For years Smio Satou pipes sporting tsuisyu accents came few and far between, but of late I've gotten the impression that he's decided to make a whole bunch of them. Specifically, I get the impression because lately he's been sending us quite a bunch of them. As far as I know, he's the only artisan using tsuisyu on pipes, which I suppose isn't surprising given that this material is, in essence, sumac, the same labor and time-intensive lacquer used to create traditional urushi finishes, but made into a solid mass through applying and curing the stuff in many, many dyed, multi-colored layers. Of course, it wouldn't do to apply such a unique accent material to just any pipe, and fortunately for us all, Smio Satou doesn't make just any pipes; he makes drop-dead gorgeous ones, like this flame-grain and birdseye packed bent Dublin, for example, a substantial yet perfectly balanced number, finished in a rich amber contrast of sublime clarity.
- Eric N. Squires