Castello Pipe Shapes

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laniromee

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2018
72
34
@Paul, I browsed some pictures of Castello lovats. Although they are pretty clearly italian designed pipes with dramatic tapers and such-nots, they do look good - particularly the shorter shanked ones. Thank you for your input, I'll keep an eye on those.

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,313
244
@laniromee, Your welcome, perhaps You may find something which may please more to Your eye by browsing PipeShop Lanzola.It webshop.And Yes, They do ship abroad.
Highly recommend Lanzola. And I find lots of Castellos that don’t have the old sharp angle neoclassical look. Not a good thing, IMO, but BriarBlues says shapes “evolve”. Oh, I highly recommend BriarBlues, too. You are buying from one of the most knowledgeable Castello fans out there, he stands behind what he sells you, and he is very selective in the Castellos he stocks, new or estate.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,844
427
Oh, I highly recommend BriarBlues, too. You are buying from one of the most knowledgeable Castello fans out there, he stands behind what he sells you, and he is very selective in the Castellos he stocks, new or estate.
+1

 

laniromee

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2018
72
34
@Paul and @oldgeezersmoker, those are really great tips. Thanks to you I think I found some Castello shapes that I can't live without. Great stuff!

 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
3,663
614
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
@Laniromee,This is nice to hear, candidly saying my Castellanos are perhaps the very best smokers amongst all my pipes,and then there is this my very Dunhill ring grain,but that aside,as You said,me too,I'd like to see more Castellos shapes in accordance with the English/French tradition,

 

briarblues

Member
Aug 3, 2017
252
2
All pipe brands / carvers evolve. Both with their styles and finish. The earliest Stanwell's were aimed towards classic British and French shapes. The same holds true for Castello. The first Castllo pipes were very close to "traditional" British shapes. If that is what you prefer, then these are the ones to search for.
If you look at some of the top world class carvers, in most cases, you can see where they drew shape inspiration from. They do not "copy" an exact replica, but do take a shape made by another carver and add their own tweaks and twists.
Pipe carvers are "artists" and proud of their wares. I have never met a single carver that wants to be known as the one that can copy someone else. They all want their pipes to stand out from the crowd. They all want someone to be able to look at a pipe and without looking at the nomenclature, have the viewer known right away, who carved the pipe.
So, IF you're after classic British or French shapes, then that is what you should be looking for, maybe not the brands or carvers that add their own style and flavors to shapes. If you are after an incredible smoking pipe with each having their own special nonchalant "sprezzatura" then I highly recommend Castello.
Regards

Michael J. Glukler

 

laniromee

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2018
72
34
Michael, thank you for your input, I have found it very helpful and agree with you.
I don't think of myself as a stickler for classic shapes as I am very passionate about the danish and the american schools - which make up the majority of my collection. So I very much appreciate tweaks and adjustments to the classic designs to a degree that makes a pipe maker or brand easily recognizable.
It just so happens that I perceive the particular style chosen by Castello as a tad too dramatic for my taste, for the most part. And I agree with you that a Castello pipe that looked like a shape picked out of a Dunhill catalogue would be uncharacteristic. However, I wasn't really looking for a compromise to Castello's style, but for a tip of where to find something that speaks to me within its range.
Look at it this way: Todd Johnson, influenced by the Japanese school, has a penchant for some outrageous shapes. Double chambered pipes, incubi, ostriches... That doesn't mean that he can't make a perfectly good looking billiard that fully incorporates elements of his style in a way that you can recognize it as a Todd Johnson pipe. That's kinda what I was looking for in a Castello - and I think I have found some.

 

pipingfool

New member
Sep 29, 2016
23
4
I have a new Trademark KK Shape 55 and a new Trademark KKKK Shape 215 headed this way from Luca @ Tabaccheria Corti. I should have them in hand tomorrow. Pretty excited as these will be my first smooth Castellos and they both look like they have some excellent grain. The Shape 215 is loaded with birdseye and could almost be an Occhio di Pernice. The Shape 55 will be my smallest Castello and should be a great travel/driving pipe.
If I can figure out how, I'll post pics when I have them in hand.

 

pipingfool

New member
Sep 29, 2016
23
4
Here are the pipes that I received yesterday. They look amazing and the Shape 55 KK is only about 4.5" long.

Great travel pipe! The birdseye on the left side of the 215 is amazing in person.





 

pipingfool

New member
Sep 29, 2016
23
4
I might have to center my collection around KK 55s from now on. I think the size is perfect and there are a myriad of finishes and colors available.
I like my bigger pipes, but I have a full-time job and a wife and two kids so I don't always have the time for an hour and a half smoke unless I stay up past my bedtime.
I love the Shape 19 and 215 billiards, but finding them in anything smaller than a KKKK seems to be rare.
Maybe that could be my next request from Luca at Tabaccheria Corti. :lol:

 

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
182
75
I'm thinking that a Castello may be my next acquisition. I'm trying to wrap my pea brain around some of the various lines and K rating system. I have a few noob to Castello questions:
It is my understanding that the K rating (fro smooth pipes) is related to the quality of the briar, and that the more K's the higher the quality. is this correct?
Is the rating independent in each line? Example: Is a single K of the "Castello" line a higher quality than a KKKK of the Trade Mark line?
Thanks!

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,377
480
Maryland
postimg.cc
Forum sponsor Mike Glukler at Briar Blues has a great selection of Castellos and some rare factory one-offs on occasion and his site has a dating and information guide.

http://www.briarblues.com/castello.htm

 

pipingfool

New member
Sep 29, 2016
23
4
@jojoc - you pretty much have it correct from my understanding. However, it seems that the K ratings for the smooths also refer to the size in some capacity.
All of the smooth pipes that I was looking at that were classified as KKs were on the smallish side, while the KKKKs are much bigger.
See my pic below of the two Trademarks that I just received; one on top is a KK 55, and the bottom is a KKKK 215. The 215 isn't that big (less than 6"), the 55 is just that small (less than 4.5").
But yes, as I understand it, a K "Castello" will have better grain (in Franco's opinion, mind you) than a KKKK "Trademark", but it could be a smaller pipe (generally), and a K "Collection" will have better grain than a KKKK "Castello", but again, it may be a smaller pipe.
As other members have pointed out, Castellos can be a little schizophrenic when it comes to grading and stamping. I found a gorgeous KKKK "Castello" Shape 65 that I'm holding out on, but it has a pretty sizable sand pit on the shank near the stem. How it was classified as a KKKK "Castello" and not a KK, or even a "Trademark", I'll never know. But it is a beautiful pipe with some outstanding grain, so maybe that outweighed the small flaw.
Bottom line... I love the brand and Franco stands behind his product. All of mine have smoked like a dream, and with the exception of the soft spot on the inside of my KKKK 55 (which Franco made right) I have had zero issues from my pipes.
But the easiest way to bypass all of this is go with a Sea Rock, a Natural Vergin or an Old Antiquari. The K system really only refers to the size in these lines and they all come from the same well-aged briar stock as the smooths. The texture and feel of my Sea Rocks cannot be beat in my opinion. Plus, they are quite a bit less expensive than the smooths (a KKKK Sea Rock will cost about the same as a KK Trademark).
So determine your budget and find some examples that work within that budget and look at the finishes/shapes that do it for you.
Then enjoy that sweet, sweet briar!


 

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
182
75
Any thoughts on the 71 bent pot shape?
There seems to be a lot of love for the 55 here, but .... Maybe the shape does not photograph well, but the proportions seem all out of whack to me. There is a lot of talk about how well the 55 smokes. Does it smoke that much better than other Costello's?
Does a Costello really smoke that much better than, say, an early 80s James Upshall or pre-1980's Comoy?
If I get this 71, it will be my first foray into this price point. I am a little uncertain that there is that much difference.
I appreciate your thoughts.

 

jojoc

Member
May 10, 2019
182
75
I dare say sure it will smoke equally well than any Upshall
Paul - at 2 to 4 times the entry price of a P grade JU, "equal to" would be a bit of a disappointment.
It should land early next week. I'm looking forward to trying it out. It is a "Castello" line KKKK