Whether we readily acknowledge it or not, our pipes are something of a fashion statement. Rustic and earthy, simple and classic, solid and workmanlike, or polished, elegant, and accented in silver, they reflect our personal tastes, how we view ourselves, and how we prefer others to recognize us. It only follows then that we have fitting and useful accessories to match. But where does one start? Well, handcrafted leather is a great place to begin. And for the first installment of this accessories guide, that's just what we'll discuss, particularly spotlighting Italian designer Claudio Albieri.
About the Designer:
Claudio Albieri knows high quality design, and he knows pipes. Having worked in a family-owned tobacconist shop for years, his entire life has revolved around pipes and pipe accessories. According to our Pipe Manager, Dennis, Albieri is also a talented sommelier and "mix-scientist," incredibly skilled at finding the perfect complement of beverages and smoke. He founded his design firm in 2012 and has accumulated quite a following ever since. Working closely with his cousin, an established craftsman well versed in fine Italian leather, and his mother and sister, the artists of the family, every year he produces a respectable quantity of superior leather goods.
We know that Claudio churns out some fine leather accessories, but which ones fit best with your briars? Well, that's up to you and your style, but here are a few that may be of interest:
Two Pipe Italian Leather Magnetic Stand - When you're not smoking your beloved briars, you need a place to set them to let them rest and dry between smokes. Pipe racks are a great solution, but those made of hardwood or ceramic may mar your prized pipes' finishes. Offered in a variety of color combinations to suit your style, this kit comes with two pipe magnetic "bucket seat" shaped pipe stands and a piece of resilient sheet-steel to match — all wrapped in high-quality Italian leather. The seats themselves even stick to your tins, making it easy to organize your pipes and favorite tobaccos.
Italian Leather Roll Up - If you plan on taking your briars with you, you're going to need some way of transporting them. Wrapping them in paper or shoving them into a sock before stuffing them in your bag would not only result in some funny looks from passersby, but it might also damage your pipes. Claudio offers a handsome solution with this exquisite roll up, featuring four soft pipe pockets, a smaller one for accessories and pipe cleaners, supple flaps to keep your pipes out of contact with each other, and strong brass and leather belts to secure the whole thing together.
Italian Leather Pipe Cleaner Holder - Pipe cleaners and pipes go, or should go, hand in hand. As important as ample resting time, a quick swab with a pipe cleaner will ensure your briars' longevity, keeping your smoke sweet while reducing gurgle. As crucial as they may be, they have a tendency to bend in transit. At quite an affordable price for a handmade, high-quality leather design, Claudio's pipe cleaner holders will ensure your cleaners stay straight as they day you purchased them. Having recently returned from a long trip, I can attest to their effectiveness. I drove over 600 miles and threw my bag around several times, yet my cleaners, secured within my holster, stayed safe and sound. Available in a variety of color schemes, they look a lot more sytlish than, say, a rubber band does.
Italian Leather Pipe Briefcase - For longer trips, you'll need something that can hold all of your pipes and pipe accessories. While shoving them in your laptop bag may work for now, it might be damaging your pipes over time. Why not opt for something more stylish specifically designed for pipe smokers? For this, I'd suggest one of Claudio's many Italian leather briefcases. Ranging in sizes, colors, and designs, there's quite a variety to choose from depending on your needs and style. This particular Albieri holds up to eight pipes, which will be secured in soft leather pipe bags, external pipe and tobacco pouch, and enough internal room to slide a tablet safely within it all. Don't believe me? Just ask Sykes.
So there you have it: four "must have" accessories from Claudio Albieri to maintain the quality of your briars, and look great doing it. Stay tuned for more of our favorite accessories. While you wait, what's the accessory you just can't stand to lose? Let us know in the comments!