The artisans at Castello have been producing a special, very-limited edition batch of briars for the IPCPR show for years now. And since we've been hearing more inquiries regarding them, this year Sykes made sure to scoop up several. Each shares this flowing, one might say almost Art Nouveau bent Billiard design, which combines easy, natural lines with a great, towering, deep-chambered bowl. Admittedly, I'm rather surprised at just how well they've incorporated this much bowl into a such a gently stylized shaping aesthetic, but then Castello hasn't been one of the top marques of the Italian school for generations without good reason.
This example, number 14 of 25 that were made, features a hell of a sandblast, to put it bluntly, which leaves the lofty-rimmed bowl covered in great, broad, and very well-defined ring grain from top to bottom. As you might expect, each of these pieces comes in a handsome presentation box, accompanied as well by a wonderfully supple leather pipe sock.
- Eric N. Squires