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an old argument

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jj1015

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I came across this link while goofing around the Web the other night and thought it was neat. Some of you might have seen it elsewhere, but this was the first time I'd come across it. I'm not wanting to start one of those endless debates about whether high-end pipes are really better smokers than less expensive ones -- I just thought it was kind of cool!

http://www.greatnorthernpipeclub.org/Myth.htm
 

ZuluCollector

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I had the same reaction as you did when I read this some years ago. I posted it on Pipes.org and my post was deleted by the moderator because it was thought it would start a war.

I am very involved in market research as it relates to brand strategy and testing. Some of Fred's points are quite valid; others I disagree with. At any rate, he's missing the entire point of branding. Anyone who is candid will admit that the point of brand management is unrelated to quality except as it relates to self-expression. People create an affinity for brands for reasons unrelated to comparable quality. Where comparing quality is a brand touchpoint, the dimensions of quality are usually endlessly debated - as in pipes. Even if there are observable and measurable differences in particular dimensions of quality, someone will introduce the subjective fallacy, the Heisenberg principle, or just plain stubbornness.

Differences in quality in other categories - bottled water, for example - simply are not consistently measurable across respondent sets. And so the endless debates about whether good pipes smoke better, taste better, etc. drone on and on.
 
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Anonymous

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Zulu":ld57rswj said:
People create an affinity for brands for reasons unrelated to comparable quality.
Very possibly so (up to a point) if you're referencing stuff like designer jeans, soft drinks and cosmetics. But with both pipes and pipeweedage, start disappointing people in "comparable quality" and your sales start slipping.

Zulu":ld57rswj said:
Where comparing quality is a brand touchpoint, the dimensions of quality are usually endlessly debated - as in pipes.
Also, of course, true. But partly meaningless also. That no pipe or tobacco will ever command the allegience of everybody is a given. And of course they'll debate. It wouldn't be much fun if they couldn't. Ford vs. Chevy goes back further than we do.

Still, above and beyond this, Castello and Stanwell are good examples of consistently high quality as a brand touchpoint. As are GLP tobaccos. It isn't all sheer irrationality and successful suggestion. Concensus reputations are earned in the long run.

Zulu":ld57rswj said:
Differences in quality in other categories . . . simply are not consistently measurable across respondent sets.
Back to the impossibility of universal agreement. Some of my most treasured smokers are very old Petersons -- pipes which you very possibly (given your taste) would not even have in your house, let alone in your mouth. De gustibus non disputandem. Well and good.

But, stepping around that, down here in the less rarefied reaches of smokerdom, if you like one Stanwell, you're likely to like the next one as well, whether it's an armchair pipe for you or a yard pipe. And when somebody like Ian (with his gazillion UberDanes) says he finds little if any difference in smoking quality between an Ivarsson and an old, well-seasoned Stanwell, I'm not surprised. Ditto GLP with his racks of old GBDs.

Because however elusive and arbitrary its perception, there is, in the end, Quality.

(Then again, if I had your stuff, who knows what I'd think ?)

:face:
 

jj1015

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I really don't have enough experience with high-end blends to have an opinion. I bought my first (and thus far only) Dunhills last year, both of them estate piles from the 1960s. One of them was a very poor smoker and I ended up selling it. The other initially appeared to be a poor smoker, but I've found that it really seems to shine when I'm smoking Filmore in it. As Filmore is one of my very favorite blends and they seem to be as perfect match, I'm holding onto it.

Other than that, I've got one Stanwell (a good smoker but not spectacular), a couple of Nording freehands (decent), several Savs (all of which are OUTSTANDING), and a dozen house pipes from the Gatlin-Burlier, which range from decent to outstanding. I also have two Grabow "Collector" pipes which -- most unexpectedly -- have turned out to be my best smokers for everything except Vas and Va/Pers. Every other Grabow I've tried has been poor, but for some reason this particular product line was great.

So, based on my limited experience, it seems to me that quality smoking pipes can be found in any price range. But, like I said, I really don't have the background to be making any kind of sweeping statements! I do, however, find the topic fascinating.
 

Mikem

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jj1015":7ngk3xmz said:
............So, based on my limited experience, it seems to me that quality smoking pipes can be found in any price range.........
No truer words have been spoken concerning this subject IMHO. You are more likely to find quality consistently in the higher grades but there is also the dud's out there.
 
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