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Dunhill Pipes Are Overrated

(55 posts)
  • Started 2 months ago by jhblaze1
  • Latest reply from jpmcwjr
  1. User has not uploaded an avatar

    jhblaze1

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    I see this a lot on here, usually in the form of "they're not what they used to be"..."they're good but way overpriced", "Castello is what Dunhill used to be" or similar.

    Asking why. I've seen a few that catch my eye, but am curious to exactly what about them people see as falling short.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    Well that is very subjective isn't it? Some people love them, others grow plants in them. Some people love coffee, some hate it. Such is the world. Don't even start with cobs and meers!

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    jhblaze1

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    haha fair enough...certainly very subjective....

    I was basically looking for the people who don't like them to offer their reasons. Why are the "not what they used to be"?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. npod

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    mau1

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    npod, check you PM's.

    "He was loosely dressed, but tightly wound". Louise Penny.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    This is my take on it. The company has gotten to be such a recognized name in Men's fashion and cologne, that it wants to cut ties with it's old school pipe roots. They ditched the tobaccos, and it even made the pipe company part of their business change it's name from Dunhill to Alfred's White Spots. Does that sound like a company you'd want to support?
    The US distributor dropped the company a year or so ago, and in talking to them, they seemed to not give a rat's ass about them any more either.

    I'm more surprised when a pipe smokers would be willing to buy one of them now.

    Michael
    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. acidpox

    acidpox

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    I've never smoked one, but I am hoping a find a cheap one at a antique store or flea market just so I can have one. I can't justify the outrageous price of most of them.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    They smoke no differently from any other well made briar.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. seldom

    seldom

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    Never had one, probably never will. They are too expensive for me, but whatever floats your boat, butters your biscuit, gets you through the night, ruffles your truffles, rocks your socks, and tickles your pickle works as far as I'm concerned.

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Amen, brother Seldom.

    You're not missing anything smoking-wise. But I have a few Dunnies, and like them. All estates, btw.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. mso489

    mso489

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    You can buy two or three (or four) superb new artisan pipes for the price of one new Dunhill. I'm not an owner, new nor estate. However, I appreciate that Dunhill/White Spot are well made and attractive classic traditional pipes, and most of them smoke well. My Forums authority on Dunhill pipes is foggymountain who worked at a Manhattan pipe shop as a teenager and has distinct preferences, and will not, for example, buy Shells and one other series, maybe it's Cumberland. This illustrates that they are high quality but not infallible. Being an amateur student of marketing, I am impressed at how Dunhill imposed its steep upward price curve on the pipe smoking public. When some of us were teenagers, Kaywoodie pipes were the Cadillacs pipes and Dunhills cost a few dollars less. So, Dunhill/White Spot pipes are nice, just not the value for the price. And some of them may just not be particularly good.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    ...but whatever floats your boat, butters your biscuit, gets you through the night, ruffles your truffles, rocks your socks, and tickles your pickle works as far as I'm concerned.

    I have...five (I had to think there) all estates. Three of historic interest, 1923, and two from the WWII period. The other two are 1969, and 1975. All good smokers that have stood the test of time. Would I buy a new pipe from Dunhill at the current prices...no. I'm going to smoke the little grp 3 pot right now that I found at a second hand shop, about 8 years ago, for $20.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. paulie66scandinavian

    Paul

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    I think there are better value pipes available out there.

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Dunhills were well made pipes and in the early part of the 20th century, were not only well made, but also quite creative in design and styling. Were they better than the other top English makers like Comoy, Barling, BBB, Charatan, or Sasieni? Nope. But they were well made and smoked well. While the wood was often unremarkable, the stem work was always exceptional. Add to this Dunhill's penchant for diverse stampings and arcane markings, the stuff that appeals to collector OCD. You could date a Dunhill. Some people study hieroglyphics and others study Dunhill.

    The problem is that Dunhill's marketing sought to make the Dunhill more than a pipe. They sought to make a Dunhill pipe a symbol, the epitome of excellence, success, and financial status. And they charged a lot for the privilege. Dunhill may not have been the best pipe ever made, but it was the best KNOWN pipe ever made. And after the late 1960's, the quality became more variable as more pipe manufacture was outsourced. Not that Dunhill hadn't always outsourced, but as people became more aware of the unevenness of the product, the pricing and marketing really began to grate.

    I own a dozen or so Dunhills, and they are OK, and a couple of them are really exceptional. I almost never think of smoking one, not since I started smoking Barlings. Dunhills are good pipes. They're not better than all other pipes and certainly, to me, not worth the money being asked.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. cosmicfolklore

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    Good response, Sable. I actually came back to say something about the older pipes by them. But, as always, you said it better. One thing I would add is that it’s not as much “the price being asked” but the demand for the older pipes that keeps them expensive, even for an estate. These older pipes will always have a huge following. I am just amazed at the demand for the newer ones.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. craiginthecorn

    craiginthecorn

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    Where Dunhill really goes off the rails for me is their DR pipes and some of the special issue pipes. The DR pipes, which are supposed to be the best and usually straight grain, have only mediocre grain. I have one relatively recent DR one flame Amber Root which I got for a steal of a price. There's barely any flame grain on it. As far as grain goes, any number of Italian makers' pipes would run circles around Dunhill's DR pipes at half the cost or less.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. danish

    danish

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    Whether it is called White Spot or Black Spit, I couldn't care. If only all the other English top factories had continued to make quality pipes in England, then there would be more alternatives to White Spot . Pipes with the names of once proud Comoy's, Orlik, BBB etc. of today are laughable compared to earlier ones made in England (even some under Cadogan ownership). White Spot of today is more in line with good old Dunhill.
    To compare the value of a White Spot to a Castello may not mean much. They both make good pipes (and of course also duds, as forum members have reported). White Spot is classic English with vulcanite stems, Castello is none of that. Whether you prefer one or the other is up to you. In Denmark we have no pipe factories left, only half-artisan or artisan. Most less expensive artisan and the affordable imported ones are made with acrylic stems. I have recently bought few of the imported pipes with declared vulcanite stems in the usd/eur 100,- region. They were not at all at the level of Dunhill stems, etc. At the usd/eur 200,- level you can almost get a new or almost new Dunhill. I sure hope new White Spot pipes will still be available in a few years but I fear not.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    Yeah, I think if I ever got one, it would have to be one from an earlier period, much like Sable mentioned. If I ever found an estate from that time period that I really liked the look of, I might consider buying it for the fact that it would be a pipe that was well made, with an ass-load of history to it. But I'm nostalgic like that.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. recluse

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    I finally found an estate Dunhill from 2011 that I really liked the look (and price) of. It smokes great, and has become a dedicated Escudo pipe. I mostly did it because I didn't have one in my collection and I was skeptical of them in general.

    I've been very happy with it, however.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. dethmutt

    dethmutt

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    I would have found a better blend to dedicate to that dunhill. But congrats on the Dunhill!!!!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. craiginthecorn

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    Wow. I believe that's the first time I've ever heard Escudo slammed. Just curious. How do you feel about Dunhill Deluxe Navy Rolls, dethmutt?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. recluse

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    I would have found a better blend to dedicate to that dunhill. But congrats on the Dunhill!!!!

    Ha. To each his own. Thank you.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. mso489

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    I hate to say it because it always sounds sour grapes, and I don't mean it that way. But in looking at high end pipes, you do have to contend with the fact that some inexpensive pipes smoke exceedingly well. If the stem happens to be your cut, it is not crucial that it isn't hand cut. If the chamber and airway are just the right draw for you, you probably aren't going to do much better. I have some higher end pipes that I treasure, but I have some ordinary pipes, in terms of price, that I also find excellent.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    ...people were afraid the tobacco would taste like shit and also about exactly where to place their lips when smoking a bowel of tobacco.

    I have to ask: pun intended? Either way, great....

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. workman

    workman

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    I don't know if older Dunhills are overrated. I do know that new Dunhills are overpriced. The older Dunhills' appeal to collecters and nostalgic pipe smokers is well described above, and that is probably what drives prices of new Dunhills as well.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. alialansari

    Ali Alansari

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    I can honestly say that as far as English made pipes are concerned, Dunhill is the most consistent throughout the years. I'm not saying they're the absolute best but very steady in their production. Some other cheaper or less known brands like Sasieni or Hardcastle produced pipes that were on par if not better than Dunhill ones. This opinion is based on my personal experience and doesn't of course conclude anything. My advice would be to invest in an estate Dunhill as it will be cheaper than a new one and perhaps better (pre 1968 pipes were oil cured).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. pappymac

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    My one Dunhill is a 1926 one that is a great smoker. It was a gift from a friend. I am just as impressed with a Salmon & Gluckstein billiard dated around 1896 that is also a great smoker and far more rare.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. mahew

    mahew

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    To say that any pipe maker as a whole is overrated seems unfair. I have seen some brand new unsold Dunhill’s with horrible and uneven finishes from the 80’s-90’s era in a local shop that I would refuse to spend a dime on. I have a tan shell from my birth year that I am rather fond of. To say they have lacked consistency over the span of their existence seems more in line than saying they are overrated. Just my two pennies.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. ashdigger

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    No pipe is overrated, yet every pipe is overrated. Are we sure that the abilities of the judges aren't overrated?

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. mso489

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    Dunhill pricing is entirely separate from its quality, which is high. But the pricing started out high, but then the company found it could crank it up beyond normal pricing and pushed that to the limit. The pipes are comparable to pipes at half the price or a third, and still expensive. One of several gimmicks was to supply stamping that allowed the pipes to be dated, and hence made it an expensive pipe that was amenable to birth year purchases, and bingo, a rationale for paying double the price. Other pipes, like artisan pipes etched with the date, or Luciano pipes stamped with the year, have this feature but not the vast name recognition. The resale of birth years pipes didn't accrue to the company itself but contributed to the brand price structure. The marketing strategy was even better than the pipes, somewhat brilliant, and the English have a good feel for class-based snobbery so know how to play that emotional keyboard with customers.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  31. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    One of several gimmicks was to supply stamping that allowed the pipes to be dated, and hence made it an expensive pipe that was amenable to birth year purchases, and bingo, a rationale for paying double the price.

    That's not why the year date code was stamped onto the pipes. It was simply a way to verify the age of the pipe if it needed repair or replacement since Dunhill only offered a 1 year guarantee, unlike some others whose guarantees were longer. That the stampings have become an obsession for some wasn't in their thinking when Dunhill first instituted them.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  32. georged

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    Sable is correct.

    (Do your Barlings know your brain cheats on them by thinking about Dunhills occasionally?)

    Dogs live such short lives... and spend most it waiting for us to come home
    Posted 2 months ago #
  33. warren

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    I believe Jesse is absolutely correct on the "why" of dating. I doubt anyone at Dunhill gave a care to resale. No reason for them to, they make/made zilch on the sale of used pipes. There are many logical reasons, Jesse cited one, for dating manufactured products. It's the "after market" and "resale market" that has a vested interest in dating with regard to value.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 2 months ago #
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    frozenchurchwarden

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    I have lots of Dunhills: https://www.smoke.co.uk/acatalog/Barber_B-Line-p1.html
    Great value for money there.
    The stems aren't amazing but the sandblasting is about as good as you'll get on any factory made pipe.

    At one point I was skeptical of the claim but by now it doesn't even matter whether or not the stummels actually come from any "famous" factory, I just see them as a good source of decent sandblasting.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  35. foggymountain

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    They are better than they used to be. As far as price goes, buy directly from Europe and save some real money

    Posted 2 months ago #
  36. danielplainview

    dave g

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    @sablebrush

    You bring a wealth of substance to any topic. I always enjoy reading your posts.

    Make aromatics great again.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  37. ashdigger

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    ^^^ very true!!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  38. brian64

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    They are better than they used to be.

    If I'm interpreting that comment correctly, it's something you don't normally hear. And coming from Foggy makes it interesting. The conventional wisdom always seems to be that older Dunhills are better...even significantly better.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 2 months ago #
  39. rodo

    rodo

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    Years ago my younger bro was also a pipe smoker, and rich, and he sent me an estate Dunny for my birthday. I think it is a seventies vintage. The straight poker was not terribly appealing to me but I was impressed with the name. Okay, fine, fancy pipe. Then I smoked it. I recall actually being a bit annoyed as it smoked hands down better than any of my other pipes. (Granted, I had only a couple back then.) It was strange: I'd smoke in my Peterson, or my meerschaum, but the Dunny always somehow was cooler, stayed lit, just better.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  40. ricebiscuit

    ricebiscuit

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    I was able to find a patent era dunhill (1953 shape 137 to be exact) earlier this year on ebay for about $120. Took a shot on it to see what all the fuss was about. It is now one of my favorite pipes. Amazing smoker. I would vouch for older dunhills being worth their price. Plus they are fun to collect with the history.

    Now would I pay current prices for a new dunhill? no chance.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  41. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    Such a novel subject for a thread.

    I have one Dunhill, a nice little pipe that I bought from Foggy just to be able to say that I own one. Not even sure what it is, really. I’ll have to look at it again.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  42. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Opinions are overrated.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  43. trouttimes

    trouttimes

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    Overrated by whom? What something is worth is defined by what someone will pay. The evaluation may be on looks, performance, or desire to own a,certain thing. I see a lot of art that I wouldn't pay for but it sold to someone for a great deal of cash. I wouldn't own a Prius because it wouldn't suit my needs so it's value to me is nothing. All in the eye of the beholder. Does my cane fly rods catch more fish than an inexpensive Walmart rod? I find great personal value in owning family ne fly rods and shotguns. Others may not. Same with pipe not matter the maker. Smoke what you like, like what you smoke.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  44. bnichols23

    Bill

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    BTW, jhb, Mike's not kidding:

    Some people love them, others grow plants in them.

    Hey, Embers, time to show him that Bonsai DH of yours!

    Don't even start with cobs and meers!

    Oh, I dunno, Mike. [mock innocent look] I've never seen anything at all wrong with cobs. I can't think of anybody who doesn't like them!

    Countdown to post from Cosmic IN 5, 4, 3, 2....

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  45. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Bill, you old troll! You merely saw me posting in the tobacco threads, and now you're goading me into posting here again. Now, you leave those poor cob smokers alone. It's not their fault. Maybe one day, their dad's will get jobs, and get them things like shoes, toilet paper, and real pipes.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  46. ashdigger

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    Cosmic and I agree twice in the same morning..... I'm going back to bed.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  47. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Oh come on Ash, next thing you know, you'll be matching your watch to your tie for the day, ha ha.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  48. bnichols23

    Bill

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    @sablebrush

    You bring a wealth of substance to any topic. I always enjoy reading your posts. [:clap:]

    100% Truest Truth there is. And Jesse is not just a maven, but a gentleman as well. I remember once I questioned his take on a stem issue, & instead of responding in snark he nicely & diplomatically pointed out why he'd said what he did. He didn't take me down or put me in my place; he didn't have to -- *I* did it. His insights I find nearly always completely dead-on, & entertaining to boot.

    Now, if y'all will excuse me I have to go PM somebody to beg a loan.

    Seriously, Jesse, I fully agree with Dave -- ANYthing you post is always worth reading.

    Bill

    Posted 2 months ago #
  49. bnichols23

    Bill

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    you leave those poor cob smokers alone. It's not their fault. Maybe one day, their dad's will get jobs, and get them things like shoes, toilet paper, and real pipes. [:puffy:]

    Wha', no "cob thug" comment?

    And Ash?

    Cosmic and I agree twice in the same morning..... I'm going back to bed.

    I'm gonna just leave that on alone. Waaaaaayyy too many tangents we could go off on there!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  50. mso489

    mso489

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    As the old saying goes, if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it. They are nifty lookers.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  51. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    Opinions are overrated.

    And a sense of humor/sarcasm/irony is a rare thing these days.
    Keep on doing, John.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  52. timt

    timt

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    For Christmas I received a gift certificate for $500 to a local B&M from some generous employees who knew that I enjoy pipes and tobacco. After perusing the pipe selection that's online for this shop, it's likely I'll grab a new Dunhill. My choices are between several Dunhill shapes which are traditional and to my taste or another 3 to 6 cheaper priced pipes that I don't need or want. The other option would be to buy tobacco with the 95% MN tobacco tax - tobacco that I'm not looking to add to the cellar.

    I hope you all will forgive me...

    Tim
    Posted 2 months ago #
  53. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Go in good grace. Sounds like the best alternative, a Dunny!

    It may turn out that you fall in love with the pipe you'll get and happily smoke it around those employees for years to come!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  54. timt

    timt

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    Thanks John. I'm sure that splurging on an expensive pipe was their intention with the gift anyway. Whether or not Dunhills are a good value isn't something they would be expected to know. More than likely, I'll get much enjoyment from the pipe. Looking at a Cumberland straight apple.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  55. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Gr8! Let's see some pix at the right time.

    Posted 2 months ago #

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