The pipe arrived today. No photos yet, but it is beautiful and huge! No, no. Saying it's beautiful is the understatement of the year. It is incredible.
The unbleached beeswax means it is golden yellow all over, going slightly amber in places. Meerschaum purists might call it cartoonish or say it looks like bakelite. I think it looks great this way.
I'd seen claims on another forum (by a series of posters who all had gmail addresses and seemed to use the same sort of wording) that his stem fitting was bad, draw restricted, stems had scratches, and pipes looked like apprentices' work. I was already leery of those claims. But this uses a delrin connector, the draw is wide open despite the very long stem, stem is beautiful, and the carving is absolutely first-rate.
Oh, also: what I asked for was flame-colored silk in the top half, and blood-red velvet in the bottom. He has an outside firm make his cases, and he sent the pipe to them to have it fitted.
What arrived has black silk in the bottom, with a pattern on it, kind of a shattered glass-like design. Looking back at the photos he sent as color examples, the black silk I got looks much nicer than the red velvet!
Here are the photos. The pipe really is a golden yellow color due to the unbleached beeswax; I understand many meerschaum fans might not like it, and I love pure white pipes too, but I think this looks good this way.
Here it is beside my other Yanik pipe, which is about 6 1/2" long:
Pipe by itself, in its case:
Views of various angles:
Pictured in daylight, to show that the color in the other photos isn't just warm from incandescent light:
The case, empty. Both silks have patterns in them; the black is like finely-shattered glass, while the flame has a subtle, asymmetrical swirl design:
The case's outside is a semi-gloss burgundy color. He said he sends the pipes to another company nearby to have the cases made.
It is indeed not the same pipe Fred has. It's extremely similar, but there are noticeable differences.
Though I cannot, of course, assure anyone that every pipe, or every interaction, will be this good, based on my experience, I'd recommend Sadik Yanik. Shipping took close to four weeks, and the wait was nerve-wracking, but the result was worth it.
If you want a Yanik pipe go to eBay. The key difference is to wait for his sales where pipes listed at 100s of dollars start at around 1.00. You can acquire them then typically from 35-80.Yanik can be a bit temperamental as well so be cautious.
I've read that he can be temperamental, but I've never seen proof of the claims that went around a few years ago about him being a jerk or selling junk pipes. All I can speak to about buying direct from his website is my single experience, but the experience was mostly good and the pipe I got is excellent. But yes, he sometimes has eBay sales (usually on plainer pipes) starting at ridiculously low levels. I usually see these skyrocket quickly.