My reintroduction to pipes was with a couple of clays--a black one that I bought because I loved the description of Holmes's oily black clay, and a Dutch gouda that I bought because I needed another pipe. Both are lovely smokers, as clays ought to be, and I have no complaints about them as a place to start... or stay, if I can never satisfy myself with briars. But the gouda, a white clay, has developed an interesting thing since I've started smoking it. Specifically, it's gone a bit speckled. It has several brown-black spots on it--right above the "tenon," if you will, plus a few here and there on the bowl. Is this just a sign of it absorbing tobacco stuff, indicating that it will soon become oily and black, and to me like a counselor? (And god knows, I need a counselor.) Just curious. I tend to load it by dipping it right into the tin/pouch, if that makes any diff.