Tao: Smooth Canted Dublin with Antique Whale Tooth and Silver

Product Number: 002-748-0007

With its strong forward cant, stout supporting walls, compact length, and extra broad shank, this is quite a signature take on the classic Dublin shape from Tao. Nielsen spent much of his youth on the sea, where he developed a strong appreciation for stout, muscular pipes — i.e. pieces which could withstand the rigors of sea travel. That appreciation unsurprisingly translated into his own shaping style, adapting classic shapes by beefing up the overall proportions and reinforcing the normal weak-points, such as the shank and transition, all while paring down the overall lengths to pocket-pipe scale. While certainly handy briars in their own right, Tao's really refined this aesthetic over the years, matching that inherently stout and muscular style with all the grace and elegance found within the Danish classic approach to design.

As signature as the overall shaping at play here is, Tao's lent this particular Dublin even more of his own personality through the use of a rather ornate accent. When Tao fashions a pipe with an accent, it's usually sterling silver, and typically serves as a buffer of sorts, a perfect connection between shank and stem. Here, however, we see Nielsen taking a more artistic approach, having adorned the aft of the bowl with a sterling silver butterfly — modeled after one of Tao's own tattoos. It's a decorative touch, but a deft one, the silver offering a welcomed cool flash to contrast the otherwise warm palette. Also of note is the unique material Tao's used for the mouthpiece here: antique whale tooth from the Faroe Islands, where the harvesting of pilot whales has been central to community life (and generally, survival) for more than a millennium*. Its slightly warm, off-white shade and tone pair nicely with the walnut contrast stain and cumberland stem accent, both of which have been executed perfectly and to great effect here. Collector's take note: this is one very special piece from Tao.

Andrew Wike

*While the harvesting of whales is most often thought of in terms of the once widespread whaling industry, small-scale, localized whale hunts have been central to Faroese life since the North Atlantic islands were settled by the Norse, circa 800 A.D. With a climate and soil wholly unsuited to supporting life by farming crops, those who lived on the Faroe Islands learned to subsist upon pilot whale, sheep, seabirds, and fish. The rich meat and blubber of the pilot whale was (and still is) the most important, the annual catch to this day being divided communally then stored, prepared or preserved in Faorese households (in other words, you won't find it in a Faroe Islands supermarket, nor do they export any of it).

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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.40 in./111.76 mm.
  • Weight: 1.31 oz./37.19 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.55 in./39.37 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.23 in./31.24 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.72 in./18.29 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
  • Stem Material: Other
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Dublin
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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