Castello Pipe Shapes

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bwhiteside

New member
Nov 17, 2011
19
0
A question for Castello pipe collectors and buyers:
For those of you who concentrate your buying to one brand of pipe, do you usually stick with a favorite shape, with just a difference in finish? My dilemma is that I have found a Castello dealer overseas that has a huge assortment of individual pipes in my favorite shape #55 (bent pot). Amazingly, they carry this shape in many different finishes: Sea Rock, Collection, Castello, Trademark, Natural Vergin, and Aristocratica. Their selection is mind boggling, carrying not just the shape 55, but so many others!
But getting back to my question, do you suggest sticking with the tried and true shape 55 I’m most familiar with, or branching out and trying another Castello shape?

 

sasquatch

Preferred Member
Jul 16, 2012
965
4
I assume you mean Tabaccheria Corti, who do indeed have a vast trove of 55s right now.
The 55 is a fun shape. The 65 is a great pipe, capital G maybe, the thing is, I just bought the better of the two they have listed, so.... yeah, just buy another 55 I guess.
I also have a kkkk lovat from Castello which is an extraordinary smoker, and a tiny little kk billiard which is just super comfy and fun to smoke.
I think some of the shapes (like the #10 chubby billiard) need a specific smoking style (non clenching), but honestly most Castellos look built to smoke to me.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
92
Alaska
but honestly most Castellos look built to smoke to me.
Samsquanch.........couldn't agree more. I'd smoke out of any Castello.........now, to become a millionaire so I can buy one.......

 

sasquatch

Preferred Member
Jul 16, 2012
965
4
Alaskan, they are... roughly... 1/2 price if you buy out of Italy. I paid 213 Euroes for the 65 I ordered (drunk on Friday night, God help me). So I mean, that's shipped to my house for like, 250 bucks. I get that it is not a trivial amount of money, but it's not astronomical and certainly not for a good quality pipe.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
92
Alaska
I know. I'll get there eventually. It will just take a while. There are so many good makers out there that charge a premium. Castello is high on the list for sure, but I just bought an Ashton so I'm trying to rein in the PAD, at least for the moment.

 

jfred

Member
Apr 30, 2018
118
0
I have 55s and a few other shapes from Castello. I would go for whatever pleases your eye the most, since in my experience it's guaranteed to be a great smoker, regardless of shape.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,941
116
Not a Castello owner, but I really like the smaller pipes they make. Many sold in the U.S. are large to XXL, and I have the big bowl pipes I need already. But dealers overseas seem to carry a full range of sizes, as described in the posts above. A small one would be "comfy" indeed. Bigger pipes are usually priced higher, so the retailers gravitate toward those, understandably. More profit per unit, as it were.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,803
116
Short answer, "it depends."
I only collect Castello pipes in my Italian collection. I long ago chose to go deep with one brand only. That is the first hurdle to collecting, deciding the ground rules. But then you need to decide whether to collect deep vs wide in that one brand. For example 1)Just Castello, any shapes, vs 2)Just Castello, just shape "x" (e.g. shape 55).
Well, in the old days, the Chicago show was predominantly for collectors and less vendors. Guys would show off their collections and were often damn proud of them. In the Castello circles, you had to have a complete set to really show it off. The definition of a complete set included, 1)all one shape, 2)every finish, 3)every grade. That included everything from trademark to fiammata, and sea rock to Pi rustication, as well as old antiquiri in all colors. It is stupendously difficult to complete a set.
With that in mind, I finally finished a complete set of Castello Opera 44 recently. The Fiammata was the holy grail, the white whale. It took me forever to get this done. It is the largest set of 44s that any collector is aware of. I will show it next year at the Chicago show. I'm very proud of it. So, if that kind of collecting interests you, then I would encourage you to chase just 55s. You don't have to have a completed set based on the above criteria, but striving toward that goal is good to keep in mind.
And here's a tip. Castello guys often say correctly that it is possible to complete a shape set, but that set will never be finished! It's an important concept, because even though you have finished the standard shapes, finishes, colors, Castello will break your heart and release rare variants of the shape. Like a red stem, or Pi rustication, or a diamond in the stem, or something to make you go bonkers wanting that one rare pipe. You will never be finished ...

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
Neal, you cannot get away with talking about your incredible Castello collection without pics man. We need Neal type pics for this event.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,803
116
Neal, you cannot get away with talking about your incredible Castello collection without pics man. We need Neal type pics for this event.
I'm working on it. I'll post the complete set soon.

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
0
@alaskanpiper, the first estate pipe in my collection was a Castello GG 75 SEA ROCK for right around $150.00 from PipeStud and it is truly in my top three smokers. Completely obtainable.
j/B

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
92
Alaska
Completely obtainable
Yeah, I've been lazily watching the estates on SP and elsewhere. Just waiting for the right shape for me to show up. And honestly still experimenting with various shapes in general, narrowing down what shapes I really like with more affordable options, savs, petes, etc, at which point I'll invest in some higher end smokers in said shapes.
Straight Billiards/Dublins were the first shape that spoke to me, so I do own one Ashton pebble grain dublin so far. I think my next high end purchase might be some kind of fat but shallow bowled prince/appley type thing. Castello has an estate tomato on SP that would be the one, as well as a fiammata pot that would work, but those particular ones are just a little rich for me at the moment.
I'll find the one for me, just waiting for it to roll along.

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,598
5
Any discussion of Castello shapes always brings to my mind their occasional "WTF?" specimen. Poorly conceived/shaped AND poorly executed.
The full bent, hawkbill, and Oom Paul(ish) shapes are usually the afflicted ones.
Though it is only speculation, I think the most likely cause is that Castello isn't a single maker, but a large shop/small factory with a staff that by definition varies in skill and experience. And everyone, as the saying goes, has to start somewhere.
If true, the question then is why the QA side allows de facto beginner's pieces out the door.
We'll probably never know, and because people rarely buy a pipe sight unseen, it isn't exactly a problem... but it certainly is at odds with the luxury price point that is Castello's market (as well as simple human pride).
In fact, I know a nine-foot-tall shaggy monster Canadian pipemaker who LOVES Castellos and is totally fine with humans teasing him about everydamnthing, but would never ever put his name on something like this, and he charges half as much:
(posted by someone else in a different thread just last week)
.


 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
alaska, if you stick to Castello Sea Rocks, you will see better prices and they all smoke the same, no reason to chase grain. You might want to look at briarblues.com and pipes2smoke.com for nice quality estate pipes.

 

bazungu

Member
Feb 28, 2018
109
0
Is it just me, or has the shape '55' recently been shaped? It seems to be made more squarish, less rounded and less elegant in the bowl/shank area with shorter shanks and stems(+ big noticeable gaps between stem and shank). I do not seem to like this new design of the 55 shape, perhaps it is as George mentions: some new unexperienced pipe makers have started at the factory, replacing the old garde.

 

daveinlax

Preferred Member
May 5, 2009
1,054
0
WISCONSIN
Well, in the old days, the Chicago show was predominantly for collectors and less vendors. Guys would show off their collections and were often damn proud of them. In the Castello circles, you had to have a complete set to really show it off. The definition of a complete set included, 1)all one shape, 2)every finish, 3)every grade. That included everything from trademark to fiammata, and sea rock to Pi rustication, as well as old antiquiri in all colors. It is stupendously difficult to complete a set.
I love brand/shape collecting! My humble collection was inspired by the Nut Brothers combined shape 84 collections that I saw displayed many times. I am also lucky that I've added many pipes from "Mr. Castello" Chuck Rio's award winning and other outstanding collections over the years. I probably have the closest thing to complete 15, 215, 30 and 34 collections that I know of but I don't think any of them will ever be truly complete. 8O

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,116
4
And here's a tip. Castello guys often say correctly that it is possible to complete a shape set, but that set will never be finished! It's an important concept, because even though you have finished the standard shapes, finishes, colors, Castello will break your heart and release rare variants of the shape. Like a red stem, or Pi rustication, or a diamond in the stem, or something to make you go bonkers wanting that one rare pipe. You will never be finished ...
This is exactly why I quit “collecting” Castello 75’s almost 20 years ago. I mean it, too. I now have 7 GG size 65’s in different finishes but I am not collecting them. Nope. Never again. :)