Vauen: Pipe of the Year 2022
Vauen began with Karl Ellenberger and Carl August Ziener founding Germany's first pipe factory. Some fifty years later, that company merged with Gebhard Ott, another Nuremberg-based pipe-making factory, to form Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nürnber, or, Nuremberg United Pipe Factories, with Ernst Eckert of the Ott family soon taking leadership. The firm's full name was a bit of mouthful, even for native German speakers; hence why we know it today simply as Vauen, a phonetic abbreviation-of-an-abbreviation, derived from the first and last letters of VPFN. Since that turn-of-the-century merger, Vauen has remained Germany's oldest marque, led by one generation after another of Eckerts. They aren't just the oldest in the game either -- they're the most popular choice for pipe smokers in their native land, which is no small feat; Germany boasts an unusually large population of those who enjoy a good tobacco pipe. It is for this reason that many makers from other countries specially produce, just for the German market, series of pipes that will take a 9mm charcoal filter, itself a Vauen innovation.