Well, it’s the end of April, always an exciting time for Peterson fans as the company launches its new product lines. If the brochure I received from Tom Palmer earlier this week is any indication, this is going to be an outstanding year for the company. Peterson is debuting no less than seven new lines, not counting the Pipe of the Year, the Christmas pipe, and the Father’s Day.
As you look through the new offerings, remember these pipes aren’t out yet, except for a stray Pipe of the Year or two in Ireland, so don’t worry your distributor or pipe shop yet. Just keep an eye out or ear to the ground and they should come over the horizon here in the U.S. by late May or the middle of June, maybe even earlier.
(1) Champagne Spigot
As the name would indicate, this is a high-grade new line. It’s got a medium-brown smooth finish and acrylic champagne-colored sterling spigot mouthpiece. The army spigot goes back to the 1906 catalog, as I’m sure you’ve heard me say, but was not re-introduced by Peterson until the late 1970s.
If you’re new to the idea of the army (or spigot) pipe, the main thing you need to know is that these are extremely rugged pipes: you can break them down, hot or cold, leaving the stem separated for as long as you like without harming the integrity of the pipe. I’m thinking someone needs to make a small field pouch to carry one around disassembled. Maybe this is something Neil Flancbaum at Smokin’ Holsters could do? 12 shapes.
(2) Pipe of the Year (shape D20)
Somewhere I heard that Conor Palmer wanted each year’s POY to be substantially different from the one offered the year before. If true, he certainly made that a reality in the contrast between last year’s 150th Anniversary Founders Edition, an XXL Oom-Paul, and this year’s slender chimney.
Peterson made a few one-off chimneys back toward the mid-twentieth century, always quarter-bent and usually with very small chamber geometries. This is the first genuine straight chimney shape they’ve ever made. It looks fantastic, even quite unique among pipe shapes today. It reminds me a bit of a deflated Tom Eltang Tubos. Once you see it, in fact, it’s a little difficult to get out of your mind. It is offered with vulcanite stem, according to James Fox at Pipe Divan, who has a couple of them in as I write this. Here’s the measurements given for the smooth version:
Bowl Depth: 50mm
Inside Diameter: 19mm
I’m curious to know if anyone has experience in smoking a straight chimney: how does it compare to a more traditional bowl geometry? Is it difficult to keep lit during the last third of the bowl? In smooth, rustic, and sandblast.
(3) Dublin & London
Along with the Supreme, the Dublin & London was one of Peterson’s highest grade lines, appearing not long after the London factory opened in 1937. It always featured a gorgeous honey-color stain with a P-Lip and no band. It was discontinued in 1997, but now reappears.
I was just told the Chicagoland Pipe Show—which is next weekend—is the largest show they’ve ever hosted. In fact, neighboring hotels have had to be booked to accommodate everyone who’s coming. Signs of better times for pipe-smokers, so I’m hoping the “London” part of this line’s name might be prophetic of a renewed enthusiasm for pipe-smoking across the pond as well.
Dublin & London is the only line in Peterson’s history with a reversible name: while the London factory was operational (until about 1962), this line, if manufactured in England, was stamped LONDON & DUBLIN.
The new version looks to do its older sibling proud: the embedded aluminum P in the caramel-colored acrylic fishtail mouthpiece signifies a superior-grade bowl, and the stain color looks very similar to the original Dublin & London. Elegant. 17 shapes.
(4) Orange Army
As you continue your journey through the brochure, you’ll begin to notice ARMY and ACRYLIC are two of the three big words for 2016. The Orange Army is a mid-point line with sterling ferrule and very good briar. Its orange-brown smooth finish and orange acrylic fishtail mouthpiece rock. 12 shapes, including the B64 bent and B65 straight from 2013’s Antique Reproduction collection.
(5) Derry Rustic
Wow! Here’s something very new and different for Peterson. I’m not talking about the nickel ferrule, the milk chocolate acrylic fishtail mouthpiece with hot foil P stamp, nor the rustication, which we’ve seen on earlier lines. What I’m talking about is the shapes: it’s a massive reintroduction of many of the best Bs of the past 30 years. The Killer B shapes are back—and that’s the third big word for 2016.
I’ll let you enjoy perusing the illustration and playing the “Name the Collection Where That Shape Originally Appeared” game. If you can name six of them, I’ll send you a “No Prize” PDF Peterson Tobacco Drying Paper. 25 Shapes.
(Oh, and did I say my Beloved 4s / 309 / XL339 is back?)
(6) Short Classics
Short Classics is one of those great Peterson design language moments where the past informs and inspires the present. The company pioneered this shaping sensibility back in 1945 with a quartet of pipes: the Belgique & Calabash duo (often called “Lady Pipes” in Europe but used by Flake Smokers everywhere) and the Tankard & Barrel duo, which have all been in constant production ever since.
Quite ingeniously to my mind, Peterson has expanded on that idea, adding an additional ten shapes and updating the look with a sterling mount, dark amber-colored acrylic fishtail mouthpiece and hot foil P. Earlier this year we saw the shapes hit the Italian market with a few Kapp Royals and here in the U.S. with the Craftsman line.
Hidden in the shape chart is one labeled the DUBLIN, which we’ve seen in the Churchwarden line of the past few years but is actually shape 124, one of those archetypal Irish shapes. 1973 is the earliest I can trace it in the K&P catalog, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made much earlier in the century, as it was featured in the 1996 Old English Collection.
One last remark: the name of the line actually belies the bowl geometries. While several of them are smaller, just as many—like the D17—are standard, full-size Peterson bowls. 12 shapes.
This is the wild one for me, and fans of the Dracula should love it. It’s got an undeniable beach vibe and should probably be smoked while listening to The Mermen or, for you old dudes, the Beach Boys. Navy stain, nickel mount, yellow acrylic fishtail mouthpiece with hot foil silver P. Surf’s up. 12 shapes.
I hope you’ve made it this far through the blog, because the Roundstone is my favorite of all the new lines. First, it’s got a wonderful blast which just might be that I first noticed on the Lubinski Army Linseed line a few years back, brought to perfection in the tan multi-hue stain of the Lubinski Maigret Commemorative. It’s the best blast on a Peterson in a long time, and the stain intensifies the effect. Added to that blast is a sterling spigot mount and tan-and-pearl swirl acrylic mouthpiece, the spigot serving as a kind of visual hinge between the effect of bowl and stem. As if this weren’t enough, look at the eclectic range of shapes: there’s some marvelous entries here, and again, if you can name six of the collections where any of them originated, I’ll send you my “No-Prize” Peterson Tobacco Drying Paper PDF. 21 shapes.
(9) Christmas Pipe (aka Elf Army)
Back in 2014 (I think) Peterson thought about doing an Army Christmas. If memory serves, they were discouraged by their distributors. Hmm. I guess wiser minds have since prevailed. In any case, we’ve got a very Christmassy warm red smooth bowl with dark green acrylic hot foil P mouthpiece. Look at the great treatment on the XL90 with that shortened stem. Marvelous. No B shapes, but hey, we don’t wanna push our luck here—just happy to see the Army in Elf-Garb, right?