Larger Than Life (Radica Design “Chubby” Billiard with Saddle Bit and Root Briar Ashtray)

2015-05-27 01.22.58Just around the start of the year I was approached by Michele Panzarasa of Radica Design asking about advertising opportunities in the pages of Smoking Jacket Magazine.  We had a lengthy conversation where I described the various advertising packages and got to know one another.  Michele assured me that they were interested in advertising with my magazine, but that he had to clear things with his partner, a “behind the scenes” partner to Michele’s front man.

I determined, at this point, that I “liked the cut of his jib” and that I would have a good experience working with him to promote his company.

However, we soon found out that Italy, where Radica Design is based, has some very stringent regulations on shipping money out of the country.  In other words, though they were eager to do some advertising, getting the advertising budget to me proved to be problematic and we spent a couple of months trying to get this together.

But then I had a fantastic idea.  Radica Design has no problems getting their products to their customers.  Meaning also, the Italian government has less regulations on shipping finished products out of the country.  So I approached Michele with the idea that Radica Design send me a sample of their product (a pipe, or an ashtray, or something else they make) and I would offer them some free advertising.  Also, I would provide an honest review and a link back to their website.

Again, before entering into any agreement, Michele conscientiously told me that he would have to consult his partner, but that the idea sounded great to him.  Shortly thereafter I was contacted by Michele to say that my gift of a pipe would soon be on its way, if I provided them with an address (and phone number, for some reason the post office requires this.)

Within two weeks, the package was in my hand, and I was greeted by a completely different billiard style pipe and briar ashtray with cork pipe knocker, which took me completely by surprise as I was only expecting a pipe.

So, it turns out, that getting money to Radica Design, and getting products to customers from Radica Design is relatively simple, but Radica Design has bureaucratic trouble paying to promote their business.

Therefore, this sort of “send me products and I’ll advertise for you” relationship appears to be a win-win for everyone involved.

So anyway, here is my review;

Radica.  Meaning root briar, it comes from the Latin, radix, meaning root which is also the base word for the English “Radical” (radicale in Italian).

I bring that up, because, in my opinion, Radica Design offer a brand new approach to pipe designs, radically different from the norm.2015-05-27 01.23.39

My pipe, the one they sent me, I have labeled a “chubby” billiard.  It is sort like calling the fat man at the circus “chubby”.  With a diameter of 45 mm and a bowl diameter of 23 mm it makes the walls on the pipe 1 cm thick.  However, a 23 mm bowl diameter isn’t unreasonable making the chamber deep, though not wide.  The pipe stands 60 mm high, so I estimate the bowl depth is about 50 mm and the pipe is a total of 160 mm in length.

When I first saw the pipe from the bag, before I even put it together, I expected it to be very, very heavy.  So, you can imagine my delight and surprise to find that the pipe weighed in at only 80 g, and while too heavy to clench, the large stummel fits nicely in the palm of my hand.

Now, the trick was to choose a tobacco befitting of the first smoke.  I chose “Lord Hades”, a blend of my own design appropriate for the chthonic god of wealth, and thought to myself, “If they aren’t offended, the blessings of Pluto can’t hurt their business.”

The bowl holds a lot of tobacco, much more than I was expecting, but the draw was smooth and clean and the pipe lit with no trouble.

I have to say, that after 45 minutes smoking the pipe, it was warm, but not hot, and overall it was a great smoking experience.

2015-05-27 01.23.22I tapped out the ashes into the matching briar ashtray, and immediately regretted dirtying the beautiful piece.  Oh well, what is the use of an ashtray if you don’t use it?

I passed a pipe cleaner through the pipe, and it went through smoothly.

When the pipe had cooled, about half an hour later, I removed the stem and found it to be an exceptionally snug fit, and not too snug, just tight.

The pipe and ashtray have matching brown stain that beautifully highlights the natural grain, and exposes a number of striking bird’s eyes within the grain.

The pipe has quickly become a favorite smoker for sitting around the house, and enjoying company, and the ashtray has decorated the room we sit in to watch our favorite shows.

Radica Design makes radical designs.

With prices ranging between €80.00 and €180.00 (approximately $95.00 to $200) I am sure you can find something within your budget, that Radica Design can make for you.

Check them out by clicking the banner and,

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

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