You don’t have to spend big bucks on a pipe to get a great smoker and nothing proves this better than Dr. Grabow.
Today we will be discussing the Dr. Grabow “Big Pipe”; a hefty billiard shaped briar from an American Company with a fascinating history.
Big Pipe isn’t just an apt name; it’s a warning! Prepare yourself for a long smoke! It has a bowl that comes to my second knuckle, and it’s two fingertips in diameter! With an average tobacco, you’ll get around an hour and a half of smoking time. I find that this pipe works best with drier, more thinly cut tobacco, but I’ve smoked just about everything in it and had no problem.
Unfortunately, when I look around, I don’t see many people smoking the “Big Pipe” model. I assume this has more to do with availability than anything. After all, Dr. Grabow is all about convenience. When you grab one off the shelves, more often than not it’s going to be something like a Grand Duke because that’s what’s available.
In the box or more like a blister package, you pretty just get the pipe. There’s some paperwork that goes along with it, but that’s it. The “Big Pipe” runs a little more than your average Dr. Grabow, but the price is worth it as we will discuss.
Like most Dr Grabow pipes, the “Big Pipe” takes a 6mm filter that promises a drier smoke and fewer toxins, as the paper tube, inserted into the stem, soaks up the moisture and detritus from the tobacco before it hits your mouth. The filters retail for $1.99. I don’t personally use the filter system, but I know many people who swear by it and report a drier, cleaner, more enjoyable smoke.
The “Big Pipe” comes in two forms: rusticated and smooth. I have one of each. I prefer the smooth, as the rustication is not the most interesting I’ve seen. It’s rather boring and even a bit garish and if I ever decide to buy more “Big Pipes” it will be smooth only.
The pipe comes pre-smoked and ready to acquire a lovely cake, not that you’ll need it for heat absorption as the walls of the “Big Pipe” are quite thick and take on heat very well. I’ve never had this pipe smoke hot. The pipe stem is made of a comfortable plastic. Hard enough to take the beating your teeth will give it, but soft enough to not feel cheap or painful. To me, it feels like any other stem, and I’m glad because, before I bought my first Dr. Grabow, I remember worrying that they may cheap out on the stem. They don’t.
Another unique quality of the “Big Pipe” is that it has an aluminum tenon that inserts into the mating end with ease. While a bit odd looking, don’t let this design choice fool you. They did it for a reason. This is an expertly crafted pipe that I have dropped several times with no problem, aside from a few dings. I would say it has a better build quality than many of my pipes that cost four times as much! You don’t have to worry when you clench this pipe while working out in the garage because if something happens to the stem, they sell replacements for $9, so you’d have to break the actual bowl to make this pipe inoperable, which I think is unlikely.
I urge you, do not be turned away by the low price and modest aesthetics of Dr. Grabow. These are still sturdy pipes. I smoke mine just as often, if not more often than my pipes of higher value because not only are they good smokers but I don’t have to worry about smoking them while doing other activities. If you drop a Dr. Grabow, it will likely survive the fall
The Dr. Grabow “Big Pipe” is a reliable pipe, as well as a good looking one, that is well-drilled and tooled for perfect smoke. If you take care of it, it will likely outlive you, and for something that’s only $42, that’s impressive!
Brand: Dr Grabow
Model: Big Pipe
Length: 5.70 in. / 144.78 mm.
Height: 2.18 in. / 55.40 mm.
Weight: 2.0 oz. / 58 g.
Bowl Depth: 1.77 in. / 45.04 mm.
Bowl Outside Diameter: 1.66 in. / 42.23 mm.
Bowl Inside Diameter: 0.91 in. / 23.30 mm.
Bowl Material: Briar
Stem Material: Plastic
Package: Bubble Pack
Time Owned: 1 Year
Preferred Tobacco Blend for this Pipe: Ribbon Cut Burley is best like 5 Brothers for instance, but I like just about everything in it. I’d say the worst thing you could put in it is a flake if it’s not rubbed out well.
Score: 4/4 Stars Sturdy. Reliable. A good smoker that you don’t have to concern yourself with. Slightly dull aesthetics but I decided not to remove a point for that.