Recent visit to Iwan Ries

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f4phantomdriver

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 23, 2019
117
187
I spent time in downtown Chicago as a teen and college student, and walked by Iwan Ries many times there on Wabash, but never went in. Cameras were my obsession then, and I didn't smoke. However, I've been an IR customer online for many years now, have bought a number of pipes from them, and some tobacco, and most recently a sampler of cigars, a variety pack of a dozen "dog walkers," small cigars but not cigarillos. i'm smoking one at the beginning of each month this year.

IR has a vast inventory of pipes, so their online selection and their paper catalog barely scratch the surface. If there is something you are looking for, give them a call. I think their inventory is about 15,000 pipes.

IR is sort of the mother church of pipe shops, dating back to 1857. They own the building, but moved upstairs to lease out the expensive street-level retail space. Smart business. I loved the Nat Sherman shop on 42nd St. in NYC for its size and atmosphere and attentive staff, but IR is far older and has outlasted the now-closed Nat Sherman. IR is a real pilgrimage for pipe smokers. Not everyone's "thing," but I love their old classic aromatic blend Three Star Blue.
I really like the Three Star Blue as well. I did see comments though that it was better back in the 60s through to the early 2000s. I looked into why and I wasn't surprised that the reason is that Sutliffs manufacturers their blends now. I do like some Sutliffs blends, Mixture79, Heine's Blend, Edward G. Robinson, Dutchmaster's Whiskey Cavendish (Old Grandad's Pipe Blend). I wonder how the old and newer versions differ.
 
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Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
2,626
32,731
Casa Grande, AZ
Never been, but 10 of the 12pipes my father pre-inherited me last year that got my pipe journey started at 55 were bought there in the late sixties. Before moving us to AZ in 1970 we lived in Glenview and Dad worked in Chicago.
I’ll buy from them if they’ve got what I’m looking for online, and hope to be there in person before they too are lost to modernization.
I spent 20min on phone while an associate went and looked through old inventory to see if he could find a new old stock lid for a Decatur rotating stand with jar that they sold my dad 50+ years ago…

My IRC no-name “Denmark” basket and an IRC branded apple (by Bari)
9EA9053D-8206-47A8-95B0-491D3F0930F9.jpeg
 
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mingc

Lifer
Jun 20, 2019
4,037
11,330
The Big Rock Candy Mountains
Lollapalooza was awesome , I was just down in Chicago again for the scene boat party on the lake . Iwan reis is a fun and maybe mandatory place to stop in if you staying downtown or river north area…. pipe prices are pretty high, but it’s a cool ass place that does have some great tobaccos for sale, I don’t mind dropping some money there . Some fun pics from Chicago lake scene . And yes I did smoke 2 pipes with the young people , they were entertained by my pipe . Me in blue shirt . View attachment 161742View attachment 161743
I lived in Chicago for 5 years. Chicagoans in swimsuits do not compute for me. Those must be Hoosiers. 🤔
 
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warren99

Lifer
Aug 16, 2010
2,074
24,703
California
I haven't been to Chicago in about 20 years but visited the shop last time I was there. I probably spent a couple of hours just perusing the extensive inventory and bought a new Peterson Kildare.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,476
Iwan Ries has always had good house pipes. Back in the eighties I bought three of them, made by Edwards in their Benton series of oil-cured Algerian briar, and all are still handsome pipes with ample chambers and great durability.

The sources on house pipes has changed several times, but now they have some nifty pipes sourced from Genod in France, that happens to be the first source of IR house pipes. IR is going for repeat customers, so any house pipe they sell is going to be a good smoker. The current crop offers a variety of shapes and finishes for $64.

If you need a landmark locating them, they are near the "L," the elevated rail that constitutes "the loop" in Chicago. They are an easy walk to the Art Institute and to Millennium Park, both major tourist stops.
 
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