Kim The pipe arrived today while I was out but luckily the postal service left it with the neighbours so I now have it sitting in front of me as I write this. It looked good in the pics on your site but it looks even better in real life. My compliments to Mrs Penguin. I need to have my dinner but after that I will be having my first bowl (well half bowl to start breaking it in). I will be in touch when I've had a few bowls but thanks very much - if it smokes the way it looks I'm going to be having a very pleasurable evening. Thanks again Chris
Kim I was so tired after eating last night that I didn't smoke at all. I'm also beginning to understand why some people buy pipes simply to collect them, and look at them, rather than smoke them. This pipe is definitely a thing of beauty and after a tough day fighting with computers yesterday it made my day just to receive it. Having said that I will be smoking it!!! If I don't try it out tonight, when I get back from a client's office, then from tomorrow for a few days I will be working from home so I'll be able to take some time out to truly enjoy it. I've only got a camera in my phone at the moment which is not too great so is it OK if I use your images from your site when I mention the pipe on Smoker's Forums? I see you use that forum as well so I guess its OK but they are your copyright so best to ask first. :-) I'll keep you and Mrs Penguin updated. Thanks Chris
Kim I finally had time today to give the pipe my full attention and it's first half bowl. After my experiences with breaking in other new pipes I was amazed by the fact that there was no discernible change to the taste of my favourite tobacco. No bitterness, no strange aftertaste - just the taste that I get from that tobacco when smoked in a pipe that has been well broken in. I only got back into pipe smoking at the end of last year so I've broken in 7 pipes prior to this one and this is the only one that has had no impact on the taste of the tobacco when new. I put the posting below up on Smokers Forums together with the images of the pipe and from the comments there I suspect that you and / or your wife have gained some new admirers. I will certainly be keeping an eye on your site for any new pipes that appear. Many, many thanks to you and your wife for a wonderful smoking and visual experience. Chris
Warning: This is a long post due to pipe induced bliss. A few weeks ago I visited the Penguin Pipes website and saw an amazing pipe. All my pipes until now have been traditional shapes with traditional finishes but there was something about this pipe that said "Buy me, buy me." I resisted valiantly for a few days but then saw the piece here about Penguin pipes and how good they were and it became clear to me that this was fate and resistance was futile. I revisited the Penguin site and the pipe was still for sale - definitely fate. A quick exchange of emails with Kim at Penguin followed; which was impressive in itself as this was over the US Labor Day weekend so I was expecting some delay with any reply to my first enquiry but there wasn't. On Monday this week I arrived home to discover a card from the postal service saying they had attempted to deliver a parcel. I was expecting to have to arrange for it to be redelivered but when I looked further down the card they had been sensible and left it with a neighbour. The parcel was retrieved and sure enough it was from Kim and it took some getting into as it was, thankfully, very securely packed. Inside the package was a blue velvet pouch and inside that the pipe bowl and the stem wrapped in tissue. I have attached a photograph taken from the Penguin site and it is a very good photograph but no photograph can do justice to this pipe. In the past I have always regarded a pipe as a tool for smoking tobacco so was always more concerned with a pipe's technical smoking qualities than the aesthetics but this pipe has changed all that. For the first time I understand why collectors buy pipes and display them without ever smoking them. Unfortunately on both Monday and Tuesday evenings I was tired after days of wrestling with clients' computer problems and couldn't give this pipe the attention it demanded for its first smoke. Today I'm working from home and the moment arrived to christen the pipe. I had already decided after Kim emailed the pipe's dimensions that it was going to be dedicated to Grousemoor so I loaded up half a bowl. Normally I light my pipes with a pipe lighter but I didn't want to risk any unnecessary scorching of the bowl so I dug out some sulphur free Davidoff cigar matches and lit up. Bliss - it was difficult to believe that this was the first bowl in a brand new pipe. Even with my sometimes inept smoking abilities it was a beautiful cool smoke and the full flavour of the tobacco came through. Having that experience with the very first bowl I can only imagine the pleasures to come when it is fully broken in. The pipe was actually made not by Kim but by Mrs Penguin - whose real name I still do not know but who appears to use the name Puff (there is a small Puff dragon on the underside of the shank) - and I can only congratulate her while proclaiming "I am not worthy." Under normal lighting the grain on the pipe is far more pronounced than in the photographs; it is certainly the heaviest pipe I own but given it's size, the volume of tobacco it can hold, and the thickness of the bowl walls it is by no means overly heavy and with the bent stem is well balanced for holding in the mouth without a supporting hand. The stem is beautifully coloured and suits the pipe perfectly with quite a wide mouthpiece which further helps to balance the pipe. Technically it is perfect and the draw is excellent. What more can I say - perfection!
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