In 1968 MPB was changed to “Brebbia”. In the same year, a slow smoking competition was held in Varese, and Enea took advantage of it. He created a team from his employees and toured Europe, bringing home multiple wins. Soon Brebbia pipes were popular in the international market, not only for their quality and designs but for their “sweet smoke.”The combination of Varese’s environment and extreme humidity levels allowed Enea to naturally cure the briar and reduce the tannin levels within the briar. By doing so, the bitter taste that a new pipe has during the first smoke was gone.

The 1970s were difficult years for the pipe business. The public slowly drifted away from the slow smoking culture, and the few that remained became more demanding than ever. Innovation, diversification, and imagination became more than ever the keys words for success and survival in the ever-diminishing tobacco pipe business. A notable invention was born in the late 70s, the frangifumo (smoke breaker) mouthpiece. Instead of one single opening, it had multidirectional channels, allowing the smoke to be less concentrated in one spot and reducing the famous tongue bite.

In 1977, one of Enea’s children, Luciano Buzzi, joined the family business ranks. As his fathers once did, he started traveling abroad to revamp the brand. Once he mastered the craft, Luciano became an active member of the creative team and created his first line in 1979 called 79. The German market (as we know prefers long-stemmed pipes) was looking for a filtration system. A 6mm filter was fitted into the pipes, but it was not enough. A new challenge was presented to Luciano, to fit a 9mm filter but keep the slim silhouette of a churchwarden pipe. Four years later, the 83 line came to life. Now all Brebbia pipes come with a 9mm filter slot, but an adapter is available for those who dislike filters.

In the following decades, multiple lines of pipes have been created, such as “Great designers of pipes” designed by influential pipe makers, the freehand line “linea A”, and many more. In 1992, Enea refurbished a large warehouse in Bosco Grande and created a pipe museum, where models from various producers and his own are displayed.

To this day, the Brebbia company stands for innovation and reimagination, always looking for new ways to improve tobacco pipes by bringing new techniques and trend-setting designs to the market. If you are looking for a new favorite, have a look at our Brebbia selection, and I’m sure you will soon fall in love with them.

With a Brebbia in my hand, I send you my regards.

Till my next post!


Mitchellero cigars are in…and out!

I’ve been on a mission to give quality, service and value since I started in the cigar trade in the early 1990s. I think that ethos came from my previous experience as a petrol retailer and C. Store operator.

I set out originally in the trade with a very different perspective to the existing and established cigar merchants, as I tried to look at everything from the customer’s perspective. With that in mind, I have been trying for some years to create and introduce value brands of mid-range cigars to the market. I have been quite successful in doing so –  especially with our own brand of Peruvian cigars, Inka – Secret Blend as well as co-branded Orchant Seleccion cigars such as Alec Bradley and Drew Estate which have been tremendously popular and successful since launch.

However, we were always missing a range in our brand portfolio which I have finally filled with the launch of Mitchellero cigars from Nicaragua. These single estate 100% Nicaraguan handmade, long-filler cigars are really something special. The prices are unbeatable in the UK market. The blend is medium-full sweet and spicy flavour and medium strength. A truly a well-balanced blend constructed to perfection and dressed in a beautiful smooth Colorado Maduro wrapper colour.

Available in a range of the most popular sizes – it is now our fastest selling New World cigar since it was launched a week ago. I think it’s fair to say we have created another winner for our clients. My initial order from the factory was pretty huge and I thought it would be enough to last 6 months but forecasts show it won’t likely last 2 months, so we have already made a follow-up order of double the size so we can assure continuity of supply.

Ordering the right quantity of cigars from all regions is proving to be quite the challenge. The industry is still suffering from a host of problems from lack of raw materials, decreased production, and logistical slowdowns due to the pandemic. Certain brands are just not available  anymore.

We have around 10,000 products on our website, which is probably 10 times more than our competitors, so we have quite a task keeping the products in the right quantities in our warehouses to meet the demand. Since the global pandemic and Brexit, demand has gone ballistic and it seems that it’s more or less impossible to order from outside of the UK without being stung with hefty duty, tax, and vat bill from Customs that negate any cost-benefit for the consumer.

We’re still managing to keep around 95% availability on Havanas generally but we do expect out-of-stock lines to get worse this year. We have a dramatically reduced range of Cohiba with no availability on Lanceros, Coronas Especiales, Piramides Extra, and Behike still. If you’re a Cohiba smoker, stock up on your favourite size while you can.

The La Casa del Habanos exclusive range is also not without issues with the highly popular Bolivar Libertador the latest on the out-of-stock casualty list although I am happy to report that Partagas Salomones and Trinidad La Trova have come back into stock in reasonable quantity.

A lot of beautiful new and limited edition Havanas were introduced at the recent virtual Habanos Festival but realistically I would not be expecting to see any of these actually arrive any time soon. Late 2022 would probably be more likely.

It’s good to be finally getting out of lockdown and have life returning to something resembling normal. I’m popping into our flagship C.Gars – St James’s store every week for a few hours and have been enjoying sampling outside the shop when the weather has allowed  – though I’m looking forward to indoor sampling starting again this Friday.

We are planning to re-open our amazing Puffin Rooms in early June all being well. The premises has been spruced up and are in fact plusher than ever. The best of live jazz, dining, cocktails, and the largest whisky bar on the North West.

We are finally doing our refurb at our super popular and busy Mayfair store this month so it will be closed for a week from the May 24th . I’m looking forward to reopening the comfortable sampling room thereafter though I understand booking will be essential as our regulars have missed the sampling room and will be happy to get back in there.

Sampling events will restart in the shops next month but we are still enjoying the Virtual Herfs every other week. Great value sampler packs, educational, and a lot of fun.  Join us this Thursday when I will be hosting Ricardo Carioni, the deputy ambassador to the UK from Nicaragua, and featuring Oliva cigars.

Last week’s virtual tasting event featured Flor de Cana rum (I love it!) and Plasencia cigars (I’m a huge fan!). I’m down to my last few boxes of Plasencia – Orchant Seleccion Telico, a splendid Toro-sized cigar that has been super popular. I’m looking forward to the release of the Plasencia – Orchant Seleccion Lancero in a couple of months’ time. It will be interesting to contrast the blends of the Toro and Lancero. The Toro gives volumes of flavour due to the larger format and the Lancero more intensity due to the slender format.

The last few boxes of Davidoff Intenso ( 2020 Limited edition) are now released. Great size, great smoke, Davidoff continues to release the finest quality premium cigars, they really can’t do a thing wrong these days!

I’m starting work on our Summer auction catalogue which takes place on July 27th  – lots of interesting vintage Havanas are coming in already. The April auction yielded some incredible results once again driven by insatiable bidder interest from the Far East.


Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing,


Brebbia Pipes – Part 1

Ready for a trip to Italy? I hope so because today I’m going to talk to you about Brebbia Pipes.

Let me introduce you to our main character: Enea Buzzi, founder of the Brebbia Pipes Company. He had in his family many entrepreneurs: his uncle Bernardo, who made a fortune in London, his grandfather, who built a small power plant in Brebbia; and his father, Carlo Andrea, who founded a weaving mill in Gavirate.

Enea was in Varese’s train station and was smoking a Rossi pipe, and it started to pour. He wondered how he could smoke while under the rain, and that’s how the pipe with a lid idea was born. The Rossi family developed this concept and started producing their take. After different business attempts, Enea was still not happy, and he decided to focus on his passion and produce tobacco pipes. Money was short, which meant expensive machines and a location for his company were not easy to achieve.

That’s where Uncle Bernardo came to play in this story. “Papa” Bernardo, as his family called him, backed up his nephew’s dream. He didn’t bring to the table only the money but also a meaningful family connection: his niece, who was married to Achille Savinelli. The Savinelli family was also looking into opening their tobacco pipes production, but that’s for another time.

In 1947 Enea and Achille founded a tobacco pipe company, but the partnership didn’t last long. The business couple didn’t share the same vision for the company. Enea went to London to establish his name in the international market, and Achille founded his factory in Molina di Barrasso.

From 1947 Enea made pipes using the Savinelli logo, but after 1953 he started using his own trademark MPB (Manifattura Pipe Brebbia). The following year, a fire destroyed the Brebbia factory, which allowed him to build a bigger one. Enea also bought a foundry to develop an aluminum base for his pipes, but the market didn’t respond well to that.

In 1956 the bumpy partnership ended between Enea and Achille, and a new prosperous era started for MPB Pipes. Innovation, diversification, and imagination were the keywords.