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Savinelli Punto Oro (an unfair and hopefully ongoing review)

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#1
I'm a little fussy about pipes, I've gotten rid of more than I can remember, and slowly migrated to where really the only pipes I buy are Castellos because the are dead reliable as smokers, and if the stem is clunky, I can fix it, really.

But they are awful expensive as a "hey maybe I'll buy a pipe this weekend" sort of pipe.

So I thought I'd take a run at this here billiard: punto.jpg

This is a 200 dollar pipe. Still pricey, but this is theoretically a sort of Savinelli equivalent in terms of quality to a Castello. I liked the size and shape, and the briar looked like a nice piece. It's at my house exactly 1 week after I ordered it from the Guzzi Sas store on eBay. He shipped it inside 24 hours, courier.

In hand, a beautiful pipe, well drilled, nice even blast (and blast faded right to the stem, a classy look). The gold dot is just a hair off center. Alas!

I did a little measuring on similarly sized pipes, just for gigglies.

At the button, the Savinelli stem (hand cut) is .168" (4.3mm). BST reject is .152" (3.9mm) and the Castello is .188" (4.9mm). So the Sav is not quite American Artisan standard (4mm or less, in some cases a lot less) but it's noticeably thinner than the Castello.

IMG_7004.JPG

Savinelli, BST, Castello, top to bottom. (Notice the brown gunk building up in the very "horizontal" Castello slot - a condensation point). Slot in the Sav is a decent, clean V, a lot like an Ascorti. Again not up to American hand-cut standards, but again, this is a 200 dollar pipe, not a 500 dollar pipe.

Castello airway is a train-tunnel at 11/64, the BST 5/32, and the Sav is cut at more like 9/64 in the stummel. All three stems are restricted inside at about the same amount - you can pull about the same air through them and they look very very similar in terms of the actual "smallest part", wherever that occurs.

The Punto comes with Sav's 6mm Balsa and I left it in for the first smoke. I won't again, it does restrict the draw a little, but more importantly it makes it so I can't get a pipe cleaner to the bowl if I need to. Grr!

How's it smoke? Just fine, really tasty. I suspect the briar is treated with something... the bowl was VERY smooth and dark.... gum arabic? Shellac? I dunno. But Castellos get a similar treatment... slight sweetness, slight chemical on the first burn. Not nasty though. It's a lovely piece of briar, really nice even density, and pretty light given what a big pipe it actually is (45 grams all in). The Brown Clunee tasted good all the way down - had one little whiff of burning briar, and it wasn't sharp, just a little "woody" - indicating well cured briar.

This is a good quality pipe, and for a purchase price under 200 bucks, it's tough not to like it. Other than maybe Radice, I can't think of too many "big name" pipes at this price point that would be of as good a quality as this.

Next smokes will be with the adapter tube (and without) provided by Savinelli.

Then I'll tinker the thing proper and see if I can't turn this pipe into a real killer. So my hope is to report back here a half dozen times as I beat the "new" out of this pipe, and we'll learn if the Punto Oro is a good value or a gimmick.
 

Ronv69

Well-known member
Sales
Patron
#6
I'm a little fussy about pipes, I've gotten rid of more than I can remember, and slowly migrated to where really the only pipes I buy are Castellos because the are dead reliable as smokers, and if the stem is clunky, I can fix it, really.

But they are awful expensive as a "hey maybe I'll buy a pipe this weekend" sort of pipe.

So I thought I'd take a run at this here billiard: View attachment 19972

This is a 200 dollar pipe. Still pricey, but this is theoretically a sort of Savinelli equivalent in terms of quality to a Castello. I liked the size and shape, and the briar looked like a nice piece. It's at my house exactly 1 week after I ordered it from the Guzzi Sas store on eBay. He shipped it inside 24 hours, courier.

In hand, a beautiful pipe, well drilled, nice even blast (and blast faded right to the stem, a classy look). The gold dot is just a hair off center. Alas!

I did a little measuring on similarly sized pipes, just for gigglies.

At the button, the Savinelli stem (hand cut) is .168" (4.3mm). BST reject is .152" (3.9mm) and the Castello is .188" (4.9mm). So the Sav is not quite American Artisan standard (4mm or less, in some cases a lot less) but it's noticeably thinner than the Castello.

View attachment 19973

Savinelli, BST, Castello, top to bottom. (Notice the brown gunk building up in the very "horizontal" Castello slot - a condensation point). Slot in the Sav is a decent, clean V, a lot like an Ascorti. Again not up to American hand-cut standards, but again, this is a 200 dollar pipe, not a 500 dollar pipe.

Castello airway is a train-tunnel at 11/64, the BST 5/32, and the Sav is cut at more like 9/64 in the stummel. All three stems are restricted inside at about the same amount - you can pull about the same air through them and they look very very similar in terms of the actual "smallest part", wherever that occurs.

The Punto comes with Sav's 6mm Balsa and I left it in for the first smoke. I won't again, it does restrict the draw a little, but more importantly it makes it so I can't get a pipe cleaner to the bowl if I need to. Grr!

How's it smoke? Just fine, really tasty. I suspect the briar is treated with something... the bowl was VERY smooth and dark.... gum arabic? Shellac? I dunno. But Castellos get a similar treatment... slight sweetness, slight chemical on the first burn. Not nasty though. It's a lovely piece of briar, really nice even density, and pretty light given what a big pipe it actually is (45 grams all in). The Brown Clunee tasted good all the way down - had one little whiff of burning briar, and it wasn't sharp, just a little "woody" - indicating well cured briar.

This is a good quality pipe, and for a purchase price under 200 bucks, it's tough not to like it. Other than maybe Radice, I can't think of too many "big name" pipes at this price point that would be of as good a quality as this.

Next smokes will be with the adapter tube (and without) provided by Savinelli.

Then I'll tinker the thing proper and see if I can't turn this pipe into a real killer. So my hope is to report back here a half dozen times as I beat the "new" out of this pipe, and we'll learn if the Punto Oro is a good value or a gimmick.
I think the older Punto Oros are fantastic. I have a half dozen and every one is a keeper. I can't speak to the new ones, out of my price range.
And Radice isn't a big company. I believe it's still just the three of them turning out about 30 pipes a week.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#12
Smoking some dusty old Norwood with the tube in it.... I was curious about the fit, and I am surprised at how tight that tube fits (like, it's touching the mortise floor, it's actually a half mm too long)), but the draw is super smooth and the pipe is smoking far nicer than it did last night, night and day for the draw and for moisture (like none now). So as much as that block of Balsa did soak up a ton of juice, it also created the ton of juice in the first place I guess. I do think those filters might be good for an absolute newbie though, who is likely to over-draw on a pipe anyhow. But I can't see an experienced pipe smoker thinking that they improve anything.
 

leacha

░░░░░
Patron
#13
Smoking some dusty old Norwood with the tube in it.... I was curious about the fit, and I am surprised at how tight that tube fits (like, it's touching the mortise floor, it's actually a half mm too long)), but the draw is super smooth and the pipe is smoking far nicer than it did last night, night and day for the draw and for moisture (like none now). So as much as that block of Balsa did soak up a ton of juice, it also created the ton of juice in the first place I guess. I do think those filters might be good for an absolute newbie though, who is likely to over-draw on a pipe anyhow. But I can't see an experienced pipe smoker thinking that they improve anything.
I was thinking the same thing with my Dry Systems. I assumed it was just condensation from smoking outside. But then, same blend in my Falcon. Dry. Same blend in Peterson 313 system, some gurgle. Rossi 122 pot. Dry.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#14
It's real sad that the "space race" of pipe manufacturing was to invent stupid gimmicky nonsense for the most part - reverse double helix super-stingers.... and they're all crapola. They all cause a problem. Make a simple pipe with reasonably good tolerances and a little care on the inside and voila.... smokes like a dream. I think part of it is that even cheap filters make pipe companies a lot of money - it's an ongoing expense, a buck or three here or there for Brigham, Savinelli, etc as guys replace these things. The aluminum stingers I never could figure out. It's like.... almost a good idea, but not.
 

John Lawitzke

Well-known member
#19
Do the make any that are not drilled for the filters?
Not in the standard shape numbers. Those are turned and then grade sorted.

If you find a hand made ( Punto Oro and Guibileo d’Oro are hand finished) such as an Autograph or Artisan that is listed as 3mm then its unfiltered with normal mortise and tenon. I have two Autograph Mignon pipes that I bought new in Chicago this year that are like that. A blasted Autograph Mignon is about $200 at SP.
 

leacha

░░░░░
Patron
#20
Not in the standard shape numbers. Those are turned and then grade sorted.

If you find a hand made ( Punto Oro and Guibileo d’Oro are hand finished) such as an Autograph or Artisan that is listed as 3mm then its unfiltered with normal mortise and tenon. I have two Autograph Mignon pipes that I bought new in Chicago this year that are like that. A blasted Autograph Mignon is about $200 at SP.
Thanx I figured the Autographs were.