Colin, from Macqueen Pipes, provided me with this pipe for an unbiased review.
OK, before I even use a pipe for the first time, I take a good look at what I am about to smoke. This pipe is a classic churchwarden style, which means it has a long, curved stem and standard size bowl. This particular piece is completely smooth and actually has a wooden stem (a first for me), which is fairly unique in the pipe world. Most stems are made of black vulcanite, while others are acrylic. Another feature I immediately notice is the angle of the bowl relative to the stem. This piece has a nicely curved stem. When I hold the pipe naturally in my mouth, the top of the bowl is perfectly horizontal. For me, this pipe excels in the looks category. After all, smoking a pipe is an experience, so image is important. Admittedly, I was becoming anxious to see how this baby would perform.
Next, I see how the pipe feels in my hand. Does it feel solid? Does it have a good weight and bowl size? For me, the pipe felt good – well-built and balanced. Naturally, one can’t help but feel like a long-haired, old wizard from ages past when placing the stem to your lips. I will say that personally, I prefer a pipe with a slightly larger bowl, but others should be perfectly happy with this piece. It truly is a matter of preference. The only functional consideration about bowl size is the amount of heat radiated into your hand, and this bowl is sized well enough to handle itself just fine.
One final item to note is the fact that the pipe came with a felt-lined storage/carry sheath that fits the pipe like a glove. The tight fit is an added advantage because it serves to protect the pipe when being carried or packed in a bag or suitcase. This is especially important with a long-stemmed churchwarden. Note that the pipe sheath is currently included as a free bonus, so don’t miss out.
Finally, I pack my new pipe with my favorite blend of tobacco. I make sure to you use my go-to blend, because I want to judge the pipe and not the tobacco. As I mentioned, the bowl is a bit on the small size, but that is part of the charm. After getting it packed and ready, I proceeded to light. Once fully lit, I sat back and took a nice long draw. I enjoyed a mouthful of warm, thick, flavorful smoke that I savored immensely. Not only does this pipe look cool, but the long stem functions to cool the smoke a little before hitting your mouth. This feature helps prevent the dreaded tongue bite and generally improves the ‘smokeability’, especially for beginners who can tend to overdraw the smoke. I also enjoy the way my teeth can firmly grip the wood, unlike some harder stemmed pipes.
I finished the bowl over the course of about 15 minutes, stopping to relight only once. Overall, the pipe performed very well, and I consider it a worthy purchase. It is both functional and serves as a good conversation piece because of its size and shape. Obviously for some, this pipe may not work as your everyday smoker. But this is a great addition to any collection and should definitely be smoked and not merely looked at. For sixty bucks, this pipe is well worth the money.