The Pipes and Tobacco Life

The Pipes and Tobacco Life

Ah, yes, March rolls in a-roarin’ like a lion and trots out like a sweet, innocent little lamb. So they say, whoever they are. Let’s not forget college basketball’s March Madness is also in this maelstrom.

And Pundit is here to tell you that means only one thing, my pipe-loving amigos. The weather is getting about right and it’s time to grab a pipe and a new blend. And make certain the tele is in good working order for crazy Final Four Bracket hoops time.

Just what the Pundit had in mind: a new pipe and a new blend for this mad, mad, mad month.

But first, a bit of history. It will be brief for you non-history aficionados out there. Shame, shame.

So, there was a day when the Pundit was a touch wet behind the ears (groan) and green as a freshly harvested stalk of green tobacco (better).

One day in the deep iron and wheels of Atlanta while sauntering about and looking at pipes in a corner shop, well-known then for its fine offerings of Charatans and other legendary pipes, a veteran B&M and owner suggested I take a peek at his Savinellis.

Now being a be-bopping college guy, Pundit said, “sure, is it parked outside?” and proceeded to look about for a snappy Italian sportscar.

Let’s just say the B&M veteran pipe store owner tried to hold back a cheek-filling guffaw before sputtering, “you are kidding, of course!”

Not to expose more ignorance, I just nodded and stared at a wall of pipes.

Welcome to Pundit’s introduction to the famed Italian pipe makers of Savinelli. Today, Pundit owns quite a few Savinells, especially the “author” or the 320 KS, 320, and 321 series. All three have that pure “writerly” look to the Pundit’s eye.

In a word or three, Savinellis are exquisite works of operatic tone and aura. Yes, most Savinellis are machined but are completely finished by hand, meaning artisans take over from the industrial side to finish things.

So, Pundit was off and puffing with Savinellis, especially when he found the author group. Throw in a couple of Savinelli handmade Autographs and the mighty Hercules style of Roman and Greek mythology to sweeten the herd.

While on mystical thoughts, the Savinellis—which ring with foreign intrigue for the Pundit—opened a brave new world for fresh pipe adventures.

No longer a stranger in a strange pipelandia, basket pipes of questionable heritage, gave way to handmade wonders to behold.

Oh, the Pundit fell in love with the singular Savinelli Autographs, but this also brought into focus other Italian pipe makers, such as Ardor, Ser Jacopo, and Claudio Cavicchi, among others.

This of course led to the sky is no limit sort of thinking. Next arrived the Great Danes, such as Neerup, Bjarne Nielsen, Harcourt, Stanwell, and Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation. You’ll note that none of these brands were in the stratospheric price range, such as a Bo Nordh.

Then came a whole array of exquisitely made English pipes, such as Dunhill, Ashton, and Peterson (in the Irish tradition, of course, in pipe making in Great Britain).

Never mind independent pipe-carvers, who abound in our galaxy of wonder.

This is just a quick history of loping down one pipe-puffing lane, as it were.

This is to say, pipe smokers of today are blessed and afforded such magnificent pieces of briar for smoking, relaxing and just simply enjoying a day away from stress and worry. Looking at you, March Madness!

Just to be transparent, as they like to say in today’s media frenzy, Pundit apologizes for not alerting you to International Pipe Smoking Day on Feb. 20. Oh, the horror!

So a respectful roundup of pipes in the Pundit pack serves as a kiss and make-up for overlooking one of our global events enjoyed by millions.

And, yes, more expensive pipes do smoke better in most cases. However, I have a couple of basket pipes that outperform some herd pipes in the posh and ritzy crowd.

For any newbies out there, in an old-school B&M, you can still find decent basket pipes. Later you can reach for the stars of pipe making and tobacco blending.

Pundit began stuffing Prince Albert, Granger, Sir Walter Raleigh, and non-descript drug store bulk blends into his first pipes.

It was good enough for many of my college professors, so I thought it would naturally make me smarter if I mimicked the academics.

That scheme didn’t work out as planned. But there is always hope and another pipeful.

So, here is to more pipes, more pipe tobacco, and more pipe puffing enjoyment for the wilds of March, and beyond.

Now for our pipe-smoking celeb for March: Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known simply as Dr. Seuss, legendary children’s author. He was born March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Mass., and died: on Sept. 24, 1991, in San Diego, Calif.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one—Dr. Seuss

And a philosophical note from The Pundit: Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus philosophized around 535 BC that “change is the only constant in life.”

Pundit, a primordial pipelospher says “constant change in pipes and tobacco is the life.”

A couple of "authors," better known as Savinelli 320s, worth packing with good leaf and topping off with a good book. Photo by Fred Brown
A couple of “authors,” better known as Savinelli 320s, worth packing with good leaf and topping off with a good book. Photo by Fred Brown
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