BBB Best Make 515, Smooth Zulu Estate Briar Pipe, English Estates [SOLD OUT]


Out of stock


‘BBB’ originally stood for ‘Blumfeld’s Best Briars’, so named after Louis Blumfeld after he took over the historic Alfred Frankenau Company in 1856. Later, the pipes came to be known as ‘Britain’s Best Briars’. Though the name might have changed, the quality of the pipes did not – they really were fantastic pipes, made in the classic style of the English-French shape chart. Like GBD, Dunhill, and Barling’s, BBB are pipes with a rich history behind them, proudly holding the title of “the oldest trade mark in the [pipe] industry.”

As indicated by the brass rondelle inset in the vulcanite stem, this particular BBB predates the company’s much-lamented merger with Cadogan Investments Ltd, a fate which befell many Great British pipe brands. That’s one good thing about this pipe, but it’s not the only one. Another is that this pre-Cadogan BBB is of the ‘Best Make’ grade, which historically signified – as may be inferred from the name – BBB’s very best offerings. Looking at this pipe, I can see why it was deemed to be of superlative quality. The stummel, especially the bowl, is loaded with bird’s-eye grain, with no flaws in the briar that I can see. Its high grade briar has been dressed in a beautiful, golden brown stain that accentuates its natural patterns.

I’m not entirely sure when this pipe was made. It must be pre-1980, but my research states that ‘Best Make’ was a grade used between the 1930s and the 1950s, whereas before and after these decades, the ‘Own Make’ was used instead. If that is the case, then this is a significantly old specimen, which makes its condition all the more remarkable. The vulcanite stem is pristine, the bowl is free of handling marks, and the rim has only one or two minor nicks and a little finish discoloration to show for what might well have been over eight decades on this earth.



Length: 6″

Bowl Width: 19.6mm

Bowl Depth: 1.6″

Weight: 1.1oz / 32g

Additional information

Weight 15 oz
Condition Used


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