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No 292 - August 23, 2012
The Basic Pipe

Back to the beginning – that’s where we have to go if we want to discover the heart of a good smoking pipe. A reliable working pipe, which with careful smoking will become a warm handful of friendship, albeit without the most exotic face or finish.

In the beginning all pipe blocks (ebauchons) are treated equally.
They all undergo the same boiling treatment to remove saps and resin, and then it is off to the drying room. Here, over a period of 6 to 18 months the dry air will have a dramatic effect on the blocks. As the moisture is drawn out, some blocks will show cracks, some will split completely and others will survive to become dry and porous – suitable to continue in the pipeline.
Grading and channelling the blocks into various quality streams takes place regularly throughout the manufacturing process, and the finished pipes appear after different time periods depending on the effort put into extracting the very best possible result from each bowl,including an appropriate finish and colour. At the Savinelli factory, after a few early, brutal gradings to eliminate the real chaff, turned bowls for the Capitol range are identified. These bowls need to be good enough to offer an economical, enjoyable smoke, yet avoid any embarrassment to the brand.
The final finishing processes are relatively quick and performed “cottage-style” by various selected workers.

We’ve imported these pipes for many years, and wrote about them again in 2008, but then in 2010 came the blow…….Savinelli informed us that they would no longer be making Capitol pipes!
Very disappointing - since they gave the taste of a top quality pipe at a price approaching budget.

But, as we always say, it pays to visit.
In January this year we were told: no, no, -  they are making Capitol pipes, but not with 6mm filter (9mm only).
We looked at each other: we prefer the 6mm filter, not least because it leaves more wood for a stronger shank, but 9mm would be ok.
Then they continued, they could make some 6mm pipes for us provided we ordered a minimum quantity per shape.
Well, say no more.
We decided on 6 shapes – and while we were about it asked whether they could upgrade
the finish.
Savinelli Capitol pipes The pipes arrived a few weeks ago – in a stunning, deep chestnut, satin finish: 6 classic Savinelli shapes, simply stamped “Capitol Bruyere” – “Italy”. 
These pipes are nothing pretentious, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that each pipe has been through the strict basic processes given to every Savinelli pipe, be it a Capitol or a Punto Oro.
Your guarantee of a good smoke.

The price: Well – the last price in 2010 was R535.00, so after 2 years’ factory increases the new price of R640.00 is not unreasonable.
However, for two weeks from August 30 ……….

Savinelli Capitol pipes - ONLY R480.00
That’s a discount of 25% off the normal price of R640.00
From August 30 – September 12, 2012 only

Back to the basics, and back a couple of years in price – that’s where you can go next fortnight.

Colin Wesley

No.292 August 23 to September 5, 2012

You can read previous articles from "Across the Counter" in The Library.


Across the Counter
Fortnightly Articles
"Conversations with Customers"
Back to:
Aspects of Pipe Smoking
Aspects of Cigar Smoking
Commentary Articles
Complete Archives Index

No 293 - September 6, 2012
It pays to listen

Walking into my shop I saw one of my staff showing a cigar case to a prospective customer.
I listened for a minute or two, and she was doing a good job describing the basic leather
2- and 3-cigar cases.

“The leather is firm, the mouldings are large enough to hold a robusto comfortably, and the cigar cases are all lined with goatskin to prevent the raw leather drying out the cigars.”
She did point out that, in time, and with plenty of use, the leather would naturally soften, and wouldn’t offer as much protection and support; and sadly, the case wouldn’t close as airtight as when the case was new.

I just picked up from the customer’s manner that he possibly wanted something better.
Spanish cedar-lined cigar caseI eased myself into the conversation, and suggested that he might like to look at the Spanish cedar-lined cigar cases for 2 or 3 cigars.
Cedar is the preferred wood for the storage of cigars in cigar boxes and humidors, so it would be ideal in a cigar case.
The difficulty comes in the manufacture.
There are very few manufacturers in the world who can make a Spanish cedar case of top quality, as two different type of craftsmanship are required: one for leather and the other for Spanish cedar. Precision in measurement and perfect hand work is critical, so that the case closes smoothly and at the same time, when you hold the top, the bottom does not fall out.
The cedar cases we have are beautifully finished in fine leather with perfectly matching topstitching.
The smooth slide action “swooshes” the air out - the fit is snug.
The cases can easily handle cigars up to a 52 ring (Montecristo 2 size) and Churchill length.
Smaller cigars may move around, but they won’t bump into, or rub against, each other.
The final point I made was that the cedar linings can be lightly dampened to further preserve the cigars in a really dry climate.

We considered the superb Dunhill cases – exquisite workmanship, fine firm leather in 3 finishes, perfect fit, a range of sizes, “designer” designs yet outstandingly practical.

The possibility of being able to damp the cedar sold my customer on the cedar-lined – he said he travels often to Botswana and Namibia.
He chose the 2-cigar case.

It may be that you could do with such a cigar case – well here is an opportunity not to be missed:

From September 13 -26, 2012 (while stocks last)
25% off Spanish cedar-lined cigar cases
Normal prices R495.00, R550.00

A fine cigar is still one of the world’s most affordable luxuries, give it as much protection as possible when you carry it with you. The extra protection will soon pay for the case.

Colin Wesley

No.293 September 6-19, 2012

You can read previous articles from "Across the Counter" in The Library.