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Ligne Bretagne Pipe #1727lb

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Another "unfinished" pipe. They're quite popular with collectors for their rarity, and with smoking purists for their, well, "purity"... offering an experience unadulterated by the mingled scents of carnuba wax or other finishes, stains, bowl carbonizing, etc. Really, the only way I could make this a more pure smoking experience would be to use an acrylic stem, as they impart less flavor to the smoke than vulcanite stems do, but vulcanites are generally more popular. It's a rare thing to find a bowl that is so flawless that it can be left "naked" - Usually even the nicer sandblasted bowls still have some flaws visible here or there, or grain discoloration, or some other wood variance that makes them need stain to look their best. Here, it's just bare wood. No stain, no wax. If one ascribes to the briar "breathing" stories, this is literally as good as it can get!

Unfinished pipes are a mix of pluses and minuses. While the natural state of the wood is a big desirability factor, it also means they're more vulnerable to surface staining - Stick a hot one in a sweaty shirt pocket and you may find it picks up hints of your shirt cloth color. Setting one down in tabletop condensation rings will do similar. They require some extra attention in handling to keep them pristine, though it is worth pointing out that they also have a major advantage over stained pipes when it come to cleaning - While one should keep alcohol far, far away from the outer surface of any stained pipe, it's perfectly OK to scrub the exterior of a pipe like this one with a toothbrush soaked in alcohol, there's no stain or finish to ruin. The advantage of the unfinished pipe lies in darkening with use - It's the closest a briar pipe gets to a meerschaum, and the owner can expect it to darken to almost a walnut color with several years of regular smoking.

Pros and cons of the (non)finish aside, the other great advantage of a bare briar surface like this is in detail. Nothing shows off surface grain with quite the same level of intricacy - Just check out the close-up photos above! The stacked age rings of this are obvious, as is every pointed end of every grain line as it terminates into upward-pointed bird's-eye all around the curved bowl shape.