This startling, gorgeous rendition of the Calabash, courtesy of Russian-American pipe maker Alex Florov, was one of those pipes at this year's West Coast Pipe show that absolutely enchanted just about every visitor that wandered by the Smokingpipes.com show room spread. While the shape is marvelously elegant, it's the strikingly polished (and removable, albeit rather hard to do since it uses a rubber gasket instead of cork) bowl cap, swirling in marbleized beige and highlighted with daub of bright walnut-red, that really captures the attention and admiration of this fan of the carver. Additionally, the briar itself is handsomely grained, boasting a mix of straight and flame grain around the bowl's profile and along the length of the shank. This is tremendous work and certainly worthy of Alex's Slonim stamp.
-- Ted Swearingen