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Pipe Reviews?

(17 posts)
  1. haparnold

    Hap

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    Obviously we all spend a lot of times talking about pipes we own, pipes we want, and what we like and dislike about them. But I don't recall ever seeing a pipe review in the style of tobacco reviews.

    I guess it's hard to talk about artisan pipes, but there's probably enough standardization between factory-made pipes that it would be worth reviewing them for people who are interested in purchasing one. Am I missing something here? Is there some huge list of pipe reviews that I've missed over the years?

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 7 months ago #
  2. shanez

    shanez

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    Just my opinion but I believe each individual pipe can have unique characteristics unto itself thus making pipe reviews impossible. People do, however, discuss brands and/or lines of pipes in a similar fashion to reviews.

    Posted 7 months ago #
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    highwaycobbery

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    Here’s my review. Bent egg SMS Meershaum pipe with dark maroon translucent stem. My first meerschaum pipe, bought about 11 years ago and it has been my faithful daily smoker since.I have many briars but nothing let’s me experience tobacco like my meer. Everything tastes more pure, and smokes cooler than any expensive briar that I own. If you don’t have a meerschaum pipe yet, spend the money! Don’t go cheap! You will never have a better smoking pipe and you will quickly find it hard to put down.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  4. warren

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    I only keep a pipe if it delivers what I want in a smoke. I've tossed a lot of pipes over the years. Pipes are simply the result of a human hand being put to shaping a piece of briar or other material. Too many variables from the wood to the hands involved to write a review. Individual boutique carvers may be a different situation but, it still boils down the eye and tastes of the beholder. Then again, an artisan can guarantee almost everything about a pipe he has created except, how well it will smoke. And, how well a pipe smokes is the only measure. One can like the shape, the bit, the grain, etc. then get the pipe home and find that as a smoker ... it is crap. And, how well a pipe smokes is almost, I iterate almost, totally dependent on the smoker. So what would be the point of rating pipes?

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 7 months ago #
  5. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    As a "devil's advocate", couldn't most of that be said of tobacco, as well?

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 7 months ago #
  6. mso489

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    Pipes have probably received some effective reviews here and there by really good reviewers who can generalize from their individual experience in a believable way. The reason pipe reviews aren't more common is that there are too many different pipes produced by too many different craftsmen at different times, and too many different individuals evaluating them. I think pipes tend to be reviewed by consensus, sort of like yelp or other online reviews, more by votes than by personal analysis. just my high and outside pitch on this.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  7. jpmcwjr

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    And, how well a pipe smokes is almost, I iterate almost, totally dependent on the smoker.

    Well, you do say "almost", but I think it's more than that. Otherwise, why would any of us have poor smokers, great smokers, and everything in between?

    Given decent construction as a base line, a large amount depends on the briar. Initial quality, curing, aging, drying. Then it's up to the smoker to make it better through good smoking practices and maintenance. Some pipes make the grades, some don't, and I believe it's the one main variable, the 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 7 months ago #
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    instymp

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    Warren, I agree with your response 100%...But.. I guess some people do want reviews.
    Good response.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  9. olkofri

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    Pipes ain't like gear. Even two specimens from the same brand, same shape, same everything can smoke differently due to the briar's inherent properties. Even tobacco reviews are to be taken with a pound of salt as they are highly subjective.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 7 months ago #
  10. warren

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    One can read on this site reviews of pipes by manufacturers and independent carvers. Pipes are reviewed as to material, cob, meerschaum (African v. Turkish), corn cobs, and other materials. Styles and shapes are reviewed, fit and finish, all of the information is anecdotal and based (biased?) by the writer's person experience. Someone simply needs to read it all, catalog it and then present it in a list. Good luck! And, God speed. Oh, and continued good mental health. My only suggestion would be to publish it anonymously.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  11. warren

    warren

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    That first sentence is a bit muddled. Pipes are reviewed on this site, all makes, styles, and costs continuously by members.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  12. hakchuma

    hakchuma

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    Its a pipe. They will review their pipe. And that should be the end of it. But hopefully people don't start to romantically review pipes the same way tobacco. Sometime I read aloud the tobacco reviews to my wife in a Victorian accent, embelisshing the words upon etc. In short, we get a good laugh just reading lonely stinky pipe smoker reviews.

    "From tempers be it known that we are warm in the fields of battle and cool in the hours of debate"

    - Pushmataha, Choctaw Chief
    Posted 7 months ago #
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    frozenchurchwarden

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    You have to search long and hard to get meaningful information about a pipe.
    The way it’s set up now it seems like pipemakers expect you to buy their product based mostly on reputation, kind of like it is with Tobacco but flavor is still much more subjective.
    You can find some threads full of “Button Shots” that reveal characteristics most people find important, but you’ll neve see in marketing material. With enough searching you can find specs for the draft diameter on most pipe brands.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  14. mso489

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    Another thought -- pipes get reviewed in glimpses and glimmers, complaints and photos. Member foggymountain just doesn't like Savinelli's. He's a Dunhill smoker, mostly, and has a few other high quality pipes he approves. But he doesn't critique, he just dismisses, which as a former pipe shop employee in the fifties and lifelong pipe smoker only seems his prerogative. I think if I review pipes, it is mostly a review of my pipe, or pipes of that brand I own. There are lemons in any brand, and probably with almost any carver, though some have few or none. As a sign of good health, most of us brag more than we deride, given a choice.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  15. warren

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    Every time I go into a pipe shop, if a pipe catches my eye, I review it. I check the briar, fit and finish, etc. No different than buying a car. Even mail order allows you to inspect a pipe, inside and out. If you find a problem and, it is unsmoked, return it. If you stumble onto a pipe you like, you've checked it out, what the heck does another's opinion/review of a similar pipe or a brand, matter?

    Buying a pipe is not remotely similar to trying to find a blend you like. Blends are made in batches, sold world wide, with admirable attempts to guarantee a similar taste for each blend. Pipes, for the most part, even mass produced simply have too many variables for a person to smoke a model such and such from brand X and offer a review which would translate easily to all the pipes made by the came carver/manufacturer, at nearly the same time with the same machinery/tools, and from the same batch of briar, harvested at the same time from the same general locale. Pipes just aren't made in the same manner as blends.

    So you want a great pipe? Go out and hunt for it! Or, read a few offerings here and accept that all (pick your manufacturer) pipes are crap. Or, that all pipes from (same manufacturer) are golden. Then adopt the correct attitude, that ultimately, you will have to venture out and make your own decision and that whether or not that decision is correct will, again ultimately, boil down to how well the pipe smokes and ... how well you smoke the pipe.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  16. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    Seems to me there are 3 aspects to a pipe. Aesthetics, construction and the briar used. Aesthetics are certainly going to be subjective to each individual. All three can be controlled by the carver. Unfortunately, the quality of all 3 can be superior and the pipe may still not smoke well. The wood may come from the best source, be dried/cured, etc. and for whatever number of reasons, still not deliver a great smoke.

    With that said, in my own experience, your odds of getting a dog seem to diminish with certain carvers/brands. I believe you're much more likely to get a very good to great smoking pipe from Castello than you are from Peterson. And I think you're less likely to get a poor smoking pipe from Rad Davis than you are from Castello, at least those made by Rad in 2010 and after. IMHO, the wood is the primary component affecting how well a pipe smokes. I hate to diss Ian and Northern Briars but his drills often aren't top notch. However, the quality of his briar seems to be superior. As a result, his pipes seem to smoke well.

    Yes, "great smoking pipe" is subjective. Everyone wouldn't agree on a certain pipe being a great smoker. However, I believe most people would agree on a pipe that is a poor or mediocre smoker.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  17. haparnold

    Hap

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    Great comments so far. The thing that got me thinking about this was my acquisition of two different Morgan Bones pipes. Both are fine smokers (define that however you wish), and in both pipes, I believe the draft hole to be a little wider than my other pipes, which can sometimes allow a small chunk of tobacco to plug up the draft hole. It doesn't make me dislike the pipes at all, but if I had been looking for a pipe to devote to, say, cube-cut, I would steer clear of these.

    This observation got me to thinking about whether it was worthwhile to review the more objective parts of a pipe. Much like reviewing a tobacco and saying "tastes good" doesn't help anyone, simply saying a pipe is a good smoker isn't very helpful, but there are objective things common to all pipes in a specific line/by a specific maker which are worth knowing.

    Posted 7 months ago #

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