To refer to the grain of this Cavicchi bent dublin as 'superlative' would be to damn with faint praise, and yet nary a 'C' can be found within the stamp. The obvious question, and one that gets tossed around here quite a bit, is 'Why?'
Back in 2009 I asked Claudio the same question, and while his response may no longer hold true, his answer at the time was 'pits'. Claudio is extremely diligent when assessing his briar for purchase and (lord knows) he will maximize the grain from any block. A terrific grain is a given, but the number of tiny pits that he can detect in a bowl, before it goes to stain, will ultimately decide the grade. For example, his famous Diamante (despite their intimidating size) will almost always be flawless from a pit standpoint and a '5C' will have fewer than a '3C'. Not trusting my old eyes, even with the benefit of glasses, I asked Adam Davidson to scrutinize this Dublin for pits and he came up with a microscopic '4'; usually far less than is present in most high quality smooth pipes. This leaves me wondering if my information is outdated, or if Maestro Cavicchi is just one supremely talented, super fussy carver. Ok, I'm not really wondering, it's the latter.
--R. 'Bear' Graves