The Hawkbill shape originates from the Italian school, and it's one that has pretty much remained there - it's rare to see one made by an artisan who isn't Italian. And to be honest, I'm left wondering why that is. It's distinctive, inherently charming in profile, and as a rule offers a natural fit in hand, with a pleasingly rounded bowl for good measure. Granted, it probably takes more practice to get the Hawkbill right, compared to a lot of older shapes, as the pipemaker has to produce just the right smooth curve to the long, aquiline shank in order to make the design both aesthetically pleasing, and to allow it to actually be drilled properly. Fortunately, Luigi Radice has likely made more of these than any other living artisan - he was a pipemaker at Castello when it first appeared there, decades ago - and he and his sons can be counted on to get it right every time.
- Eric N. Squires