Great Paolo Becker shaping is at play in this sandblasted bent Stack, with an easy, sinuous motion of the shank and stem flowing into the transition, remaining smooth up top but progressing into an acute spur at the heel - followed in turn by a return to soft, easy lines for the bowl. Rather than a jarring effect, said spur acts like a pause, akin to the sudden hush of a musical piece before it continues in a greater, rising volume and more dramatic tempo. As for the finish, Paolo went with a strong contrast, yet muted palette: black-and-tan for the strawberry wood and a black-and-darker-tan cumberland for the stem. The choice of a shade darker material for the stem was a good call to my eye, allowing everything to match while keeping the pipe as a whole from becoming too monochrome.
- Eric N. Squires