British pipes. —— a Hypothetical

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mngslvs

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 24, 2019
259
553
Yarmouth, Maine
Suppose I knew someone who had been smoking pipe long enough, so that I knew he would stick with it, a fairly young guy. And he inherited a lot of money. He wanted to pick a British brand of pipe, and just stick with that brand for his collection . Old pipes, not new ones. Aesthetics were less important than smoking qualities for him. What brand would you recommend to him? Why should he choose Barling over Dunhill, or vice versa. Or Sasieni over either. Or………
Compare and contrast in 2500 words or less.
Yeah, I know it’s a silly question, but just for the hell of it pretend for a moment…….
 

warren99

Lifer
Aug 16, 2010
2,074
24,701
California
I have older Charatans, Dunhills and Barlings. They all smoke great. I would be hard-pressed to stick with just one of those brands over the others.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
19,928
45,902
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
If esthetics are less important than smoking qualities I'd be going with Barling. Within the industry they were the 400 lb gorilla. But much depends on what your friend thinks of as esthetically pleasing. Any of the top marques could fit the bill. If you like sandblasts, it would have to be Dunhill. Those gnarly old pre war shell blasts can't be beat. If that's not a concern, then Comoy would certainly fit the bill, as their styling and smoking properties are excellent. Leeds era Ben Wades and fabulous smokers, many with quite open draws. And as been pointed out, BBB was no slouch, certainly no in the early decades of the last century, Sasieni made a unique line of pipes, Loewes are flat out beautiful, and the wood on the Charatan is exceptional, though the stems are not of the highest quality materials, which is also true of Sasieni.

I used to know a few Dunhill dealers, one of whom was one of their top tier dealers, selling some 1600 Dunhills in one year. They all smoked Barling for their personal use. And each of these gentlemen expressed the following in similar terms. Different pipemakers had different philosophies. With Sasieni and Charatan, the wood was more important than the stems. With Dunhill, the stems were more important than the wood. With Barling it was all important.

YMMV
 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
18,614
11,785
Maryland
postimg.cc
I'd clearly go vintage vs new. That's a no-brainer.
The challenge with the question, is that for each of the marques mentioned that can be acquired now, all of their well-known attributes have been altered by time and use.
So I think your friend should start buying the best examples available of all the well-known makers, and decide for himself.
 
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mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,476
For his long experience, I would tend to go with sablebrush's Barlings. However, since I have limited experience with Brit woods, I'd probably suggest Ferndown's. Their carver, Les Wood, was a long-time Dunhill employee who started as a metalsmith there, then learned to carve, and eventually went out on his own and established his brand. I only have one of his pipes, but it is one of my up-market treasures.

I think Les is now retired, so his pipes are available mostly only as estates, or "old" pipes, per the original post.

With newer pipes, for appearance, I'd look at Ashtons, although they get mixed reviews as smokers. Dunhill I would suggest only if the person shops arduously for excellent estate pipes at unexpectedly low prices. I think their prices as new pipes are sort of insulting.

The best mid-price Brit wood I have is a Britannia, a really good smoke at a completely moderate price. My Parker is durable, but not the best smoker on the rack.
 

Papamique

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 11, 2020
791
3,962
Charatan were the oldest with the richest history and possibly the best cured briar. Dunhill, Sasieni, upshall and so many others came after and some even because of Charatan. They were THE most prestigious pipe of the day for many people. The higher grades in the “lane” era are like hens teeth but if you can acquire them WOW do they look amazing and smoke even better.

Sasieni had amazing briar also, cured in a special way that makes them smoke wonderfully neutral from the start.

Ashton is not an ancient company but it is the best English smoking pipe I have come across with the highest grade ebonite that is both comfortable and resistant to oxidation. Traditional shaping, oil cured briar, superb silver work.

My 2¢: Papamique
 
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Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
867
1,794
48
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
For his long experience, I would tend to go with sablebrush's Barlings. However, since I have limited experience with Brit woods, I'd probably suggest Ferndown's. Their carver, Les Wood, was a long-time Dunhill employee who started as a metalsmith there, then learned to carve, and eventually went out on his own and established his brand. I only have one of his pipes, but it is one of my up-market treasures.

I think Les is now retired, so his pipes are available mostly only as estates, or "old" pipes, per the original post.

With newer pipes, for appearance, I'd look at Ashtons, although they get mixed reviews as smokers. Dunhill I would suggest only if the person shops arduously for excellent estate pipes at unexpectedly low prices. I think their prices as new pipes are sort of insulting.

The best mid-price Brit wood I have is a Britannia, a really good smoke at a completely moderate price. My Parker is durable, but not the best smoker on the rack.
I think Les Wood never carved pipes. The one who made the pipes was his wife Dolly.
 
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