If memory serves (and often it doesn't) Lasse began to stamp his 'best of the best' with the Lion around April of 2007; a move that I personally felt was needed because, while sometimes grading categories can get well out of hand, a pipemaker should have a mark to distinguish his top of the line. Having said that, at the time of my departure from Smokingpipes in mid-2010, it was my opinion that Lasse was being a bit too liberal in the use of that stamp. Upon my recent return, I was pleased to see that the Lion had returned to a marque of true distinction, and this Lion roars.
Beating the metaphor to death, this Panthera leo, with a length of six and a half inches, a diameter of two and a quarter (when measured front-to-back, as opposed to side-to-side), and a weight of over seventy-six grams, would be a Barbary compared to its Asiatic brethren, and fills the hand in an impressive manner. The ridge that runs from the fore-left of the bowl to the mount is positively regal and is executed in such a way that it doesn't bias the feel toward a particular hand. While the overall presentation is a winner, I feel the true genius shines through from the bottom view; the form and cant of the mount teams up with the previously mentioned ridge to create both an immaculate flow and palpable sense of liquidity. As far as the grain runs? Well, it's a Lion, isn't it?
--R. 'Bear' Graves