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No.505 4 -17 November, 2021

Across the “Email” counter

A customer bought a Savinelli “Old” Dry System pipe (followed by another), and then asked a question:

I noticed you selling system pipe mouthpieces (54-SavMpSys) as well. Are these acrylic/lucite? If so, I would like to order one as replacement for the vulcanite mouthpiece of my Savinelli 2614, bought years ago.

My reply:
Yes, we do have a mouthpiece for the 2614 pipe.
But I’m pretty sure that the material for all the Savinelli pipes is Ebonite/Vulcanite. It is easier to work with, especially bending, and much easier on the teeth.
I wondered if you are correct because we have so few oxidised Savinelli mouthpieces. Even stock which has been in the shop display window for a while.

So I went into Google and found this:
Ebonite, or vulcanite, is hardened (vulcanized) rubber and has been popular for many decades because it is a bit softer than other stem materials making it more comfortable on the teeth. Ebonite is particularly popular as a stem material for high grade handmade pipes.

Some interesting information:
To check whether a mouthpiece is ebonite, one should rub the mouthpiece until it is warm, then smell it. If it is ebonite it will smell slightly of rubber.
Our Savinelli Dry System mouthpieces are definitely ebonite.

And some good news from the Savinelli “Old” series.

Savinelli System Oom Paul shape smoking pipes

We have received 2 more shapes (lower 2 in picture right):Shape 2611 – a medium size version of the 1611 (already here); Shape 3621 – the smaller version of 1611/2611 with a steeper bend.
All three of these pipes (1611, 2611, 3621) feature a Dublin bowl, but the pipes are quite different – in size and in visual impression.
As we frequently say = “Savinelli pipes are the result of fine workmanship and artistic inspiration”.Another inspiration was to re-make the traditional Oom Paul shape in a more practical size everyday pipe – we have received more stock of Savinelli “Old” 3620 shape. Very light in the mouth. (Picture top right)

Standard Dry System pipes

A more recent “artistic” inspiration is in the finish of the Capitol bowls used for our standard Dry System pipes. A delightful high polished deep chestnut shade (pictured left).
The bowls are stained and polished, not sprayed.
The finish offers a better taste to the briar, and and gives greater durability.

At present only available in 2 shapes
– 2614 (left) R1995.00 and 1616 (right) R2195.00


Here’s your opportunity to enjoy one of these really special “Old” pipes, or to appreciate the special new finish of the 2614 or 1616 - at special prices:

From November 11 - 24, 2021 we offer less 25% on these 5 new arrivals
Savinelli “Old” pipes: 2611 R1795.00; 3621, 3620 R1395.00
Savinelli New finish: 2614 R1995.00, 1616 R2195.00

I take pleasure in continually being able to offer you new ideas in Savinelli pipes.
I’m sure you will receive as much pleasure from smoking them.
If you’ve not yet had the opportunity to smoke a Savinelli Dry System pipe – now is your chance.
If you are a Savinelli fan then you’ll know what I am talking about.

Colin Wesley

No.505; 4-17 November, 2021

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No.506 4 -17 November, 2021

Cigar Smoking – Make it go right

This is the second article in the series on some of the “cigar snares” that can go wrong and spoil the enjoyment of your hobby of cigar smoking.
Here are a few more:

“The draw is too hard – feels like I’ll get a hernia.”   
Take another quick look at the cigar:
If you have selected a more slender cigar (ring 26 – 33) you can’t expect the same volume of smoke you will get from a Robusto (ringsize 50). Relax and sip the cigar, possibly draw in a little air at the same time. Cigars like the quality senorita size cigars from Cohiba (Exquisitos 125mm x ring33)  or Montecristo (Joyitas 115mm x ring26) can be great smokes when time is short, but require attention to be fully enjoyed.
If you are smoking a thicker cigar – did you cut a large enough hole? Beware, however, not to take off more than the cap or the wrapper may peel off. If the cigar has a tapered head, maybe try a v-cut.
The cigar may have been compressed too much in the box. Persist - the cigar will possibly relax and expand after a few puffs.
Oh no, it could be “plugged” – the result of poor leaf arrangement when the bunch is formed. Feel for the hard spot and massage it gently by rotating it between your fingers. This could take some minutes, but if you’re lucky the hard spot should break up and allow the free passage of air. If not – well, life is too short to tolerate a poor cigar – just discard it.

“Holes in my cigars!!”
Cigar leaf provides a happy feeding and breeding ground for the tobacco beetle  - and if you have laid down stock of Cuban cigars manufactured pre-2006, the beetle may hatch and eat its way out of your cigar.
The good news is that since 2006, once the cigars are boxed, and before shipping out of Cuba, they are put through a freezing process over a 5 day period. The temperature is gradually reduced to -23°C, maintained at this temperature for 3 days, and then gradually restored to a normal temperature over a final 24 hours. I can vouch for the success of this exercise as we have had almost no beetle-mania over the last 10 years or more.
But I still wouldn’t take a chance by allowing my cigars to get warm.

 “My cigars look as if they are covered in white powder” –
Don’t be too alarmed – give it a sniff:
If you can’t smell anything except cigar leaf, relax! It is probably bloom (maybe plume in the US) which is a sign that the cigar is aging nicely. The powder may be likened to the soft coating on a plum on the tree when it is just ripe, and can easily be removed with a soft cloth or brush (a baby brush is ideal).
However, if it smells mouldy – then it is.
This is often the result of storing the cigar in excessively damp surroundings. Have you been over-compensating for fear of the cigars drying out – especially on the Highveld in winter (Cape in summer)? Remove the mouldy cigars and let them air – maybe the mould hasn’t permeated the cigar. If it has – write them off to experience.
BUT clean out your humidor, allow it to air, then check: both temperature and humidity must be attended to.

“I’m really careful when I cut and light my cigars, but about halfway through they start to burn unevenly”
I often hear this – and I find that a common cause is due to the type of ashtray being used.
If the cigar is rested at a steep angle in a deep ashtray, it will naturally start burning at the highest point of the foot – at an angle. It will help if the cigar is rotated before the next draw, but it isn’t easy to get the rotation correct.
It is far easier to invest in a good cigar ashtray.
For indoors, there are these beautiful crystal models, with one or two long channels.
Or the brilliant ceramic ashtray with a sliding bridge so that your cigar will always be horizontal
A related complaint – usually from the home - “Cigars are so messy – ash everywhere”
Consider the attractive “fold-over” or “swivel-lid” box ashtrays which are also great for travelling - since many resorts, and even hotels or restaurants with smoking sections, don’t provide suitable cigar ashtrays.
Actually these “close-up” ashtrays look really good in the home – closed they make an attractive, ornamental box. And closed up after use, any remaining ash is discreetly hidden until cleaned away!
Also for away from your favourite ashtray – a cigar rest will make sure your cigar is always horizontal over any ashtray – or even a saucer.

To make it easy for you – for two weeks we offer a discount off these options:

From 25 November 2021 you will pay less 25% on these prices
Crystal ashtrays 73-J3539 R1003.73, 73-J3431 R1003.73
Ceramic ashtray with bridge 73-J3292 R802.00
Swivel lid ashtrays 73-J3661 R750.00, 73-J3662 R750.00
Foldover portable ashtray set 73-J4301 R2195.00
Fold-up cigar rests 73-J9003 R65.57. 73-J9004 R165.00, 73-LubRest R295.00

For two weeks only – offer expires December 8

A good time to invest in a good cigar ashtray – one which will keep your cigar horizontal.

Colin Wesley

No.506 November 18 – December 1, 2021

You can read previous articles from “Across the Counter” in The Archives Library.Top

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No.507 2 – 15 December, 2021

Across the email “counter”

We do get some interesting questions emailed to us.
Some of which send us delving deep into our memory bank, and some of which require the help of the Internet.
Here is one that brought up the subject of “a stubby pipe”.
That is a pipe with a relatively normal size bowl, but a shorter stem than normal proportions.

So when would you prefer such a pipe?
After all, we’ve talked about longer stem Canadians and Churchwardens being effective in cooling the smoke.
We’ve talked about small-bowled pipes being ideal for a 10 minute smoke.

But what if you’d like your normal length smoke?
A pipe that has your normal bowl size - but a longer stem, even a normal length stem, would be in the way – maybe in the car, at your desk, relaxing with a good book, just to carry around.
That’s when a “stubby” pipe would fill the bill.

We scanned our website.

Pipes like:

The Dunhill 9mm filter pipe

Dunhill Pipe Shell Briar sandblast finish


54-DHDPS4103f R5150.00 Shell Briar Shape 4103f  



Savinelli Sienna Smoking Pipe


Savinelli Siena R2295.00     Shape 320


Slightly smaller

Savinelli Roley The Swivel stem Pocket pipe



Savinelli Roley R1205.48


Natural Smooth


Savinelli Otello shape 321


Marca Snug Smoking Pipe



Marca Snug



View the full range here

Do these pipes appeal to you?
Are they just what you’ve been looking for – when the shorter stem fits comfortably into your pocket, and is out of the way when you’re enjoying your pipe?

Here is an offer just right for you:

From December 9, 2021 we offer less 25% on this range of “Stubby” pipes.
Normal prices from R645.00
Offer ends 24 December, 2021!

There are plenty of shapes and sizes – and they all have this in common:

  • Comfortable bowl size
  • Comfortable fit in your pocket
  • Out of the way in the car, at your desk, reading a good book

Enjoy your pipe smoking pastime!

Colin Wesley

No.507 2 – 15 December, 2021

You can read previous articles from “Across the Counter” in The Archives Library.Top

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No.508  January  6 - 19, 2022

Make it go right!
From the start and then onwards…

In previous articles we looked at some of the “cigar snares” that can trip you up as you continue with your new hobby of cigar smoking.

Let’s now discuss any possible ongoing problems.

“I’d like to try different kinds of cigars – you say that I won’t always want to smoke the same thing”
Yes, well – you might find one you want to stick to, but much of the fun of cigar smoking is to experience a variety.
After all, in cigars,
one size does not fit all - for example:

Different times of the day – don’t try a heavy Cuban after breakfast;
Different times available – don’t try to smoke a Churchill or similar in 30 minutes.

Have a look at our range of Selections
Each pack consists of three cigars carefully chosen for you to find out your answers to such questions.
Each pack has a leaflet describing the origin and character of the cigars.
Each pack will offer you an experience which will help increase your knowledge and pleasure.

And to prevent confusion, you may like to make notes - possibly download a tasting sheet

“And when I have all these cigars – how am I supposed to store them?”
To maintain their condition cigars should be kept in a humidified airtight container. This can be anything from a Tupperware box with bead humidifiers to a cedar-lined humidor.
You can normally put different brands and flavours of cigars together, but DON’T put flavoured cigars in with your other cigars - or the rest of your cigars, and the humidor, will absorb the flavours.
For convenience, you may like to separate stronger or milder cigars in the humidor.

Cigars packed in humidorDon’t pack the cigars in as tightly as they are in the original boxes. Leave a little extra space so that the air can circulate, and so that it will be easy to rotate the cigars. Pack in rows with each cigar in the second row placed on the gaps between the cigars in the first row.
This allows the humidified air to circulate more freely.
But even so, some cigars will be closer to the humidifying device – move them around regularly so that the cigars will all be humidified evenly.

“My cigar is coming apart.” This could be from the head or from the foot.
• From the foot - the cigar may be either very dry or very wet. In either case it may be smokeable but not very enjoyable. Check by pressing gently down the length pf the cigar, it should have some give, but not be too spongy (wet) or too hard (dry). If it’s not too dry, check your humidor and hopefully you can restore the rest of the cigars.
• From the head - possibly too dry or wet, but most likely the cut has gone beyond the cap line, taking off the whole cap which is there to hold the cigar together. You may be able to smoke the cigar, but there will be plenty of loose leaves. Be more careful next time – consider the punch cutter option.

“Even with the largest cutter I have difficulty with the very thick cigars like Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills, Montecristo Petit Edmundo, Quai D’Orsay 54, Oliva Nub”
A cigar punch is ideal to cut these very wide cigars.
Cigar punch 8 shape hole.jNOT with a single hole in the middle – you might have a relatively thin stream of smoke and be unable to experience the full favours. Instead, cut an “8 hole”
This should give you a good, broad cut – perfect to appreciate the blend.
And without disturbing the cap.
For even larger ringsizes, cut more holes – an “8” at right angles making 4 holes, or a triangle of 3.

The Punch:
We have 6 models – including the beautiful Dunhill ”Bullet” cutter.
Each has a surgical steel “punch” and a manual ejection system with key-ring fitment.
Note: Turn the punch, not the cigar.
Idea: If you moisten the head of the cigar you may get a smoother cut – try it.

Properly preparing your large ringsize cigar can lead to a satisfying smoke if you punch it!

And from January 13 you can invest in a punch cigar cutter at
25% less than the normal price (15% off Dunhill Bullet Punch)
But for two weeks only – offer expires January 26, 2022

Even more with the advent of large ringsize cigars, a punch is a useful element in your cutting equipment.
Now you can relax and enjoy your hobby

Colin Wesley

No.508  January  6 - 19, 2022

You can read previous articles from “Across the Counter” in The Archives Library.Top

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No.509 20 January to 2 February, 2022

Replacing Lorenzo

We miss Riccardo, and the Lorenzo ranges of pipes he developed into such popular shapes and sizes.
We remember the medium size “Pavia” range and the larger “Filtro” pipes – both made in the Albanian factory using Albanian briar and artisans – which improved over the years into very acceptable and well-priced pipes.
Now no more.

Fortunately we knew that we could rely on the family who manufactures our Marca pipes to help us to fill the gaps.
First was the Marca Mini – and we’re very pleased with the results. Of the retail outlets which bought our 12-pipe offer, two have already made repeat purchases.

Now we are releasing the Marca Medio
They have well-proportioned medium-size bowls and are very similar in size to the Lorenzo “Pavia”.
They also offer a 6mm ”filter” option suitable for charcoal or meerschaum cartridges, or for balsa inserts.

And remember – the pipes must be smoked with the filter or an adapter (provided). If not, the juices that condense and are filtered out naturally by the pipe will collect in the shank and may cause it to swell and crack.

We offer 6 shapes, each available smooth or sandblast:

Genuine Sandblast
Marca Medio Sandblasted briar pipes


Burgundy, available in shapes Med2 & Med5

Black, available in shapes Med4 & Med6

Tan, available in shapes Med1 & Med3


Glowing Smooth
Marca Medio Polished finish briar pipes


Shades of Amber, available in shapes Med1, Med2, Med3, Med4 & Med6

Rich Burgundy (right in picture), shape Med5



Click here to see your options, pictured on grids to show the outer size, and with approximate inner bowl dimensions (diameter x depth).
Each shape available in the approximate colour pictured.

Coincidentally – we received an email asking about a pipe smoking “Starter Kit”.
Our previous kit had sold out, and we weren’t able to replace the case.
But we realised we could put one together again, this time using the tobacco pouches recently arrived. We fit the pouch with Tool, Cleaners, Filters/adapter,…………….
– and the Marca Medio pipe would be perfect for a new pipe smoker:
Not too big – it is easier to keep the pipe going for a short time when you start;
Not too small – you need some time to practice keeping it alight;
Well priced – there is always a question of how long the idea will last;
Lightweight – to reduce strain on the teeth, preferably bent or half-bent; all the Medio pipes are light for their size.
Suitable for easy-burning tobaccos.
We’ve chosen a pouch which will hold all of the above, with room for a second pipe when you’ve settled in.
The tobacco section will hold a complete 50g packet, or 50-80g of our loose Houseblends.
The set includes leaflets “The Complete Pipesmoker”, and how to find “The Perfect Blend”.

Watch out for the “Medio Starter Kit”, ready soon.

To introduce you to our new arrivals -

We offer less 25% on the new range of “Marca Medio” pipes.
Normal price R595.00
Valid January 27 to February 9, 2022

Whether you are just starting, or whether you prefer a medium size bowl for your choice of tobacco, the Marca Medio will offer you the opportunity to achieve the cool, dry smoke that all pipesmokers aim for.

Enjoy your pipe smoking pastime!

Colin Wesley

No.509 20 January to 2 February, 2022

You can read previous articles from “Across the Counter” in The Archives Library.Top