Small Bowls, cont’d.

HIS Mini Curch
H.I.S. Mini Churchwarden

To further illustrate the benefits of smaller bowl pipes, I want to describe my affair with the pipe pictured above, an H.I.S. (Hugo International Series) mini churchwarden, which comes from the Italian pipe maker Gardesana. I bought this pipe in December from Penn Valley Pipes, or The site displayed a picture of the pipe and listed its dimensions:

Overall length = 7 inches / 177.8mm | Bowl size = Small | Bowl depth = 1.125 inches / 28.575 mm | Bowl outside diameter = .875 in /22.225 mm | Bowl inside diameter = .625 in / 15.875 mm

So I bought it with eyes wide open. Nevertheless, when the pipe arrived, I was almost shocked by how small it was in my hand, especially the bowl. (That’s a quarter in the picture.) I could not get much of my index finger into the bowl, and my little finger went in only to just past the first knuckle. Since I was suffering a bad cold at the time, I wasn’t able to smoke it for a few days, during which time I became more concerned about its size. I even contemplated returning it.

I’m sure glad I didn’t.

As soon as I started breaking it in, I began to really appreciate the pipe. First, the profile is wonderful. It simply looks great with that gracefully curved stem. It is also super-light, making clenching it easy. It looks fantastic when I catch a glimpse of my profile shadow with it in my teeth.

Second, when I sip-puff, as I do with all blends, the smoke always lasts longer than I expect.

Third, I have come to love this pipe most especially with stout, higher nicotine blends that would be too much for me in a larger bowl. For example, Cornell & Diehl’s powerful burley blends — Haunted Bookshop, Pegasus, and Morley’s Best — are much more enjoyable in my mini-church than in larger pipes. (I suspect this will be true of Big ‘N’ Burley.)

I now like this pipe so much that I ordered another one from the line, a rusticated, less-bent pipe. I can’t wait to get it. Did I mention they are only about 30 bucks?

To repeat what I said before, don’t pass up small-bowl pipes by. They are light, easy to carry, and perfect for stronger tobaccos.