year, it would seem, marks not only the Roveras' one-hundredth of pipemaking, but also the year Smokingpipes.com's own founder/president Sykes Wilford gets his pipe, as it were. They even let him design it, despite the fact that Sykes, like any true, hardened academic, is a complete danger to himself around hand tools of any kind. Fortunately, our resident pipemaker, Adam Davidson, was there to guide Sykes through the design process, ensuring the Roveras received a plan which would both capture what Sykes intended aesthetically, and still be doable while living up to Ardor's standards for engineering and smoking qualities (and also to ensure Sykes did not inadvertently skewer himself with a compass or become fatally entangled in a drafting board).
And so here it is: The S. Wilford Ardor Rhodesian, a sizable yet perfectly balanced number, deep-chambered, Italian in proportions, yet hinting at a bit of Danish influence in the simple beauty of its gracefully curving lines and single, cleanly-defined bead dividing upper and lower bowl. (Little surprise there - Sykes is a big fan of Danish pipe design, after all.) Though each pipe receives an individual finish, a deep-textured rustication in this case, all feature a boxwood mount.
- Eric N. Squires