To smoke a pipe is not to be considered as a vice, it is art and a way of life!
Willmer box top
Willmer from London, England
Straight Grain "AAAA" bent
I got this wonderful straight grain freehand as present from a good friend
in the beginning of July, 2000 while on a fishing trip to Konnuskoski, Savo
County. My warm thanks to Tapio for this great, although a little premature
60 years' birthday present!
Nicely stained, yellowish bent with great grain
This is called "straight Stamps on the shank
grain" and it is tight!
The farthest side of the bowl shows some really tight and straight grain, doesn't it!
Furthermore, this pipe is a good smoker although Tapio has filled its bowl half full
only three or four times. I do not know the age of this pipe, but I believe it is not
more recent than from the eighties. Why the last "A" is bigger than the three ones
preceding it, is unknown to me.
Willmer "Extra Grain", with its tall bowl
and beautiful grain from the left
Willmer "Extra Grain", old quality from 1970, London, England
I got this rather old but unused Willmer "Extra Grain" from 1970 through the
American eBay web auction site.
Willmer is rather old firm from London, England. It is known for its private label
pipes for England's tobacco specialists stamped not as Willmers but under the
name of the respective tobacco shop. Of course Willmer also stamped pipes with
its own name like the one shown at this page.
The seller was Mr. Fred Brown, who runs a tobacco shop in S.Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas,
called The Smoke Shop. He has also opened a shop in the web a couple of days
ago with a vast variety of blends, e.g. Germain's Esotericas at affordable prices.
The pipe was unsmoked, in pristine condition and came with its original display
case and a leather sleeve. This rather rare pipe interested me enough to make
a bid, and to my surprise I got it at USD 75. I think it was a bargain!
Fred had even included an abundant sample of his "Five Star" blend in the
package. As I got the shipment only today I have not yet tried it nor the pipe.
The blend looks mellow with its colours from almost black to the brown shades
of dark coffee.
The stamps in the shank and stem
When observing closely the stamps with a loupe I noticed under the text
"EXTRA GRAIN" written in capitals "AB". This must be related to the
quality classification of Willmer as I have noticed in eBay with another
Willmer a mention about "AA". I must find out the meaning of this
"Extra Grain" looks great also seen from the right
I was so impatient in getting this page added to my site, that I have not yet
had the time to fill the first 1/3 bowlful and try how the Willmer smokes, but
I am pretty sure that very soon I'll know. As the pipe geometry seems to be
perfect with the smoke hole perfectly centered at the heel of tobacco chamber
and it even passes the cleaner test without effort, it is very likely I'll
be a happy owner of a great new, old pipe!
I'll write in the near future about my experiences of the pipe and the "Five Star"
blend from the Smoke Shop in Las Vegas, U.S.A.
Five Star blend and its ingredients:
Fred Brown e-mailed me about Five Star the following:
"The Five Star is a all natural Virginia house blend I do using
4 different red Virginias. Red ribbon, red Virginia rubbed from
a pressed cake, red matured rubbed from cake and black stoved so
the whole mix has balance. It has a fair amount of natural sugars
so its great for breaking in a pipe. I do the same blend with 10%
before getting the above mentioned description I tried the Five Star in my
Moretti variation of a Canadian. I filled the bowl 1/3 loosely with it and
enjoyed its smooth and naturally sweet Virginia aromas. This is a great blend!
Like Fred writes, this is a balanced blend with a mellow and harmonious aroma.
Now I am ready to fill perhaps 1/3 of the ample Willmer bowl with this blend.
However, I did not yet have the heart to this yet, but am prolonging the positive
wait for the coming pleasure turning the pipe in my hands oserving the beautiful
course of grain and the figures they create in the surface of this well waxed
briar. Very soon the moment will arrive when I puff the first smokes from this
great looking pipe. This is always an immemorable moment in the life of a pipe
smoker! I'll inform the possible reader about my experiences very soon!
Still a virgin, pure bowl
First puffs, Oct. 6.1999 :
In honour of Allhallows and after a tasty dinner I fill the tobacco chamber of
Willmer less than half full with "Night Train" and use "the traditional charring
light". The first impression is magnificient!. The smokes are soft like
velvet, caressing the inside of my mouth, and the tobacco burns slowly but well.
The halfway of the bowl makes me happy to find out that the smoothest ever buffed
surface I have met in a pipe warms hardly at all! It is only a tad warmer than my
hand. The pipe is rather lightweighted, especially thinking of its relatively big size.
Being a bent it hangs comfortably in my mouth. Its bit is broad and thin enough as to
allow a good grip. The vulcanite stem lacks the often felt hard, "glassy" feeling
between teeth. I am astonished, how it is possible that a non-precarbonized, pure
tobacco chamber can allow such a great, mellow puffs! Everything burns to dry
ash, and I used a cleaner only once as a precaution against gurgling before it
actually happened. The cleaner went through relatively easily after I had bent
it a little. Well, with bents one cannot always get everything. ;)
This is absolutely my best purchase from eBay so far! A great pipe!
Hardcastle "Straight Grain"
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Updated July 3rd, 2000