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 4 of 25 that were made, is presented in the smooth-polished and subtly warm Collection finish, gently contrasting a wealth of very fine flame grain that, in turn, itself interplays beautifully with the hand-shaped fluting which covers the bowl. 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