Claudio Cavicchi: Smooth Bent Dublin (Diamante)

Product Number: 002-400-2692

Claudio Cavicchi is perhaps the most legendary individual Italian pipe maker that has ever lived, outside of maybe Carlo Scotti. This isn't simply my personal opinion, though I do hold a great love for the man's work, but it is self-evident in the breadth of his work, the magnitude of his talent and passion present in every piece that he makes, his learned hands shaping briar with uncanny accuracy and a keen eye for grain orientation, giving every pipe the opportunity to present the best structure that it possibly can. For such an immense talent, it's almost funny that Cavicchi's path on this journey began due to impatience and necessity, when, over 40 years ago, he ordered an Oom Paul from Caminetto. After waiting months and months for his pipe, he decided that he would instead make his own, and, when it resulted in a piece nearly identical to the one he ordered, he never stopped making them.

Out of every pipe in Claudio Cavicchi's portfolio, there is one line which stands above all the rest, though to call it a line almost feels disrespectful, as the reverence I feel when in this individual example's presence is only matched by my deep longing to own it for myself. This bent Dublin is not just any pipe, not a 5"C" grade, nor a "Perla", this is a "Diamante": a unicorn-rare, nigh-unobtainable example of the zenith of the Italian master's work, the true culmination of every drop of blood, sweat, and tears ever shed in his pursuit of the perfect piece. "Diamante" graded pipes are not something one sees every day, or every year, or even every two, as there are indeed stretches of years that go by without him creating a single one. What makes this piece so special is that it is the first "Diamante" Cavicchi has made in the last seven years, and the first one that we has received new since 2009.

A short length of demurely bent black acrylic stretches out from the shank end, beginning its journey at a band of black palm separated from the briar by a trim ring of yet more black acrylic. From the end of the black palm begins a taper which the briar continues, languidly ebbing toward its thinnest point: a pinch near the transition. The internal curve of the transition is a sweeping arc, bereft of all sharp angles, traveling up and out, orienting the aft edge of the rim almost directly over the transition. On the underside the heel, in similar fashion, glides fluidly from the bulbous base upward, urging the fore end of the rim forward, creating, in tandem with the effect of the transition, a kind of briar bloom, as the iconic flare of the shape's bowl is taken to the next level, as well as imbuing the piece with a gentle momentum. The flanks of the rim are likewise splayed, though more subtly than the fore and aft, as the majority of the flare is focused with attention to a side view. The empty space of the transitional area provides a levity from the heartiness of the bowl, as well as providing an excellent space on which to rest a thumb. The overall composition of this piece results in a singular profile, and, though all of the visual weight is focused on the bowl, the voids which the tapering shank creates give the construction balance, and the svelte stretch of briar and acrylic that stream out from the rear are fashioned in such a way that their presence cannot be ignored, allowing for the eye to appreciate all of its parts without being immediately arrested by the bowl.

A "Diamante" from Cavicchi cannot exist without having grain that is as close to perfect as possible, and I can say that, without question, this is one of the most stunning examples of grain which I have ever seen on any pipe. It is not a matter of hyperbole when I say that, when taking in the structure of condensed, swirling flame, I was completely ensorcelled by the hypnotic flow of each individual angel-hair thin strand of curling striations that coil around the bowl. The manner in which these threads weave around the shape of the pipe is preternaturally mystifying, as if the briar itself was alive and had a soul, and its singular goal was to enchant those that gaze upon it. Once you are enraptured by the flames, you are drawn closer to its grasp, bearing witness to the most well defined growth rings I've ever seen on a smooth pipe, the dense undulations quavering as they ascend from the heel, their point of origin a sunburst array erupting from an ovoid basin of dense birdseye. And, as you think that it is not possible for briar to bewitch you so, your eyes drift to the fore, where you are held in thrall by a phenomenon I can scarce describe as anything but holographic, the grain refracting in the light under Cavicchi's exemplary honeyed finish, the phantasmagoric effect one I have only seen seldomly, and never to this degree. The rim is crowned by some of the most dense plateau I've ever seen and serves to accentuate the floral appearance of the bowl as it comes to a dome, the individual zeniths buffed in such a way that allows birdseye to peek out from nearly each one. This is the holy grail of pipes for any collector of Cavicchi's work, the unquestioned centerpiece that serves to rule over all other pipes you may possess. As beautiful as it is it would be perfectly at home on a plinth, raised high and kept as a sculptural celebration of the beauty of the medium, but, knowing what I do about the humble, kindly man that created it, I know that it is meant to be smoked, to be a marriage of form and function that excels in both areas, and to be enjoyed foremost above all else.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.08 in./154.43 mm.
  • Weight: 2.40 oz./68.04 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.20 in./55.88 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.87 in./47.50 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.88 in./22.35 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.05 in./52.07 mm.
  • Stem Material: Acrylic
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Dublin
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Italy
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