GBD Pipes

Welcome back.

I hope you are ready because today we are going back to France. The history of these brands is long, but I will try to make it short and straightforward.

It’s the 1850s, and three gentlemen decided to establish a new business dedicated to Meerschaum Pipes. Gannieval, Bondier, and Donninger founded “GBD.” All three had experience making pipes, Ganneval with wooden pipes, Bondier clay and china pipes, and Donninger Meerschaum pipes. Even if the company owners frequently changed, the GBD name remained well-established in the market. August Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon led the firm into the 20th century. They were in charge of the company for more than 50 years. Not much is known about their first production, but we know that GBD offered Meerschaum pipes in many different shapes that reminded of bent pipes derived from clay pipes such as Dublins and and early variations of Bulldog.

The company was founded around the same time that briarwood properties were discovered. After the briar pipe-making production started in Saint-Claude, GBD established a supply contract for Briarwood. Meerschaum quickly became outdated, and briar was the material that everyone wanted. In the following 40 years, GBD was honoured with 15 medals of achievement on international fairs worldwide, introducing the brand to the global market and establishing its name.

In the beginning, GBD offered only one grade of briar and a limited selection in finishes, but once the company approached the 20th century, its selection changed. A wide variety of finishes and briar grades were available to fit the increased demand by the market, specifically the British request. The company’s catalogue would count up to 1500 models.
The reason behind the company’s focus on the British market is quite simple: GBD became a British company in 1902 when A. Oppenheimer & Co. (London) bought it.
A. Oppenheimer & Co., founded by Charles Oppenheimer, then led by Adolphe, started trading in tobacco pipes from the beginning. In 1870 Adolphe and GBD began trading. Quickly Adolphe became the most important customer from the English market and was designed as the sole distributor for Great Britain, the USA, and Canada in 1897. When the negotiations between GBD and Oppenheimer started, Adolphe acquired two pipe factories in Saint-Claude: Sina & Cie. and C.J. Verguet Freres. This merge led to the creation of a colossal pipe-making centre in Saint Claude that Lucien Verguet managed and focused on making prefabricated bowls. In the 1910s, over 18k dozen bowls were made for GBD London out of the 27k produced. GBD London in the 1920s became the most important location for the company, especially after the construction of a new factory in London.

GBD London focused on the USA and British market, GBD Paris for France and EU. Oppenheimer continued to expand their company and purchased BBB (Blumfeld’s Best Briar, formerly A. Frankau) and later Loewe & Co. and large shares of Comoy’s of London.
As we know, in the 1920s, the economic crisis started to affect the pipe business, which led to the creation of Cadogan Investments Ltd., named after its primary quarter’s location at Cadogan Square in London. We have to keep in mind that Cadogan (Oppenheimer) was owned by business people with no direct experience in pipe making. Hence why each brand under their umbrella kept extensive independence.

The demand for GBD kept growing, which encouraged the management to introduce sub-brands. One of them was Dr. Plumb’s.
When GBD France needed an affordable line, Dr. Plumb was developed by the Parisian sales manager J.B. Rubinovich in 1925. After his secretary Leslie W. Plumb, he named it, whose most important business was “to doctor figure” of the ledgers. Dr. Plumb’s is produced in Saint-Claude. 

To this day, GBD and DR plumb keep their name strong in the market by offering an incredible selection of pipes styles and finishes that are still loved worldwide. If you are looking for classic and stylish pipes made out of excellent briar, look no further because GBD will give you what you are looking for! Their pipes (and accessories) are true to what GBD stands for: top-notch briar quality and a constant look to innovate and elevate the pipe-smoking art.

Head over to our GBD and Dr. Plumb online selection and get ready to fall in love.

As you can see, each tobacco pipe brand has a long history, and most of the time, it is intertwined with other brands. Who knows what we are going to discover next time!

See you in the next post.


Glenfiddich 26 Year Old Grande Couronne

Glenfiddich is always producing those perfect drams to accompany those elegant times in your life…or maybe just those times you are feeling fancy! This Grande Couronne is no different!

This bottling is the distillery’s newest edition to their Grand Series, and quite literally the “crowning glory” to that series. Seeing as the name means “Big Crown” in French. The Grand Series was created as an opulent line-up to accompany significant moments that are cause for celebration. But like I said, you can crack this open if you are feeling fancy and want to sit out on your back deck in a tuxedo!

With the Glenfiddich Gran Cru having been finished in French cuvée oak casks and the Gran Reserva finishing in Caribbean rum casks, it is no surprise they had something special for this one. After having spent most of its life in American and European oak casks, the whisky is then transferred into carefully chosen rare French Cognac casks. The Cognac adding that much more elegance to the whisky.

Glenfiddich’s own Malt Master, Brian Kinsman had this to say:

“The Grand Series perfectly encapsulates Glenfiddich’s spirit of innovation and our ability to experiment with aged liquid and intriguing finishes. Grande Couronne is the latest to exemplify that approach.

It is the only Glenfiddich single malt that has matured in American and European oak casks and finished in rare French Cognac casks. The length of the finish, two years, is highly unusual and adds extra layers of sweet toasted oak and velvety aromas of café crème, brown sugar and soft spice.”

As with any of Glenfiddich’s limited release, the Grande Couronne comes in a beautiful display box with a rotating stage for the bottle! Masterfully designed with gold leafing and inside the box is like an itsy bitsy Louvre with renaissance inspired paintings.

So if you are looking for a very special gift or a whisky for that next big occasion, this might be for you!


Let me introduce you to Big Ben Pipes.

It goes back to the end of the 19th century when Elbert Gubbels Sr. opened a shop focused on tobacco pipes and other smoker accessories. The smoking business grew to the point that in 1924 the company was transformed into a wholesale trade business. Because of the lack of tobacco pipe manufacturers in the Netherlands, Gubbels imported pipes from Europe, primarily France and England.

During the German Invasion that occurred in 1940, the Gubbels family had difficulties importing products from Europe. Mr. Gubbel wanted to cut ties with his suppliers and have his tobacco pipe production. With the ending of World War II, his dream came alive.

In 1946 the Gubbels Family opened their first factory. After a successful expansion, Mr. Gubbels quickly realized that his brand needed an international name to appeal to the European market. He bought a small trade company in Amsterdam, which owned the rights to the brand Big Ben that was well established in the international market.
From that point, Big Ben pipes and the Gubbels family became a recognized brand that everybody knew.

With the opening of the new factory in Roermond in 1974, Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands granted the title “Royal” to the Gubbels Company. Hence, its official name became Elbert Gubbels & Zonen – Koninklijke Fabriek van Tabakspijpen (Elbert Gubbels & Sons – Royal Dutch Pipe Factory). Following the new title, the company went through a new rebranding to negate the belief that the company’s origins were English becoming Royal Dutch.

To this day, the Big Ben Pipes are made in Holland. Most of them are fitted with 9mm Filters. It stands for innovative designs and outstanding quality. Because of their reliability and intriguing styles, Big Ben is the first pipe for many new pipe smokers and the favourite of many.
As you can see from the pictures, these pipes are classic and somehow future forward with their style and palette colour.

Head over to our Big Ben page and browse our collection.


Corn Cob Pipes

Polish your shoes and straighten your tie; we will talk about an American Legend, the one and only Authentic & Original, The Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipe.

Henry Tibbe, a dutch woodturner, emigrated to America in 1860 after a fire destroyed his home and his factory in Enschede. The Tibbe family settled first in South Point, Missouri, and then moved to Washington,

How did he get to produce corn cob pipes? The story goes as follows: Henry opened a new woodturning factory. Soon after, a local farmer requested him to make a corn cob pipe. He didn’t just make a corn cob pipe but improved the design by adding a reed stem and turning the cob on his lathe. The new design was a success, and the demand started growing from the locals.

He didn’t stop there and kept improving his design. 

In the early 1870s, Henry Tibbe and his son, Aton, established a pipe manufacturing company, “H. Tibbe & Son.”

Henry changed the industry by fireproofing the corn cob. By applying a plaster-of-paris kind of substance (designed by a local chemist), he extended the life span of the corn cob pipes and hardened the corn cob. This technique allowed the corn cob to be turned on a lathe.


 Tibbe’s idea was straightforward but changed the corn cob pipe from a rural make-do object into a popular commercial product. After the new technique was patented in 1878, the Tibbe business grew exponentially and needed larger quarters. So they moved the factory to a building on Front and Jefferson streets and installed a steam engine to help manufacture the pipes. 

In the early 1880s, Tibbe’s family built another factory on the corner of Front and Cedar streets. To this day, that factory still houses the company. 

Henry in 1883 patented his pipes
and called them “Missouri Meerschaum,” the name selected by Fritz Tibbe, Henry’s brother.

In 1895, Henry Tibbe’s patent on the corn cob pipe expired, and soon after, Henry Tibbe died.

At the beginning of the 20th century, H. Tibbe & Son Co. became the Missouri Meerschaum Company.

Now, the Missouri Meerschaum Company’s factory produces over 3,500 pipes per day and ships them to every U.S. state and worldwide.

You might still wonder why Meershaum is part of the company name even though it is not used to make the pipes. Henry’s pipes were light weight, offered cool and dry smoke, and reminded him of the meerschaum pipes, hence “Missouri Meerschaum.”

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or seasoned pipe smoker; a corn cob pipe should be a staple in everybody’s collection. So check our collection, and I’m sure you will find the right one for you!


Till next time!

Christian – The Pipe Expert


Snowdonia Distillery’s Ron El Rumbo

The exciting new release from Forager’s Snowdonia Distillery is finally here! We’ve been hearing rumblings for a while now, so it’s great to finally get a hold of the bottle! In the coming weeks we get to work and start playing with different cocktails with this rum as the mixer, and creating some of our own! Until then a little bit about the new release.

El Rumbo means ‘The Course’ in Spanish, and that is a very fitting name for this rum. The rum started out being distilled in one of Cuba’s oldest distilleries. The spirit spends the first year allowing the molasses to settle in, from there spends the following 2 years aging in american oak barrels. After all that, it is then where the name comes into play. As foragers put it…”The course is set!”

That course refers to the long journey from the sunny Cuban shores all the way to the beautiful hilly landscape of Snowdonia! Once it is in the very capable hands of the folks at the Snowdonia Distillery they prepare it for the next leg of its journey. The rum is then transferred into large, freshly emptied Cognac casks, that have been carefully chosen to host the spirit. The rich characteristics from the casks are imparted into rum creating wonderfully refreshing

The course should not end in the bottle, but make it all the way to your glass in your favourite cocktails! El Rumbo is a fantastic mixer that will help any cocktail take on an adventurous spirit!

Order yours today and send us in any cocktail creations you came up with!