the past

When I was a child one of my grandfather-figures1 smoked a pipe and I thought it was the best thing ever. Smelled great, all that tinkering and esoteric knowledge. My sister and I used to beg him fire up the pipe.

A bunch of us in the Army played with cob pipes from the PX but it didn’t stick. After the army I went to college and picked up a Sasieni2 from a local tobacconist and tried on and off.

In the early 90s a gentleman turned me on to cigars, and I smoked Hondurans until the Great Cigar Boom put them out of reach for me.

the present

When I went fulltime in the campervan in 2018 I decided to try again. I didn’t/don’t have a lot of extra funds so my rotation is based on functional-but-not-pretty estate pipes. Pipes can be much less spendy than cigars.

I tend to smoke 2-3 bowls a week, and typically before bedtime. Makes a nice accompaniment to reading or watching movies. I don’t go to bars much, but when I do I try to find a local beer bar or brewpub with an outdoor smoking area.


I prefer straight pipes as they are easier for me to clean. I prefer short, lightweight pipes as they are easier to clench.3 I prefer relatively short smokes (<=1hr) instead of monster bowls.

I am not great at identifying shapes, but will try.

  • estate pipes4 - most of these were $20 or less.
    • Chacom semi-bent billiard
    • Dr. Grabow Duke - light and slender with a very small bowl
    • Dr. Grabow Lark - light and slender bulldog - cracked stem :-(
    • Ehrlich bent (pot?)
    • Falcon w/three bowls
    • Kaywoodie Signet apple,
    • Peterson’s sports nosewarmer bulldog
    • Medico Crest canadian
    • Old England, a Sasieni second. Odd proportions; shank seems overly delicate to me.
    • Savinelli (second - shield but no name embossed) large billiard. Rather heavy.
    • Savinelli (second - shield but no name embossed) large bent billiard, like above. Rather heavy.
    • Sherwood “Supreme” bulldog
    • Weskit nosewarmer billiard (?). Absolutely tiny.
    • Williard - tiny billiard(?) of Vietnam PX fame
  • some new budget-friendly pipes
    • Missouri Meerschaum cobs and hardwoods
    • eastern European fruitwood, like the Mr. Brog no. 52 Scoot and no. 21 Old Army.
    • a Morgan “Bones” short poker


These are ratings according to me. For example, I can tell that Plum Pudding is exceptionally well-made, but it is not to my taste.

  • English/Balkan blends with latakia, and especially with incensey orientals.
    • A++ - Cornell and Diehl Star of the East
    • A+ - Stokkebye Balkan Supreme
    • A+ - Stokkebye 306 English Oriental
    • A+ - Sutliffe English Oriental Supreme
    • A - Cornell and Diehl Engine #99
    • A - Lane BS-005
    • A- - Match BS 759
    • A- - Sutliffe Balkan II
    • A- - Pipes and Cigars Scotty’s University Graduate
    • A- - Sutliffe Majesic English
    • B+ - Match Revelation
    • B+ - Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding
    • B - Stokkeby Proper English
  • misc
    • MacBaren HH Old Dark Fired
    • Sutliffe Voodoo Queen
  • codger
    • Sir Walter Raleigh (SWR)
    • Prince Albert (PA)
    • Match Flying Dutchman
    • B - Pipes and Cigars Russ’ Cavendish in the Woods
  • a few aromatics, though I find them relatively difficult to smoke
    • B+ - Cornell and Diehl Epiphany
    • B+ - Casey Jones Heroes Blend
    • B+ - Sutliffe Mark Twain
    • B+ - Lane RLP-6
    • B - Sutliffe ZBC - a guilty pleasure
    • B - Pipes and Cigars Scott’s Butternut burley
  • experiments
    • B- codger blend 1.0 - 50% Match Amphora, 50% Granger

further reading

  1. maternal step-grandfather 

  2. I remember it as Sasieni, though in retrospect a Savinelli seems more likely. 

  3. hold between the teeth 

  4. pipespeak for used pipes.