BU founder Paul Anthony gave me a beautifully hand-carved meerschaum smoking pipe for Christmas in 2019. After now having used it many times, I wanted to give it a full and well-deserved review.
In this article, you will discover SMS Pipes and their craft as I review the Hunter’s Pal model that I received:
- Who Are SMS Pipes?
- Where Are SMS Pipes Made?
- SMS Pipes Style & Comfort
- SMS Pipes Smoking Experience
- Where To Buy SMS Pipes
You can use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to learn more.
Who Are SMS Pipes?
SMS Pipes is a family-owned business that was founded in 1980 by husband and wife Samil and Beth Sermet. Samil Samil is a Turkish native who moved to the USA from his hometown, Eskisehir, which is where Meerschaum is commonly mined.
SMS Pipes is trusted nationwide importer of Turkish meerschaum pipes and supplies nearly 500 retailers nationwide.
Samil and Beth run their business with their son, Mert, as well as Samil’s sister, Emel Sagtekin. While Beth processes the orders, Emel is responsible for quality control.
Meanwhile, Mert manages the daily operations and Samil has developed close working relationships with the carvers and frequently visits Turkey to visit the manufacturers in person.
Where Are SMS Pipes Made?
All SMS Meerschaum pipes are hand-carved in Turkey by a prestigious group of Master Carvers who will meticulously produce each pipe with care and attention. There are ten master carvers with whom SMS pipes work:
- Salim Şener
- Ismail Baglan
- Erdogan Ege
- Sevket Gezer
- Yunus Ege
- Ramazan Karaca
- Mesut & Kudret Gezer
- Sadik Yanik
- Tekin Gok
While most carvers will work alone on a single pipe from start to finish, there are some exceptions such as the Gezer brothers who craft pipes together. Similarly, each carver has his own unique style and can easily be regarded as an artist.
In this article, I will be reviewing my pipe, which I assume was made by Yunus Ege. Although the pipes aren’t signed by the carvers, I believe that it was his craftsmanship given that this is a model he often makes, called the “Hunter’s Pal”.
SMS Pipes Style & Comfort
As you’ll learn in our guide to pipe materials, Meerschaum is a type of clay composed of magnesium silicate. As mentioned above, it is excavated in Eskisehir and then trimmed to reveal the white interior. Inferior Meerschaum is usually pressed. However, SMS Pipes are only made with block Turkish Meershaum.
As I’m very fond of my three dogs, Paul appropriately chose the “Hunter’s Pal” model during his tour of International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCRPR) 2019. Since then, it has been renamed to the Premium Cigar Association (PCA).
This particular Meerschaum pipe depicts the head of a hunting dog who appears to be holding a duck in its mouth. Its details are beautifully captured with fluffy ears and a finely-pronounced snout. Meanwhile, bird’s feathers are meticulously carved and cleanly separated from the dog’s chest.
Furthermore, the dog even sports a collar and its gaze is slightly raised, as if looking to its master for approval or praise. On the reverse, there is some subtle floral engraving. However, it’s quite smooth in comparison and most of the work is on the front.
The stem appears to have been lathed from acrylic and features a plastic tip to screw into the bowl. Otherwise, the pipe is surprisingly ergonomic despite its ornate appearance.
Indeed, it sits comfortably in the hand. Alternatively, it’s lightweight and the bent shape means that it can be easily held between the teeth without any discomfort.
Finally, the pipe is supplied with a hard carrying case, which seems to be made to the pipe itself given its unique shape. It features a synthetic leather finish with a metal clasp.
SMS Pipes Smoking Experience
Meerschaum is prized for its smoking qualities. However, I had never tried it myself. In fact, this would be my first Meerschaum experience! Indeed, I wasn’t disappointed, to say the least!
As mentioned above, the pipe is very comfortable and I’d often leave it dangling from my mouth as I smoked. Occasionally, I would cup the base between a thumb and forefinger whenever I wanted to hold it.
Furthermore, the pipe produces a wonderfully cool and dry smoke. Meerschaum consists of a porous membrane, which draws moisture into the stone. Consequently, the smoke felt clean and pure on my palate and remarkably pleasant.
Similarly, I found myself smoking the pipe far longer than my usual briar bowls as it kept cooler for longer. Additionally, the smoke was wonderfully flavoursome and I found that the porous membrane quickly produced a rich cake that enhanced future smokes as well.
If I had anything negative to say, it would be that the acrylic stem was a little strange when I first used it. It struck me that it had been coated something to produce a finish, which was quite bizarre and sticky on my lips.
However, after two bowls, this had disappeared entirely and I never experienced any issues again.
With time, the pipe has also developed its own patina. After every smoke, the clay slowly turns a deeper caramel hue. This can be currently seen mostly on the shank and near the bowl’s opening. I’m looking forward to seeing it age gracefully!
Where To Buy SMS Pipes
Although SMS Pipes is an importer and distributor of fine meerschaum pipes, it does retail some of its wares through The Right Pipe online. Alternatively, you can head to SMS Pipes’ website to see if there are any local tobacconists who retail their products.
Finally, although an altogether different brand, Meerschaum Market has worked with some of the same carvers and sells its pipes through Amazon.
Having never experienced a Meerschaum pipe before, I was excited to try Paul’s gift. After just a few bowls, I quickly became a convert! Most of my other pipes have started collecting dust. Meanwhile, my trusty Meerschaum is smoked on regular occasions.
If you want to experience the unique coolness and flavours of Meerschaum, I would heartily recommend one of SMS Pipes’ creations!
"A beautifully-crafted and exquisite pipe for those who are looking for a unique smoking experience."
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Glad you like the gift, and it’s great to see it aging well thus far.
Cheers – Paul
Thanks again! It’s a wonderful piece and I love to use it regularly!
All the best,