Emergency Rig from The Bell Pipe in Missoula, MT

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odobenus

Member
Dec 15, 2018
250
10
Vermont
So I’m back in Missoula (where I used to live) for a friend’s wedding, and I somehow forgot my pipe/tobacco rig (or was worried it would be confiscated by TSA, or both). I wandered into The Bell Pipe & Tobacco Shop, which I haven’t entered in many many years. I was surprised to find it still a functional, though limited pipe B&M along with all the other stuff. They have the traditional 5 or so offerings from Mac Baren, a case full of nondescript Italian basket pipes (most under $30), and an array of MMs. They also have a case of private-label bulk blends, mostly aromatic but including one ‘English Oriental’ that smelled like nothing at all, I think all made by Sutliff. I believe they also offer pipe repair.

The surprise was that they had three tins of Frog Morton and one tin of what I think was McClelland’s blending Oriental (black label), each for $80. Looks like they’ve been sitting there a long time. Needless to say, I didn’t buy them, but I happily outfitted myself for the next few days with a $6 unvarnished cob — maybe an Eaton or a Morgan — as well as 1.5 oz of PS Luxury Bullseye, a pipe nail, some cleaners, and some free matches. So for $16, little more than the cost of a pack of cigarettes, I’ve got a full rig for my time out here. Pretty pleased.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,566
771
Chicago, IL
If you're away from home without any of the required paraphernalia, I think that's the most practical way to go. Luckily, the B&M carried PS/LBF (although all of the blends named "English Oriental" get high marks at TR.com). :puffy:

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,245
450
Fun to start over, knowing your whole pipe lounge is waiting at home.

 

verporchting

Member
Dec 30, 2018
296
0
Bell is a nice little shop and the people are great. It's one of the only two places that are even anywhere close to me in Montana. Otherwise it's Spokane or Salt Lake City. I will probably visit them on Saturday, because I generally do every time I'm in Missoula. Besides, there's a nice bagel shop right next door that beckons. Not to mention a nice distillery just a few blocks away, and don't even get me started on the good eats in that neighborhood. And bookstores. And a decent couple of record shops.... You're killing me, Smalls.
They used to have a lot of McClelland's but ... you know. Those expensive tins all showed up on consignment long after the closing bell had sounded. I know because I bought some of the very last tins they had at regular prices within hours of hearing that McClelland's was done. There was a guy standing right behind me as I was making my selections and he had a look of despair that I had beat him into the shop by mere minutes and he clearly wanted some of the last tins for sale, so I didn't take it all. He pounced on the remaining tins like a buzzard on a gut wagon and that was it for the McClelland's and Dunhill blends at Bell. Since then they have tried pretty hard to keep a nice selection, but ... like most other places they haven't quite found that magic combination to replace their best sellers. What they do have is pretty common stuff, but still decent and they do some of their own blends now as "kits" where you can buy the components with a "suggested" blending recipe. They try really hard to accommodate their clients and are well respected in that community. Been there for awhile too, I think. There's a young lady there - Ivy, I think - and she knows her stuff and is a hoot to talk with. It's always a treat to stop there and visit and buy a few ounces of tobacco or some pipe cleaners, or whatever. Their pipes are aimed at the beginner / college crowd, but it is a college town and I'm pleased to see how popular they are. Plus there's a regular crowd of downtown locals that stop in for this 'n that constantly, so they are a busy, hopping place - which is great to see.
I'm really happy to hear you had a good experience there. I think I might actually know the other two or three pipe smokers living in the entire state, LOL, so it's nice to know the occasional pipe smoking traveler found that shop. It keeps them in business!!!!!

 

sholto

New member
Apr 18, 2019
29
4
Don't forget Bulldog Pipe & Cigar in Coeur d'Alene. Good selection of tins/bulk and some nice Savinelli & Peterson's on display. Picked up some Rattray's Red Rap last time I was there.

 

danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
814
154
There was a guy standing right behind me as I was making my selections and he had a look of despair that I had beat him into the shop by mere minutes and he clearly wanted some of the last tins for sale, so I didn't take it all.
Classy move.
Sounds like a solid shop. I have a lot of respect for the B&Ms still holding it down out there.