Came here looking for comparisons to one my wife just gave me tonight, a half bent smooth brandy. Too late to help the OP, of course, but for anyone else searching for a note, as I was, I thought I wouldn't start a separate thread. Just add on here.
Grain is nothing spectacular, but I wouldn't be ashamed to smoke it in front of knowledgeable folks. Just wouldn't be something to brag on. Two very tiny, tiny little fills. Have to search hard for them or don't notice: hidden in the grain. Pictures ... later. I might post a salute to my wife for gifting me with this, as she also picked out some tobaccos she'd like me to try.
Smoking a flake in it now. No need for a break in, as the bowl was already prepped.
Was a gurgle for a second after getting it going but it settled out as I slowed down. Never need to run a pipe cleaner while smoking in spite of that initial gurgle.
Relighting? Non-issue in this shape, at least in this one and this flake. Relight once only after having set it down for a while and picking it back up. Ember was almost out.
No heat issue. Bowl just barely warm, especially after slowing down. Very nice.
Draw is tighter than many of my others, but not restricted enough that I'd want to open it.
Does not take filters.
Stem perfectly extends from shank. No ridge at all. Smooth, and flares comfortably after the bend to accommodate the fishtail bit. I like it as a clencher. Hangs really, really nice. I wouldn't change a thing there.
Retail I see it offered online as $39.99 and I think it's a good value at that price. I surely wouldn't mind if I happened to get another as a gift, but I think in buying for myself, I'd probably look for estate pipes under $100 rather than specifically go to this brand. Pleasant, but other brands I look for are pleasant, too, and there's not enough incentive for me to pursue this brand instead of those. But I'm definitely going to keep smoking thing one, and if I had to have one (while traveling or something), and one was available, I wouldn't have any reservations for $40, and especially none if I could pick it up for even less. In fact, at less than $30, I wouldn't be able to restrain myself. I'd grab it.
Maybe... would classify it a working man's briar?
Lordnoble, you reading? If so... did you get one? And how has it been for you?
A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. -- Carl Jung