Good stuff, above. No matter how long a pipe has been cured and how carefully, no matter how straight the grain, how beautifully carved, even (gasp) engineered!, nothing can overcome poor briar. Even an area known for great burls may have spots that are poor- too much moisture, too little; too much sun, too little etc. nutrients in the soil or not, competing plants, too much clay. Great pipe makers know how to choose their ebauchons, their blocks of briar. But even the best may end up with a dog or two.