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RPGPundit's Pipe-buying Advice

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RPGPundit:
Let me make it clear that there's nothing wrong with a peterson or a stanwell.  My first "good" pipe was a Peterson Kildare Rhodesian that I still smoke on a regular rotation.  I also have a Peterson Churchwarden, a Dublin, a Sterling Silver Rhodesian, and a Peterson Meerschaum.  So you could say Peterson is right up there with Dunhill and Southern Pipes among my "most numerous" pipes.
 
I have never owned a Peterson that wasn't excellent. They are one of the best values for the money. Besides everything else, Petersons are workhorses: they smoke great, and can be abused more than a regular pipe. Not that I'm saying you SHOULD abuse your pipes, ever! But if there's one pipe I would smoke twice a day in a pinch, it would be a Peterson. They handle heat really well.   If I dropped a Dunhill on any kind of a hard surface from any decent height, that may well mean the end of that Dunhill. But I've dropped a Peterson down a short flight of stairs, watched it bounce three times, and picked it up with not so much as a scratch on it.
 
As for Stanwell, I only have one Stanwell, but its a doozy. A 2001 Pipe of The Year with a Masonic logo on it.  You can guess where I take that one to smoke with.
 
To smoke well, you don't ever really have to smoke expensive.  You don't ever really have to spend more than $150 on a pipe, if you don't want to.  And if you are discriminating, know how to spot good grain, etc. you can still have a magnificent collection.

That said, I would strongly suggest that sometime you save up your pennies and try buying at least high-end british pipe (it could be a Dunhill, Ashton or Ferndown.. the latter two are made by ex-dunhill craftsmen and are really excellent while costing a bit less than a dunhill) and at least one high-end italian (Castello Collection, Ser Jacopo, or Mastro de Paja).  They are worth the money.
 
If you can't, though, there are a couple of italian brands, Lorenzetti and Moretti, that are usually priced under the $200 mark and that smoke magnificently. I strongly recommend these two brands to someone who wants to find out why everyone is talking so big about Italian pipes, but doesn't want to put down $500 for a Castello.
 
Don't go for Savinelli, unless you can actually spring for an Autograph. The Autographs are magnificent, but most of the lesser lines of Savinelli are pretty mediocre.

RPGPundit August 10 2005

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