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Thread: The China Syndrome

  1. #1
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    The China Syndrome

    Just putting this out there... We're all aware that China and other Asian countries are now a relatively new and hungry market for pipes and tobacco. We've already seen impacts on the supply of both. Chris has mentioned how when he was having trouble acquiring a particular British-made blend the tobacconist (GQ?) told him that the Asian market was absorbing it just about as fast as it was being produced. So, this isn't new news, but I think things may be getting more critical than we (or at least, I) realized.

    Over the weekend, I learned two things that would appear to support that claim...

    1. Master meerschaum carver, Fikri Baki, will be exclusively supplying his work to a Chinese wholesaler for the foreseeable future. This means, no new Baki meerschaum for the rest of the world unless you purchase from China or the situation changes. Sinan Altinok also confirmed that Medet Kara, Sevket Gezer, Kudret Gezer, I. Baglan and Tekin have signed similar deals.

    2. Three new Samuel Gawith blends were introduced exclusively for the Chinese market...



    These will not be available even with the country that they were made, though some members of the Pipe Club of London did manage to land a few samples.

    I also suspect that the recent dirth of British blends on American shores is largely due to the fact that we are now secondary to the Asian market, especially due to the new and pricey U.S. regulations.

    Now, don't misunderstand what I'm getting at. I harbor no ill will toward out Chinese pipe brethren at all. Those guys deserve access to premium pipes and tobacco as much as the rest of us. I'm just pointing out that the landscape is changing beneath our feet and the tectonic shifts may be larger and faster than we had previously expected.
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  2. #2
    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piffyr View Post
    Just putting this out there... We're all aware that China and other Asian countries are now a relatively new and hungry market for pipes and tobacco. We've already seen impacts on the supply of both. Chris has mentioned how when he was having trouble acquiring a particular British-made blend the tobacconist (GQ?) told him that the Asian market was absorbing it just about as fast as it was being produced. So, this isn't new news, but I think things may be getting more critical than we (or at least, I) realized.

    Over the weekend, I learned two things that would appear to support that claim...

    1. Master meerschaum carver, Fikri Baki, will be exclusively supplying his work to a Chinese wholesaler for the foreseeable future. This means, no new Baki meerschaum for the rest of the world unless you purchase from China or the situation changes. Sinan Altinok also confirmed that Medet Kara, Sevket Gezer, Kudret Gezer, I. Baglan and Tekin have signed similar deals.

    2. Three new Samuel Gawith blends were introduced exclusively for the Chinese market...



    These will not be available even with the country that they were made, though some members of the Pipe Club of London did manage to land a few samples.

    I also suspect that the recent dirth of British blends on American shores is largely due to the fact that we are now secondary to the Asian market, especially due to the new and pricey U.S. regulations.

    Now, don't misunderstand what I'm getting at. I harbor no ill will toward out Chinese pipe brethren at all. Those guys deserve access to premium pipes and tobacco as much as the rest of us. I'm just pointing out that the landscape is changing beneath our feet and the tectonic shifts may be larger and faster than we had previously expected.
    Thanks, Anthony, I am sure that the items you refer to represent just the tip of a large and growing iceberg.

    The seller I mentioned was mysmoking shop - the biggest e-tailer in the UK - not GQ. For anyone wishing to source the rich, dark ambrosia made in St Helier, Glynn's old shop still seems to have plentiful supplies.

  3. #3
    PSU Member Rockbass's Avatar
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    Frightening information Anthony! I smoke a lot of SG & GH tobaccos.
    I can resist anything but temptation.

  4. #4
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugugly View Post
    Thanks, Anthony, I am sure that the items you refer to represent just the tip of a large and growing iceberg.

    The seller I mentioned was mysmoking shop - the biggest e-tailer in the UK - not GQ. For anyone wishing to source the rich, dark ambrosia made in St Helier, Glynn's old shop still seems to have plentiful supplies.
    Ah. Thanks for correcting me, Chris. I couldn't recall with any reliability.
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  5. #5
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockbass View Post
    Frightening information Anthony! I smoke a lot of SG & GH tobaccos.
    I did, but now I'm treating most of those blends as white whales unless the tides shift. In the entire calendar year of 2018, I can only remember there being two resupplies of both brands. Most of the first was gone within a couple of weeks and most of the second was gone within a few of days. There's still time left for another supply drop, but I expect it to go even faster if it does. There's still some good Gawith stuff to be found if you look around though and I might try to slide in a Christmas gift for myself if I can get it past Mrs. Claus' spy elves.

    I think I'll be concentrating more on the American producers in the coming year. They seem to be the safest bet. Mac Baren is has some nice blends, Sutliff has done some impressive things this past year and C&D/GLP is always reliable. None of it quite has the magnificent funk that the Gawith boys bring though.
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  6. #6
    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piffyr View Post
    Ah. Thanks for correcting me, Chris. I couldn't recall with any reliability.
    You never pay attention to my posts!

    Schweinhund!


    minger.jpg


    Having got that off my chest, I feel better now!
    Last edited by plugugly; 11-21-2018 at 18:35.

  7. #7
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    I also notice that those new SG blends have names that have instant recognition to tourists of the UK. I think they were designed to speak to the Asian fascination with western culture. Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle comes to mind. I fully expect C&D to release "Cowboy Cob" to an exclusively Asian audience in the coming year.
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  8. #8
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugugly View Post
    You never pay attention to my posts!

    Schweinhund!


    minger.jpg
    Don't be offended, Chris. I don't pay attention to anyone else's posts but my own. This place is just a sounding board for my own thoughts and opinions. Didn't you know?
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  9. #9
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    Also,.. dirth?!

    Man, I am such an idiot.

    Is that even a word? Why doesn't my spell checker catch it? Can someone please define "dirth" for me?
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    I knew that Chicken Little was wrong about the sky falling. It's the earth beneath our feet that's collapsing, even as we watch the skies. This "flakes fleeing to China" syndrome is an apt metaphor for many things, and just a symptom.

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