By Bob Tate
Saturday morning, I awoke very early and headed down to the exhibition hall. I wanted to get there before the show started so I could try and get some photos of all of the exhibitors setting up their tables for the day. Only the exhibitors were allowed in the hall from 7:30am to 9:30am, but the C.O.R.P.S. were kind enough let me in for some photos. I spoke to a few of the exhibitors, but because they were busy and I did not want to distract them from their work, they were very brief exchanges.
After that I headed off to breakfast with Kevin to go over our game plan for the day.
We returned to the exhibition hall at 9:30am for the start of the show. We selfishly headed directly to the main C.O.R.P.S table to acquire, for ourselves, some very limited edition tobaccos. There were two different blends that were available just for the 2009 C.O.R.P.S Show for their 25th Anniversary and only 100 tins of each were made. The blends were ESPIRIT de CORPS made by Cornell & Diehl and C.O.R.P.S. 25th Anniversary Pipe Tobacco made by McClelland.
After we secured our share of the limited edition tobaccos, we headed around the show to begin our coverage.
We spoke with Luca Di Piazza of Neat Pipes (NeatPipes.com) and talked with him about his new line of pipes which he has named Luciano [pronounced: Lu-chee-ah-no]. We also talked with him a little bit about the new Rubens Rhodesian Pipes.
Luca: My name is Luca Di Piazza and I’m developing this line of pipes, which is a machine made bowl and hand finished. We’re basically working with a few finishes from sandblasted in three colors; brown, tan, and a very cute virgin sandblasted. Then we have the smooth; red smooth, light brown, the dark contrast stain, and the clear.
The nice part of this pipe, which is a very good entry level pipe for pipe smokers, is that the price point is really nice. The retail price is from $70 to $120. One of the good points of these pipes is the smoking quality. I mean, the wood is seasoned up to three years and the finish of the pipes are really carefully done.
PipesMagazine: What is the name of this line of pipes?
PipesMagazine: Are these pipes available in stores now?
Luca: A few stores in the United States have them. I’m really doing a good job with them. I have just started to introduce them to the United States.
When we got to his table, Luca only had 5 of the Rubens Rhodesian pipes left, out of the 20 that they had brought. The Rubens Rhodesian pipes are a Limited Series with only 100 pipes being made. The pipe was designed by Greg Pease and Luca di Piazza and is made by Radice (Radicepipes.net). They call their collaboration, Pease/Di Piazza Design.
Here is their description about their project:
The Pease/di Piazza Design project was born in 2007 from the minds of two men with an unrelenting passion for pipes and a deep love for the art of design. When we put our heads together, it was inevitable that we would work to bring some new ideas to life. Combined with the craftsmanship of renowned pipe maker Luigi Radice, we are thrilled to present the first in a series of limited edition pieces crafted to our shared vision for fun, playful designs, and excellent smoking characteristics.
The Rubens Rhodesian is a short and voluptuous pipe derived from one of the most popular of classic shapes and inspired by the painting of Peter Paul Ruben. At just over 4.5 inches in length, it can almost be considered a Brucianaso (nosewarmer). Its sturdy shank, comfortable mouthpiece, and capacious bowl make it a perfect everyday companion. Only 100 numbered pieces are available in various finishes. We hope it brings you many years of happy and peaceful puffing.
[Editors Note: I have been in touch with Greg Pease and Luca Di Piazza since the show so I could get as much information as I could to you, our readers.]
The pipes will range in price from $200.00 to $400.00 and the finishes that the pipe will be available in are:
• Silk Cut
• Clear “Gold”
• Clear “F” / “OP”
During my conversations with Greg Pease, I had the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions about the Rubens Rhodesian pipes.
PipesMagazine: Once the 100 pipes are gone, will you be re-introducing more or is this just a limited edition, one time only pipe?
Greg: This project has been more or less underway since 2007, when Luca and I first discussed it and we were instantly excited about our collaboration. We had the concept of what we would do, but there were many things to work out, including the designs. The Rubens Rhodesian is just the first, a limited edition of 100 pieces. It will certainly not be the last. In fact, designs are under discussion for the next series, which we are hoping to release in the spring of 2010. At this point, its our intention to retire a design once the edition is sold out, but we may have to revisit this decision, depending on demand.
Of course, with Radice doing the production, there’s no question of the workmanship or smoking quality of the pipes. They’re really turning out beautiful pieces, each one a little gem as different from one another as they are alike. Like a proud papa, I love them all. I was devastated when the prototype, which I’d been smoking for a couple weeks, went missing in the post. I hope whoever got that one is enjoying it as much as I did.
PipesMagazine: When and where will the pipes be available for purchase and what retailers are going to carry them?
Greg: The pipes are available world-wide, beginning now, through selected Radice retailers. Luca is compiling a list of stockists as they acquire the pipes. So far, it’s:
• Barclay Rex – NY
• De La Concha – NY
• Fader’s – Towson MD
• McCranie’s – Charlotte NC
• Main Street Cigar – Bel Air MD
• James Island Piper (website only)
• Park Lane Tobacconist (Paul Bonaquisti) – NY
• JB Hayes – Fairfax, VA
• Milan Tobacconist – Roanoke, VA
We headed over to the Cornell & Diehl table and talked with Craig (Craigtarler), Patty, and Chris Tarler as well as a few of their employees. C&D brought an astounding amount of different tobacco blends to the show including their new Burley Flake blends, Good Morning blend, and the new G.L. Pease blend – Chelsea Morning.
|New G.L. Pease Blend – Chelsea Morning
While we were at the Cornell & Diehl table, we also talked with Bob Hayes a little bit and took some photos of his pipes.
Bob Hayes makes some great looking pipes and he used to sell them on the Cornell & Diehl website, but now Bob has his own new website. You can see more of his pipes and purchase them at BobHayesPipes.com.
Next to the C&D table, there was a gentleman set up with his display of Trever Talbert Halloween Pipes. His pipes were not for sale, he was just displaying them for the visual pleasure of all in attendance.
Trever Talbert (Trevert) makes some great looking and original pipes and those Talbert Halloween pipes are some amazing pieces of art! They look fantastic and if I were to own one, I would have a hard time putting fire to it!
We stopped by the Monjure International table to speak a little bit with Steve Monjure, but we got side tracked checking out their amazing selection of Ardor Pipes. In their selection of pipes, they had a huge Ardor pipe on display and I could not believe how light it was compared to its size.
We spent a lot of time at the Monjure International table and we had all intentions of interviewing Steve. But when we got there, we were so enamored by the selection of Ardor pipes, that our brains malfunctioned and we went from ‘journalist’ mode into ‘consumer’ mode. The best way that I can describe what happened is this; one time while watching a nature show, I saw a deep sea octopus that would continuously change colors to hypnotize its prey. Once the prey was hypnotized, the octopus attacked and devoured it. I will admit that we felt like the prey. We got hypnotized by the all of the great pipes and the different colors that were on them.
By the time we moved on, their table was a little lighter and so were our pockets. We were like kids at Christmas; walking around the show while admiring our new pipes and by the time we realized that we never did interview Steve, it was too late. Doh!
Here are the photos of our newly aquired Ardors. They are our favorite pipes now and Kevin said that his makes any tobacco that he smokes in it taste better.
|Kevins New Ardor
|My New Ardor
While we were perusing the floor we also stopped by tables and talked to a few people who, for one reason or another, we didn’t get any photos or interviews with. Some of the tables that we briefly stopped by included Pipesandcigars.com, Daughters & Ryan (D&R) Tobacco, Quality Briar (qualitybriar.com), Old Nellie Pipes (oldnelliepipes.com), John B. Hayes, The Pipe and Pint (thepipeandpint.com), and Talbert Pipes (talbertpipes.com) just to name a few.
•Russ Ouellette (Blendtobac) the master blender from Pipesandcigars.com was there, but when we were there to talk with him he was busy doing other things and we never got another opportunity to get back to their table.
•D&R Tobacco are relatively new to pipe tobacco and we did speak a little bit with Mark Ryan the owner. Kevin did interview Mark about Perique tobacco and he (Kevin) will be doing a great article about Perique in the future.
•Joe Nelson, the owner of Old Nellie Pipes, is also a Luthier. When we were at his table, he had a few customers so we did not want to bother him. Unfortunately, we never got back to his table to speak with him at length.
Here are a few random photos from the show.
There is one more article to come in our coverage of the 2009 Richmond Show. It is our interview with Craig Norris, President of C.O.R.P.S. Stay tuned!
To be concluded……
See more coverage of the 2009 Richmond Pipe Show at the links below: