Different Pipe Styles… Which one do you prefer?

We have the basics down of what a tobacco pipe is and its finishes. Now I will introduce you to some of the many shapes you can have. Most of us got to know pipes by watching movies with Sherlock Holmes and his Calabash pipe. This kind of pipe is quite peculiar but not for the shape only, let me explain why.

Blatter is the creator of this kind of pipe. I will try to be brief; during the Boer War, briar was scarce, so Blatter had to find a new material to use and chose Calabash gourd. You are not mistaken; this pipe is made out of a pumpkin with a meerschaum bowl and a plastic stem. The Calabash has a dramatic bend in the pipe’s body, nearly assuming the shape of a “U” and has a drastic but gradual and uninterrupted taper from bowl to stem.

Nowadays, this shape is also made in briar but is not as dramatic as it would be in Calabash gourd. Once the choice of the soldiers during wartime, then (after King Edwards made smoking fashionable) the new trendy smoking pipe of English society and now a rare beauty.  

Billiard pipes are the most common, straight, bowl height like the shank length, a timeless shape. This shape also has a bent variation, with the same principle. 

The Apple shape can be either straight or bent, the same proportion of a billiard but with the bowl rounded off like an apple would be, Easy! 

The Bulldog shape is apple’s edgy brother with a squared shank and some horizontal lines carved onto the bowl. If you are not into corners but like bulldogs overall shape, a Rhodesian is the one then. 

As always, these pipes can come either bent or straight. 

If you are looking for symmetry, then look no further. The Poker shape is the right one for you. It is turned on a lathe with two cylinders at 90-degree angles to each other, the larger for the bowl and the thinner for the shank. Simple but perfect. Can you top perfection? yes, you can! This pipe has a flat base which allows you to put it down without a stand. I know, mind-blowing.  

Are you looking for a long relaxing hand free smoke? Pick a Hungarian Shape/Oom Paul, and you won’t be disappointed.

Some people like to distinguish the two by defining them by the bowl shape and proportions: full bent Apple(Hungarian) or Billiard(Oom Paul). Either way, generously sized tobacco chamber, fully bent with a shank about the same diameter as the bowl. This shape allows you to have long and relaxing smokes and allows the pipe to rest on your chin, so you don’t have to clench your pipe.

Quick history note: State President of the South African Republic, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, known as Paul Kruger and called by his people Uncle Paul (Afrikaans: “Oom Paul”), used to have a Hungarian pipe sitting on his beard all the times and was also known for that, hence the origin of this pipe shape second name. 

Speaking of a bearded man, I’ve had some people coming to the shop looking for “Gandalf’s pipe”… They were looking for a Churchwarden pipe. Many iterations of this shape, different lengths, bowl shapes, and finishes, but the general rule is that it has to be a long-stemmed pipe with a relatively small bowl. This shape is ideal for people who like long, cool smoke and they like to read. I know that’s oddly specific, but in Europe is called the “reading” pipe, so i guess you could try it if you like reading. 

One shape leads to another one, ready for another chain of shapes? 

A Dublin is a Billiard with a bowl that tapers out, the same proportions, and the bowl is slightly angled away from the face. A Zulu shape is a curved Dublin with the bowl more on an angle.

A shape that I like a lot is the Chimney shape, great if you want to pack a good amount of tobacco. It’s a Billiard variation, with a chimney(bowl) that is about 50% taller, which means around twice the length of the shank. Use it as a general idea. 

I’m going to close this post with my favorite shape: the Horn shape. In my opinion, it is one of the most elegant pipe shapes. It has no “junction” between the bowl and the shank. The lines flow seamlessly back and forth along the length of the pipe. The defining characteristic of the Horn is its continuous and uninterrupted taper from front to back. Only the imagination is the limit: square, round, or freely shaped bowls, full of details or completely plain with one or multiple types of finishes. Just stunning. 

As you can imagine, there are many more shapes, but I will let you discover them. Head over to our guide, in which we go in-depth on each shape available. 

Christian – Pipe Expert


Cocktail of the Day

We have all been waiting for the warmer weather and sunshine. Not that you need a certain time of year to drink a certain cocktail, but we all have those cocktails that just work with springtime. So, I thought I would put together some of my favourite cocktails that will be in heavy rotation coming into better weather!

Orchard Collins


  • 2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
  • 1 parts Lemon Juice
  • 1 parts Cider
  • 5 parts Ginger Beer
  • 3 slices of apple
  • Cucumber Rose Garnish


  • Combine all ingredients in a highball filled with cubed ice.
  • Lightly stir and serve.
  • Garnish with 3 thin slices of apple and a cucumber rose



C.Gars – Bigger than ever!

Happy Easter! …and it really is a very happy time for C.Gars Ltd as we recently announced our merger with La Casa del Tabaco in Belgium to form a new Group Company: Dominique London. More details on our new website. We can proudly boast to be one of the largest cigars and spirits merchants in Europe and the expansion march will go on over the course of this year and beyond.

No change to my position as Managing Director of C.Gars but I’m also the Chief Commercial Officer for the DL group which is a terribly exciting challenge for me for the future, that I relish. Over the last 24 years I have built C.Gars into a pretty huge business with the help of an incredible team but we can now take the business to higher heights than ever with the added expertise of Dominique and Frederic from our Belgian merger partners La Casa del Tabaco. When travel restrictions are lifted, I can’t wait to visit our shops in Belgium and host some fantastic whisky and cigar sampling events.

The merger took well over a year to complete and what a crazy year it was with a Pandemic, stock shortages, a new mail order warehouse and opening a flagship store in St James’s! Imagine what we can do in a normal year! Congratulations to all of my team as well as our Belgian partners on this monumental merger.

Cohiba stock shortages continue as well as a few other lines, though bits and pieces do go in and out of stock but not in the quantity we need as yet. We are hoping this will improve as the year goes on but huge kudos to our supplier Hunters & Frankau for keeping us at around 95% stock availability which is a lot better than many countries over the last few years.

And what of the quality of Havana cigars at this time? Well, let’s face it, there will always be the odd stick with a construction issue. that’s the nature of the game (you can always try a Perfec Draw  but the tobacco quality and blending recently is definitely in the superior category. I have been smoking through some incredible Punch Double Coronas from 1999 like a fiend! Amazing smokes, almost 22 years old and smoking like a dream.

H. Upmann Sir Winston have been steadily coming into stock over the last few months after a long absence and are also first class as are El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme  which have recently come back into stock, albeit in small quantity.

We have great stock availability of most La Casa del Habano lines and are expecting the long awaited Hoyo Year of The Ox this week.

I can’t wait for the Lockdowns to be over and things to get back to normal. I’m so looking forward to hosting some sampling events at our new St James’s store as well as our other stores around the country. Hopefully it won’t be too long but, in the meantime, join me at our virtual events which are a lot of fun as well as educational (and great value!)

Checkout Nick Hammonds Audiobook… Around the World in Eighty Cigars its great fun and his book is also available online.

Looking for a really special dram? Try our Stalla Dhu Glen Elgin Port Wood. Its delicious. My business partner Ron and I sampled some on the rocks last week paired up with Trinidad Vigia. Truly a sublime combination and highly recommended.

For a change of pace check out Y Bet Rose Vodka.  Vodka isn’t my regular tipple but this really is something special…

Look out! I’m launching a new range of incredible value Nicaraguan cigars later this month. They will truly be the best value smoke in the UK. We still have a UK regional Havana sometime this year as well as a Davidoff-Orchant Seleccion and a Plasencia – Orchant Seleccion to release so it’s going to be a very exciting year of new releases.

I’m putting the finishing touches on our next cigar auction which will conclude on the 20th April, we expect around 350+ Lots of aged, rare and unusual cigars as well as some splendid single malt whisky Lots. The Lots will be online and bidding open 7 days before the auction concludes. Registration is easy and bidding very straightforward. Condition reports are available by email from the auction team who are always happy to assist and advise sales@onlinecigarauctions.com

Looking forward to see you soon at our virtual herfs and soon after at our cigar sampling lounge events.

Peaceful puffing