One used to have to wait to see the new pipes and tobaccos coming to market after they arrived in stores. Now, PipesMagazine.com gives you an early preview of what’s coming from our visit to the largest annual pipes trade show in the world. "One might wonder how pipes get from the worker’s bench and into the pipe shop. Each year the greatest concentration of pipe buying takes place at a number of tobacconists "trade shows" held at various locations throughout the world. In the United States, the largest of these gatherings is the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America trade show. Here, pipe shop owners gather to view the numerous tobacco products and pipes on display for the upcoming season. It is important to note that most of these pipe-selling conventions are for the tobacco trade only, as many products are unveiled for the first time.
The public must wait until the purchases are delivered to their local tobacconists to see what is available …" – from Pipesmoking A 21st Century Guide by Richard Carleton Hacker.
You no longer have to wait for the new products to hit store shelves. Start planning your purchases now as we take you through the 2009 IPCPR Show (formerly (RTDA) in New Orleans. Part I of our coverage is here.
We start part II of our journey at the IPCPR show with Chacom Pipes. We spoke with Alan & Joan Schwartz of XYZ Direct, Ltd., the exclusive importers of Chacom. They had some very interesting and unique new pipes to show.
We have Sphera in seven different colors and intubations. This is the UFO series with a UFO sphere and the Night Sky with a Night Sky sphere.
|Chacom UFO Series
|Chacom Night Sky Series
Some of the other interesting and creative new design from Chacom are shown below.
|"Billy" Pipes with Metal Stem Pipes
|A "Hookah Style" for close friends
|The "Volcano" Series
XYZ Direct was also exhibiting a new pipe tobacco named Wessex Gold Standard.
Alan Schwartz told us, "This blend is made according to European specs and blending. It is the way the English do it rather than the way the Americans do. The Americans tend to make it like they are baking a cake. They put it all together and they mix it up. The English and other blenders who especially use high quality blends, they make many blends of the components. When you take Turkish and Virginia, and black Virginia, which are used not as a filler but as a neutral type of tobacco … you take the lights and blend them separately and let them marry and then you take the dark ones and blend them separately let them marry, you will get a completely different taste from taking everything and throwing it all together.
You’ve got these many blends which make up the mixture which is technically a combination of many blends, and what happens is the master blenders know the characteristics of each leaf so they are able to compensate for it. Virginia tends to be a little acidic which tends to give you it a sharp bite and, if you want to reduce that you mix it with a Turkish, it will reduce it. This has a very full body with no bite, and it is completely natural. There is no flavoring, nothing but tobacco and moisture through water.
|Wessex Gold Standard
|Virginia, Latakia & Turkish Tobaccos
Our next stop was the Missouri Meerschaum booth, makers of the famous Corn Cob Pipes. You can see a great step by step description of the making of a Corn Cob Pipe here. We spoke with Phil Morgan who told us that Missouri Meerschaum, around since 1869 hasn’t been to a trade show in 20 years.
"We wanted to get back to the show to get back in front of the retailers and the distributors, the wholesalers and let them know we’re still in existence. You know, we’re still shipping all over the United States, all over the world and just, again, let people know we’re still here. We were founded in 1869. We are still in the same building that we were in. Actually the building we’re in was built in 1883. We’re still in that building. It’s been added onto a little bit since 1883 but we’re still in that building. We’re still in the same town. We grow our own corn. It’s a hybrid corn specifically for pipe manufacturing. We still grow that, harvest it and age it and make the entire pipe from A to Z, so from growing the corn all the way to shipping out to our customers."
Kevin: How many different types of pipes are there in the line?
Phil: Right now, there’s roughly about 25 different types of pipes, which is less than what we offered in the past but we are considering some of the old standards, the old favorites from the past, we’re considering reoffering those, which a lot of people have told us they would like to see.
Kevin: So we might see some of the old models coming back.
Phil: You very well may, yes.
Kevin: What’s old is new.
Phil: Yeah, it’s new again.
|The Famous General MacArthur Corn Cob
|Kevin Godbee & Phil Morgan
Peterson of Dublin was next on our list.
Ashton Distributors is the official importer of Peterson pipes and tobaccos. Adam Alalouf from Holt’s Cigar Company in Philadelphia was helping out as the resident expert on Peterson.
We have a few new high grades this year. The Grafton Collection, which is just brought over from Europe has a walnut finish with a Cumberland bit which is new for us from Peterson. It comes in the traditional range of shapes. I also have the tan spigot which usually comes with the Cumberland bit and it’s now offered in the orange bit, kind of an amber-looking stem. It’s nice, round, sandblast. Those two pipes both retail for $300. And we also have a new flame grain yellow, which is a nice, you can see the nice, straight grain on these pipes. It’s a nice reddish finish with the orange stem. So those are the new high grades.
There’s a new Peterson rustic retailing at $65 in some unusual shapes, some shapes that you usually don’t see like the 230, which is a miniature version of the 69. And the 65, which is also a smaller finish than usually available in the 15, it’s a great price point.
Kevin: And those are all $65?
Adam: All $65 retail. The Castle Collection is a set of four pipes. They’re each named after a castle in Ireland. They’re shapes that Peterson hasn’t done beautiful with a beautiful silver band that’s hand-turned with the crown emblem. And the name of the castle is imprinted on the bottom of the pipe. This one’s the Lenora. And there’s a rustic and a smooth. The rustic retails for $480 for the set of four. And then the smooth retails for $960 for the set.
The names of the four Castles are the Lismore, the Glin, the Malahide and the Birr.
There’s a new tobacco from Peterson. It’s called the Three P’s, or Peterson Perfect Pluck and it’s an old-fashion plucked tobacco that you have to cut with a knife. It kind of looks like jerky or a brownie and you just break it up and smoke it. It gives a really nice old-fashioned, mild smoke, a lot of sweetness, a lot of flavor able to marry there.
Bob Ysidron, Operations Manager of Savinelli Pipes was kind enough to walk us through the new products at their booth. While I was there, I walked in smoking a Savinelli pipe, and at a glance, in no less than one second, Bob said, "Oh I see you have a Savinelli Venezia." He didn’t even have to take a close look at it. There’s no doubt this man knows the Savinelli Pipes line.
Bob: This is one of our new lines called The Panama. It’s got the silver cap on it. Just introduced it to the show along with four other new lines of pipes.
Kevin: And it’s available in about what, 10 shapes?
Bob: Yeah, different series. See, some of our series, see the number of shapes that are available there? Some are available up to 50 different shapes, others may be only 6. It just varies.
Let’s see, what else was new here. This is a higher end. This retails for $260.00. This is a Punta Ora gold; it’s one of their high end lines. Anything with Punta Ora with a gold dot is one of the very high end lines of pipes that they have. This is Giotto, this one here. This is named after a famous renaissance Italian painter, he was one of the first people before Michelangelo doing paintings and things of that nature in Italy, Giotto di Bondone. Savinelli names a lot of their pipes after famous Italian people of the past. And, this is the Trevi. Of course, you’re probably familiar with the Trevi Fountain in Rome. (Oh yeah, I go there all the time. Joking.)
It’s a very nice piece, and price points are great you can see. They make it in rustic and they make it in the smooth finish as well. This is really selling out real well because of the price points primarily.
Kevin: And are all of these available now in stores?
Bob: Yeah, they’re all in stock. This is something unique. It’s a brand new line called The Chocolate Line, and what it is, is take a wif in here. The bowls are infused with chocolate. It dissipates after about 10 smokes. But, it’s just again a really unique thing, and the packaging for it, let me show you it over here. That’s the packaging.
Kevin: It looks like chocolate.
Bob: Chocolate bar, yeah. Nice, beautifully lined case. You can store jewelry, or pipes and things, or whatever. But, it’s a really well made case. That’s the way it comes packaged. It’s called The Chocolate Line and that’s done extremely well since we introduced it about three months ago. I think those are all the new things that we have.
We stopped by to say hello to Per Jensen at Mac Baren and got an update on the new HH Acadian Perique. This tobacco was right at home in New Orleans, as it’s sole origin is the state of Louisiana. You should be able to find it in stores now as it just recently shipped.
Per gave me a generous sampling and I filled my pipe and started smoking immediately. The Mac Baren HH Acadian Perique is one of the best Mac Baren blends I have ever tasted. I smoked it all day for the next two days and loved it.
While talking to Per, I mentioned that I also enjoy the other two "HH" blends, the Vintage Syrain and the Mature Virginia. He told me, "the HH Mature Virginia, one of the top flavors is red wine balsamic. What its used for is mixing salads and stuff like that. So, we get to the, shall we say the normal kitchen and just use it to get this very distinct flavor, and that’s the only top flavor."
This was very interesting as I had never heard of using Balsamic Vinegar as a casing for tobacco, but after he mentioned it, I realized that it is exactly what I was tasting when I smoked the HH Mature Virginia.
We spoke to Paul Creasy, General Manager of the pipe tobacco division for Altadis, USA, and discussed the Sutliff Private Stock line.
Back in April at the Chicago Pipe Show several pouch samples were handed out at the dinner. I have tried several and they are excellent, mild, flavorful tobaccos.
Paul had this to say – "One of the main items that we’ve introduced at the show this year is a new line of tin tobaccos that are bringing back some of the old brands from yesteryear like Barking Dog, Agassi Black, Country Doctor. We have a version of Early Morning Pipe. We have a version of Dunhill 965. They’re coming in 50 gram cans and eight-ounce cans. They’ve been the big hit of the show and we’re very excited about it.
Kevin: What are the names … the versions of …?
Paul: They are in the Private Stock line. And we have Maple Street, for example, is our version of Rum and Maple. Man’s Best Friend is our version of Barking Dog. Great Outdoors is our version of Field and Stream. Our Blend is our version of Revelation. French Quarter is our version of Bourbon Street. Country Doctor, our version of Country Doctor is C.D. Blend. BRG mixture is our version of Breaks. Navigator Blend is our version of Argosy Black. Sunrise Smoke is our version of Early Morning Pipe. And Blend 5 is our version of Dunhill 965.
They come in one-and-a-half ounce tins and eight-ounce cans. Been a big hit at the show… They’re all pop-top cans. They have gold-embossed lids. Probably sold maybe 200 retailers, so it’s going to have national distribution by the end of the show.
Erik Nording / Arango Cigar Co.
There was an impressive display of Erik Nording Pipes at his American distributor’s booth, Arango Cigar Co.
I met Erik Nording, bought one of his freehand pipes, and spoke at length to Mark Schintgen about several new products.
Erik, this year has a fantasy Churchwarden pipe. It also comes with a smaller bit so it comes actually both ways. For many years he’s had free hands which he signed, we called Signatures, either in a smooth or in a rustic. He has the same unfinished bowls in a large, in a small size and the beautiful thing with the unfinished is when you first look, they look rough. But what happens is when the pipe is smoked, the graining, the pipe will tan with the hand and the tobacco. And the graining comes out and the finish will be more beautiful than Eric could make if he tried to finish it himself.
Kevin: Wow. So the pipe gets finished by you smoking it and handling it?
I spoke to Erik Nording directly about one of his exclusive hand-made pipes.
Erik tell us, "I made this pipe out of a very beautiful piece of aged briar a couple of hundred years old, very, very close in the grain. This stem is made of small pieces that’s glued together, yellow, black and it’s acrylic. And the silver cap I have made. I cut it out of a big silver plate and bent it all and made the whole thing myself. I made everything myself. And the briar stand is made out of a round piece cut off the shell and made the, so it could fit exactly.
Erik Nording Tobacco
Next we took a look at some new tobaccos from Erik Nording.
This is Erik Nording’s tobacco. He has three blends. He has the Retriever, Foxhound and the Pointer. The Retriever is a mix of Virginia and Cavendishes. The Pointer, Virginia and Burley, and the Foxhound is a Latakia.
Those that follow Erik Nording know that every year he releases a hunter pipe fashioned after some animal that a hunter would possibly hunt, and Erik is a hunter himself.
This year’s pipe is fashioned after the hare. The bit is bent back like the rabbit’s ear. And it’s available in either a smooth finish or a rustic finish. Most of these hunter pipes are very sought after. He only makes 1,000 a year and some have been sold out and I believe on like E-bay they’re going for several thousand dollars a piece.
He’s had anything from a beaver, a quail, a boar, a turkey… a pheasant, a deer. And each one comes with a piece of artwork that tells its story how he came to decide.
Another new pipe is going to be Erik “The Red”. Eric said many years ago he used to make the stem; it’s got a little fancier stem. It’s going to be available in units of 12. Just a little larger bowl than Eric “The Red” used to be.
Now, he hasn’t told me; he actually might name this after his son. We haven’t come up with a name yet, but the idea with these, this is similar to a free-hand black grain that he finishes. He’s thinking of making this, this is a black grain. It’s very similar to the signature that’s just unfinished, but what he has done is he’s stained it. Now, we’re going to take this on, but we haven’t yet decided whether it’s, what’s maybe multiple colors; it’s going to be black and possibly a brown. But, they will be stained, but then not finished so they’ll have the opportunity, these will caramelize just like the Signature.
Tsuge from Japan
Tsuge, the Toyko Japanese manufacturer, had some unique pipe designs.
We spoke with Sab Tsuge about their new pipes. This is Japanese rock art. We call it Urushi. In the 1930’s Dunhill made this kind of Pipes.
And this is a top bamboo. The pipe is briar wood and the stem is bamboo. And covered with an Urushi and then hand painted. This is the Urushi Botanical Four Seasons line.
|"Toyko" by Tsuge
|Urushi Botanical Four Seasons
|"Fatboy" by Tsuge
Then we have The Laurette in the E-Star System line. There is a chamber to put some tobacco in the bottom which serves as a filter. First you put tobacco here in this chamber and close it, then you put the same tobacco put here. And you light it so and it smokes through, through the tobacco.
Ah, so, so the tobacco becomes the filter on the back of the pipe?
|The Laurette Pipe – Tobacco is is put into the bottom chamber to serve as a filter.
Another new pipe is The Topper, which has a very high bowl. You do not have to fill the entire bowl. There are different length "Bottom Advancers" that can be used.
We have a two Bottom Advancers – this is for one gram, this is for two grams. The way you smoke the tobacco so the smoke comes here and makes it cooler.
|The "Topper" by Tsuge
RD Field – importers of Becker, Bertram Safferling, Mastro Beraldil, Rainer Barbi and more
Marty Pulvers was kind enough to show us what’s new.
I’m pointing out right now the Paolo Becker’s which is of course a more specialty maker out of Rome. And, most of Paolo’s pipes are very refined and delicate, but for this show we have a bunch of much larger group five and even six Dunhill size Paolo Becker’s. And a lot are gone unfortunately; this is already Tuesday and our big days of course are the first two days of the show. But there’s still some nice larger Paolo Becker’s and I would say that they’re our featured pipe for the show which is why most of them are gone.
Kevin: What’s the retail price range on these?
Marty: The retail range is from $440 up of course to over $700. This one’s $535; that’s a heck of a price for a really large looking beautiful sand blast, beautiful grain, a lot of straight grain, and ring grain, almost all around ring grain, all around. This one is probably about $665, with a beautiful ring grain and a silver farel, silver trim. Yeah, that’s about it on what we have here. And even on his smooth, this beautiful straight grain large poker group, group seven size, more than ODA at $895.
The hottest Becker is his bog oak, or mortar pipes, and they’re some very large ones. These are the largest bog oak customers have seen they tell us. And this large one is $695 retail. Here’s a really nice sort of bent amity or poker; this one’s $705 and feel how light it is.
Kevin: Wow, light, super light.
Marty: Super light. The one issue with bog oak is they smoke very well, people like them a lot, but they must be broken in slowly. So, it would take I think either an experienced smoker or somebody who can smoke them very, very slowly. Now this oak has been …
Kevin: So this is made of oak?
Marty: 2,000 year old oak.
Kevin: Wow. And, what was the name of the oak you said?
Marty: They call it bog oak. The oak is somewhat mineralized and ossified. So, it’ll stand up to the smoking, but you want to give it a little coating first inside. But many have been sold and they obviously are doing well. And when I say they’re somewhat fossilized, they’re not heavy like they’re made of mineral as you can tell.
Kevin: By appearance they look heavy, but they’re very light.
|Pipes Made of Bog Oak (not briar)
McClelland Tobacco Co.
I hit the McClelland booth five minutes before closing, and after a long 3rd day of the show, they were ready to call it a day, but Michael McNiel was kind enough to show me some of the new tobaccos.
McClelland now is manufacturing and selling to the retailers all the old PCCA blends, Jubilee, Aurora, Beacon, Orient 996, Tudor Castle, and Tudor Castle Arcade and they are already out in the retail stores. We haven’t promoted them much but we will when we get back from the show.
Kevin: And, what kind of blends are they?
Some are Virginia flakes with Perique. Most of them are with Perique except for Jubilee. And some are flakes and some are ribbon.
McClelland, like other companies at the show, was also advertising replacements for discontinued Lane blends. Click on the last picture to see the details.
If you think that was a lot of new products, then be warned that we did not cover everything. There is Part I of our coverage and even between both articles, there are many things missing. Some booths were busy working with retailers and we could not interrupt them. Some booths were not busy, but the idea of talking to "The Press" seemed odd to them. I actually introduced myself at a few booths with well-known name brand products that I will not mention as they refused to discuss their products. I couldn’t figure out why, but that’s their choice.
The IPCPR Convention was a great show in New Orleans, and it is truly amazing how nice and friendly 95% of the people are, and how many extremely exciting new products are coming out.
It feels like a Renaissance in the pipe and tobacco market to me. Enjoy my fellow brothers and sisters of the briar!