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Is a Pressed Meerschaum Bowl in a Gourd Calabash Bad?

(15 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by northernneil
  • Latest reply from northernneil
  1. northernneil

    northernneil

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    A little pipe and cigar shop in my city got an order a gourd calabash pipes in stock. They are great looking pipes, using real gourd, but use pressed meerschaum for the bowl instead of block meerschaum. I know pressed meerschaum is not ideal because it does not color as nicely as a block meerschaum will, but does it taste any different? Would I be better to hold off until I find a gourd calabash with a block meerschaum bowl?

    I am not concerned about how well the bowl colors, I am only concerned about the flavor of smoke. What do you think, will a pressed meerschaum bowl taste any different from a block meerschaum bowl?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. xrundog

    xrundog

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    I've had a lot of pipes with pressed meerschaum inserts. They give a nice flavor. The main drawback is that the pressed stuff is much denser and therefore heavy. It is also prone to degradation from moisture over time. But that's a lot of time and smoking.

    Life is good. But it's better with a pipe.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    I was looking into Strambachs at one point and I'm pretty sure they use pressed meerschaum for the cup.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. northernneil

    northernneil

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    Any reference I can find comparing the two options only comments on the difference in coloring. I can't find anything that comments on the flavor, which leads me to believe that it is a moot point.

    Nonetheless, this pipe would still set me back $200, so I just want to seek a little more information before pulling the trigger.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    You could probably ask the calabash smokers here, but this fellow swears there's basically no difference when part of a gourd calabash.

    EDIT: OK, I took out the link to another pipes forum (isn't that discouraged?). Anyhow, here's the money quote:

    A large number of meerschaum cups for calabash pipes are pressed. As it's the gourd (or mahogany, etc) bowl that determines the smoking characteristics, the cup isn't critical as far as pressed or block. And nowadays with gourds being scarce, a calabash gourd with a block meerschaum cup will set you back several hundred bucks.

    Strambach can offer block meerschaum pipes the same way Peterson did - by commissioning the carving from a Turkish carver and re-badging the pipe. Peterson's were clearly block. I should add that I've never seen one of the Strambach pipes up close, so I'm just speculating.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    The only issue I have ever heard of was with the coloring. Even then, Pioneer used to make a calabash with pressed meerschaum, and they were considered one of the better calabashes you could buy.

    I think it's more important to carefully examine the quality of the pipe's construction: specifically, the ferrule, or gourd extension into which the stem mounts (assuming a standard military mount); and the quality and fit of the cork inside the gourd's rim, which seats the bowl.

    I would recommend a calabash with deep bends; the extra leverage is very important in larger, heavier pipes, and you'll find them much more enjoyable and less tiring to smoke.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. jarit

    jarit

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    Yeah, apparently the modern calabash cups are made of pressed meer. Member "meerqueen" talks about it in this thread:

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/question-about-gourd-calabash#post-186770

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. klause

    klause

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    For that kind of money you could, with a little patience, pick up a gorgeous vintage, early 20th Century Calabash from eBay, or any number of reputable vendors of estate pipes.

    Maybe early pipes used block meer for the bowls?

    Other than that, I don't see any discernable differance in the ones I have.

    Ars longa, vita brevis.
    _____________________________________
    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    The Meer store only has one calabash unsold....they must be popular right now.
    http://www.meerschaumstore.com/classic_calabash_meerschaum.asp?pg=4

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. northernneil

    northernneil

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    Yeah, apparently the modern calabash cups are made of pressed meer. Member "meerqueen" talks about it in this thread:

    Thanks for posting this link Jarit. A lot of good information there.

    For that kind of money you could, with a little patience, pick up a gorgeous vintage, early 20th Century Calabash from eBay, or any number of reputable vendors of estate pipes.

    Thanks for the recommendation Klause, but I am not a big fan of estate pipes. Call me strange, but there is something special about breaking in a new pipe and making it mine!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. klause

    klause

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    Not strange at all, Neil - I understand that, completely

    Good luck in the hunt.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. bruce74

    bruce74

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    I had a pressed Meer Calabash that I loved. There wasn't any difference in smoking quality between it and my block Meer pipes. I gave it to a friend of mine when he fell on hard times and I pushed pipe smoking on him as a partial remedy for the associated melancholy that ensued. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another for a smoking implement but may balk if I was buying a real show piece.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. papipeguy

    papipeguy

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    I've had these 2 Pioneer meers for over 40 years and they smoke just fine. I wouldn't fixate on pressed vs. block for a calabash. It's all about the gourd. FYI, the black pipe is made from block.

     photo Pioneer1.jpg

    Blowin' smoke since 1970.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. meerqueen

    meerqueen

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    Hi,

    99% pressed cups are used on gourds and mahogany pipes.We have been selling them since 1963 without any problem.

    Regards,

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. northernneil

    northernneil

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    Thank you all for the feed back. Your encouragement lead me to another wonderful purchase...

    I have to say I am excited to take this beauty on her maiden voyage, but will have to be patient as I do not think the meerschaum would react well with the cold weather. Fortunately, the fiance will let me smoke in the house on special occasions, I think this will classify as one!

    Posted 4 years ago #

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