I'll admit to having often been ambivalent regarding reverse-Calabash designs, though not from an engineering/smoking qualities perspective, mind you - I've heard many promising things about those aspects from those who have tried them. It's simply a matter of the required, drastic changes in proportions pipemakers are faced with in creating them. All that having been said, I think Rolando Negoita handles the theme better than most, and that he done so especially well here. Yes, the shank is quite a big volume, but a nice bit of taper, a defined transition, and broad, sturdy, yet also very crisp Rhodesian all work together to create a balanced, tight-knit composition. The finish works to this end as well, with the jet-black rustication of the bowl lending its end of things a sense of greater density and mass, while the broad, smooth shank's black-and-walnut contrast stain lightens its end, both in terms of shade and hue, and in the way displaying the flame grain of the flanks adds a more dynamic and active element.
- Eric N. Squires