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Ligne Bretagne Pipe #20C4lb

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What is a Ligne Bretagne Collector? Ligne Bretagne Collectors are our handmade individuals, the top of the Ligne Bretagne brand. They're essentially Talbert Briars at a $200+ discount, with a different stamping, and we tend to used them as an experimental test bed for shapes and concepts that might "migrate upward" to Talbert Briars later.


When we bought all our stock in France, part of it included many old briar sacks of smaller, square-ish blocks like the one this was made from. From the labeling and records I'm guessing that they're all probably 80+ years old (and that means how long they've been drying after being dug up, not the age of the briar itself). It's excellent smoking stuff, with a rich, earthy sort of flavor to the wood that favors darker tobaccos, but the blocks themselves can be a challenge to work with. They're not cut to allow for long shanks and the overall dimensions initially look limiting to just a few basic classical shapes, so I took that as a challenge to see if I could come up with something really unique.

In this case, the starting point was the classical poker. This pipe was made as a twin to #20C3LB, the rather puckish fantasy bulldog, and offers much of the same style. I know calling it a poker will likely give the purists fits, but such is life... It's easy to make lots of crazy shapes and styles, but beginning with a solid classical design gives you an assurance that the smoking fundamentals are sound. Then the play begins! The key theme here is motion - Fluid motion from every view of the pipe. The 'Raven's Wing' finish rustication has been cut to allow for a constant flowing river of linework that follows and enhances and splashes around the movement of the bowl itself. Like its bulldog twin, the carving has been kept fine and delicate to allow for the overall shape to take the center stage, though if you inspect the close-up pics above, you'll find that the lines of the carving are quite active in how they move with the bowl. The overall effect seems somehow Japanese to me, with something of a rock garden aesthetic.