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Old Briar?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Calvinandpipe, Jan 3, 2013.

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  1. Calvinandpipe

    Calvinandpipe Active Member

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    Looking at the latest pipes from Sas got me thinking, does old Briar really smoke any better? If so what would cause the difference in smokeability. Would someone notice any difference in taste, dryness, temperature, or what? Or is this all myth? I'm curious if anyone here has been able to really tell the difference.
    Thanks,
    Michael
     
  2. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    There's a LOT of variables here.

    The old briar I have smokes different than the "new" briar I have, which ranges from 5-10 years of sitting. Is it vastly super life-changing different? No. After 20 smokes can a guy tell? I'm not sure either way. One thing I like about it is that it is very stable - it's lost moisture, kind of oxydized and hardened off all through. This means that the mortise doesn't move, that joint stays stable and flush.

    The straight physical stuff comes from it being old. The smoking properties... well, I've sold lots of pipes from lots of vendors to different folks, and no one has said "Oh wow, the "new wood" sure sucks in comparison to the old." Spillproof got a pipe cut from absolutely "fresh" briar, and it didn't smoke just like his other BST, but it smokes fine.

    Really, I think the quality of the boil and just how "good" the block is off the plant are more important than outright age. But you do have to assume a certain amount of drying time after the boil, otherwise the block (or pipe) will just crack.
     
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  3. Calvinandpipe

    Calvinandpipe Active Member

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    Thanks Sas, I've always been curious about that.
     
  4. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    I'm curious as hell about it too, but the thing is, getting a sample from one vendor who (hopefully truthfully) says the wood is Greek and cut in 1980 vs a sample from another vendor who says that the wood is Italian and cut in 1992, you go home and dream up some totally fictitious generalization about greek and Italian wood, and it's total bollocks. I have old, brown, greek wood. I have new, pinky/white greek wood. It will NEVER look or feel like this other stuff. Even in 30 years, it won't be the same, because it was cut and cured differently.
     
  5. buistd

    buistd Active Member

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    I have a Zavvos pipe that was made in around 1981. I am guessing the bowl was turned then and he added the stem and finished it recently. It smokes drier than any pipe I own, and whilst the draft hole hits the bottom of the tobacco chamber perfectly, the engineering is a way off what most people these days consider to be optimal.
     
  6. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    Zavvos briar is fantastic smoking stuff. Engineering on the pipes .... it's a passing grade but just. :confused:
     
  7. Vaquero

    Vaquero Member

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    This is a good question, I'm glad someone brought it up. Here is another:

    All things considered, which company/manufacturer is getting the oldest briar? I would guess some of the Italian companies, but can Sas or someone else in the know chime in?
     
  8. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    The cutters don't sit on it for long, but some companies have been in business long enough to have stockpiled a lot of wood, and this accounts for at least some of the properties of the long-time brands like Castello. Sounds like Amorelli sits on his wood for a long time, and suspect Savinelli of doing the same, at least for their higher-end stuff, but I don't know for sure. I've seen pictures of Castello's wearhouse and I'd kill to get in there.
     
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