When Achille Savinelli returned to Italy after the country's surrender in WWII, he expected to re-immerse himself in his parents’ tobacco pipe shop. However, dissatisfaction with Italy’s place in the global pipe trade sent him down a different path.
In decades prior, England and France established the classic pipe shapes we recognize today. Thus the pipe smoking world held these brands in high appraisal. Italy was known for their high-quality briar, but did not enjoy such a reputation for pipe design.
The postwar period saw a few Italian brands sprout. And so came a revelation in Italian pipe design, as the contours of the neoclassic style took shape. Savinelli Pipes occupied an aesthetic realm between the traditional and the neoclassic approaches. Their shapes were characterized by an embrace of tradition, but without a shyness toward taking bold, creative liberties with the classics. And here we are in 2022 with five new lines from the historic Savinelli brand that show they still know how to keep graceful balance between tradition and modernity—the elegant and the avant-garde.
In true Savinelli style, these lines stay near to the classic shapes, while still flirting with the neoclassic aesthetic they helped make a staple of pipe design. Though they’re more conservative in the liberties taken with traditional shapes when compared to others at the vanguard of neoclassicism, such as Castello Pipes, Savinelli’s approach to pipe design continues to demonstrate that shape is only one way to recast convention. Last year we saw this in their 2021 lines—the Arlecchino’s confetti stem; the Bamboo with its unique rustication and milky-mocha, brindle stem; or the Camouflage with its mottled, camo-acrylic stem. These 2022 lines keep the penchant for artfully bold color schemes and playful concepts at the heart of Savinelli pipe design.
|Finish(es)||Sandblasted • Sandblasted (Smooth Top) • Smooth Brown • Smooth Natural|
|Shape(s)||Slightly Bent Dublin|
Every year, Savinelli treats us to a new Collection Series. The series always features a new pipe design; one that is not accounted for in their standard arsenal of shapes and is then promptly retired. A tradition since 1985, each year is a collectable of its own. 2022 is no exception, especially for Dublin fans. This year’s Collection offers a sinewy imagining of a slightly bent Dublin. The 2022 Collection Dublin features a wide, flat rim atop a squat bowl. The wide, oval shank leading to a uniformly thick, tapered stem is quintessential Savinelli.
The 2022 Savinelli Collection Dublin comes in four variations—two sandblasted and two smooth finishes. The sandblasts beautifully bring out the alluvial texture from the briar’s grain and feature a deep red wine, glossy finish. The broad rim of one of the sandblasts keeps continuity with the rest of the stummel while the other is smooth, revealing the natural wood. The smooth 2022 Collection Savinellis offer both a natural and rich, brown finish.
|Finish(es)||Rusticated Brown • Smooth Natural|
|Shape(s)||straight Billiard (lsb) • straight Billiard (dc) • Poker • Author • straight Bulldog (dc) • bent Billiard (dc) • stout bent Billiard • bent Brandy|
|Key||lsb = low slung bowl // dc = deep chamber // bold = king sized|
It's always exciting to see what idiosyncratic patterns will grace Savinelli's iconic stems. It's one of the things we anticipate most about new series reveals. There’re sure to be a few that flout orthodoxy with artistic drama. This year’s lineup certainly didn’t disappoint, and here’s the first example, the Foresta series. Stripes of earthy-green hues, intersected by two chrome bands, meets the end of the shank before the stem turns to a solid, dark green.
These flourishes are the perfect accents for the smoker who appreciates a pipe with personality, but not going too avant-garde. A playful approach to convention, not a subversion of it.
Like the 2022 Collection Series, the Foresta offers smooth finishes in both brown and natural, as well as a craggy, dark brown sandblast. The Foresta series is available in an array of popular Savinelli shapes, most of which are KS (king sized) variations, perfect for a good long smoke and getting the most out of those complex blends.
|Shape(s)||straight Billiard (dc) • straight Billiard • stout straight Billiard (cs) • half-bent Cherrywood • Prince • bent Billiard • bent Apple • bent Brandy|
|Key||dc = deep chamber // cs = conical shank // bold = king sized|
A defining charm to Savinelli pipes—their designs are often unique, but still fit into a larger theme. It’s part of what makes Savinellis especially fun to collect.
For example, Savinelli’s Natural Collection is made up of lines that each host a novelty of their own. But they share the commonalities of having natural finishes and creative, nature-inspired rustications. Past lines in the Natural Collection include: Pannocchia (corn cob), Spinosa (cactus or cardoon flowers), Bamboo, and Ghibli (desert sand patterns). The rusticated finishes on each of these pipes evoke the natural textures from which the design draws inspiration.
The Granola is the newest addition to this collection. The finish is inspired by the texture of wheat, barley, and other grains. The unpretentious shank is fitted with yet another eye-catching custom stem—a pebbly texture of cream, dark brown, and tan hues.
The coherence between design and concept in these pipes is wonderful. But something else to appreciate; as you smoke the pipe, the natural briar will develop a patina. Yes, the coloring of a bowl is not just for the Meerschaum pipe.
|Finish(es)||Rusticated Black, Smooth Brown|
|Shape(s)||straight Billiard (dc) • straight Billiard • Prince • half-bent Author (rs) • straight Dublin • full-bent Billiard • bent Apple (dc) • Canadian|
|Key||dc = deep chamber // rs = regular sized // bold = king sized|
Morellina is Italian for “dark brown”—it doesn’t get much more straight forward than that. The Morellina line offers us two rich finishes, rusticated black and smooth brown. The sandblast brings out horizontal waves across the bowl making the pipe exceptionally comfortable in the hand. The grain on the smooth finish is beautifully brought out in the deep, rich brown hues.
The Morellina is fit with a special, custom sourced acrylic stem with a coffee-and-cream swirl pattern. Intersecting the pipe is a simple, thin nickel band—a dignified accent to the complimentative finishes of the stummel and stem.
This line also comes in a plethora of options from Savinelli’s classic range of shapes.
|Finish(es)||Rusticated Black • Smooth Natural|
|Key||bold = king sized|
Lastly, we have the Pulcinella line—another continuation on a theme introduced last year with the Arlecchino.
The Pulcinella and Arlecchino are both classic stock characters in the Commedia Dell'arte, or Italian Comedy. This form of theatre was popular through 16th-18th century Europe, and is the basis for many of the character tropes we still know today.
The Pulcinella is a bent Brandy shape that comes in a rusticated black or smooth natural finish. The Pulcinella character generally has a potbelly and thin, gangling legs. It's not hard to see how they landed on this shape for the pipe.
The sharp contrast between the stem and stummel is reminiscent of the duality of the Pulcinella trope. The character was developed from two Roman comedy (Atellan Farce) personalities, Maccus and Bucco. As a result, Pulcinella is a bit of an enigma. "Upper" Pulcinella, a master who is stately and scheming. "Lower" Pulcinella, a crass servant.
The stem is really fascinating here. Irregular black and white panels create a glitchy pattern. But when viewed from above, two black marks smear neatly toward the bit, interrupting the geometric theme. The fun and light-hearted spirit of the Italian Carnival tradition is alive in this pipe.
These brilliant, new lines from Savinelli deliver on what we've come to expect from the Italian marque—taking the classics and giving us new reasons to fall in love with them. From the artistry to the smoking qualities, the Savinelli legacy is one still being written.