My Love Affair With GBDs: The Pipe with a Pedigree
By: CW Hawes
I first became aware of GBD pipes in the 1970s. My dad had two: a prince and a Canadian. Together, with a Peterson Canadian, they were the three pipes he constantly smoked.
When he gave up smoking in the early 80s, I got the bulk of his pipes. There was nothing fancy there, save for the above mentioned three that he constantly smoked.
When I returned to pipe smoking at the end of the 1980s, I fired up those GBDs , and it was love at first puff. I saw immediately why they were his constant companions.
The pipes were comfortable in the hand and in the mouth. If a pipe isn’t a comfortable companion, then there is no joy in the relationship.
But while aesthetics are important, the ultimate test is in how well the pipe smokes. GBD produced pipes that not only look good and feel good, but they made pipes that provide and excellent and satisfying smoke.
I’ve not found a bad GBD pipe. Sure, some are better than others. But GBD set the bar very high and did so with a pipe that was eminently affordable.
The GBD men who chose the briar had good eyes for quality. The wood is beautiful and unblemished.
At present, I have 8 GBDs that I smoke regularly. Seven are smooth and one is sandblast. Only one of the smooth pipes has a tiny flaw: 3 pinpoint pits on the bottom of the bowl. The rest are absolutely clean.
Of the 20 pipes that I don’t smoke and are on display, only one has a tiny pit in the wood. Otherwise, they are all clean.
One is hard pressed to find that level of quality across model lines in other makes. Unless, of course, you are paying big bucks for the pipes.
I find it of interest that the high quality of briar can even be found in GBD’s City De Luxe line. These are what you might call entry level pipes. The grain in the briar is not spectacular, but the quality of the wood is very good. Of the 9 City De Luxe pipes I own, only 3 have fills.
It’s this incredible attention to quality that made GBD pipes such great buys. A working man was able to get a beautiful, unblemished pipe at a price that didn’t bust the bank.
And that attention to quality also makes GBD pipes wonderful smoking pipes. I love smoking my GBD pipes. The tobacco just tastes good in them.
GBD. The pipe with a pedigree. From 1850 to 1980, GBD pipes did a gentleman proud. If you find an estate pipe, I encourage you to buy it. You won’t be sorry. And you’ll be carrying on a great pipe making tradition.
To delve deeper into the world of CW Hawes and explore his body of work, you can connect with him through his website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter/X.
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