You’re out on the town, hanging out at the latest, hippest bars. You reach for your special herbal tobacco blend… what are you going to smoke it in?
The Silver Palm Leaf has got to be one of the most eye-catching hand pipes I’ve seen in a while. Imagine a metal slab about the dimensions of a credit card, less than a quarter-inch thick. On top, you have a raised ring that forms the edges of the bowl, making for a surprisingly capacious combustion chamber. Inside, you have a series of channels cut into the metal to guide the smoke from the bowl to your mouth along a meandering and cooling path. The pipe’s bottom is actually a thin stainless steel plate, held on by magnets — it pops out with a fingernail inserted into a notch on one end, for complete access to any internal surfaces that require cleaning. Indeed, the SPL is one slick mofo, one of the few hand pipes I’ve seen that actually shows signs of creative engineering. It’s guaranteed to grab attention and compliments.
So how does it smoke? Fairly well. The aforementioned channels, in combination with the metallic nature of the pipe, give the smoke a surprisingly long (for the pipe’s size) travel path, along a highly heat-conductive material. Unlike most wooden pipes, you’ll hardly get that hot scratch on the back of your throat. The intricate nature of the pipe’s guts make it a harder draw than traditional models.
Where the Silver Palm Leaf excels is in cleaning. The pipe easily disassembles into two pieces without the need of tools, and any internal surface which might get dirty or clogged is completely exposed for a thorough swabbing. This is the only pipe I’ve ever seen that you can return to its pristine, new condition, and it allows you to do so without much fuss or complication.
Drawbacks? There’s a couple. First, the price — it’s significantly higher than its wood or glass counterparts. This might be offset by the pipe’s sleek style, but that is more a personal decision than anything. There is also an interesting problem with the thin backing plate: it will absorb a lot of heat, especially under the bowl, where the flame from a lighter ends up. Watch your fingers and thumb; I got a blister for my carelessness. And finally, sucking on a pipe the rough size and shape of a credit card makes you look not unlike a malfunctioning ATM machine.
The high price might make some balk, but others will find it a fair compromise for the pipe’s unique looks, indestructible nature, and facility of cleaning. Check out your local tobacco supplies store.