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Mid-priced British Pipes

This is a discussion on Mid-priced British Pipes within the General Pipe Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; I am curious what others here think of the mid-grade British Pipes. For those who don't want a cheap basket ...

  
  1. #1

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Mid-priced British Pipes

    I am curious what others here think of the mid-grade British Pipes. For those who don't want a cheap basket pipe, but Ashton and Dunhill is too expensive, where do the others stand? I do generally see good things about GBD, Parker, Hardcastle, Comoys, etc. I love my Ben Wade and Hardcastle (both recent production), and I've long loved my Petersons (Irish, but I consider them similar in style and quality to the mid-line British pipes). I don't really know where many of these stand in comparison to each other, or to Peterson (though most are a little less money than a comparable Pete, and of course the Pete is not a British pipe).

    My biggest questions concern the Parker and Hardcastle. Both are Dunhill "seconds". Where do they stand in quality in comparison to each other? I'm looking at recent production, not older estate pipes. Also, what exactly does Dunhill mean by "seconds"? Are Dunhill seconds (Hardcastle and Parker) simply second quality, or did they start life as Dunhills but then there was a mistake or a blemish somewhere during the process and they became "seconds"? If they start life as Dunhills, what gets one pipe labelled Hardcastle and another pipe labelled Parker? Most importantly, given two which are similarly priced, and they are online so you can't examine the individual example, would you buy a Parker or a Hardcastle?

    My newer production Ben Wade is one of my favorite pipes, a great smoker, and I'd put it up there with most of my Petersons (I've got some that are pretty high end Petes). My Hardcastle is close, but just a tad behind the Ben Wade (it is just as good a smoker, but there is something about that Ben Wade DeLuxe that I just love). I don't have any of the others, but I have been eyeing Dunhills and Ashtons lately, and even as estate pipes, they are just a bit over what I feel comfortable spending right now. I've been considering another Peterson or Savinelli (my go to mid-range pipes), but I have quite a few of each and would like something a little different. The lesser British pipes are still good pipes. So, I'm thinking about buying a couple of the cheaper Brit pipes, and I'm trying to decide which to buy next.

  2. #2

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    Oh, even though they are French, lets throw Wessox in for consideration as well. They are similar in style and price to many of the mid-line British pipes, and I like that they make quite a few of their pipes with a cumberland stem (I love the look of a cumberland stem).

  3. #3

    Leading Puffer Fish ChronoB's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    Parker/Hardcastle are not Dunhill seconds. A second implies that it is a Dunhill pipe that due to some flaw in the briar or workmanship didn't make the Dunhill grade, but otherwise would have been stamped a Dunhill. Parker and Hardcaslte are just less expensive brands that are made out of the same factory, along with Ben Wade. Many of the storied British brands like BBB, GBD, Comoy's, etc are still out there, but there are all owned/made by Cadogan Group (a conglomerate). By all accounts, though, they are still well-made pipes.

    If you want a new English briar, and Ashton, Dunhill, or Ferndown are too expensive I recommend Northern Briars (Ian Walker). I have one of his pipes and really like it. He doesn't oil cure his pipes like Ashton or Ferndown (Dunhill long ago ceased oil curing), but his pipes are well made and quite a bit less than the big 3 I mentioned. You can find some of his pipes here: Northern Briars at pipes2smoke.com or here Northern Briars Products - The Piperack or here Northern Briars - Pipes N - Z - Pipes In fact, if someone doesn't snap up that one at cigarsandpipes.com I just might.

    I don't own one, but there is also Invicta Briars: Home . 4 noggins carries some of their pipes: 4noggins.com - INVICTA BRIARS . They're quite affordable, but I know nothing of their reputation. There are also carvers like Chris Askwith, but if you can't afford an Ashton doubt his pipes will be in your range.

  4. #4

    Young Puffer Fish


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    I bought a Ferndown panelled bulldog from pipes2smoke at the last Columbus, OH pipe show. It cost just under $200. This baby smokes like a dream. Ferndown pipes are far less expensive than Dunhill (I have a few of those, too). I think my Ferndown smokes as well as my Dunhills.
    As for Northern Briars, I have heard that they smoke great, too. I hope to buy a NB before year's end.

    SmokeKing David

  5. #5

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    Those Northern Briars look nice, and this one in particular is calling my name: Northern Briars # 5

    I've also been eyeing a few $200-300 Ashtons and estate Dunhills.

    However, this time around, my absolute max budget is in the $150-200 range, and I'd prefer to be in the $70-130 range (hence, looking in the Parker, Hardcastle, Ben Wade, Wessex, etc. price range).

    Definitely some nice suggestions so far. If I decide to stretch the budget a bit, some nice alternatives to the cheaper Dunhill estates and Ashtons (though one thing keeping the budget down is that I want to buy a Boswells pipe when I go up there in the next few weeks and buying in that range will postpone the Boswells pipe).

  6. #6

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    You might consider one of the new Sasieni's, if an estate is out of the question. I have a new 4Dot diplomat that's a really great smoker that I got for $57 as I recall. (Or maybe it was 57 Euros, I forget.) Looks good and smokes good and I have no complaints at all. Not quite Family Era quality, but not bad at all in that price range.
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  7. #7

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by freestoke View Post
    You might consider one of the new Sasieni's, if an estate is out of the question. I have a new 4Dot diplomat that's a really great smoker that I got for $57 as I recall. (Or maybe it was 57 Euros, I forget.) Looks good and smokes good and I have no complaints at all. Not quite Family Era quality, but not bad at all in that price range.
    The Sasieni's are definitely in contention. Estates aren't off the table, some of my best pipes are estate pipes. It is just that current production for the Brit pipes is pretty good, and the mid-line British brands went through so many owners and periods that it is easier to compare the current production.

  8. #8

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    A local B&M had a bunch of Hardcastles and Ben Wades that looked good. They were a little overpriced, but they were nice and I didn't pay shipping so I bought one. I got a very nice Hardcastle rusticated bulldog.

    It is a beautiful pipe. The construction is terrific, the draw hole is drilled perfectly straight and falls right in the center and bottom of the bowl as it should. The draw is easy and full. I packed it with half a bowl of Peterson Special Reserve 2003 to start to break it in (it was all I had with me). However, I think this classic English pipe needs to be dedicated to English style blends and not aromatics.

    Sorry, no photos (I'm at work), but I'll try to get some up soon.

    I now have three of these mid-priced English pipes: two Hardcastles and a Ben Wade. I think these are terrific pipes for the money as each of mine are terrific smokers and they all look quite nice. I still have my eye out for one more right now. I'm leaning towards either a nice smooth finish Ben Wade Canadian, or going with something new for me and getting a Sasieni or a Parker (or at the prices some of them go for, maybe one of each over the next couple weeks). The Sasieni that most has my eye is a bargain priced estate (but I think it is recent vintage) Sasieni apple, and the Parker that most has my eye is a brand new Zulu (it will be my first pipe in that shape).

  9. #9

    Puffer Fish with some spikes Jogi's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    You may also want to look at Invicta Briars and Blakemar Briars, both are British carvers. I have two pipes from the Blakemar Aristocrat series (cheapest series) and they're great value for money. Their premium lines are going to be good methinks.

  10. #10

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    After a couple endorsements on this thread, I did some research into Invicta. On another pipe forum there is a thread dedicated to them which is really glowing: apparently they are great pipes, and when you deal with Invicta directly you get some incredible service. I'll have to add them to my list.

    For the more expensive list when I buy another $150-250 pipe, I definitely want one of those Northern Briar pipes and a Ferndown. Between those and the Ashton, I may drop Dunhill from my future PAD list: the prices of these other high end British pipes are just so much nicer than Dunhill, and with little to no downside when it comes to features and quality.
    Last edited by Jeff10236; 03-06-2013 at 12:05 PM.

  11. #11

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    OK, the more research into Invicta I did, the more impressed I was in the pipes. It seems their customer service is top notch, and they have some customers who are absolutely in love with the pipes. The final straw was a photo someone posted on another forum of his pipe an I just had to do it.

    I placed an order for the Canadian at the bottom of this page:
    craftsmanschoice.html

    If the pipe is half as good as the Invicta fans have me expecting it to be it is one hell of a bargain at $70 (just over $75 with shipping). I can't wait to try it. Here is a link to a photo of the pipe from their website: http://www.invictabriars.com/bigpics...nadian%201.jpg

    There is also a Savinellii natural Bings Favorite at a pretty decent price which I have my eye on, and I want to have some PAD money left for a Boswells when I go up there, so the Parker, Sasieni and any other British pipes may have to wait a little while.

  12. #12

    Young Puffer Fish


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    I have to agree that Invicta briar pipes are an excellent value for the money. I've been selling them for a few years now and have never had a complaint. In fact, only compliments.
    You can deal direct with Peter in the UK or buy from the States.


    Rich
    4noggins.com

  13. #13

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Mid-priced British Pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by 4noggins View Post
    I have to agree that Invicta briar pipes are an excellent value for the money. I've been selling them for a few years now and have never had a complaint. In fact, only compliments.
    You can deal direct with Peter in the UK or buy from the States.


    Rich
    4noggins.com
    I just got mine on Thursday and it had its inaugural smoke (1/2 bowl to break in of Bald Headed Teacher). It really is a nice pipe, and when you consider the price, it is an incredible bargain.

    I bought direct this time, and I was very happy with the service. I've bought other pipes and tobacco from 4noggins quite a few times and I've always been happy with the experience. Heck, I probably can get annoying with my plugging the tobacco so much: I like all that I've tried, and other than the Otter Creek which I just like, I love all the other 4noggins tobacco I've had. So unless I can only get a shape I'm considering direct, I'll probably check 4noggins first and order there (hmm, can you get the "Crosby" shape from them??? ).


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