My First Tinsky


This review could almost be reduced to, "A great smoke, this Tinsky!" What would be the fun in that? I'm sure I can find a bit more to say on the subject of Tinsky.

I've been wanting one of Mark's pipes for a long time, but I didn't want just any pipe. I wanted that one SPECIAL pipe, the one that whispered my name, sweetly, seductively calling me to it.

Mark puts up "Today's Work" web pages, showing, as one might imagine, work of the day. One of these practically reached off the page to grab my hand. Something about it just said, "Buy me!" A quick email to Mark, and the pipe was on its way.

A few days waiting, not quite patiently, brought the pipe to my mailbox. Wonderful! Can't wait! Will it be all I was expecting?

When the pipe arrived, I'd been working on a new blend, and since it was just about ready for prime time, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to try it out in my new pipe. I'd smoked the tobacco in a variety of pipes, from Heeschens to GBDs to Dunhills to Castellos, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from it the tobacco. Without too much ceremony, I filled the pipe, struck a light, and settled in to see how it would behave.

I'm surprised at how much flavor the pipe delivered on its first bowl. It's not neutral, but slightly sweet. It's got a little of the same flavor I associate with new Castellos, but it's quite a bit smoother, less edgy. Castellos tend to be quite sharp when they're new, requiring several bowls to smooth out. This pipe didn't need that. The sweetness was quite pleasant, and welcome with the Balkan style mixture, bringing out some of the more subtle dimensions of the tobacco. Very nice.

Based on the first smoke, I suspected this would become one terrific smoker, and it has not disappointed me. Still, after many bowls, it's not neutral to me, and does tend to emphasize the sweet notes of the tobacco. This isn't a criticism; merely a comment. In general, I personally prefer the neutrality of the Danish pipes, and their ability to provide an evenly balanced, articulate smoke. But, this pipe is just super! I think it would be fantastic with Virginias, and that's what it will probably be dedicated to.

A couple of comments on the construction: this example is drilled a little high, probably about 1mm. It's not a huge deal, but I can be pretty picky about this sort of thing. The mortise is drilled about 18mm deep, while the tenon is only 13.4mm long, leaving a fairly wide gap. Generally, this can be problematic, and I do notice a tiny bit of moisture build-up in the gap. But, the pipe smokes cool and dry, despite this very minor flaw.

I'm very happy with the alignment of the draught hole, and the fact that I can get a pipe cleaner all the way through with none of the machinations I've experienced from some lesser pipes. The bit is a little bit thicker than I generally prefer, but it's well within acceptable tolerances. (Peter Heeschen makes the most comfortable stems in the world, to me. His are the standards by which I judge all others. This one sure ain't bad!)

The rustication is fantastic! It reminds me of old Sea Rocks, but not as harsh in the hand. It's sharp enough to be really attractive, but the edges are knocked off to keep it from feeling like it's going to cut. The finish is beautiful, too. I love the color of this one, especially the highlights where Mark has taken off some of the darker stain on the high points of the rustication. Nice job!

The shape is wonderful! I almost say without qualification that this is the finest example of this shape I've yet seen. The smoothness of line, balance of length to "weight" of the bowl, flow of the stem, etc., are all superb. I've shown the pipe off to a few friends here, all pretty picky collectors, and they've all have loved the lines of it.

All in all, this is a great pipe, Mark! A real winner! I'm truly happy to have it in my collection.

See Mark's page for more of his pipes.