Don't even think of offering him a pipe. He prefers to buy them himself, almost always being alone.
The pipe smoker will lose all his time examining shapes and qualities. He will place in a row many of them, will caress them, will admire them and will abruptly finalize his decision. This procedure seems rarely logical, even to connoisseurs.
He will almost never buy only one new pipe. Pipes usually go in pairs.
The reason is that the smoker gets excited with every new piece of his collection. The first months (when the pipes get "layered") are the most critical and unpleasant of a pipe's life. Thus, the only solution for not "pushing" his new present is to use not only one, but two, or three, or even four...
Most pipe smokers end up, with the years, repeating a favorite shape, with very small changes.
Their friends (specially their wives...) turn crazy the way they spend a lot of money for a piece similar to all the others accumulated though the years.
He will certainly have worshiped some of the "temples" of the sport:
- Savinelli in Milan, at the same spot for 116 years
- Astley's, in London, where Harold Wilson used to shop
- Carmignani in Rome, where one can find the largest collection of Mastro de Paja pipes
- Cooke's in Oxford.
- Also famous are the Davidoff pipes, the Irish Peterson pipes and the Greek Alexander Briar pipes.
The relation of the pipe smoker to his pipes is strictly personal and irreplaceable for each one of them.
Because, with the use, each pipe acquires her own features. With time, one learns how to smoke her better.
He never lends her.
Each pipe, according to the quality and the thickness of the wood, is used to different temperatures and "intensities" of smoking. The pipe's getting to a foreigh mouth is a sacrilege.
The professional smokers use different pipes for different kinds of tobacco.
Because the final pleasure is the result of the osmosis of the wood and the tobacco. The layer of compacted "mud" (also called "carbon"), which covers and protects the inner part of the bowl, has always a specific taste, acquired by the tobacco. Hence, the change in tobacco disturbs the taste "balance" of the pipe. Do not think, however, that pipe smoking depends on well-kept secrets, which have to be revealed to a pipe-smoker-to-be. It is just a matter of habit.
You will also run into the complaint "well, OK with pipe smoking, but one has to carry all that stuff: second pipe, tobacco sacks, cleaning stuff, small knifes...". This is right, but one will find a way to deal with it. After all, what does all this matter, if one enjoys the taste...