My brother is in the industry so if I really wanted to I could possibly meet this vixen (who spends time in LA) but some things are best left to the imagination. I have played tennis with some Hollywooders and discovered that they're just people, and quite boring. Why risk doing that with an ideal?
I would think that something made to order would be a better option
Most probably not. As CC will attest, I have spent years dealing with custom-made stuff and, with very few exceptions (suits, shoes etc), things done in a small factory setting are usually the best. ie. CNC vs hand-made, CNC wins every time. Rod technology and advanced materials (eg: titanium helix in kevlar) and the expensive machines required to properly shape these are outside the realm of a one-off shop. Besides, pretty much every custom rodcrafter buys his blanks from an indifferent supplier. It's like so many "high-end" watches these days. Same movement, different face. Loomis claims they have great blanks. Rubbish. They sometimes stuff newspaper in uncured blanks to bolster them. Their mandrels are all symmetrical (yawn). Sure, there are exotic shops in exotic locations offering whimsical looking rods. Novelty appeals to the hoi polloi, not me. I have scoured the earth (metaphorically) looking for the best and I have found it in Megabass. The one-piece Megabass Aaron Martens Limited rod I have is to die for. As mentioned earlier, Kistler (check out their Helium II, 3oz!!!!) is the second best I have found. I ain't married to Yuki Ito. If Joe Blow in Bangaladesh made a better rod I'd buy it. But it'd be a cold day in hell before that happened.
On another note, you mention Van Staal. I had tried these reels out a few times over the years and always found them to be extremely heavy, ergonomically challenged, and lubricated with mollasses. What's up with this company? Re Singapore, no Megabass presence, I'm afraid.
Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of a Christmas in Sienna (not Italy)