I've desperately wanted to try some top quality Plateaux from Italy, and I've come to think that means going direct to the cutter. Even when going direct, I suspect that the cutters with the big reps keep the best blocks for their best customers (more established pipe makers), and the very best for the super high grade makers.
So, what's an up and coming maker to do? I think I've found a cutter that is not exporting to the US yet, and I've heard that their blocks are as good as the best from the high rep cutters. I'm working on getting some samples. I would love to work my way up the briar food chain a notch or two. Stay tuned.