Luciano Catini is the president and owner of his own line of pipes and the president of his local pipe club, Pipe Cigar Club of Fermo, in Italy. More about Mr. Catini can be found on his site, Catini Pipe.
I was given the opportunity, pleasure, and challenge to try one of Mr. Catini’s pipes, then tell you folks my thoughts on the craftsmanship and experience I’ve had with the pipe of my own choosing.
It’s well known that Italian pipe makers are true craftsmen and they can make some beautiful pipes. Mr. Catini is definitely rising in my opinion to be one of those named with the big boys of pipe making.
In the beginning, the challenge was more with working with the banks, since the only payment Mr. Catini was set up for was wire transfer. Somewhere, the banks lost my payment and it took several months to chase things down. Finally, Mr. Catini was able to find my payment to him and my pipe was on its way to my front door. About a week later, I received my newfound friend for scrutiny, breaking in, and hopefully an enjoyment for several years to come. Now, following up with the website, I see that payments can now be sent through Paypal, which will be a massive improvement and hopefully has already sped up the ordering to shipping process.
Below, I’ll break down my review by first impressions, first smoke, and end result. I must apologize to Luciano Catini because I’m sure he was expecting a review about a year ago. However, I’ve just been taking my time smoking his creation, gathering what I feel to be crucial information before I can give my honest feedback.
First impressions and presentation
The box seems to be one of the store crafted wooden boxes with the brass-like hardware. Here in the U.S. it’s something that we could find in a local hobby shop like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. It looks like the box has been wood burned with the Catini Pipe logo and then lacquered. Inside, I find a piece of dowel wood cut to be made for a tamper, and a leather/suede bag with my pipe inside. At this point, I’d say that presentation could be a little better. A tamper made from the same burl as the pipe, or none at all, and then maybe a better finish for the box, or one created himself. However, I will say that these two things are minor and inconsequential compared to the gem I’m looking for. I can’t say that I was drooling with excitement, but I wasn’t disappointed either.
I remember my first smoke, but I cannot remember which tobacco I used. At the time, I’d just found Esoterica’s Penzance. Also, at that time, I was smoking Orlik Golden Sliced. The thing that I remember, though was the open draw and easy smoke. In the construction, I noticed that the chamber walls are thinner on the sides and back towards the shank, then the outer wall lining up with the heel is thicker. Aesthetically, this drives me nuts because it looks like thought wasn’t given to symmetry. However, during my smoke, I realized that while holding the pipe, this really gave me a good place set my hand and over time, that seeming flaw has been a characteristic I find appealing. The pipe sits very well in the mouth and is easy to clench. The stem is acrylic and with the heavy bending of the stem, there are even times I can rest the pipe on my chin and still keep it clenched lightly. The grain and stain is nice all the way around and this pipe definitely likes to get polished up with some added carnuba.
The End Result
I’m not a person who believes in dedicating a pipe to one blend unless it’s aromatic vs. straight blends. I gave this pipe several smokes, trying different blends and was never disappointed. Only a couple of times did I not finish a whole bowl of tobacco and that was no fault of the pipe. Passing a pipe cleaner all the way through is pretty much impossible due to the extreme bend to the draft hole and the location of the stem. This bent fan has already started building a nice thin cake with my limited smoking. I haven’t had any issues with gurgling or dottle in the bottom of the chamber.
From here, I give the pipe a thumbs up and I do hope other pipes from Catini are even better. I also hope to hear that his ordering and processing has gotten much better. I will say that Mr. Catini did keep in touch throughout the whole ordeal and I know I could’ve followed up with him a little better than I did. All was good in the end.
Smoke in good health my friends.