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No 249 - December 2, 2010
The Steps Following

The Savinelli “University pipe First pipe” has received many compliments – especially from experienced pipe smokers – “Great pipe”, “What an incredible pipe!”, “Wonderful pipe”.

Sorry we sold out, but we have received some more, and will continue to buy the set as long stocks in Italy last.

A comment “excellent package for a new pipe smoker” made me think that while including some cleaners and a pipe tool is helpful, and necessary, the continued preservation of any pipe requires a little more equipment and a fair amount of “T L C”.
You started right treating your new pipe with respect, read about day-to-day care,
I have noted how many pipes that come to us for repairs (cracked shank, broken mouth piece) appear to have been cleaned with a pointed instrument (the start of a little hole in the bottom of the bowl) – a proper pipe knife would have been more appropriate.
And how many really do need a good ream out – click for full instructions.
A short while ago we received a “thank-you” email from Johan, the winner of a Stanwell pipe.
(Have you filled in an entry recently - online or in a Wesley’s shop?)
He also asked our opinion of a reamer he had been given recently.

Thanks again for the pipe I won with the Sweepstakes. Can't believe a pipe can smoke so good. Magnificent!! 
Included a few pictures of a pipe scraper someone gave to me. Any knowledge about it? First time I ever saw something like it. Works very good, better than any pipe scraper I could find.

Our reply:
We don’t have the London-made reamer, but we do have a similar model which was made in Hong Kong for Bryco, Chicago. This one has the added advantage of a screw which acts as a brake to prevent possible damage to smaller, especially thin-walled, pipes.
I’m posting you one tomorrow – please will you use it and give me your opinion.

His opinion:
Thanks again. I've compared the two pipe scrapers and although the one from you feels much lighter, I like the idea that one can adjust the tension for the softer pipes. Not as pointy as the old one, which seems to work better because a pipe's bowl is the same from top to bottom. No idea why the old one is so pointy. Had to swivel it a bit to clean the bottom half of a pipe.
So I'll gave it almost full points. Although it feels lighter than the old one, it does the job and won't say it's bad quality. May bend if forced, but one never have to force scrape a pipe. Won't do a pipe any good.

The Bryco reamer we spoke about was part of a package we had bought some time ago. We knew the “Bryco” company many years ago, but hadn’t really tested their reamer.
After Johan’s comments we gave it to our “Pipe Repairer and Restorer” to test.
The feedback confirmed Johan’s opinion – so the Bryco reamer is joining our other group of tools.

And since pipe tools are so useful, and are always getting lost, (there must be a pipe-tool graveyard somewhere in the universe) we are going to offer 25% off all pipe tools and reamers as our next special – 15% off Dunhill tools.

From 9-31 December, 2010
25% off the normal price of any Pipe Tool or Reamer; 15% off Dunhill Pipe Tools
Normal prices range from R17.95 to R1395.00

Something in this selection could make a useful Christmas gift or “stocking filler”
Or just buy one for yourself!

Colin Wesley
No.249 December 2 -31, 2010

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No 250 - December 9, 2010

The next steps for Cigar Smokers

Thanks to your Paradigm Humidifier, or other Humidity Control System in your humidor, your cigars are now being stored in perfect condition.
 So what is the next step in the preparation chain before you get to enjoy your cigar.

In April this year I wrote a pretty comprehensive article on this subject: “The Kindest Cut”, and dealing with the different needs of different customers in the shop illustrates the versatility of our range.

One occasion involved a gift for the “Best Man”.
It was going to be just a good Cigar cutter, but during our chat we veered off to add a cigar to the cutter. In a round-about way this ended up with our Robusto Trio Selection being couched in a black Travel Cabinet, together with a modest cigar cutter and a lighter. Gift-wrapped, and all within the original budget.
A good opportunity to remind you of the well-priced Wesley’s Cigar Selections – each with a leaflet describing the cigars. They make it easy for you to experiment and expand your knowledge and understanding of your pleasure of cigars. And remember the Travel Cabinet option.
New Selections available now.

Another incident ended in an upgrade from the basic stainless steel cutter (73-J1101 R125.00) to the studded two-finger model (73-J1341 R199.50) – it was the “feel” that did it. The edges of the finger holes in the latter are milled so that they won’t press uncomfortably into Dad’s fingers.

With the increase in popularity of the “Punch” type of cutter, you might find in those Wesley’s shops which carry Swiss Army knives, the Victorinox Pocket Multitool with Cigar Punch.  A quality Swiss precision instrument with three razor-sharp stainless steel circular blades which cater for all sizes.

While we’re focussing on cutting the cigars, it must be an appropriate time for a special offer on cutters!
And we’ll start straight away.
(We think there’s a cigar cutter graveyard too – or maybe they actually go blunt first.)

From 9 December 2010 to 12 January 2011
25% off the normal price of most Cigar Cutters;
15% off Dunhill (and the Victorinox )
Normal prices range from R32.95 to R3250.00

As with pipe tools ……
something in this selection could make a useful Christmas gift or “stocking filler”.
Or just buy one for yourself!

Colin Wesley
No.250 December 9, 2010  to January 12, 2011

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No 251 - January 13, 2011
Can a Dunhill fit into your Budget?

For me, Saturdays in my shop are often more enjoyable than mis-hitting a golf ball around a crowded course.

Last Saturday one of my longstanding customers, dating back to my Durban days, was buying a very elegant, small Savinelli pipe
He was making the point that as he has grown older he prefers smaller bowls, and glancing sideways noticed a drawer of Dunhill pipes in assorted shapes and sizes.
One caught his eye – but the price didn’t.
“I’ve always wanted a Dunhill, but they are beyond my budget”.

He settled on the Savinelli, and while his tobacco was being weighed out I suggested that, as he now preferred smaller pipes, he should look carefully at our next selection of refurbished pipes, on the website from next week. He would find some Dunhills, and since one of the factors in pricing Dunhill pipes is the size, a refurbished smaller-bowl pipe might fit into his budget.
He left looking thoughtful and returned about an hour later asking “Is it be possible for me to have a preview of the next batch of refurbished pipes
I assured him that since his details are on our database he will be sent a link for a two day preview.

Do we have your details on our database?
If not, and you would like to be, complete the Sweepstake entry, online or at your nearest Wesley’s. This also enters you into the bi-monthly draw for a free pipe or pipe knife (value up to R895.00)

But back to the Refurbished pipes.
If you are familiar with these, you will know what to expect.
If not, these are pipes that have mostly completed their first tour of duty, and have now been carefully and thoroughly prepared for their next spell.
Some are still unsmoked, waiting to be baptised.      
The selection includes many of the great brands – Dunhill, Charatan, Savinelli, Peterson, and even one from our own, the late, Willie Mattner.

The prices will take you back many years!

Still concerned about smoking a pre-smoked pipe?
I repeat the clever comment made by a sensible shopkeeper in the USA:
You don’t take your own knife and fork to a restaurant, do you?”
Remember, that when these pipes were produced, they were already 60 years or more in the making. There is no such thing as a good “young briar” pipe.
At that time too there was no such thing as a “Filter” pipe, at least amongst the higher quality pipes.  If you feel the need, just use a bowl filter.
All the pipes have been finished with a Dunhill Silicone cloth which protects the pipe with an invisible film of silicone wax.

The collection will be on the website from January 21, 2011.
Make sure you are on our database – go to Sweepstakes Entry to submit your details
Because if you are, we will email you a link for a special preview.

All the pipes shown on the website are in the Johannesburg office, Rosebank. If you’re interested in a particular pipe or pipes, they can be made available for you to see through your nearest Wesley’s

And if you’re impressed by the way these pipes have “cleaned up” – take your old favourites to your nearest Wesley’s to be sent for a complete refurbishment – or if the nearest Wesley’s is too far, post them direct to
P O Box 52466, Saxonwold 2132. The pipe repair lady is doing stunning work!  
Maybe you prefer a bit of DIY – here’s how: step-by-step instructions.

Colin Wesley
No.251 Jan.13-26, 2011

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No 252 - January 27, 2011
So you did get a Humidor for Christmas!

Well done on all the hints you dropped in the closing months of 2010, since you lost out for Father’s Day in June.
But what have you done with it?

After all the articles we have posted on preparing your humidor and ensuring the proper safekeeping of your cigars, you couldn’t have just opened it up and filled it with cigars, could you?

You did!
“Oh my, let’s hope the cigars still have some moisture left in them and will be easily refreshed if necessary.”

You didn’t!
Thank goodness.
You went through all the damping procedure, and watched the humidity fluctuate before settling at more-or-less 70% RH.
You even upgraded the humidifier to a humidity control system – see Paradigm, Passatore, Dunhill, or Savinelli Surface Active Liquid under Humidification
Good man!! Your cigars should be in great condition, a real joy to smoke.
Keep them that way and they will age gracefully.
Check what “The Winemaker” has to say.

If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, click on some of the links.

But you know, with all this about humidity in the humidor, there is another factor that we mustn’t forget. The temperature is as important – in summer maybe even more so!
We were reminded of this by the following email:
“I am an avid cigar smoker who has just moved to durban where the humidity reaches 80/90 % in the summer and, despite the use of a humidor, I'm noticing some mould on my cohibas. I have read online that humidity beads are an effective solution. Does Wesleys offer these or are there any other solutions?”

We replied:
Your comments raise a few questions
1. Are you sure what you see is mould and not bloom?
If there is no "nasty" smell and you can easily brush the white spots off, it is probably bloom. This is an indication that your Cohibas are ageing nicely. Read more .......
If it is mould, you do have a problem - almost impossible to fix.
2. What is the humidity rating in your humidor? To gauge this with reasonable accuracy, you should have a digital hygrometer which shows the humidity and the temperature. The optimum readings should be 70/70 - ie 70% relative humidity at 70º Fahrenheit (19ºC to 21.5ºC).
Read more ......
3. In Durban, most homes or offices have an air-conditioned room. This is the place to keep your humidor. The air conditioner also normally removes water vapour from the air (you've seen the exit pipes dripping)
4. If the humidity is still too high, it may help to introduce a sachet of silica gel granules (such as you see in some tablet bottles). Maybe that is what you mean by humidity beads.
5. If you keep the humidor under these conditions (the most important is the temperature), and the cigars haven't actually developed mould (which I doubt), you can relax and enjoy those Cohibas.
Some cigar smokers say that leaving the bloom enhances the flavour. You might try one.

This reminder might be of use to you with the hot (and often humid) conditions we are experiencing all over South Africa this summer.

Back to Humidors: 

Oh dear - you didn’t receive Humidor for Christmas, and Fathers’ Day / your Birthday are months away.
Don’t despair at the thought of having to put up with the Tupperware “Humidor” you made as a temporary measure ages ago.
We have a solution for you.

From February 3 to 16, 2011
We are running a special on Humidors:
15% discount on Dunhill Humidors    •    25% discount on all other Humidors
While stocks last.

After Christmas, stock is a bit limited – for mail order sales, see the numbers on the website.
So look now and make a decision.

Take the plunge and spoil yourself -
You probably deserve it just as much as your cigars do!

Colin Wesley
No.252 January 27 – February 9, 2011

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No 253 - February 10, 2011
Hans Christian Andersen - the pipe by Stanwell

In 2005, to participate in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Denmark’s most famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, Stanwell created a very special dual stem, limited edition anniversary pipe packed in a wooden box and leather pipe bag. Each pipe numbered, with the number engraved on the sterling silver band on the pipe stem, and printed on the signed certificate.

Hans Christian Andersen is still the most recognised Danish personality in history – poet, author and playwright. During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.  (Wikipedia)
He was born in 1805 in Odense into very humble beginnings, but was fortunate to have a love of literature instilled into him by his father who read to him and often took him to plays. It was his mother, uneducated and superstitious, who introduced him to the world of folklore. Then, when his father died, he had to go out to work at the age of 11. As a young boy he had a beautiful soprano voice and worked for some time in the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen – until his voice changed. Then more good fortune came his way when one of the directors of the Royal Theatre sponsored his education into a grammar school, then privately; eventually he gained admission into the Copenhagen University.
Finally, fame and fortune enabled him to travel widely, and in doing so he met many of  his literary contemporaries - Victor Hugo, Balzac, Alexandre Dumas. In 1847 he visited Charles Dickens, whom he admired tremendously. He dedicated one of his books to Dickens, and in turn Dickens was influenced by Andersen; as were a number of other writers - William Thackeray, Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, Isak Dinesen, Cees Noteboom, P.O. Enquist, whose play, Rainsnakes, was about Andersen. (Books and Writers)
Hans Christian Andersen felt that his life was much like his fairy tales – from rags to riches. He once wrote about his meeting with King Maximilian II: “It is like a chapter in a tale that I, the poor shoemaker’s son, flew to the side of a King” (loosely translated)
He died in 1875.
During his life he wrote 212 fairy tales, and had 156 published of which only 12 were drawn on folklore.
Expressions like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” are a part of our language.

Back to the pipes.
The Limited Edition H C Andersen pipes created for the anniversary sold so well that Stanwell decided to introduce into their standard range the concept of the dual stem pipe – offering a choice of normal or churchwarden length stem for one bowl.
We recently received an order which included just a few of these H C Andersen pipes (in presentation boxes), plus two other “speciality” pipes – the “Calabash” and the “Viking”.
And of course the “De Luxe” polished, and their trademark “Vario
The transfer of manufacture of Stanwell pipes from Denmark to Italy may have had logistical problems, but the pipes are as good as ever.

Now we’re offering you the opportunity to add a Stanwell to your collection at a very special price

From February 17 to March 2, 2011
25% discount on all Stanwell pipes
While stocks last.

A joy to look at, to hold and to smoke – a very special range of pipes.

Colin Wesley
No.253 February 10 - 23, 2011

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No 254 - February 24, 2011

Absolutely no age restriction is needed for access to this article as I am of course referring to my beloved cigars!
The more I speak with other lovers of the cigar, the more I realize that almost every single aspect of our favourite past time, is evaluated on the basis of personal preference – and so it should be.  After all, an hour or two spent with a great cigar is a very personal experience!         
When I first started smoking cigars, my favourite Vitola (size and format), was the Petit Corona of typically (129mm length x 42 Ring)   For the sake of the novice, the “Ring size” is the diameter measured in 64ths of an inch, so to convert 42 Ring to mm, you divide it by 64 and multiply by 25.4 – in this case the result is a diameter of 16.67mm. Think Montecristo No 4 and Cohiba Siglo II etc and you have this format in mind.
The reason why cigars of this size is so popular, is because this volume of tobacco combined with this specific diameter and length, allow sufficient (but not excessive) smoking time for the taste of experienced and novice cigar smokers alike and also allows enough time for the cigar to develop as the smoke from the first and second 3rd passes through the length of it. These days I don’t smoke as high a percentage of Petit Coronas as I used to, simply because I have come to understand that it is a situation of “horses for courses” and sometimes I want either a longer or shorter smoking experience or maybe a format that takes more time to develop fully. One thing remains true – there is a very specific time and place for a great Petit Corona, even for the experienced.  It is not merely a format for the beginner!
Rumour has it that the Montecristo No 4 is the best selling cigar in history.
This 124mm x 50 Ring cigar was created to give the modern-day smoker (some of whom never seem to sit down long enough to enjoy a slow smoke) a “full experience” with lots of smoke and flavour in a relatively short time.   On the other hand, you find the dinosaurs like me, who, strongly believe that we owe ourselves the time out for a slow smoke that can make a Robusto last well over two hours. Do not allow the cigar to go out often, just draw softer and longer and you will be stunned to find that you can smoke your cigar to the nub, without paying the price of a harsh aggressive taste! A great aid in this is to use a small punch cutter instead of clippers or scissors, to help you regulate your draw. My best cigar mate dubbed it “the tweezer stage” – that is when you start burning your fingers that hold the cigar and you then pinch it flat on the one side, so that you can get your last few soft draws from the part that stays round and cool enough until you retire it!
This 143mm x 46 Ring cigar shows remarkable similarity in proportions when compared with the Petit Corona. The ratio of diameter to length is virtually the same and it is a format that allows generous smoking time without becoming a real marathon! Up to this size of cigar, I do not feel the need for a special occasion to justify lighting it up and it has become one of my favourite vitolas for when I have more than two hours free for a great smoke. Because of its medium girth, it also helps to slow the fast smokers down a bit and in the process, protect them against themselves!

These are 52 Ring cigars that taper to a relatively sharp closed point on one side. This format has several advantages such as having a comfortable tapered end to put in your mouth despite their thick 52 Ring diameter, you can easily adjust the draw by cutting more or less from the tapered end and I find very few draw problems with them, as it is a difficult shape to roll and only the very best and most experienced torcedores (rollers) are commissioned to create these cigars.
The Belicosos is a shorter 140mm x 52 Ring. The fast smoker will probably finish these in less time than a Corona Extra, but the slow smoker might find it the other way round.
The Piramides are full sized 156mm x 52 Ring cigars that mostly deliver the bold, full cigar experience that the true enthusiast appreciates. The extra 16mm allows the flavour to develop even more
These cigars are “the real deal”!
The Churchill (178mm x 47 Ring) is a big, decadent format, ideally suited for the occasion when you have something to celebrate! These were named after their most famous advocate, Sir Winston Churchill, who was known to smoke more than just a couple of these every single day! Now that is something that not very many of us can manage, as I will not even consider lighting up one of these “big boys” unless I will have at least three hours of uninterrupted smoking time available! Please do not attempt to smoke a Churchill when you are in a rush, as the long length of tobacco the smoke has to pass through, will be ruined by an aggressive draw!

I have deliberately left the small cigars for right at the end, as it is all too easy to merely see them as “uncomplicated appetizers” or beginner cigars. This is a mistake that even experienced cigar smokers sometimes make and you will miss out badly if you fall into this trap!
The classic Half Corona (102mm x 40 Ring) is a compact cigar that normally has a good draw as its 15.87mm diameter is plenty for its short length.  Most of the better examples are more flavourful and full bodied, than their small size would let you  to believe and are the perfect choice, even for the expert when time is limited and you do not want to do a rush job! And yes, they are also the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of “real” cigars for the novice! You get the real Cuban flavour, but not in an overdose that may be too much for the uninitiated. I immediately think of the Cohiba Siglo I and the Montecristo No 5, two great little cigars in this format.
Two of my favourite small cigars fall in this category – they are the Partagas Shorts (110mm x 42 Ring) and my all time favourite small cigar, the Trinidad Reyes (110mm x 40 Ring) with a beautiful curly pigtail head! These two cigars mature very well and have a bold, full richness all out of proportion to their diminutive size, in fact they are so rich, that you would probably find them difficult to finish if they were the size of a Churchill! I wonder if this is deliberate or co-incidental? The Reyes in particular, is a bit of a shocker as despite being smaller than the Cohiba Siglo II, it gives a fuller, richer and longer smoke than this benchmark Petit Corona!!!!!!!!!!
AFFORDABLE CIGARS”                    
I call them affordable, as the only things that are cheap these days, are talk, quality and service!
Do not ever make the mistake of thinking that a cigar must be good simply because it is expensive! Fortunately, not all affordable cigars are of low quality either and please do try some of them on a regular basis, you will find a few gems amongst these “lesser” regarded cigars and they act as great “fillers” while you are waiting for your best cigars to mature in the humidor. Just like with wine, do trust your own palate with brutal honesty, as the worst thing you can do is to “BS” yourself in “tasting the label” and not the cigar! One of my favourite affordable cigars is the little Cuban Guantanamera Minutos (102mm x 42 Ring). This cigar gives pleasure way out of proportion to its cost!
Also remember that “variety is the spice of life” and that “real wealth” is about having choices – nothing makes me feel as wealthy, as opening the humidor and being able to chose not only from many different labels, but also from all those different sizes and shapes for every possible occasion!
I hope these few words will inspire you to go out and start your own search for the perfect cigar for each and every occasion and remember that it is your opinion that counts! The above opinions are my own and you may or may not agree with all of them. Even though I only mentioned a few formats to illustrate a point, you must remember that there are many more formats to try.
My keyboard will now go quiet, as the making of the 2011 wines has commenced and it is a day and night affair! Please smoke a few really great cigars on my behalf, as I will only get to that again in mid April!
Now it is time for an H.Upmann No 2 Piramide that was made in 2007 and a glass of 15 year old, barrel-matured Cuban rum, or maybe a Calvados from Normandie!
“The Winemaker”

Selecting your cigar is a personal matter and since its enjoyment is gauged by your senses of sight, feel, touch, smell and taste, your opinion will be very subjective.
Rich Hacker, in The Ultimate Cigar Book, is quite blunt about this when he says, “Never take anyone else’s recommendation”. He does modify this statement a little but it still boils down to the fact that you need to know your own taste preferences – our “Selection” packs can help with this.
Then, equally important, select the right size and shape cigar for the time and occasion.
These thoughts and comments from our friend, “The Winemaker”, are worth considering.

Having made up your mind, when you need to transport 1, 2 or 3 cigars we offer you the opportunity to do so in style with an appropriate cigar tube or case.

From 3 - 16 March, 2011
15% off Dunhill** Cigar Cases;  25% off all other Cigar Cases and Tubes
**Mostly in Rosebank – view them on the website.
“In the flesh?” Ask your nearest Wesley’s

They look good, feel good and are good.

Colin Wesley

No.254 February 24 to March 9, 2011

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No 255 - March 10, 2011
What a visit!

If you don’t mind a little cold weather (-13ºC when we landed at 05.30 in Munich), then travelling in Europe in winter can be spectacular (and relatively economical).
We love it!                
This year, after visiting some suppliers in Germany, our route took us from Munich to Milan. This was a full day by train, through the Austrian Alps, and then the Italian Alps.
Snow-covered peaks, frozen waterfalls, crystal trees - sensational!

We don’t often visit Lorenzo with a fixed buying plan, but this year we had a few specifics in mind.
• Could we get the smaller, non-filter “Sport” in the very popular “Spot-carved” finish, to add to the rustic and smooth walnut and two-tone finishes?
• Would he have any small 10 minute pipes on hand? Our Dinky, Club, Mini ranges were almost sold out
• And the elegant “Lula” – our stocks were also completely finished.
• What about the Lectura and Cadry we’d ordered (together with some other pipes) in September?
• Maybe we’d find some “original” Lorenzos – even single pieces.

We came away with more than we had hoped for, and, better still, the pipes have all arrived – exactly as we had ordered.                      
• Instead of a “spot carved Sport” – we were offered the “Pavia”. A range of smaller shapes with optional 9mm filter, spot-carved or sandtype finishes. Wow! 
• Yes – some 10 minute pipes were available – rustic Dinky, and smooth walnut colour Mini. And some slightly larger pipes in classic shapes to replace the Club – simply stamped “Italy”.
• The “Lula” was a real surprise: better shapes and a much nicer polished brown walnut colour.
• The Lectura was ready for us – exactly the same finish as before, and the same 3 popular shapes.
• The Cadry was even better – slightly bigger bowls, more consistent shapes. 3 finishes.

“Personally selected”
Original Lorenzo shapes - shapes above and beyond the “ordinary”
Lorenzo Grand CanadianThe Grand Canadian – 9 stunning pipes in various sizes and finishes, each individually turned from a single block of briar. Three of the pipes offer an optional 9mm filter. We last saw any Grand Canadians in 2004 – read what we wrote then: “Is longer, cooler, drier, better?”

Lorenzo ValgardenaValgardena – Our favourite amongst the original Lorenzo designs. The most stunning, well-designed shape Lorenzo ever created, and so light for its size. Feel it in your hand, the finger just wraps itself around the perfectly positioned ridge.

Summa cum Laude – Only one of these, the most hand-fitting shape designed by Lorenzo.Summa Cum Laude & Fiamma Satin russet finish with hardly a speck in sight. Gift boxed.
Fiamma – The shape is kin to the Summa cum Laude, but adapted to show off the fine flame grain which covers almost all of the bowl. No obvious fillings – just a little nick (this pipe must have been handmade some years back). Embellished with a neat gold band, and presented in an elegant display box.

The only disappointing part was when he told us very seriously, over the cup of strong Italian coffee, that the prices would have to increase.

Where possible we have averaged prices over the new and existing stocks, and the stronger Rand helped, but increases were unavoidable.

The good news is that:

From 17 to 30 March, 2011 we’ll make you an Italian offer:
25% off any Lorenzo pipe!

How can you refuse?

Colin Wesley
No.255 March 10 – 23, 2011

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