Can you tell the difference?

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eriksmokes85

Member
Sep 24, 2015
172
0
Can you honestly tell the difference between a dunhill,savinelli, or any other well known over a 24$ no name? Just curious because it really kinda frustrates me that all the nice pipes are so expensive. I really want one but I don't think the purchase would be received well by my better half. She has no problems with my smoking but some of the prices she has to give me the look to remind me I can't afford 150$ for a pipe. I'd like to know if it's worth it or if it's just a price for the name?

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,346
26
I can tell a great smoker from a poor one. Price has little to do with it except, and this is important, your chances of getting a great pipe increase with cost, within reason. At a certain price point you are paying more for fit, finish, precious metal fittings, briar quality, etc. That said many members are entirely content to spend their life smoking cobs and briars which cost little. These members have also found some great smokers along the way.

 

calabashed

Member
May 10, 2015
163
1
IMO there is a minimum threshold of material quality and engineering/construction, after which you won't really notice a difference in smoking. But as far as price, while you can certainly get lucky with cheap pipes, I'd say you won't find much that consistently meets that minimum threshold for less than $60-100 for new.
Personally I'd rank Savinelli at the top of that price range for quality, using that as an example I can absolutely tell the difference between most "basket briars" and a nice Sav.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,907
78
I enjoy vicariously some of the more expensive artisanal and other high grade pipes that some Forums members post. There are about a dozen members who have virtual museums of fabulous, artistic, totally original pipes that I greatly admire. I have several pipes getting into the higher grades, a Ferndown sent to me by a Forums member and a Ser Jacopo I bought when I sold a long piece of writing. But many of my pipes range from upper-mid grade to economy pipes, and a number of MM and Old Dominion cobs. My most recent buy was a Dr. Grabow Royalton pot shape, a spiffy light weight pipe with an ample bowl, pricey for a Dr. G, but under $40 and with free shipping. I think you can have a highy adventurous pipe smoking life without spending a great deal of money. I like variety -- in shapes of pipes, materials, degree of bend or straight, and prices too. Some great smoking at all the levels I've tried.

 

rhoadsie

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2013
405
0
I, too, was curious about this when I was starting and it ended up being the first thread I started...
http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/is-it-a-good-smoker
Anyway, Warren is on point with his post. Find some pipes that you like and as long as you enjoy the smoke, don't look back.

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,024
0
If you can swing 80 bux, you can get a new pipe that will compete with the big boys in most of the ways that matter when it comes to smoking quality (look at the Briarworks classic series at smokingpipes). If you can't or don't want to go for new, look at estate pipes. You'll probably trade time researching and cleaning instead of cash.
You can do really well for under $50 with a well made vintage piece.

 

tobyducote

Preferred Member
Jun 10, 2012
1,200
0
an Estate can be a very good option...but a machine made pipe can very rarely compete with an experienced carver and the time and attention to detail that is put into a hand made pipe

 
Jun 5, 2015
242
0
Let's just say the difference in quality doesn't justify the difference in cost. But I still buy outrageously expensive pipes, 150 dollars is nothing compared to the money I usually spend on one pipe.

 

frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
1,957
7
Practically speaking, my $70 Savinelli was just next to perfect out of the box.

Were I suddenly strapped for cash and without a pipe, I would buy...

Well I would buy a bunch of Cobs, and I've got a hankering for a Falcon right now, but a Savinelli out of the Trevi or Roma line would be on my short list.
I have a Rossi Vittoria ($44 Savinelli reject) and the only problem with it was excessive bowl coating clogging the draft hole.
The last $200 pipe I bought, I returned.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,892
0
When I took up the pipe in the 1970's, a good starter pipe was $10.00, a cob was $2.00, and nice, mid-range pipes were about $45.00. Of course, I was making $75.00 a week working full time. In 1986, I splurged and spent $112.00 on a handmade Sam Martin pipe. It was the most money I had ever spent on a pipe, and by that time, I was bringing home about $300.00 a week.

Let me tell you, it was very easy to tell the difference between the different grades.

These days, the prices are much higher, but the grades are about the same. The big differences are the quality of the briar, and the fit and finish. I can't tell the difference smokewise between a Peterson and a Savinelli of the same price point, but I can tell the difference between my Dr. Grabow and my Sam Martin.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,482
59
Monterey Peninsula
When you get over about $75, most of the money is paying for looks, and if it's way above that, you're paying also for a name. If you can buy a basket pipe that looks good to you, and has no fills in obvious spots, it's likely to turn into a cherished pipe before too long.

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,024
0
When you get over about $75, most of the money is paying for looks, and if it's way above that, you're paying also for a name.
What are you basing this on?

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,482
59
Monterey Peninsula
Observation. Obviously you disagree, so on what basis are you taking issue with my statement? Certainly there will be huge exceptions to this loosely worded statement of mine.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,346
26
Most likely his personal opinion and, perhaps his personal budget. As most of us do here. And, one should keep in mind that the feel and look of a pipe, for many people, is an important part of the overall smoking experience. A pipe that doesn't catch my eye is never going to get a heft or inspection. Never!

 

tarheel1

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2014
936
0
Back around 2005 when my pipe collection was in its prime I had several Dunhill, Ferndown, Ashton, and Petersons as well as a few other brands. When you took a dunhill that retails around 800.00 and compare it to an Ashton at 400 and a Ferndown at 250 it is really hard to justify the price of the Dunhill. The Ashton and the Ferndowns were as good if not better than the Dunhills I had. Even though the Dunhill 5108 bruyere or amber root is my current grail pipe that I can not seem to find now, I would still buy a less expensive Ferndown over most other Dunhills. The quality on the Ferndowns are pretty amazing and price is crazy reasonable if you know where to get them at.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,907
85
$150 is a lot to some, others that's the price if a good meal with the wife. Dropping $800 on a new pipe is just chump change for some. It's just a matter of perspective. Me, I'll never buy a new Dunhill, nor spend that much on a pipe, but heck there are kids that line up at the mall to buy $500 tennis shoes. Find and collect what's in your budget. It's very fair to say that you could have an arsenal full of fantastic smoker for under $100 per pipe. If that is your threshold for quality, then be proud of it. Is a Dunhill worth the money? It depends in whether that $800 was supposed to pay your car payment or not. But, if it is out of your budget, then, "NO" the pipe is not worth it.

I will probably never be able to afford a Walt Connoy suede blasted dublin with a white stem, but I enjoy the hell out of looking at them. And, no, missing a carpayment would make the pipe not worth it.

Perspective.

 

captainprophesy

Preferred Member
Sep 27, 2012
1,781
0
Upland, CA.
No, but as Warren stated, I can tell the difference between a good smoker and a bad smoker, at least within my price range

I have a basket no name pipe that cost me $15 brand new that smokes better than many of my more expensive $100+ pipes
Now with that said, I don't own or have I ever smoked a high end pipe.. All have been, what I'm guessing, lower mid range pipes? Sav's, Stanwells, Petersons, Aldo Velani's, etc.

 

captainprophesy

Preferred Member
Sep 27, 2012
1,781
0
Upland, CA.
+1 Cosmic.... My entire collection is made up of lower to mid range pipes... All estate's, except for two my wife bought me that we're new., which were about $120 pipes at the time.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,413
3
Stanwell Brushed Browns and Brushed Blacks sell for $50, and I have yet to hear a complaint about them.