by Richard Carleton Hacker
If England is the pipe-smoking capital of the world, then the pipe-making capital has to be St. Claude, France, for it is here that some of the best briar pipes are created. Indeed, French pipes are one of the great "sleepers" of the pipe world, for they are often priced far below their actual worth. That is not to say they are inexpensive, but because French briars are not stamped with brand names that are familiar to many U.S. pipesmokers, they are often overlooked. Top French pipes to check out are those made by Butz-Choquin (often simply referred to as "BC"), and Chacom.
Italian pipes are known for their attention to style, especially in rusticated or partially rusticated designs. Savinelli is one of the leaders, with Brebbia running a close second in terms of value and design. One of the newest and most popular Italian brands is Don Carlos, which is very competitively priced, considering its highly attractive stylings and quality of briar.
Some of the most innovative pipe designs have originated in Denmark, known as the birthplace of the freehand, although classical shapes are made there as well. One of the best values of any pipe brand is Stanwell, a machine made pipe with quality control that rivals that of many handmade briars. Poul Winslow, a relatively new name on the American pipe-smoking scene, has been turning out some fantastic freehands. Eric Nording makes pipes by both hand and machine and is known for the ultra-smooth glass-like finishes he achieves on his high-grade briars. For collectability as well as smokability, Ole Larsen offers a wide variety of one-of-a-kind designs that have an equally wide range in price. ... to be continued
Prossimo articolo: How To Pick The Perfect Pipe - part VI