Alex Florov: Smooth Blowfish Cavalier (Slonim) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-354-0204

Alex Florov was originally born in Moscow, Russia, and has spent the vast majority of his professional adult life working with both exotic and delicate materials, as he spent many years repairing museum-pieces for the Russian antiquities market. In 1992 he moved to Chicago where he started work as an industrial designer and, in 2004, was challenged by his father-in-law to make a pipe. The result of this was a pipe, of course, but also a legacy that has persisted since then and transcended the generations, with his daughter Dasha picking up the torch of her own accord not too long after her father started. Using mostly hand tools, Florov crafts pipes of exceptional quality, with this Blowfish Cavalier representing some of his most striking, sculptural work and has received his highest grade of Slonim.

If it weren't for the breathtaking outline of this shape, its nigh-perfect shaping, and the beautiful line work present throughout its expanse, the most immediately noticeable aspect of this piece would be its striking height, coming in at over ten inches tall. The weight here is also appreciable at nearly a pound, but there's hardly time for the hand to register this before it's taken to task in following the smooth curves of this shape which exist in harmony with the firm lines that suffuse the outline. Its intimidating stature is comprosed of two components: the Blowfish bowl and the monolithic combination of the shank, stem, and foot. The latter of these not only allows the pipe to sit, but can be removed, making it a true, functional Cavalier. This structure has additionally been hexagonally paneled throughout, even through the stem, creating ample firmness for the fingers to appreciate, but the most impressive aspect of this combination is the double curve that it takes on, sinuously curling from foot to bit in beautifully organic fashion.

This curling combination attaches to the bowl via a tight transition, a pair of ridges making up the hexagonal shape of the shank following the sweeping form of the bowl's underside to both support the lines of the bowl itself and further enhance the sweeping organicism of the shape as a whole. The topmost of these lines follows the transition and wraps around the top of the bowl, creating the left side's panel, with the bottom line meeting the top at the fore. In addition, this pair of ridges surrounds an extensive system of plateau that looks as if it's enveloping part of the bowl's left-hand outline, matching a patch that pushes out from the middle of the left flank, the slight hollow-carving of the panel's edge adding further definition to these features. The right features a significantly smaller panel, with a dramatic taper through the midsection of the bowl reaching toward it, resulting in a more defined circular shape that has a more pronounced hollow-carving around its defining ridge.

It's difficult to overstate the amount of detail present in this pipe, as firm lines interact with each other throughout and create fluid curves that marry the two disparate concepts beautifully, making this a triumphant success on the part of Florov. The stummel has been dressed in a warm walnut contrast stain that reveals dense cross grain through the fore and aft of the shank and top and bottom of the bowl, while the flanks showcase stunning birdseye. Accents of multicolored vulcanite and light hardwood flank the briar shank before meeting the vulcanite foot and stem, introducing a wealth of color contrast that draws the eye toward the bowl.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 10.30 in./261.62 mm.
  • Weight: 12.48 oz./353.80 g.
  • Bowl Height: 3.90 in./99.06 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 2.01 in./51.05 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.90 in./22.86 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.00 in./50.80 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Cavalier
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States