Calabash; Gourd or Mahogany ?

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petes03

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
6,001
6,636
The Hills of Tennessee
I've always wanted a calabash pipe and have of late, been thinking of getting myself one. Since gourds are somewhat hard to come by and expensive , and the woodies are readily available and cheaper, I was wondering if there is some major advantage to the gourd or if the general design of the pipe is primarily what gives them their unique smoking qualities?

 

jgriff

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2013
425
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I see three distinct factors in a gourd calabash that distinguish it from other pipes, in order of importance:
1. The Shape/Design. The most important factor is simply that there is more room for the smoke to mingle around and cool compared to the narrow chambers of the average briar. This is not going to be much different gourd to wood.
2. The Gourd Material. This is still pretty important just because the Gourd is more porous than briar. Think of the flavor difference between a meer and a briar. The Gourd acts a little like a filter.
3. The Bowl Material. Classically, it is block meerschaum or nothing but I am skeptical that it makes much of difference in a gourd calabash. I have seen pressed meer bowls and porcelain bowls that work fine.
There are plenty of old Gourd Calabash pipes floating around the estate market and Butz-Choquin makes a nice one that is still pretty available around the $200 mark. Personally, I would suggest sticking to a Gourd instead of wood.

 

flyguy

Preferred Member
Nov 20, 2012
1,018
3
I have one of each. I vote for the gourd. In my extremely limited experience, the gourd smokes better and does not impart the mahogany taste to the tobacco. I am also more of a traditionalist and do not mind smoking with a pipe in my left hand. If you are partial to clenching or like to smoke hands-free, avoid the calabash. Keep in mind the calabash will ghost more easily than a briar. You will probably want to dedicate a calabash to a certain category of tobacco. I reserve my mahogany for vapers and my gourd for Virginias and VaBurs. I would like to buy another for latakia blends. The calabash is a great system pipe. It will help correct mistakes due to improper drying of your tobacco (steam) and heat caused by tobacco that is too dry or multiple relights. The calabash is also great for taming a stronger or harsher blend of tobacco. This is my opinion, FWIW.

 

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meerqueen

Member
Sep 9, 2012
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Hi,
Gourd is hard to find nowadays.and it is lighter than mahogany.We sell both of them.our new gourd stock probably will be in july.
Mahogany is more affordable than gourd.Mahogany is also a natural filter like meerschaum.

It is a good replacement for gourd.
Regards,

B.B

 
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