Tamp&Puff member-recommended eBay sellers →  bobus  •  great estate-pipes  •  Judd  •  irishlefty  •  knobby  •  pipestud  •  shiny pipes  •  secondhandsmoker

Carey's African Meers ...review

Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Falconeer » Thu May 09, 2013 5:18 pm

As most of you know, I have always had a soft spot for African Meers and lamented greatly when Laxey’s Pipe Factory in the Isle of Man closed down at the turn of the present century after the supplies of Tanzanian Meerschaum had dried up.

It was long known that there were deposits of Meerschaum to be found in Somalia but as it is often delicately put, “due to the political situation there, regular supplies of the mineral cannot be readily obtained.”

It is greatly to E.A.Carey’s credit that the firm managed to obtain blocks of Meerschaum from this troubled land – at I suspect some risk – and had them carved into pipes.

But why do I have this liking for African Meer? My experience with Turkish Meers has been frankly mixed to the point where I’ve really given up on them.

IMHO many Turkish meerschaums, unless they come from the best carvers, are too small, have restricted airways and fragile connectors making them “difficult smokers.” Though by and large Turkish Meerschaum pipes are lighter in weight, they are also much more prone to breakage. African Meerschaum pipes have the clay finished differently, are tougher and more robust and have more open airways.

So what did I think of the two new full bent African Meerschaums I ordered from Carey’s last month, and found awaiting me upon my return from Spain – one in smooth and one in rusticated finish?”

On opening the box I was delighted with the appearance of both pipes with their characteristic black finished top shading down to a golden sunshine tone. As is to be expected with African Meer, slight tool marks could be noticed here and there, but nothing that caused me concern.

Tactilely both pipes felt good in the hand, were perfectly balanced when clenched and were fitted with comfortable stem/mouthpiece units. Even with the supplied 9mm filters installed the draw was free – though to my mind noticeably improved when I’d removed the filters.

While I do not like over large pipes, I do like a bowl where I can insert a forefinger all the way down and still have space left around it in case I wish to allow a little cake to develop. Both pipes passed this, and the “pipe cleaner test.”

Now before I go on, I know some will say a Meer should never be allowed to build up cake as it will cause the pipe to crack. I have done a lot of research into Meers and will say that as late as 1910 there can be found articles maintaining that a Meer will not colour properly unless some cake is allowed to build. And then again there is my friend Harry – his late wife gave him two Peterson System African Meers in 1982 and he has been smoking them with Borkum Riff ever since. They possess cake; they have not cracked and Harry puffs his pipe energetically.

The real test of any pipe of course is how does it smoke! I filled the rustic with Amphora Full Aromatic and lit up. As usual I allowed the pipe to go out, tamped down the tobacco lightly and relit. Smoking slowly, the pipe bowl’s outer only warmed slightly and allowed the full flavour of this lovely old tobacco to come through. I loved the pipe. Ditto the smooth finish pipe, which behaves the same but runs slightly warmer – really as you would expect.

I have smoked both pipes turn about for a week now and am delighted with them. Unbelievably to me, they are even beginning to colour after this short time of being smoked regularly – there is a definite dark orange/ blood red shade clearly showing down the stem in creeping into the side of the bowl.

The only changes I would recommend Carey’s make would be (1) to perhaps include a leaflet with each pipe explaining the extraordinary way the Meer was found, shipped out of Somalia and where the carving was done – most pipe smokers would like to feel associated in some way with this venture, and (2) ship a 9mm filter adaptor with each pipe – a lot of us hate filters in pipes!

Happy smoking whatever your preference

Gerry
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
User avatar
Falconeer
 
Posts: 3332
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:46 pm
Location: Mijas Southern Spain/Northumberland England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby englanddave » Thu May 09, 2013 5:29 pm

Great post Gerry very informative, glad to hear it's already starting to colour
Dave

“A pipe is to the troubled soul what caresses of a mother are for her suffering child.”
-Indian Proverb
User avatar
englanddave
Supporting Member
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:47 pm
Location: sunny cornwall. uk

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby RompinDonkey » Thu May 09, 2013 6:13 pm

Interesting about the cake helping a meer to colour. The only meer that I have fully coloured is a Jambo. (Which I believe is African meer). I always allowed this one to cake up, and reamed as and when required.

My other meers have been "mollycoddled" and although colouring, I probably won't live long enough to see them fully coloured.

Mysterious little buggers these meers ... :)
Alan

God grant me the Serenity, to buy the bacca that I need;
Courage to refrain from buying bacca that I won't like; and Wisdom to know the difference.
User avatar
RompinDonkey
Moderator, Plank Owner, and Supporting Member
Moderator, Plank Owner, and Supporting Member
 
Posts: 4281
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:29 pm
Location: Coventry & Stoke on Trent, England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Falconeer » Thu May 09, 2013 6:30 pm

They can drive you up the wall Alan - 3 years on and my "Sherlock Holmes" carved meer has barely thought about colouring...but I can't send it to Pipe Heaven as Rhona comissioned it for me...left it in Spain though!

Really cannot believe the speed this is going at - I've never even had a Turkish one that showed as much so quickly...not smoking anything special in it, just mainly Carey's Bruno Mix which has been jarred for about 18 months....and the things been smoked three times a day when I've not been out walking.
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
User avatar
Falconeer
 
Posts: 3332
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:46 pm
Location: Mijas Southern Spain/Northumberland England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby RompinDonkey » Thu May 09, 2013 6:39 pm

The more I hear about meers and how to treat them, the more I start thinking "just treat them as any other pipe". My Jambo is a really nice dark yellow colour, all over.

And then there is that story that I have told time and time again about a heavy smoker who never actually smoked his meer, just had it on a shelf. Over a few years it coloured beautifully - from the smoke in the air of the room.

Who knows?

I do find it a bit of a pain in the arse holding my newer meers (which I am attempting to colour) by their stems, to avoid removing any wax. I have rewaxed meers in the past and it is very easy. I might just say "sod it", and let cake build up, handle them, and just treat them like a briar.

But if I let cake build, will the meer start to "ghost". I think that it probably would. It is nice being able to smoke aro's and va's in the same pipe without any cross over of flavours.
Alan

God grant me the Serenity, to buy the bacca that I need;
Courage to refrain from buying bacca that I won't like; and Wisdom to know the difference.
User avatar
RompinDonkey
Moderator, Plank Owner, and Supporting Member
Moderator, Plank Owner, and Supporting Member
 
Posts: 4281
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:29 pm
Location: Coventry & Stoke on Trent, England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Dodger » Thu May 09, 2013 9:04 pm

RompinDonkey wrote:

Mysterious little buggers these meers ... :)


I was informed many years ago that the African meers are treated with oil to make them resistant to damage ,this gives them their distinctive colour .

But as has been said on many threads they colour at their own pace no matter how much they cost or what is smoked in them .
Dodger
Supporting Member
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 6773
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:31 am
Location: Bristol UK

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby SidStavros » Thu May 09, 2013 9:13 pm

Falconeer: Very interesting post,thank you for the informations.I tried 2 times to buy an estate African Meerschaum but i lost in biding.I have some Meerschaums from turkey but i am still looking for an Afrikan.
User avatar
SidStavros
 
Posts: 3271
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 8:40 am
Location: Athens - Greece

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Falconeer » Thu May 09, 2013 9:24 pm

Don't know if Carey's will have any left - when they first got some in a Christmas they sold as soon as the catalogue came out - but try E.A.Carey Europe.

You may have to join another Forum if you don't know Earl, who posts as Strongirish, but he sells quite a lot of estate pipes - I have dealt with him several times before to my complete satisfaction and actually have just got a Petersons "Leopard Pattern" silver mounted African Meer from him in addition to the two Careys. Have spent an enjoyable couple of days with boiling water, Bartender's Friend and metal polish restoring it and it has come up beautifully ( left cables in Spain so I can't transer pix to this computer or I'd post one )

Again no commercial connection with Earl but PM me if you need more info
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
User avatar
Falconeer
 
Posts: 3332
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:46 pm
Location: Mijas Southern Spain/Northumberland England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby gnossos » Thu May 09, 2013 11:41 pm

Very cool! I had a Pete african meer that sometimes I wish I had hung on to. It smoked a bit wet at times, but I liked it!

You're right about Turkish meers though... I have one and only have it because it's related to Boston. I smokes like junk. I've never smoked a Turkish meer that I liked and I've had a few. Same issues you describe. Tempted to send it off to see if opening it up will help, but I think I just love briar and that's all there is to it.

Maybe I'll pull it out tonight just to be sure, though.
gnossos
Plank Owner
Plank Owner
 
Posts: 1580
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby BladeBoy » Thu May 09, 2013 11:48 pm

I'm a big fan of African meers too.
User avatar
BladeBoy
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:00 am
Location: The Space Coast, FL

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby RompinDonkey » Thu May 09, 2013 11:54 pm

gnossos wrote:Very cool! I had a Pete african meer that sometimes I wish I had hung on to. It smoked a bit wet at times, but I liked it!

You're right about Turkish meers though... I have one and only have it because it's related to Boston. I smokes like junk. I've never smoked a Turkish meer that I liked and I've had a few. Same issues you describe. Tempted to send it off to see if opening it up will help, but I think I just love briar and that's all there is to it.

Maybe I'll pull it out tonight just to be sure, though.


I really don't think that you can dismiss Turkish Meer like that.
Alan

God grant me the Serenity, to buy the bacca that I need;
Courage to refrain from buying bacca that I won't like; and Wisdom to know the difference.
User avatar
RompinDonkey
Moderator, Plank Owner, and Supporting Member
Moderator, Plank Owner, and Supporting Member
 
Posts: 4281
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:29 pm
Location: Coventry & Stoke on Trent, England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby gnossos » Fri May 10, 2013 1:07 am

I'm not, it's been around and popular for so long because some people love it. I just haven't found the one for me and I don't know if I will. When I say "I've had a few" that means "I've had three". A few.
gnossos
Plank Owner
Plank Owner
 
Posts: 1580
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Dodger » Fri May 10, 2013 7:20 am

SidStavros wrote:Falconeer: Very interesting post,thank you for the informations.I tried 2 times to buy an estate African Meerschaum but i lost in biding.I have some Meerschaums from turkey but i am still looking for an Afrikan.

There are usually quite a few posted on Ebay UK at any one time ,but you would have to check if they sell internationally .
Dodger
Supporting Member
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 6773
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:31 am
Location: Bristol UK

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Frizz » Sat May 11, 2013 12:25 am

Congrats Gerry - I hope that Carey turns out to be a fine smoker for you. :mrgreen:

A couple of my personal favourites are African meers as well - a Jambo banker and an old Peterson billiard.

Enjoy it in good health & good company!

ImageImage
-Chris
User avatar
Frizz
 
Posts: 1103
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:55 pm
Location: Lake Tahoe, California

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby SidStavros » Sat May 11, 2013 9:36 am

Falconeer wrote:You may have to join another Forum if you don't know Earl, who posts as Strongirish,


I know him from other forums,i found 2 African Meerschaum from Denmark from a collector but then i had problem with my credit card limit.I am still trying,thank you. ;)
User avatar
SidStavros
 
Posts: 3271
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 8:40 am
Location: Athens - Greece

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Falconeer » Sat May 11, 2013 10:05 am

Frizz - love them both but particularly the Peterson Billiard! Cannot sadly post any pix of mine til I get back to Spain where I left the camera cables as I have discovered.

Have to say I am really enjoying the Carey's meer though and am frankly astonished at the speed at which colour is emerging!

Happy smoking all!
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
User avatar
Falconeer
 
Posts: 3332
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:46 pm
Location: Mijas Southern Spain/Northumberland England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby SeaMist13 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:12 pm

DawnMist13.
On reading Gerry's post reference Somali Meerschaums. I contacted E:A Carey and ordered a Sunset Red.
I fully endorse his findings on the performance of these pipes, in fact after a week using it. I ordered two
more. They arrived today- A Smooth Polished Bent and a Rustic Bent. With regards looks - the Rustic was near perfect, the Smooth Polished was not, having at least eight smallish infills in the bowl. Both Pipes were fitted
with 9mm filter. The Sunset Red Pipe is without this fitting.
On lighting up I found they where equal in smoking qualities as one would expect. The draw was easy, cool dry
taste of tobacco and each sat comfortably in the hand. Although each is different in appearance, they are
identical in use.
Apart from the in-fills - I am very pleased with the purchases.
I believe Carey's still have a few left for anyone interested.
There is not much else I can say, Falconeer gave a very comprehensive essay on the subject. I'm glad I read
it, even if my Credit Card did take a trashing.
SeaMist13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 9:27 pm

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Falconeer » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:10 pm

Yes traditionally African meers were made from clay in what is now Tanzania formerly Tanganyka previously German East Africa but sadly the deposits became exhausted around 2000ad. The Somalia stuff has always been there but the political situation rendered mining and exporting it difficult to put it mildly! There does appear to be more impurities in the Somalia stuff than the Tanzanian and this either shows up as blueish spots or fills. - they still smoke fine though.

Good used African Meers do come up regularly on Ebay ( have just snagged a half bent diamond stemmed Rhodesian for a song and eagerly awaiting seeing it when I get back to the UK around the end of April.)
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
User avatar
Falconeer
 
Posts: 3332
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:46 pm
Location: Mijas Southern Spain/Northumberland England

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby Dodger » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:31 pm

Falconeer wrote:Good used African Meers do come up regularly on Ebay ( have just snagged a half bent diamond stemmed Rhodesian for a song and eagerly awaiting seeing it when I get back to the UK around the end of April.)

If you are a Jammy Dodger you sometimes get unsmoked ones :D
Dodger
Supporting Member
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 6773
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:31 am
Location: Bristol UK

Re: Carey's African Meers ...review

Postby noodle » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:04 pm

Dodger wrote:
Falconeer wrote:Good used African Meers do come up regularly on Ebay ( have just snagged a half bent diamond stemmed Rhodesian for a song and eagerly awaiting seeing it when I get back to the UK around the end of April.)

If you are a Jammy Dodger you sometimes get unsmoked ones :D


not quite unsmoked but the meer was still unstained and no build up of tar in the stem

and its mine muhahaha
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/141298630378? ... 1497.l2649


i thought petersons were laxeys. as are im tempted to say barlings?

ive only the three but i do plan on addressing that over the next few years as i find ones i can love
in real life im known as john woods
User avatar
noodle
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:27 pm
Location: st helens

Next

Return to Non-briar pipes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest