Partially Rusticated Horn

Review by Greg Pease

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Hi Jack,

I thought I'd share my first bowl experience with you. And, for that matter, the second, since I'm smoking it as I type this.

I filled the pipe with the new VA/perique blend I've been working on. The tobacco has become a fave, and since I've been smoking so damn much of it during the process of developing it, I know it rather intimately.
At first light, that wonderful pure tobacco in a fresh, new pipe taste came through instantly. Good. But, that's almost always to be expected. Anything else is a potential heartbreak.

I tendered a good charring light, tamped, and re-lit. Once the heat hit the wood, I noticed a wood taste that I normally attribute to Grecian briar, though this is probably just folly. I often consider Grecian briar to be "bright" tasting, like new Castellos. But, more interestingly, the wood had a pronounced amplification effect on the perique in the blend. While this tobacco has wonderful manners, and is perfectly balanced, at least in well smoked pipes, the perique practically had a tantrum on my tongue. It wasn't BAD, mind, but I stood up and took notice! Someone turned the volume up to eleven. Ever vigilant, I pressed on.

As the bowl progressed, the flavour remained very consistent, with no hot spots, no untoward bitterness, no distracting elements, once I conditioned myself to the perique overload. I busied myself with a few other things, taking moments to stop and really notice the smoke. Wonderful.

The next thing I knew, I was tamping ash. Indeed, the "dry gray ash" that McGrath claims is a myth. (Neil mentioned that he'd watched me smoke like this all weekend in Richmond. If I've learned anything in 26
years of pipe smoking, it's how not to waste perfectly good tobacco!) I can take some credit for this, but if a pipe doesn't cooperate, nothing can fix it. This entire first bowl was a happy success.

Now, I would compare this first bowl with the best of the Castellos I've broken in. I've had a few that were belligerent, but mostly, they smoke a little bright, a little sharp in the beginning, but quickly settle
down. Comparing this pipe in this way is no slight to it, but rather sturdy praise. Recently, I've kindled quite a love affair for the smoking characteristics of a good Castello, and those I have in my collection are among my favourite pipes. (I'm a pipe slut. I say that about most of my pipes. Sue me. I just saying I really like them, dammit. And, I really like this pipe, too.)

Dumping the dry, gray ash, and running a couple fuzzies through the pipe revealed little, other than a carefully drilled airway of good diameter and careful mating between shank and mouthpiece. Oh, and one other thing, to wit, exquisite tobacco. Again, I have to take some small part of the credit. ;)

I gave it a few minutes to cool off, though it had barely gotten warm, and filled it up again with the same mixture. Already, some difference could be noticed. The gain control on the perique was turned down a
fraction, and the balance was more like what I've become accustomed to. Now, at about the half way point, I'm tasting a little wood, but only as background noise. The pipe's smoking clean and cool. There's no gurgle, no hot spot, either to the taste or to the touch, and it's an effortless smoke.

All in all, it's a damn fine smoking pipe, and proudly joins my first Howell as a favored VA pipe. (Since breaking in the first one with that ancient Fool's Cap, it's had nothing but Virginia blends in it, and I see no reason to mess with success.)

After a few more bowls, I'll write this up as a more formal review and publish it. In the meanwhile, feel free to quote anything you feel useful here as a "testimonial."

Oh, the stem button? Apparently, I've come to find it almost invisible to my teeth unless I turn my attention to it. Nice job.


Gregory L. Pease
G. L. Pease, Intl.

(Note: Here's a link to a page on Greg's site with a review of his Rhodesian: )