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alaskanpiper

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May 23, 2019
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The origins of heather may determine its density or weight, but not its taste.

I agree with everything else you said, but this particular notion is a subject of some debate. There are plenty of folks with palates far more experienced than mine that I’ve heard debate that briar from different sources can actually produce slightly different flavors. Among them are prominent pipe makers and internationally known tobacco blenders.

Now, whether that is because of how soft it may be, it’s environmental surroundings, how it’s processed, etc. I have no idea. But it certainly ain’t sap, hahaha.

In my own experience I’m inclined to agree with you, I have yet to taste any notable or consistent flavors that I can say with certainty correlate to a certain briar source. And to me, the impact of other extraneous variables (tobacco type, dry time, cadence, packing, etc) seem as though they would far outweigh the impact of briar origins, at least to a palate with my sensitivity and/or experience level.

Just pointing out that this is indeed a subject of (it seems legitimate) debate among those who can certainly speak with some authority. But not a one of them would tell you it has anything to do with sap, hahaha.
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
I do find that I seem to be drawn to certain pipes over others. My pipes made from Algerian briar seem to get a bigger percentage of smoking than others. I note that the flavor of the tobacco once lit seems to be more appealing. I don’t believe for a second that it is the “sap”, however it may also just be in my mind. But if that is the case, why does my oil cured Radice Rind seem just a tiny bit better than my Il Ceppo which isn’t oil cured? Who knows?
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
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Humansville Missouri
To be clear @Briar Lee I agree with this. Much of the history you provide is fascinating and well worth sharing, and you do it in a delightful way.

I just wish you were a little more open to being receptive to information that may contradict some of your less researched speculations.

This is not a court of law. Nobody has to win or lose. It is ok to consider someone else’s point of view, actually consider it, and change one’s mind.

Nobody is going to fire you or run you off if you say “I’ll be damned, they might be on to something!”

Our goal here is to find the truth together by listening to each other and discussing what we find. We are all on the same team, man.

Tell me why these pre 54 top grade tightly grained Algerian pipes all will turn this shade of oxblood red.

Late forties Tom Howard Aged Algerian

IMG_6867.jpeg

Something that’s not a solid is coloring those, with each smoke.

And they color all over, not from the stem first like a meerschaum colors.

No name contract pipe for Wally Frank before 1954.

IMG_6850.jpeg

I say it’s some kind of sap inside trying to get out.

But it might be magic, I guess.:)

I suspect most folks who doubt the superior smoking traits of Pre 1954 Revolution Algerian haven’t accumulated a small rubber feed tub full of them, and bought a proper Tupperware clear box.

They aren’t much better, just enough better to make you not want anything else.
 
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makhorkasmoker

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 17, 2021
575
1,375
Central Florida
A question for Mr. Briar Lee (or anyone else who knows): why no “new old” stock? I’m lookin at some ropps, for example, supposedly old stummels, some of Algerian briar. But maybe new old stock and old stummels are 2 different things… anyway, I like the small sizes, and I’m just not finding many very small bowl pipes of Algerian doing the eBay thing.
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
@Briar Lee, I’ve had Algerian pipes for years. None of them color red like that. Why? I do NOT sand og the finish and I DO NOT add oils and bees wax to the pipes. I have sanded heavily smokes Algerians back to the briar and the coloring DOES NOT go all the way through. Briar will darken with smoking - this why natural unfinished briar pipes of any type of briar will darken. True, heat marks and burn outs do color all the way through. I have added waxes and oils in the past to pipes, and yes, I saw noticeable changes in color. But that was a causation made by me.

If what you were stating was true, there are enough smokers on this forum that other smokers would acknowledge your observations. My own Marxman Jumbo is still the same color it was when I purchased it two years ago and it is in my primary rotation. I am well aware that if I added oils and wax to the finish and sanded the finish some before I did so, it would darken. But I could do that with any of my pipes.

I hope I have enough restraint not to engage in this conversation in the future. As someone who enjoys these old pipes like you do, I worry that the misinformation you enjoy propogating detracts from the reasons why so many enjoy these older pipes. You could correct all of this by simply acknowledging that the oils and wax you use expedite coloring. (I note that you have done so in the past).
 

Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
841
1,683
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Buenos Aires, Argentina.
A question for Mr. Briar Lee (or anyone else who knows): why no “new old” stock? I’m lookin at some ropps, for example, supposedly old stummels, some of Algerian briar. But maybe new old stock and old stummels are 2 different things… anyway, I like the small sizes, and I’m just not finding many very small bowl pipes of Algerian doing the eBay thing.
NOS is a pipe that remained unsold. What you buy is an old pipe, an old glove, and an old box. Old Stummels are bowls that were left in the factory in varying degrees of finish for decades in storage and are now used to make pipes. In my opinion, I have two problems with the issue of old stummels. In principle, are they really old parts that were left in the factory? You must choose to believe so. Second, what quality are they if they were not used to make pipes at the time?
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,370
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Alaska
Tell me why these pre 54 top grade tightly grained Algerian pipes all will turn this shade of oxblood red.

Late forties Tom Howard Aged Algerian

View attachment 281362

Something that’s not a solid is coloring those, with each smoke.

And they color all over, not from the stem first like a meerschaum colors.

No name contract pipe for Wally Frank before 1954.

View attachment 281364

I say it’s some kind of sap inside trying to get out.

But it might be magic, I guess.:)

I suspect most folks who doubt the superior smoking traits of Pre 1954 Revolution Algerian haven’t accumulated a small rubber feed tub full of them, and bought a proper Tupperware clear box.

They aren’t much better, just enough better to make you not want anything else.

Well, I was going to say that I’ve already explained this multiple times in the past, and refuse to do it once again, but @telescopes beat me to it, see above.
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,370
42,525
Alaska
NOS is a pipe that remained unsold. What you buy is an old pipe, an old glove, and an old box. Old Stummels are bowls that were left in the factory in varying degrees of finish for decades in storage and are now used to make pipes. In my opinion, I have two problems with the issue of old stummels. In principle, are they really old parts that were left in the factory? You must choose to believe so. Second, what quality are they if they were not used to make pipes at the time?

It is true that we must trust Ropp that these are in fact old stummels. However, I can personally testify to the fact that every one I’ve owned had no quality issues at all, in fact some of them are quite spectacular.

That being said, I make it a point of shopping very meticulously to find the ones with superb grain.
 

Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
841
1,683
48
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
It is true that we must trust Ropp that these are in fact old stummels. However, I can personally testify to the fact that every one I’ve owned had no quality issues at all, in fact some of them are quite spectacular.

That being said, I make it a point of shopping very meticulously to find the ones with superb grain.
I'm not referring specifically to a brand, but to the concept.
I don't trust what the manufacturers say about the origin, quality, parking, etc. of the briar.
For example, last year the police in Andalucía seized 23 tons of Briar obtained illegally in a protected National Park. That Briar was supposed to be taken to Italy. However, except for Bruken, no factory recognizes using Spanish Briar and we are talking about 23 tons.
There is a lot of myth around the briar
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
@Briar Lee, I’ve had Algerian pipes for years. None of them color red like that. Why? I do NOT sand og the finish and I DO NOT add oils and bees wax to the pipes. I have sanded heavily smokes Algerians back to the briar and the coloring DOES NOT go all the way through. Briar will darken with smoking - this why natural unfinished briar pipes of any type of briar will darken. True, heat marks and burn outs do color all the way through. I have added waxes and oils in the past to pipes, and yes, I saw noticeable changes in color. But that was a causation made by me.

If what you were stating was true, there are enough smokers on this forum that other smokers would acknowledge your observations. My own Marxman Jumbo is still the same color it was when I purchased it two years ago and it is in my primary rotation. I am well aware that if I added oils and wax to the finish and sanded the finish some before I did so, it would darken. But I could do that with any of my pipes.

I hope I have enough restraint not to engage in this conversation in the future. As someone who enjoys these old pipes like you do, I worry that the misinformation you enjoy propogating detracts from the reasons why so many enjoy these older pipes. You could correct all of this by simply acknowledging that the oils and wax you use expedite coloring. (I note that you have done so in the past).

God grant me the serenity to know good and damned well what I experience and not doubt myself.:)

Not all Algerian briar colors to oxblood, on its way to black, in a hurry.

There is a great variability in the coloring process.

I’m using carnauba wax instead of beeswax on one to see if there’s a difference.

And usually, for reasons I’ve not figured out yet, either a hard factory coating on the outside OR a owner added cake slows or stops the coloring.

One thing I’m utterly sure of is good Algerian briar is noticeably cooler smoking as to the pipe not getting hot to hold. Some are just amazing, like asbestos. All are highly thermal insulators.

Here’s one I bought this afternoon from an amateur restorer.

IMG_6883.jpeg

This has to hold the oxblood record of my stash of Algerians and,,,.

It’s restored!

IMG_6872.jpeg

This is very Marxy looking, my Royals have overstrikes on the bands:

IMG_6875.jpeg
That could be the oil curing.

That might even be smoke.

But if I’m right and it’s some kind of sap inside the briar that cooks to an oxblood red and seeps out, and it’s that sap that gives the best of them a little bit of extra zest and whang—-

It can be exhausted and no more sitting here wanting to eat my pipe it tastes so good.:)

For $19 I can afford it.

Besides it comes with extras.

IMG_6884.jpeg

I’m betting it’s a dynamite smoker, for folks who prefer a strong tasting pipe.
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,370
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Alaska
I'm not referring specifically to a brand, but to the concept.
I don't trust what the manufacturers say about the origin, quality, parking, etc. of the briar.
For example, last year the police in Andalucía seized 23 tons of Briar obtained illegally in a protected National Park. That Briar was supposed to be taken to Italy. However, except for Bruken, no factory recognizes using Spanish Briar and we are talking about 23 tons.
There is a lot of myth around the briar
Wow!!!! That’s crazy! And quite shady! Wonder of anything big will ever be revealed…
 
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OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,830
31,012
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Sydney, Australia
last year the police in Andalucía seized 23 tons of Briar obtained illegally in a protected National Park. That Briar was supposed to be taken to Italy. However, except for Bruken, no factory recognizes using Spanish Briar and we are talking about 23 tons.
There is a lot of myth around the briar
It was 27 tons last year and 42 tons in 2021.
I have little knowledge of Spanish pipemakers/manufacturers, and have not come across many Spanish pipes
I cannot recall seeing any pipe stamped "Spanish Briar" ever
I wonder if anyone seen pipes with such stamping (other than Bruken), given the not insignificant amount of briar produced in Spain ?
 
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makhorkasmoker

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 17, 2021
575
1,375
Central Florida

It was 27 tons last year and 42 tons in 2021.
I have little knowledge of Spanish pipemakers/manufacturers, and have not come across many Spanish pipes
I cannot recall seeing any pipe stamped "Spanish Briar" ever
I wonder if anyone seen pipes with such stamping (other than Bruken), given the not insignificant amount of briar produced in Spain ?
Briar Lee posted an article recently that says Spanish briar is viewed as inferior to Italian or Algerian . To me this article about the briar poaching suggests a lot of Italian pipes are made of Spanish briar. And apparently a lot of pet toys are too. Anyway, if the perception of Spanish briar is still believed, the Italian pipe makers would not want to stamp it Spanish briar—especially as it has been illegally harvested. All that said, I have a Catalan pipe that I like a lot—or did until I broke the stem
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,370
42,525
Alaska
Just going to leave this here. This man has been smoking pipes since 1966, and has finished many pipes with beeswax in what sounds very similar to the way @Briar Lee does.

As we all thought (and common sense suggests) it is indeed the briars absorption of the beeswax that is causing the expedited coloration, and NOT the non-existent sap:

IMG_0228.png
 

Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
841
1,683
48
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I have little knowledge of Spanish pipemakers/manufacturers, and have not come across many Spanish pipes
I cannot recall seeing any pipe stamped "Spanish Briar" ever
I wonder if anyone seen pipes with such stamping (other than Bruken), given the not insignificant amount of briar produced in Spain ?
That is exactly the reasoning I make and one of the reasons why I don't believe what the manufacturers say.
Many pipes that speak English come from Bruken. I have no proof but no doubt either.
 
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Apr 26, 2012
3,379
5,543
Washington State
Good point.

Dunhill Shell Briar or Roger’s (another Algerian sleeper brand) pipes must be sound and smokeable.

All that old Algerian briar tells is that a French colonial briar inspector approved a distinct grade of briar for export. Dunhill and Marx never marked them Algerian.

Any black mark on or around the bottom of a bowl is incipient burn out.

This might be coloring if the pipe is Algerian. But this is bad. I own a patent pending early 30s Kaywoodie with a worse black spot that’s not burned out yet, but it’s bad.

View attachment 280470

And we don’t want to see “bald spots”
A bald spot will get hot.

View attachment 280471

And while a little chatter on a stem is only a sign of use.

A hole bitten through is bad.



Cake and lava on rims—-we don’t like it—but if it’s Algerian briar it flakes off like powder, in seconds, all of it.

The problem with cake and lava is the pipe can be ghosted or filthy inside and need work.

That pipe pictured is mine. I have it up for purchase on ebay currently. The black spot is not a burnout as you can look in the bowl and see that there are no issues inside the chamber. I received the pipe as you see it now, and I've smoked it many times and it never got hot for me, and always smoked like a champ. The previous owner was a real chewer, as there is a hole in the stem which I never got around to fixing. I just put a softy bit over it, and it smoked perfectly fine. It's a great knock around pipe for when you're working in the yard, lunting, or when you're on the go, and just throw it in the glove box of your truck. It's a great pipe if you don't mind some character to your pipe.
 
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Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
841
1,683
48
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Briar Lee posted an article recently that says Spanish briar is viewed as inferior to Italian or Algerian . To me this article about the briar poaching suggests a lot of Italian pipes are made of Spanish briar. And apparently a lot of pet toys are too. Anyway, if the perception of Spanish briar is still believed, the Italian pipe makers would not want to stamp it Spanish briar—especially as it has been illegally harvested. All that said, I have a Catalan pipe that I like a lot—or did until I broke the stem
In one of the episodes of the Podcast Brian Levine said that Romeo said that it was impossible for him to determine the origin of his briar because it is brought by a truck that travels along the Mediterranean coast from Gibraltar to Italy, buying from local collectors. . However, everyone who buys from Romeo says they use the finest Italian briar.
Likewise there are many bowls that come out turned from Bruken and have other names stamped on them.
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,830
31,012
71
Sydney, Australia
In one of the episodes of the Podcast Brian Levine said that Romeo said that it was impossible for him to determine the origin of his briar because it is brought by a truck that travels along the Mediterranean coast from Gibraltar to Italy, buying from local collectors. . However, everyone who buys from Romeo says they use the finest Italian briar.
Likewise there are many bowls that come out turned from Bruken and have other names stamped on them.
Plus ca change 😏

I collect old Britwoods
A great number are stamped “Made in London/England”
but I suspect many were made in France, imported into England and “finished” there.

We’re ever at the mercy of the marketers especially where there is a profit in it ☹️
 
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