What Is It About A Preben?

Blog by Norman Skiba

For 50 years now I have been enjoying and observing that there is something special and magical about Preben Holm pipes. I have always loved his pipes.  Looking back, I can say that I have owned more Preben Holm pipes than any other pipe maker – period.  Overall, they are unique; some wild and some are quite tame and reserved, by his standards.

To me – there is something that I have struggled, and still fail, to describe regarding the overall smoking experience of a Preben Holm pipe.  I have mostly had fine to superb smoking Preben’s, and I have had a few that were ok, and also a few rare ones that just had issues: predominantly a bad gurgling.  Yet even the few bad or not-so-good ones all had this Quality and taste and smoking experience across the board with the best of them.  There is a consistency there that I struggle to explain.  This character/taste/sensory experience that makes it a Preben.  After a week of straight meerschaum smoking I had a bowl this morning in a Preben and it was marvelous.  I look forward to another bowl out of the Preben tomorrow before I head out to the top vineyard to get my nets on.  (I did the side vineyard after the bowl this morning.)  So, again, these experiences make me wonder and question just what it is that makes the Preben’s so unique?  What is it about the nature of the briar he uses that are so different and special unlike any other pipe maker.   And no, I am not just talking about Danish pipe makers.  I mean all others that I have ever smoked or owned.  There is something about his pipes that make me still love the pipe and pipe smoking (with my favorite tobacco as a partner in all of this), and briar.  After all of these years I still cannot put my finger on that special dynamic.  Yet I am in awe when I light up one of his pipes.  They are not only beautiful in so many ways; but they smoke so sweetly and with a subtlety to them.  So, what is it about a Preben?

3 thoughts on “What Is It About A Preben?

  1. norman

    just an added note: had a third bowl just now – same pipe and same tobacco – 3rd bowl in 3 days with nothing more than a pipe cleaner dipped in vodka to freshen up the stemway. 3rd bowl was beautiful – so why? my taste buds changed since 6 hrs or so earlier today. Go figure. now later today the pipe will be cleaned and will do my bacchus meer tomorrow. i am glad i did the 3rd bowl. after i started it and tasted and experienced the difference i then sipped at a pint of pale ale i brewed and it went nice before coming inside to cool down from the mornings work.

  2. norman

    Todd I agree. We all like something different. The preben phenomenon just blows my mind and leaves me speechless as to what that Quality is. as a pinot lover – and a grapes grower and winemaker myself – it is amazing on just how much our taste buds change sometimes daily in extreme. even a really good coffee bean can taste different on some days. todays’s bowl for some reason the tobacco wasn’t where it was yesterday – again taste buds today different than yesterdays. yet the overall smoke was great and the pipe transcends the tobacco experience today. And there is NOTHING wrong with he tobacco – believe me and als o the same as i always smoke. so go figure.

  3. Todd L. Platek

    Enjoy them. Many of us happen upon that certain carver whose work repeatedly strikes us as unique and whose briar never fails to offer its smoker a wonderful flavor, no matter how many we collect by that carver. Among ourselves, we will disagree based on individual tastes and experiences. I have Dunhills I like and others that taste awful. I have Wilkes that uniformly taste good. Is it the pipe or is it me? Who knows? In summation: Enjoy.


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