Staff Show and Tell
It goes without saying that we here at Smokingpipes are very passionate about pipes. Have you ever wondered what pipes we enjoy in our personal collections? Well, we intend to show you.
I love me some Castello #10s. Shape #10 meets all of my criteria for a pipe, first and foremost: small, lightweight, proper chamber capacity (for me), thick enough walls (to my taste). Also, it’s just a sharp design that silhouettes prettily. But what I dig most about the Castello #10 is that, like all Castellos, it’s a handmade pipe, so although each #10 is a #10, they’re all slightly different from one another in one way or another. Plus, they can be had in a multitude of finishes, colors, and grades. Endless fun, if you can find one!
I spent many years admiring and closely following the work of American Master Brad Pohlmann before I was able to acquire one of his pipes. Brad has quite a few shapes that have become signatures, and the variations on the Dublin shape that he produces are instantly recognizable as his own. The balance between the Danish influence and the contemporary American aesthetic is remarkable; the lines and profile of this piece are painfully graceful and flow elegantly from bow to button. The block used for this beauty comes from a particularly old stock of Algerian briar that is renowned amongst Brad’s collectors for its almost unbelievable flavor, and superb smoking characteristics. The stem is easily the most comfortable in my collection, and yes, it sits just like that without any aid! This one will always have a special place in my rotation.
This Tan Blast Billiard with Boxwood is special to me for a few reasons. It is my first Adam Davidson pipe, and I got to watch him make it over the course of a rather long day in his shop. This pipe put up a bit of a fight during its birth, and there were all sorts of things that just didn't go as planned the first or second time; but through problem solving and perseverance, Adam was able to coax the briar into cooperating, and the end results are just beautiful to me. The blast is excellent, and the pipe smokes sweet, cool and dry. It also serves as a constant reminder to me of how much time, brain power and effort are involved in Adam's craft. Add to this that this pipe was purchased from Adam at the Chicago Show this year, my first Chicago Show, and you have the makings of a pipe that, for me, amounts to far more than the sum of its parts.
I picked up this Michail Kyriazanos pipe in May of this year. My pipe shape preferences have evolved over the past few years, and I really appreciate the classic shapes, especially the Lovat. There isn't a Lovat that comes across my desk that I’m not sizing up for my pipe rack. I lean towards smaller shapes and tend to be a bit rough on my pipes, which is why I gravitate towards sandblasted and rusticated finishes. The pipe is light, the draw is open, and the saddle bit is a real nice fit for my partial overbite. The rustication is akin to a Castello Sea Rock and has a nice hand feel. Most importantly, it smokes flake tobaccos like dream. This pipe has become my favorite smoker, and the wear and tear on it shows. I have work pipes, pipes for home, and my Kyriazanos — which often finds itself making the commute with me, bridging the gap between the two. Almost every purchase that I make (pipes or otherwise) comes with a little twinge of buyer’s remorse, however momentary; not my Kyriazanos, though.
So there you have it: a handful of briars from our personal collection here at SPC. Now it's your turn. Have any favorites of your own? Feel free to share your story below!
Tagged in: Adam Davidson Behind-The-Scenes Brad Pohlmann Castello Michail Kyriazanos
I received my newest pipes this week; both Ardors, one smooth and one rusticated. I have to confess that I already had several Ardors in my collection, none of which had been smoked. Most of them are successive Christmas editions starting with 2001. As I had other pipes I had found along the way for use, I let the Ardors be. The new smooth bent egg is resting with the others, However, when I saw the rusticated bent egg (from the estate section and unsmoked) I had to give in. Perhaps it was the reddish-brown coloration with the red marbled bit; perhaps the feel in the hand; perhaps just a perceived overall beauty. But regardless, the time for an Ardor to be smoked had come. I had to choose a tobacco that would do justice to a great pipe, so I broke out a McClelland Christmas Cheer - 1999, the oldest in my stockpile. It was one of the nicest times I have spent with a pipe, new or otherwise. The tobacco had aged wonderfully, just a mellow Virginia sweetness that seemed to compliment the pipe, which in fact did have a great draw. Thank you so much for your help with my purchases. All have arrived quickly and have been in great shape. Best wishes to all. Thom
@Thom Glad to hear that you enjoyed the first smoke in one of your new Ardors! Pipes are of course meant to be smoked, but I can certainly understand waiting for the right moment to break-in a special pipe. I often spend weeks contemplating which aged tin from my cellar will do, before lighting up a new pipe for the first time. A special pipe deserves to be treated as such, with a special tobacco, and at the right moment. Enjoy!
@Thom -- Couldn't agree more! Enjoy!
Feeling like every other pipe smoker, there is no such thing as 'too many' pipes. There is that new pipe that catches your eye and you must have it or else you're…er…the world will come to an end(?). Anyway, of all the pipe in my collection, my favorite is also one my oldest. It's a Charatan second (Billiard #102X). I purchased this pipe in 1971. Outside of going through two mouthpieces and a reaming or two, I have never had the pipe re-finished or touched-up . There is something about this pipe. I just love it. I just fill it with tobacco, light it and the pipe smokes itself. Until a few years ago, whenever I traveled, I would always include this pipe in my bag (I stopped because I didn't want to risk losing or breaking it). I have more expensive pipes. I have a few collectable. I have more stylish pipes. However, this 'plain Jane' Charatan second Billiard is number one in my collection.