Missouri Meerschaums

I ordered a couple of Missouri Meerschaum corncob pipes on line a couple of years back. As I recall I ordered them from Penn Valley Pipes along with a couple of clays. I’ve learned that a lot of pipe smokers like corn cob pipes for some very good reasons. For one, they are inexpensive, so one could – if so inclined – dedicate one to each blend of tobacco. Or have one for each day of the week, or whatever. They don’t require much break-in, if any. I’ve found that they don’t have a problem with condensation, and they will accept a paper Medico or Dr. Grabow filter. There’s a lot to like about them, really.

I don’t smoke them all the time, but I do use them for times when I’m not willing to risk one of my really nice pipes. Out in the garage, in the hangar, fishing, etc. If I happen to drop or lose a $15 pipe, oh well. Buy another one. Not so much the case for a really nice Peterson or Savinelli or something!

More recently I see MM has added a bunch of new pipes to their lineup. Fancy ones, Hobbit-themed churchwardens, all kinds of stuff. I don’t know that I’ll build a massive collection of cobs, but honestly — what I originally assumed were just a novelty item are really quite nice pipes that are as useful to experienced pipe smokers as they are to novices just wanting to test the waters with something cheap.

Peterson Kildare

Picked this beauty up in Belfast, Northern Ireland today. I looked at a lot of pipes in the shop, and this one was really my favorite. There’s no substitute, really, for checking pipes out in person to see the grain and everything else. For instance, Lisa liked one with a beautiful smooth finish and striking gold acrylic stem. I liked it a lot too, but there was a place where the black end of the filter holder in the tenon showed through the acrylic part of the stem. I knew that was going to bug me every time I looked at that pipe.

Peterson silver mount Kildare smooth #120

This one is a smooth silver mounted 120, a nicely sized billiard with a P-lip stem and 9mm filter. The shop owner was nice enough to throw in a Peterson pipe tool along with the pipe and filters I bought. In fact he threw in the filters and pipe cleaners, too. Nice guy.

Peterson Atlantic Rusticated 221

I was in London for a couple of weeks around Easter 2022. I had not taken a pipe along with me, kind of on purpose. I did take some tobacco and a lighter, but not a pipe. I figured that if I had time, I could visit one of the pipe shops in London. With my work schedule I didn’t have the time to get to any of them while they were open. I did, however, find out that Selfridges has a James J Fox tobacconist in the store. That was a short tube ride and walk away, and they were open late, so off I went.

They had a small selection of pipes, and this one caught my eye. It being JJ Fox, in Selfridges, in London, I overpaid shamefully. That said, I love the pipe. It a favorite of mine that I use regularly. That said, it seems to have an issue with condensation and gurgling that sometimes cannot be overcome even with the Peterson “system”. I don’t know if it’s the shape or something else.

Rusticated Peterson Atlantic 221

Savinelli Bing’s Favorite Limited Edition Arlecchino

There is probably only one thing that the late Bing Crosby and I have in common. I’ve got none of his talent and I don’t golf, but I love this pipe.

Savinelli makes a line of “Bing’s Favorite” pipes in various finishes. I was visiting my local shop, Ted’s Tobacco, partly to look at some of the Savinelli pipes I knew he carried. I was mostly interested in the 320KS shape, a chubby “author” bowl design. What caught my eye was this polar opposite. The Bing’s Favorite is a billiard with slim, elegant lines and a long shank. There were several in the case with various colored stems, but this one is the very unique “Arlecchino” stem that I love. When I saw pictures of the Bing’s Favorite on line I thought the stem would be a little longer than I would like; I was wrong.

I’ve smoked this pipe a number of times and it’s been wonderful. It accommodates a 6mm filter, either the standard Savinelli balsa or a cut-down Medico or Dr. Grabow paper filter. I get no gurgling or tongue bite at all. I love the size, the balance, the feel of it. I’m fond enough of it that I’m seriously considering buying a regular Bing’s Favorite in a smooth finish with the regular stem.

Savinelli Bing’s Favorite Arlecchino

Pipe smoking

I’ve smoked a pipe before at various times. The first was back in the very early 1980s for a while. I started up again back around 2016-2017, and in fact picked up some absolutely wonderful tobacco at the Danish Pipe Shop in Copenhagen. I hadn’t smoked one in probably a year or so until earlier this year, when I stopped by Ted’s Tobacco again.

Once upon a time, we had some pipe shops in Omaha that also carried a few cigars. I’m reaching back to the 1970s and 1980 here… the days of David’s Briar Shop at Westroads. You could also likely find pretty fresh pipe tobacco at your local grocery or drug store. You could even buy pipes, albeit cheap ones, at one or two of the local drug store chains.

Those days are, of course, long gone. I don’t recall the last time I encountered another pipe smoker, either around here or while traveling (not counting the pipe shop staff in Copenhagen). I can find four shops in Omaha that sell pipe tobacco now — and all of them clearly sell cigars as their overwhelmingly major primary business. Of those four, two are way too far away to be practical — one is in the Old Market, the other on the northern edge of town. One, Ted’s Tobacco, is only a few minutes’ drive from my house. that’s where I’ve done most of my shopping for tobacco and pipes. Of the five pipes I currently own, two came from Ted’s, two from Missouri Meerschaum, and one I bought at Selfridge’s in London.

I’ll be posting more about the pipes and the tobacco I have tried and like, or dislike, or simply can’t smoke, as time goes on.