I've been curious about this, but have yet to find a definitive answer to this lingering question for me. I know some carvers can and will use rustication and sandblasting to hide slight defects in the briar. Not all of them do. Personally I just prefer the feel of a sandblast or rusticated pipe in my hand. I'm a textural person. Smooth pipe finishes are beautiful and mostly do not carry any flaws to be seen at all and always seem to be higher quality briar. So, if a higher grade briar has a smooth finish, would it smoke any better or have any better parameters than a briar that has a sandblast or rustication finish? That's not to say that the highest grade briar an artisan carves can't be sandblasted or rusticated, but not many are. Just curious to know. Thoughts?