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Il Ceppo Pipe Grading?

#1
I'm primarily a cigar smoker (at least 2 per day), but over the past two years, I've acquired a collection of pipes and tobaccos. It's a nice change of pace and a different, almost "purer" way to enjoy the leaf. I'm never giving up my stogies, but I do enjoy a pipe 2-3 times per week. About a year ago, I splurged on a beautiful smooth Il Ceppo pipe with medium-brown color and well-pronounced grain. I purchased it at a very reputable tobacco chain store, though I sometimes (not always) find the salespeople at this particular outlet a little surly -- reluctant to answer questions and engage in conversation even if there is no one else in the store (think Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons). But I don't have a lot of non-online options where I live in the close-in DC suburbs, because the DC City Council in its sage wisdom, has imposed an 80% tax on pipe tobacco (though not cigars), and my favorite DC tobacconist - a venerable institution which has been in business continuously for nearly 150 years!! -- has the best selection of pipes and tobaccos of any local store. But there's just no way I'm going to enrich the bloated DC government by paying that tax (I make every effort NEVER to buy ANYTHING in DC -- not even lunch, since they TAX me 5 cents for the damned BAG for my sandwich!!  On this occasion, I bought the Il Ceppo at a Virginia chain store. And it's just beautiful. The shank is engraved with the curved words "il ceppo" over "FREELINE" and a "4" inside a triangle. It also says "MADE BY HAND" arching over the words "IN ITALY", and there is also a "C2851" engraved.  When I got it home, I was mildly disappointed to learn that the "4" seems to represent the lowest grain quality made by Il Ceppo on a scale of 4-7. But I didn't lose any sleep because, frankly, that just seems impossible. The pipe is gorgeous, with thick walls and a wide stem that promises a lifetime of wonderful smoking. Promises? Yes, you see, it's been a year and I still haven't smoked it because I'm still playing around with blends to find my favorite (again - 2 cigars per day, 2-3 pipes per week), and then I'm going to dedicate the Il Ceppo to that blend.

Now, here's where it gets complicated. On my way home from work today, on a whim, I stopped at the (surly) Virginia tobacconist, to pick up some standby English and Balkan blends. I got to looking at the pipes, and one with a very large bowl caught my eye. It's another Il Ceppo, and I take a close look at it. Instead of a "4" in a triangle, this one has reads "il ceppo" (straight, not arched) "Hand Made" "Italy" and "FREELINE" next to a "6" in a circle (not a triangle), followed by an "S". The grain is very nice, but nowhere near as pronounced at the "4" I bought last year. So I inquire about the price. Comic Book Guy didn't know, so he had to make a call -- furtively whispering into the phone while shooting quick glances at me before actually going into another room so he could speak freely (I suppose). I thought this was really rude; have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of the staff of this place? The whole thing reminded me of the old "let me talk to my manager" tactic employed by car salesmen, and then he disappears while you either wait 20 minutes, or (my general practice) I'm out of there. But this is a pipe, not a car, and I'm in no hurry. Plus, the "6" intrigued me. was he going to come back with a price twice as high as I paid for the 4 last year? Nope. In fact, he quoted me a price about 60% of that which I paid for the pipe last year. So I bought it.

With apologies for this long-winded story about mysterious pipe markings, DC taxes and surly tobacconists, does anyone here know ANYTHING about the Il Ceppo grading system that would explain this pricing on a larger pipe with a higher number (albeit with less-pronounced grain, and a circle instead of a triangle) and what's with that "S"?? Oh, god, please tell me I didn't buy a factory second!. Although, that seems very unlikely as the new pipe is almost as beautiful as the 4 I bought last year, and I have yet to smoke it. In fact, I'm going to wait at least a few days to see if anyone here can help me figure this one out. One final note: when I purchased the large Il Ceppo today, Comic Book Guy claimed that the box and all identifying materials were "lost".  Again, this is a large and respected chain store tobacconist.  Could I have been sold a counterfeit or a " factory second"?   It certainly seems unlikely, given that the new pipe looks and feels like a champ, but until I smoke it a few times, who knows?  And, of course, by then it's too late to do anything about it. 
 

bluue13

Well-Known Member
#2
nestornajwa said:
I'm primarily a cigar smoker (at least 2 per day), but over the past two years, I've acquired a collection of pipes and tobaccos. It's a nice change of pace and a different, almost "purer" way to enjoy the leaf. I'm never giving up my stogies, but I do enjoy a pipe 2-3 times per week. About a year ago, I splurged on a beautiful smooth Il Ceppo pipe with medium-brown color and well-pronounced grain. I purchased it at a very reputable tobacco chain store, though I sometimes (not always) find the salespeople at this particular outlet a little surly -- reluctant to answer questions and engage in conversation even if there is no one else in the store (think Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons). But I don't have a lot of non-online options where I live in the close-in DC suburbs, because the DC City Council in its sage wisdom, has imposed an 80% tax on pipe tobacco (though not cigars), and my favorite DC tobacconist - a venerable institution which has been in business continuously for nearly 150 years!! -- has the best selection of pipes and tobaccos of any local store. But there's just no way I'm going to enrich the bloated DC government by paying that tax (I make every effort NEVER to buy ANYTHING in DC -- not even lunch, since they TAX me 5 cents for the damned BAG for my sandwich!!  On this occasion, I bought the Il Ceppo at a Virginia chain store. And it's just beautiful. The shank is engraved with the curved words "il ceppo" over "FREELINE" and a "4" inside a triangle. It also says "MADE BY HAND" arching over the words "IN ITALY", and there is also a "C2851" engraved.  When I got it home, I was mildly disappointed to learn that the "4" seems to represent the lowest grain quality made by Il Ceppo on a scale of 4-7. But I didn't lose any sleep because, frankly, that just seems impossible. The pipe is gorgeous, with thick walls and a wide stem that promises a lifetime of wonderful smoking. Promises? Yes, you see, it's been a year and I still haven't smoked it because I'm still playing around with blends to find my favorite (again - 2 cigars per day, 2-3 pipes per week), and then I'm going to dedicate the Il Ceppo to that blend.

Now, here's where it gets complicated. On my way home from work today, on a whim, I stopped at the (surly) Virginia tobacconist, to pick up some standby English and Balkan blends. I got to looking at the pipes, and one with a very large bowl caught my eye. It's another Il Ceppo, and I take a close look at it. Instead of a "4" in a triangle, this one has reads "il ceppo" (straight, not arched) "Hand Made" "Italy" and "FREELINE" next to a "6" in a circle (not a triangle), followed by an "S". The grain is very nice, but nowhere near as pronounced at the "4" I bought last year. So I inquire about the price. Comic Book Guy didn't know, so he had to make a call -- furtively whispering into the phone while shooting quick glances at me before actually going into another room so he could speak freely (I suppose). I thought this was really rude; have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of the staff of this place? The whole thing reminded me of the old "let me talk to my manager" tactic employed by car salesmen, and then he disappears while you either wait 20 minutes, or (my general practice) I'm out of there. But this is a pipe, not a car, and I'm in no hurry. Plus, the "6" intrigued me. was he going to come back with a price twice as high as I paid for the 4 last year? Nope. In fact, he quoted me a price about 60% of that which I paid for the pipe last year. So I bought it.

With apologies for this long-winded story about mysterious pipe markings, DC taxes and surly tobacconists, does anyone here know ANYTHING about the Il Ceppo grading system that would explain this pricing on a larger pipe with a higher number (albeit with less-pronounced grain, and a circle instead of a triangle) and what's with that "S"?? Oh, god, please tell me I didn't buy a factory second!. Although, that seems very unlikely as the new pipe is almost as beautiful as the 4 I bought last year, and I have yet to smoke it. In fact, I'm going to wait at least a few days to see if anyone here can help me figure this one out. One final note: when I purchased the large Il Ceppo today, Comic Book Guy claimed that the box and all identifying materials were "lost".  Again, this is a large and respected chain store tobacconist.  Could I have been sold a counterfeit or a " factory second"?   It certainly seems unlikely, given that the new pipe looks and feels like a champ, but until I smoke it a few times, who knows?  And, of course, by then it's too late to do anything about it. 
 
While I can't help you with your question, I can say "welcome!" and point you here: http://www.cigarpass.com/forums/forum/34-introduce-yourself-here/
 
Read the links at the top and let us get to know you.  In time you may get some of the answers you seek. 
 
 
Enjoy your stay!
 

The Black Cloud

Well-Known Member
#3
Welcome aboard.  Unfortunately I can't answer your question but have you considered emailing the people at smokingpipes.com to ask them?  They seem to be very knowledgeable about all things pipes.  It is nice to know the history of something and all about it, but, my opinion is, if you enjoy it what does it matter the specifics of it?  Factory second or no, if you find it beautiful then it doesn't really matter.
 
Also, please post an intro in the intro forum here and tell the community a little about yourself.
 

MichaelD

What does this button do again?
#4
Any chance the store with the surly sales rep is located near Old Town Alexandria? You might try Old Virginia Tobacco instead. Not sure what they carry at the PC store, but their other shops seem well stocked.
 
#5
Check out http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-i.html for more info, but here's the excerpt from the Il Ceppo grading section:
 
Grading system.
Pipes from the first period:
  • "Il Ceppo" stamping slightly curved
  • A to H and a 4-5 digit number
  • Group number in a triangle
Pipes from the second period:
  • Straight "Il Ceppo" stamping
  • 1: Sandblasted
  • 2: Partially rusticated
  • 3: Partially sandblasted
  • 4-5-6-7: Smooth (ascending grain quality)
  • 9: Rusticated
 

bluue13

Well-Known Member
#6
nismo270r said:
 
Check out http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-i.html for more info, but here's the excerpt from the Il Ceppo grading section:
 
Grading system.
Pipes from the first period:
  • "Il Ceppo" stamping slightly curved
  • A to H and a 4-5 digit number
  • Group number in a triangle
Pipes from the second period:
  • Straight "Il Ceppo" stamping
  • 1: Sandblasted
  • 2: Partially rusticated
  • 3: Partially sandblasted
  • 4-5-6-7: Smooth (ascending grain quality)
  • 9: Rusticated
 
I don't think he's coming back, but good reference to have around.
 
#7
Oh ye of little faith. I am back, and I deeply appreciate the information. I've actually balanced my pipe to cigar ratio to almost 1:1, and I've been fortunate to collect some fine pipes, including some more IL Ceppos, a couple of wonderful Castellos, a Radice, a gorgeous and huge sandblasted Brebbia, and I've been known to pursue the White Goddess from time to time. I even spluged on a massive and pristine Dunhill Estate pipe (best investment my wife ever hated me for). I've become very partial to Paycock block Meers, even though their tenons tend to be on the weak side, but they are fantastic smokers. In fact, I've only run onto one or two pipes that made me say "meh". So, color me hooked, even as my humidors are bulging (Drew Estate's relatively new Liga Privada would make you swear you were smoking... cigars that are not commercially available, shall we say). Thank you for the guidance and advice, even if I lurk more than I contribute. I know the heartbreak of the tobacco beetle invading a favorite box of smokes. But it's great to learn that the Triangle 6 is widely considered as fine as I do, and that 4 may be on the low end, but if that's the low end, than... well, I keep buying Il Ceppos for a reason. I think the grain on both the IC 4 and 6 is finer than even the Castellos, but I'm still a noob, so what do I know? To answer a question asked above, I hate to say it, but the store in question is a branch of OVT in a large mall a mile or two north of Old Town Alexandria. The service runs the gamut from "friendly and helpful" to surly, and I haven't cracked the code. I've frequented Georgetown Tobacco ever since I moved here in 1995, and I've started collecting lighters from the postwar period, especially IM Corona. I have a couple of superb modern Old Boys in addition to the older ones. My wife thinks my collections are complete, but there's this 1947 table lighter on eBay...Thanks again.
 
#8
As for me, I moved to the DC suburbs from New York in 1995. I had an exciting and productive 22 year career in public policy. I'm particularly proud that I played an instrumental part in repealing an outdated anti-consumer law known as "The Wright Amendment" that basically forced anyone flying to, from or through Dallas to sprawling DFW airport, rather than the far more civilized Love Field. I enjoyed myself immensely, starting my own consulting firm which thrived until an incredibly bizarre and terrible thing happened to me, ending my career. I wish I could go into more detail... Oh, what the hell; I was wrongfully accused of a crime involving a gun -- and I've never owned a gun. An incompetent computer monkey was too stupid to fix my machine (under the warranty), and I could hear his boss screaming at him over the phone to "fix it or you're fired". He was the THIRD idiot to show up to fix--get this -- a clogged fan -- perhaps clogged by my pipe effluvia, but more likely the result of poor workmanship. So it ("It" is NOT a "he"! It would have to climb SEVERAL rungs up the evolutionary ladder to become a "he") had the bright idea to claim I pulled a gun on it and it "fled the scene" to explain why it was unable to fix my clogged fan -- something I probably could have done myself with the proper parts and NO training or experience of any kind. Of course, its' explanation never took into account how it was able to pack up its tools neatly or pose for the pictures I took of said lowlife and its' car. None of that stopped the local gendarmes from showing up in a F***ing TANK (yes, really) and parking it on my front lawn, turret pointed at my front door. When I opened it, I had been changing clothes after coming home from the store with a new computer -- I had given up on warranty "service" from the computer manufacturer that rhymes with "Hell". Be forewarned, buy something else! So I was wearing nothing but a white undershirt and unfortunately decayed "indoor sweatpants" when I opened the door. I noticed about a dozen little red dots on my white shirt. They scoured my home with dogs and a SWAT team for 5 1/2 hours and eventually found "the smoking gun" -- a 1976 wooden toy purchased at the Pirates of the Caribbean pavilion at Disney World, Florida. THIS was the evidence that convinced the none-too-bright cops that I would be taking a 20-year vacation in a state institution. They taunted me with this repeatedly; I just kept saying "lawyer" which didn't stop them from peppering me with questions for hours in the freezing rain and preventing me from contacting counsel or my wife (remember my lack of warm clothing -- they apparently tried to freeze some kind of confession from me. It was (and remains) insane. Of course, the charges were dropped, but the county took its sweet time to do it (6 months, and I was not incarcerated for that time), but very few Senators or Congressmen (my VERY few remaining friends that didn't run like rats) will tolerate an accused felon in their office -- even though I spent 11 years on Capitol Hill myself. My wife has had a career roughly parallel to mine, so we were never in danger of losing the house, but even today, it is still heartbreaking to lose a career I loved passionately because of a cockroach who even made an obscene comment about my teenage son on its way off my property. I'm happy to say it was fired anyway, and NOW it's time for legal payback. After that, I'm looking at using my savings to open a tobacco shop in the Caribbean. That's probably TMI, since you can almost certainly discern my identity from all...that. If it is, I'm sorry, but I never did ANYTHING remotely illegal, or even wrong, or that I would not do again. I'll let the moderator decide.
 
#11
I look forward to seeing you in "Havana Joe's" in the Caribbean this time next year. I haven't quite decided which island yet, but my college roommate just opened a Cantina in Belize. Then again, we've been to Anguilla many, many times, and there's a definite need for a tobacconist on that lovely island. Jost Van Dyke would be an ideal paradise, but there's just not enough people. Or I could lose my lawsuit and end up,,, well, I don't know what I would do under those circumstances. Anyone here hiring?
 

MadMonk

Well-Known Member
#12
I look forward to seeing you in "Havana Joe's" in the Caribbean this time next year. I haven't quite decided which island yet, but my college roommate just opened a Cantina in Belize. Then again, we've been to Anguilla many, many times, and there's a definite need for a tobacconist on that lovely island. Jost Van Dyke would be an ideal paradise, but there's just not enough people. Or I could lose my lawsuit and end up,,, well, I don't know what I would do under those circumstances. Anyone here hiring?
Dang, you really were in politics...:rolleyes:
 
#13
Dang, you really were in politics...:rolleyes:
Yeah, the raving lunatic who fires his Cabinet every other Tuesday (yet cannot find the courage to repeal the repugnant Obama rule that will remove virtually all pipe tobacco and cigar brands from the market) actually made my fat pig mobster father an ambassador. I won't say where, but it's not a country we're likely to sanction for its secret nuke program. I certainly do not regret my vote, as Hillary would have already enforced the Rule (it's not a law, so it can be rescinded by the President at any time); plus, I think the Democrats finally got the message -- the country does not want Hillary to be President and we'll evenelect a shady rich boy who was snorting coke off the hind quarters of working girls throughout the 80s as his casinos somehow lost money. It's mathematically impossible for an honestly-run casino to lose money. Anyway, my father knows him well and, sad to say, mine Pater is a pig; we haven't spoken in many years -- he felt betrayed that I didn't name my son (and, at the time, his only grandchild) after him, and never bothered to meet him until he was no longer a baby, and then only reluctantly. He's only seldom seen my son, who is now a Dean's List student at top-20 college (sorry, for the parental pride). In an attempt to break the glacier that has risen between us, I flew my father and his wife (allegedly my mother -- blonde hair, blue eyes, dumb as a rock -- show me a DNA test) business class to Sicily, where he had never been and where our family hails from in the Old Country (I was not kidding about the "mobster" moniker" -- but, ironically, the further south you go in Italy, the nicer the people are -- the Florentines are snobs and the same can be said for any town or city north or Rome, which is just a giant bottle of chaos -- beautiful, fascinating chaos, but chaos just the same). Anyway, at the conclusion of the trio, he accused me of "dragging him up and down Italy" (one week in an historic castle all to ourselves in Sicily, an overnight ferry with private rooms, and one week in my favorite hotel in Rome, all the while supplying him with daily $100 Behikes and incredible Limited Editions all day. I paid for the business class airfare; I paid for the castle -- Il Vignale in the Nebrodi Mountains -- stunning -- and the swanky Roman hotel (and my family -- three of us as opposed to my father and his wife -- took the smaller room because it had a smoking terrace -- the hotel is the "47" and is extremely well-situated for anyone with an interest in history; I recommend it highly,as well as Il Vignale -- cigar prices in Italy are the lowest I've ever seen). Yet, His Excellency bitched about the BUSINESS CLASS nonstop airfare (well, KLM screwed up our reservations and we did have to stop in Amsterdam, which was miserable since we could not leave the airport) I purchased for the comfort of the old scumbag and its wife. And he was actually angry that I failed to arrange an audience with the Pope. I wish this were an exaggeration or a lie of any sort. It's not. No, really; it's not. But I could sure use a nice piece of that multi-million mob money he stole (and continues to steal) from taxpayers, developers, etc., but that isn't in the cards because now he has more grandchildren courtesy of my sister, so my son is no longer relevant. He's 80, but only the good die young. I would take that money and open the finest smoke shop in the Caribbean on the Island of Anguilla, with all the leather chairs, fine spirits and other amenities of a New York club, but lower prices and views of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, I will soon be divorced and living in the YMCA, as I have not worked in 2 1/2 years and I will never lower myself to working in a lesser capacity than that for which I have proven qualifications. I wish I were kidding. But if you ever see "Havana Joe's" in Anguilla, you'll know I was able to work something out. But I'm not completely sold on the name yet. We'll see.

Somehow I have dropped the ball on Il Ceppo pipe grading. Apologies. The hate runs deep.
 

CMontoya79

Newb Le professional!
#14
Yeah, the raving lunatic who fires his Cabinet every other Tuesday (yet cannot find the courage to repeal the repugnant Obama rule that will remove virtually all pipe tobacco and cigar brands from the market) actually made my fat pig mobster father an ambassador. I won't say where, but it's not a country we're likely to sanction for its secret nuke program. I certainly do not regret my vote, as Hillary would have already enforced the Rule (it's not a law, so it can be rescinded by the President at any time); plus, I think the Democrats finally got the message -- the country does not want Hillary to be President and we'll evenelect a shady rich boy who was snorting coke off the hind quarters of working girls throughout the 80s as his casinos somehow lost money. It's mathematically impossible for an honestly-run casino to lose money. Anyway, my father knows him well and, sad to say, mine Pater is a pig; we haven't spoken in many years -- he felt betrayed that I didn't name my son (and, at the time, his only grandchild) after him, and never bothered to meet him until he was no longer a baby, and then only reluctantly. He's only seldom seen my son, who is now a Dean's List student at top-20 college (sorry, for the parental pride). In an attempt to break the glacier that has risen between us, I flew my father and his wife (allegedly my mother -- blonde hair, blue eyes, dumb as a rock -- show me a DNA test) business class to Sicily, where he had never been and where our family hails from in the Old Country (I was not kidding about the "mobster" moniker" -- but, ironically, the further south you go in Italy, the nicer the people are -- the Florentines are snobs and the same can be said for any town or city north or Rome, which is just a giant bottle of chaos -- beautiful, fascinating chaos, but chaos just the same). Anyway, at the conclusion of the trio, he accused me of "dragging him up and down Italy" (one week in an historic castle all to ourselves in Sicily, an overnight ferry with private rooms, and one week in my favorite hotel in Rome, all the while supplying him with daily $100 Behikes and incredible Limited Editions all day. I paid for the business class airfare; I paid for the castle -- Il Vignale in the Nebrodi Mountains -- stunning -- and the swanky Roman hotel (and my family -- three of us as opposed to my father and his wife -- took the smaller room because it had a smoking terrace -- the hotel is the "47" and is extremely well-situated for anyone with an interest in history; I recommend it highly,as well as Il Vignale -- cigar prices in Italy are the lowest I've ever seen). Yet, His Excellency bitched about the BUSINESS CLASS nonstop airfare (well, KLM screwed up our reservations and we did have to stop in Amsterdam, which was miserable since we could not leave the airport) I purchased for the comfort of the old scumbag and its wife. And he was actually angry that I failed to arrange an audience with the Pope. I wish this were an exaggeration or a lie of any sort. It's not. No, really; it's not. But I could sure use a nice piece of that multi-million mob money he stole (and continues to steal) from taxpayers, developers, etc., but that isn't in the cards because now he has more grandchildren courtesy of my sister, so my son is no longer relevant. He's 80, but only the good die young. I would take that money and open the finest smoke shop in the Caribbean on the Island of Anguilla, with all the leather chairs, fine spirits and other amenities of a New York club, but lower prices and views of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, I will soon be divorced and living in the YMCA, as I have not worked in 2 1/2 years and I will never lower myself to working in a lesser capacity than that for which I have proven qualifications. I wish I were kidding. But if you ever see "Havana Joe's" in Anguilla, you'll know I was able to work something out. But I'm not completely sold on the name yet. We'll see.

Somehow I have dropped the ball on Il Ceppo pipe grading. Apologies. The hate runs deep.
You need help. I hope you find it. You violated the no politics rule. You’re posts have added nothing to CP.
 

Pugman1943

Well-Known Member
#18
Let’s make this simple. Does a better graded pipe make the tobacco burn or taste better? In cigars the answer for the most part is yes, but in a pipe, burning tobacco is just that, burning tobacco.

Nuff said for that long azz thesis you wrote.
 
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