Ethan Brandt The period informally known as the Prohibition Era was a terrible time in American history: the mob gained power, otherwise law abiding citizens were arrested for illogical reasons, […]Read more
Smokingpipes.com UpdatesWatch for Updates Twice a Week
- November 22, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 532
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 53! Our featured interview tonight is with Sergio Castello, a pipe smoking enthusiast from Mexico. He lives in the capital city of Sonora, Hermosillo, near the border with Arizona. He is a vintner by profession, growing table grapes in his family’s business, Viñedos 2000. His grandfather, a doctor, smoked a pipe, and although he never saw him smoke, he did see the pipe rack in his office as a kid, and would play with them and pretend he was smoking. When he was 18-years old he got into cigars, and then pipes. At the top of the show we have a tobacco review of a surprise gift that went missing for a year and a half of an L.J. Peretti blend. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- November 15, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 531
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 531! Our featured interview tonight is with pipe maker Yiannos Kokkinos. Yiannos is from the Mediterranean island country of Cyprus. He studied Graphic Design in Greece and Fine Arts in Italy and used to work as a designer. His pipes are completely handmade from Mediterranean briar. At the top of the show in Pipe Parts, we will have an “Ask the Pipemaker” segment with Jeff Gracik. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- November 14, 2022 2022 Texas Pipe Show Report
This years Texas Pipe show started out a bit chilly at a balmy 40 degrees. Luckily, it warmed up into the high 50s for the day with the sunshine making it a perfect day in Texas. The quaint “last pipe show of the year,” was a great end to the season with carvers and vendors braving the cool morning to show off their new and estate pipes and pipe related paraphernalia. This was also the first year Kevin Godbee (owner of PipesMagazine.com) made an appearance at the Texas Show. He got a chance to chat with everyone in between judging a cookoff competition at the World Food Championships. The Texas Pipe Show started as a very small trunk show with a couple vendors like the Pipe Tart stopping in on her annual road trip to visit family. In 2017 the Texas clubs combined forces to put on a larger event drawing from all over the state with the North Texas Briar Club, Dallas Pipe Club [Loan Star Pipe Club], Austin Pipe Club, and the Waco Pipe Club with our local celebrity Steve “The Pipe Stud” Fallon. In addition, the Houston, San Antonio, and Abilene Pipe clubs also made an appearance to throw down a challenge at the slow smoke. This years show was hosted once again by Rhonda and Steven Rast, owners of Tobacco Cabana in Cedar Hill, Texas just outside Dallas and Fort Worth. Hosting the pipe show at Tobacco Cabana allows the show to be free to the public and free to vendors and carvers, keeping the costs low. Every year the Texas Pipe Show chooses a charity to work with to donate half the raffle proceeds to. This year the show chose to donate to Cigars for Warriors. Executive Admin Assistant Paul Hinman from Cigars for Warriors was onsite checking out the show and snapped a pic with the shows organizers. Cigars for Warriors is entirely volunteer run with no one taking a salary and is the largest cigar based charity in the US. Cigars for Warriors generally ships out 300-400 boxes of cigars, pipes, and tobacco a month and have shipped over 1.1 million boxes to our active duty soldiers. It’s not cheap to send care packages – they can run over $160,000 a year postal bill to ship all the boxes. Proceeds from this years Texas Pipe Show will go to help offset that shipping cost. And speaking of proceeds, this year the show had a special raffle with a seven-day Ashton Pipe Set donated by Steve Fallon with a description as such: William Taylor made 7-Day Wooden & Leather Encased Set of Ashton pipes. And Taylor himself, in addition to the pipes, also hand-made the wood & leather topped case that comes with removable legs that can enhance the collection further by the presentation of an “Ashton Pipe Table! This fabulous and still unsmoked set of year 1988 Ashton pipes also have Sterling Silver bands. They enhance each pipe beautifully. Five of these pipes are in Taylor’s not often seen Brindle finish and the remaining two pipes are in his Pebble Grain finish. As noted below, all of these pipes are large in size, too. This handsome set comes with Certificate of Authenticity plaque signed by Mr. Taylor himself! Among his many talents, the late William Taylor (dec. 2009), was known for his extraordinary sandblasting abilities, and every one of these pipes do indeed show off terrific sandblasts. The hand made stems are also works of art and made for comfort. And finally, also included will be a plaque from importer R.D. Field, stating that this is the first Ashton 7-Day cased set ever imported into the USA. This years slow smoke was sponsored by Missouri Meerschaum with their donation of clay pipes, and Turbo Tins custom tampers sized down to fit. First prize was a pipe donated by Pete over at Briarworks which had the Texas Pipe Show Logo etched in the shank as well. Additional prizes donated by The Pipe Tart, Steve Fallon, and STG. The slow smoke was an officially sanctioned UPCA regional competition. But in true Texas style they couldn’t be normal. This year they had small clay pipes that were approved by the UPCA. Normally, slow smokes need to be in briar pipes but after chatting with our friends in Europe they agreed that local or regional slow smokes were meant to be community building and not as strict on the rules when it came to pipe choice and cost. So clay pipes it was, and as such, 3 grams of tobacco would not fit in that pipe no matter how hard you tried. Isaac won the slow smoke with a finishing time of 43:04 which for those pipes was impressive. As a winner at the regional show he’s able to compete in Chicago in 2023 and his entry fee is covered. The show had many familiar faces traveling from all over the US. Some new faces as well, selling unique leather products. The show already has a date for 2023 and will have some exciting news about the size and scope. It will be held once again in Cedar Hill, Texas on November 11th, 2023 and since it’s on Veteran’s Day there will be some future updates about the interesting changes coming soon in the new year. Photo Gallery Below Credits James Foster, Kevin Godbee
- November 8, 2022 Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 530
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 530! Our featured interview tonight is with Fernando Santiago. Fernando is a collector of predominantly Leeds-era Ben Wade pipes along with seconds brands, pipe catalogues and price lists. His collection also includes cigar and cigarette holders and match vesta cases, boxes, pipe sleeves and pamphlets. He has also collected print matter including a company history and advertising. As if that’s not enough, he has also conducted interviews (to the extent possible) with the living descendants of Ben Wade and children of the final proprietors of the company before its sale to Hermann Lane. In Pipe Parts, we have a large mailbag to get caught up on that includes some pipe smoking 101 refreshers. Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
- November 8, 2022 Breaking it In
Predictably, the Vegas pipe extravaganza of 2022, the first pipe show I’ve attended since 2019, was an absolute delight. I met up with old friends, made some new ones, and just had a complete blast. If you didn’t make it this year, I hope you’ll consider coming in 2023. If you were there, I hope we had at least a few minutes to chat. If we didn’t, see above. One of the most heartening things to me was meeting so many young people, new to the hobby, who brought an infectious enthusiasm with them to the show, and with it hope for a new generation of pipe smokers to keep the embers going in years to come. There were so many beautiful pieces on exhibit, both old and new, and any list I attempt to cobble together would be embarrassingly incomplete, so I’ll stop with that. I came home with only three pipes, though it was very nearly four and easily could have been ten times that number. Two of these are new, one from a maker I met for the first time, the third is an estate piece. Then, there’s the one that got away. I’d spotted a bamboo shank beauty that I really wanted. I was on my way to make it mine when I was briefly distracted. Those few seconds might as well have been an eternity during which the universe conspired against me; as I rounded the corner on my way to this maker’s table, I watched as my pipe was tucked into its bag and put into the hands of another. “Scoundrel! You bought my pipe!” Just as in horse racing, those few seconds were all it took. Those few seconds represented the difference between taking home the purse or going home empty. It’s okay. It’s just a pipe. There will be another. There will always be another. The three of us had a bit of a laugh over it, and in time, yes, I’ll get a similar piece from this maker, maybe one I like even more, and the balance of the universe will be restored. Since returning home, its new caretaker, its maker and I have had a bit of good natured banter over it, as it should be. That pipe stimulated two new relationships more valuable than having the pipe would have been. (Yeah. I’m being philosophical here. Truth is, I’ve been fomenting plans to lay siege to this fellows pipe fortress, nick that pipe, and replace it with an accurate simulacrum produced on my friend’s son’s 3-d printer. In truth, who’s to say that hasn’t already happened?) The two new pipes I brought home are, first, a beautiful Peterson silver spigot 107, a classic stout billiard. Everything about it just called to me – the wood, the silver, the shape – and as I was already working out a trade deal with its vendor, the transaction was painless. Yes! The second is a delightful modern interpretation of a bent bulldog from Dustin Franc, a maker new to me, but one I’ll certainly be watching closely. Dustin’s work is inspired, playful, interesting, and exciting. If you haven’t seen his pipes, look him up. Both of these pipes have shown themselves to be wonderful smokers, too, but this month’s chat is really about that third pipe, a beautifully made little sandblasted, squat bulldog by Mike Burkes. Mike is a mechanical engineer by profession, and it shows in the precision of his work. The pipe had been nicely restored, the price was right, and had to have it. The only problem, revealed later, is that its previous owner had enjoyed some pretty powerful aromatic tobaccos. Smoke what you like, of course, I’m all for that, but to my palate, the specters of aromatics past brutally interfere with my enjoyment of the unflavored blends I generally prefer. Some ghosts just don’t play well with others. (I know some feel similarly about Latakia, or even Perique. Such heresy will not be accepted!) So, when I got home, the ancient and sacred rites of exorcism began. I lit candles, drew a small triangle and a large circle surrounded by mysterious symbols on the floor, turned the lights down, donned ceremonial robes, and lit the censer filled with a consecrated incense of pure Latakia and Perique. I placed my ancient copies of Alfred Dunhill’s The Gentle Art of Smoking, and Georges Herment’s The Pipe (a serious yet diverting treatise) upon an altar made from a bale of nearly petrified tobacco leaves procured from Sobranie House just prior to its shuttering. I take this stuff seriously. Carefully reaming the bowl back to the walls and cleansing the shank thoroughly, I prepared the pipe for its subsequent anointing with holy alcohol and salt purified by the light of the full moon. After carefully placing the pipe on the altar, I began chanting from the sacred tomes, fascinated as diaphanous wisps screeched and howled, attempting to distract me as they were compelled to fly through the smoky air into the prison of the magical triangle. By sunrise, the first part of the ritual was complete. What is this foolishness, Pease? In less esoteric terms, the alcohol helps to dissolve and pull the goo from the wood; the salt serves as a new home in which the goo can take up residence. This method doesn’t reach the deeper layers, of course. Smoking a pipe is a dynamic process, and the temperature gradient that results from smoldering tobacco creates an environment in which the capillaries of the wood can transport oils and aromatic compounds more deeply into its core, and back out when you least expect, or want them. The rest? Theater or madness. You decide. It’s never a 100% cure, but it can really help, and in this case, the ghostly roar was reduced to a whimper that I hoped would dissipate over time as I broke the pipe in to begin its second life. Since I now have essentially three […]
- November 4, 2022 Inaugural Las Vegas International Pipe Show 2022 Report
The original pipe show in Las Vegas was launched in 2009 by Marty Pulvers and Steve O’Neill, and was named The West Coast Pipe Show. It ran for 10 years, and then 2020 happened. After two years of limbo, in the spring of 2022, Steve and Marty announced that they were done. Soon after, on May 7, 2022 Brian Levine and Dave Peterson (daveinlax in the forums) announced that Marty and Steve had given their blessing for them to take over the show, and give it a new name. The inaugural Las Vegas International Pipe Show took place at the traditional location at The Palace Station where smoking on the show floor and in the hotel rooms was easily accommodated. The official show days were Saturday and Sunday, October 22 & 23. The paid admission of $40 covered both days, and included a commemorative show button, shopping bag with all of the sponsors logos, a drink ticket, and a raffle ticket. Some people arrived as early as Wednesday for pre-show trading, smoking and mingling. 14th floor room hopping took place Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights. “Room Hopping is where some sellers, collectors or groups open up their hotel room to anyone stopping by. This is how you might get a first shot at pipes for sale, vintage tobaccos available, meet up with old friends or make new friends. Share some of your favorite blends or drinks.” VegasPipeShow.com The show had 79 exhibitor tables, 330 attendees, 2,000 raffle tickets, and served 80+ dinners on Saturday night. The two big raffle prizes were pipe sets donated by The Virtual Pipe Club – a Yiannos Kokkinos two-pipe set with six stems, and Four Horsemen’s set with four pipes from four different makers. There were three show awards that were determined by a secret committee that walked the show and reported back to the show organizers. Best Pipe of Show – Kurt Balleby Best Hobbyist Display – Murf Sculptured Pipes Best Industry Display – SmokingPipes.com (For the awards, industry or hobbyist was determined by full time or part time.) The original show organizers of the West Coast Pipe Show, Marty Pulvers and Steve O’Neill, were awarded lifetime admission to the new Las Vegas International Pipe Show with engraved plaques. The Saturday Night Awards Dinner included a special guest presentation by pipe maker Nate King – “From Indy Cars to Pipes – How my time in racing prepared me for pipe making”. As I walked around the show on Saturday speaking with several exhibitors, it was unanimous that they were pleased with the attendee turnout, and expressed how happy they were that the Vegas show was brought back to life. A less anecdotal measurement came from show organizer Brian Levine himself. He said that one of the most asked questions he received was if the show was financially successful. He said, “If it pays for our rooms and dinner, then it is financially successful.” And it did. The show also included a Social Media Studio, and invited all pipe and tobacco related YouTubers, Podcasters, Instagramers, Facebook Groups and Bloggers to utilize it free of charge as long as they paid their show admission. The studio included electrical plug-ins and lights with access to high-speed internet for live streaming from the show. There will be a 2023 Las Vegas International Pipe Show. Dates will be announced in early 2023. A photo gallery is below.