Briar & Selection Guide
The grade of briar found at David's Fine Tobaccos is only of the highest quality. A good briar pipe originates as a burl from the root of the Heath tree, a gnarled stubby plant in the rocky wastelands of the Mediterranean.
Roots are dug by hand from the ground and cut into small blocks called "burls" which are then boiled in water to remove the remaining resin and sap in the pores. The blocks are then placed in large kilns and allowed to dry for one year. This is a very slow process as great care must be taken to assure that the blocks will dry evenly to avoid cracking. They are then separated according to their size and shapes as well as grade.
SELECTING YOUR PIPE
In selecting a pipe, we suggest that you should buy your pipe at a pipe shop and not from a discount or drug store. In a pipe shop you will find a knowledgeable staff to offer valuable advice about the selection of your pipes as well as techniques in pipe smoking.
Quality briar is revealed by grain that is close and uniform. A good balance between swirling grain and straight grain is an indication of quality briar. The light weight of the pipe usually indicates porous briar. Choose pipes that are highly porous. Such pipes are able to absorb tar and moisture while dissipating the heat, thus allowing the smoker to enjoy a cool, dry smoke.
We would caution against purchasing any pipes that require filters or metal condensers. These gadgets are unnecessary and could be nothing more than an admission of poorly cured or immature briar. The smoker will experience a hot, wet smoke that will leave a bitter taste when a pipe contains a filter or condenser.
Pipes are made in a wide variety of shapes. Hand-carved Meerschaum pipes are a superb material that yield a very cool, dry smoke. This white substance is very porous thus absorbing moisture and dissipating heat rapidly. The best pipe substance known is still briar. A well-cured properly crafted briar pipe is not only a thing of beauty but will give its owner many years of sweet smoking pleasure.