Looking For Recommendations On A First Meerschaum

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mikefu

Lifer
Mar 28, 2018
1,963
10,325
Green Bay
I have recently been having the desire to get a meerschaum or two, to compare the flavors of tobacco between them and briars. Also, just to have one, I suppose. What would you recommend to a guy who has never smoked one? I prefer classic shapes and don’t want to break the bank. How does African meer compare to Turkish? Thanks in advance!

 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
10,009
9,488
The best grade Turkish you can afford if you are looking to color it over time. If coloring is not a consideration, I suppose any meer will do. My preference would be high quality Turkish meerschaum simply because of the lighter weight to start with. It will gain some weight as it colors.

 

renfield

Lifer
Oct 16, 2011
2,758
17,427
Kansas
You can get Turkish pipes through Meerschaum Market. They carry the work of several different carvers and I believe that the pipes on their site are already here in the US. Great people to do business with.
There are other good companies out there but Meerschaum Market is the one I’ve dealt with most recently.
I’ve ordered directly from carvers in Turkey as well. Usually there’s a longer wait unless the pipe is actually in stock.
Recently the higher end pipes have been largely going to the Chinese Market so availability is a bit more problematic than it has been in the past.

 

alialansari

Might Stick Around
Mar 2, 2015
79
1
Hidd, Bahrain.
Altinay of Turkey make very good genuine block meerschaum pipes. I would call them the meerschaum equivalent of Savinelli or Peterson, dependable.

 
Jul 28, 2016
6,630
23,913
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
Altinays are good value as well,but where possible,I'd advice paying attention to stem tenon and to how button is finished,it is not rare event than those unfiltered ones have teflon/plastic tenons,I'd rather prefer having standard push in stem,moreover I have noticed these standard black acrylic? stems leave something to be desired when it comes to how those stems are finished,eventually You may feel them being bulky and uncomfortable.

I had to order a brand new stem to my Tekin meerscahum whereas my small Altinay had a nice yellowish acrylic stem fitted(9mm)

 

pappymac

Lifer
Feb 26, 2015
2,826
2,707
I have three pipes from the Meerschaum Market all carved by Servi. They are all good smokers and the price points were good value in my opinion.

 

alialansari

Might Stick Around
Mar 2, 2015
79
1
Hidd, Bahrain.
To answer your question about the different kinds, African meerschaum is heavier, more dense and rougher than its Turkish counterpart which tends to be much smoother. African mines have long dried out though and you might find the odd pipe on eBay. If you're looking to invest in a high quality pipe I'd personally go for a Fikri Baki. He makes classic shapes and will accept commissions. For a very decent entry level pipe, I'd either go for an Altinay as mentioned, an Altinok or SMS pipe. Another high end brand worth considering is Andreas Bauer but only the old Viennese production if you can find it. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions.

 

mikefu

Lifer
Mar 28, 2018
1,963
10,325
Green Bay
Thanks for the wisdom so far, gents! I really appreciate it, as I just don’t know Meers we’ll at all. I like the look of African estates, but want something that smokes really well also.

 

alialansari

Might Stick Around
Mar 2, 2015
79
1
Hidd, Bahrain.
"Cultured" Meerschaum? What's that? I had heard of block and pressed, but not cultured.
It's basically lab grown sepiolite that's harvested and used to make pipes. It's just like lab grown diamonds or rubies. They are chemically the same as the real deal but differ slightly in structural composition. With pipes, that difference in structure may have an effect on the smoking characteristics of the pipe. I tried a Strambach and honestly it was very good. It provided a strangely sweet cool smoke.

 

alialansari

Might Stick Around
Mar 2, 2015
79
1
Hidd, Bahrain.
Thanks for the wisdom so far, gents! I really appreciate it, as I just don’t know Meers we’ll at all. I like the look of African estates, but want something that smokes really well also.
The African meerschaum pipe I have is an absolute gem. It smokes very well. The major manufacturers back in the day were Amboseli, Tanganyika, Kiko. They sometimes pop up on sites like eBay. Highly recommended.

 
Apr 26, 2012
2,577
9
Washington State
Meerschaum Market is a great website for a meerschaum pipe. They have a lot of pipes on clearance, pipes under $100, and many pipes at a great price point. They have multiple master carvers listed on their site as well.
Altinay and SMS make a great product as well, so you would do fine with one of those as well.
If you are looking for the best quality meerschaum with a briar style tenon then I would recommend IMP, but you'll be paying $200 and up for the pipe though. Definitely a quality pipe.
I also have two Strambach pipes, and out of my 20 meerschaum pipes (most Turkish) one of my Strambach's is my go to pipe. I smoke it more than any other meerschaum pipe. It smokes like a true block meerschaum pipe; however, it colors a bit slower than genuine meerschaum. I have a couple African meerschaum pipes and they smoke very well, but again they won't color like the Turkish meerschaum, so if coloring the pipe is your attraction to the pipe then I would definitely recommend Turkish block meerschaum.
Good luck finding a new pipe.

 

madox07

Lifer
Dec 12, 2016
1,781
1,532
People around here keep on talking about Andreas Bauer as being the top of the line. Now days, especially since Turkey banned meerschaum export, Altinay advertises that they carve for Andreas Bauer. I can't afford the real McCoy, but recently did pull the trigger on a half bent billiard w 9 mm filter, by Altinay. I am very happy with it. I certainly recommend. Oh, needless to say, block meer is certainly the way to go, no pressed stuff.


 

alialansari

Might Stick Around
Mar 2, 2015
79
1
Hidd, Bahrain.
People around here keep on talking about Andreas Bauer as being the top of the line. Now days, especially since Turkey banned meerschaum export, Altinay advertises that they carve for Andreas Bauer. 
That's true. Current production Bauer pipes are made in Turkey. However, the older ones, of which I was lucky to score a few from a Peruvian gentleman, were carved in Austria. He had found a large box of unsmoked estates that belonged to his grandfather. According to him they were in the attic since the early 70s. That combined with his very little knowledge of pipes assured me that the Bauers he had were the real deal. Unfortunately today's market is flooded with copies that range from the highest quality to the mediocre.

 

gatorlope

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 5, 2019
503
185
South Florida
Look up “Yanik” on eBay. I have one of his pipes and his skills are incredible! Besides that, you’ll be able to deal directly with the artist, without any middlemen.
Another alternative is a Calabash- essentially a dried gourd with a pipestem on one end and a meerschaum insert on the other. The cavity in the gourd acts as a reservoir, Giving you a cooler smoke with less bite. A very enjoyable smoke!

 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
11,687
22,007
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
http://www.marscigars.com/meerschaum-mp1506astraightsmoothchurchwarden.aspx this is basically what I have and it smokes great and colors amazingly. Not too fancy. Which frankly I don't like overly fancy pipes so it works for me.

 
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