58. Peterson New Lines for 2017: First Look

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Aside from a pilgrimage up Croag Patrick in County Mayo, followed by a pint of craft beer at the Porterhouse Brewing Co. in Dublin’s Temple Bar (as long as we’re pretending), I believe one of the best ways to celebrate is raise our Petes in humble thanks for all the Irish have given us, including good pipes to smoke.

To give you even more cause for celebration, here’s a first look at the 2017 new product lines from Peterson. I only have official photos at this point, but I’ll follow up with more information in a few weeks. For now, enjoy.


Limited Edition / Pipe of the Year

What could possibly follow the 2016 POY with such great visual contrast, but an homage to Peterson’s original 1906 chubby? I’ve talked about this shape before, but when Peterson made their first reproduction back in the 2005, they used the largest of the original “Jap” shapes. Here they use the medium shape and come closer to the classic forward-canted egg / bell from that catalog. My late friend “Trucker Chuck” Wright, known to many old-time Pete aficionados, had a companion-case set of these originals, one in briar and one in meer, which now sits in Tom Palmer’s office in Sallynoggin.

At first I was hoping for a P-Lip, but looking at that wide bit reminds me of my Italian chubbies from over at Neatpipes – and the wide-grip mouthpieces on those deliver extreme comfort between the teeth. Don’t know if this is a limited edition of 500 pieces again this year, but I’m hoping we might get an upgrade on the LE box. I like the blast on this year’s pipe (at least, the one shown) better than last, and the rustication is a vast improvement over the past few years, although still not up to the soft, deeply craggy  “Pebble Rustic” of the 1990s.





Do you remember back when you first took up the pipe? When you didn’t have two dollars to rub together and felt blessed if you had the money to take your girl for a burger and fries? Back when you smoked your Dad’s Kaywoodie (the bulldog with the stinger) and bought your first pipe out of a basket? Those days are as enchanted for me as anything in Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu.  I remember looking through the cases at all the pipes at Ted’s in Tulsa that I couldn’t afford, going from pipe to pipe to pipe. Pete Systems were $33, basket pipes $8. A Jobey Stromboli, my first real pipe, and one I treasure to this day, was $12.50.


Well, the Clontarf is the kind of pipe that, as a beginning pipeman, I would return to look at again and again, hoping my favorite shapes were still in the case. The visual design just pops—that smooth honey-brown with its striking rim rustication, the bold black PETERSON over CLONTARF logo (better than a Nike swoosh stripe, right?). And I imagine the price-point will be tempting for young and new smokers as well as old hands looking for something that says Peterson in a fresh way.


The Clontarf takes its name from the coastal burb just north of Dublin, famous for the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, when High King Brian Boru defeated the Vikings of Dublin and their allies, the Irish of Leinster. A dozen shapes have been announced, including the 69, 106, 408, 606, 999, B7, X220, XL11, XL20, XL21, XL22 and XL90.

The technique on the rim rustication looks similar to that used on fully-rusticated army mount Petes back in the 1970s and 80s on their army mounts.  Also looks like an ebonite (hurray!) mouthpiece with gold hot foil P stamping. Killer laser-engraving, the black-on-honey. (Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I believe the fishtail ebonite is a new slightly-redesigned mouthpiece. If you look at the Dublin Edition pipes on the market right now, you can see these are the same used here.)The XL shapes are all from the old Sherlock Holmes releases.  (If you’re new to the Peterson shape game, you can see any of these shapes by googling “Peterson [shape #] pipe smokingpipes.com.” You won’t see a Clontarf yet, but it will give you a visualization of the shape.)




The Newgrange sterling spigots feature a the seldom-seen F-mount, using K&P’s old-school “Pete-Speak,” where “F” stands for “facing.”  This might more usefully be translated as “flat,” because that’s what it does – covers the top of the shank at the mortise with a flat rather than domed surface. The beautiful black and maroon swirl acrylic mouthpieces compliment the gloss blast finish and what appears to be either a dark brown or cherry smooth rim. A dozen shapes have been announced, including the 01, 03, 05, 69, 87, 106, 408, 999, X220, XL02, XL11, and XL90. Standouts for me are the X220, which is a chubby version of shape 11 (De Luxe System) / 312 (Standard System), the XL11 (Original Sherlock Holmes) and XL02.


The line takes its name, as I’m sure you  know, from the amazing megalithic Newgrange passage tomb in the Boyne valley. It’s very narrow inside, and when we toured a few years back, someone got claustrophobic and we all had to do the backstroke to help him get out. The de-stress of a Peterson pipe would have come in handy at that point, right? Newgrange is a World Heritage site and worth a day when you next visit Ireland—and the Knowth tomb is right next to it.



St. Patrick’s Day 2017


You’ve presumably already read about these and bought that wonderful B56 / Sylvius to enjoy it today, right? No?! Well you can read about them here: https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/sneak-peak-st-patricks-day-pipes-for-2017/ . And there’s still some SPD17s around—but don’t wait too long, as they’ll disappear before summer hits. Like Christmas, the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day is something you learn to cultivate all year long. At least, that what’s my Jedi master taught me.


Summertime 2017


For the second release in the Summertime line, Peterson goes for a nice blast brown/orange finish with orange swirl acrylic mouthpiece, traditional “navy” mount and silver hot foil P on the stem. It’s a great contrast next to the army-mount blue bowl & yellow stem 2016 Summertime – having them side-by-side in the pipe rack would be fun. The dozen shapes announced include 03, 68, 69, 80S, 150, 230, B10, D18, X105, XL02, XL16, XL90. I can tell you the giant D18 Oom Pauls – the 150th Anniversary Pipe – are going to go fast, so if you want one, you might try to go ahead and reserve it with Ben at Tobaccopipes.com or your favorite shop. The XL16 is another stand-out for me, having originally appeared as the Professor [Moriarty] in the Sherlock Holmes lines. The 80S and 150 also really shine in this dress.









From what I can see of the Valentia line, it seems to be Peterson’s first higher-grade green-stain line since the Racing Green appeared in the mid-1990s. Both feature sterling bands, but the Valentia appears to be a higher-grade than the Racing Green, indicated not only by the amount of grain showing through but the all-important aluminum-imbedded P in the swirl green acrylic mouthpiece. A worthy successor, I’d say. In Italy, these are called lady-pipes, originating in Peterson’s Belgique and Calabash designs from the mid-1940s. Announced in a half-dozen shapes, slim and elegant, including the 15, 65, 86, Barrel, Belgique and Calabash.


The line name comes from Valentia Island off the Iveragh Peninsula at the southwest corner of County Kerry. There’s a bridge at Portmagee that will take you over. When I die, I suspect heaven will look remarkably like County Kerry.




The Waterford line is the 2017 high-grade, so don’t expect to see many of them. I can count the 2016 Dublin & Londons I’ve seen on two hands – they’re for serious collectors. The Waterfords, as you can see, feature an amazing smoky orange finish with a dark black and deep orange acrylic swirl mouthpiece and (of course) imbedded aluminum P. This is Peterson’s higher-grade briar, and it shows. The dozen announced shapes are suitably sophisticated: 01, 01, 106, 338 (yea!), 502, 999, X220, XL11, XL13, XL22, XL25, XL90. Where in the world did they get 502 bowls? They must date from the 1980s (you can read up on the 500 shapes here: https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/the-peterson-500-shapes-and-new-old-stock/ ). Several big pieces here from the Sherlock Holmes series—the XL11, XL13, XL22, XL25.


If you’ve never noticed this feature on a Pete before, see how the bowl heads are beveled in around the chamber on these high-grade Petes: I think Dunhill used to call these “easy-loader” rims, didn’t they? Sometimes you see this kind of head on a mid-grade Pete, but it’s certainly part of the high-grade package.




Christmas 2017 (Elf Army 2)


The Christmas pipe this year, designated the Elf Army 2 here on the blog, is a return of the glorious army-mount. This year’s will be a deep burgundy-over-black blast with engraved-nickel band, pearl-acrylic fishtail stem, and silver hot foil P.   It’s been announced in a dozen shapes: 01, 03, 05, 69, 87, 106, 408, 999, X220, XL02, XL11, and XL90. Eleven are from the Classic Range shape chart, but the XL11 is the “Original” Sherlock Holmes shape designed by Paddy Larrigan.



As to availability, I can only make a guess based on previous years. We will probably see the POY here in the States by the end of May or early June. The Summertime pipes may be out sometime in April. As to the others, I have heard that in the Sallynoggin shop (“factory” really just isn’t the word) initial batches of new lines are usually done sequentially — meaning we might see a larger-volume line like the Clontarf before the smaller, higher grade releases. It’s often the case that European vendors get their pipes in a bit before those here, so if you’re anxious you might check in to the etailers listed under the Blogroll in a month or so. They’re all excellent, and most will deliver your pipe in the same number of days it would take one in the States.


Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!

 Pipe photography courtesy Peterson of Dublin


51. Sneak Peak: 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Pipes

spd-65-69-xl90Every once in a while Conor Palmer, Commercial Director at Peterson, lands back in Sallynoggin long enough that we manage to exchange an email or two before he’s back on the road, and not long ago he offered to send me some of the SPD 2017 samples to review for the blog, so here they are!

I’m smoking my SPD 2016 L Tankard as I write this, in part to highlight the contrast between the 2016 and the 2017 pipes.* Last year’s SPD all about traditional styling and finish. If you chose your pipe carefully, you got a really nice piece of briar at an outstanding price. The downside, according to Conor report from his distributors anyway, was that they didn’t shout St. Patrick’s Day. They weren’t green. They’ve got a point, I think, and Peterson has responded with the finest green SPD pipe they’ve ever produced — and that’s saying something in the history of this collectible!

spd-xl02However, it also leads me ask: is “the green thing” also a generational thing? I’m asking, because I don’t honestly know. Are Millennials more interested in non-traditional stain colors (that is, not shades of brown, red or orange)? I know Tom Palmer has said more than once that System pipes and high-grade Petes (with their brown and orange stains) are something mostly Baby Boomers and stodgy Gen X’s like myself are still smoking, but I’m not convinced that’s entirely accurate. High-grade Petes, after all, are still only moderately priced when compared to most artisan pipes.

spd-150-606-106Anyway, Huzzah! for the wearing of the green on the 2017 SPDs —  what better place could there be? My photographs do fair justice to their high-gloss (lacquered?) eye candy. I say “fair,” because when the pipes aren’t under the photographer’s light, they’re darker to the eye, not green-black, not as dark as the 2016 Christmas Army maroon matte pipes, but dark green. Grain on the 2017 SPDs is visible under daylight conditions, if not under most artificial indoor lighting. And I say “eye candy” because the laser-engraved nickel bands with their Celtic knot design and shamrock, pop nicely. I would prefer a stamped band, but I realize this not only a matter of taste from my end, but probably one of economics from Peterson’s end. Stamped bands seem to appear only on sterling mounts, but even they are sometimes laser-engraved (the Writer’s Collection comes to mind).

spd-shamrock-and-hotfoil-pAfter all the acrylic-stemmed 2016 army-mounts, it’s great to see a “Navy” (flush) vulcanite mount as well – “Navy” being Peterson’s old term for the flush mount stem. The mouthpieces seem to be the same rod quality and cut as last year’s, so no degradation there. The P is hot-foil stamped, which means you need to be a little picky about the pipe you choose, as sometimes the silver foil stamping isn’t as clean as it might be. This is annoying, because I know other pipe manufacturers have been able to figure out a way to stamp their logo (or implant it) so that it won’t flake off the first time the stem needs deoxidizing.

spd-celtic-band-engravingI am pleased with the great job Peterson has done on the laser-engraving as well. They’ve included the line, the year and the shape number. Collectors want all this information, and some of it has been lacking in earlier laser-engraved releases.

spd-x220From the dozen shapes chosen this year all are standard issue aside from the one collector’s piece: the incredible B56, taken from the 2011 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sylvius. This is what I’d call a short-stack billiard, although it’s probably a bit shorter than most pipemen’s definition. The shape itself is a meatier, or perhaps more voluptuous, older sibling of the 2016 Limited Edition. You can see the original Sylvius below, as well as the B56.


b56Sylvius Measurements:
Length: 5.90 in./149.86 mm.
Weight: 2.00 oz./56.70 g.
Bowl Height: 2.15 in./54.61 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.84 in./46.74 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.

And finally, here’s the PDF flyer — pass it on and spread the word. March 17 is just around the corner . . . almost!



*And A Note on the Large Tankard / D19

This shape has been given a number! It had only been known as the LT or Large Tankard since its introduction in the 2010 Mark Twain set, but it appears that shortly before the 2016 Limited Edition appeared it was given the D19 number. It has appeared in three lines that I know of so far—all in Italy: the Killarney, the Aran and the Wicklow. Check out that P-Lip on the Wicklow below!

wicklow-d19-p-lipWickow P-Lip D19

d19-killarney-ebonyKillarney Ebony D19

d19-killarney-aranAran D19

Photos courtesy Charles Mundungus, Bolittopipe.it and Smokingpipes.com

Lá Altaithe Sona Daoibh!
Happy Thanksgiving to You All!

40. 2016 New Lines (Part 2)

Champagne SpigotIf you’re a Peterson fan you may already know about Pipe Divan, the online store for James Fox, the legendary Dublin tobacconist located at 119 Grafton Street in Dublin, who are celebrating their 135th anniversary this year. In doing some research for an upcoming blog, I got to chatting with James Fox’s Yiorgos Manesis, whose beautiful pipe photography you see on their site. One thing led to another as we swapped emails with the end result that  Yiorgos offered to let me post photos of some of the 2016 new lines. Nope, they’re not out yet, but they’re on the way.

Champagne Caramel SpigotChampagne Caramel Spigot

These photos were taken back in January, and it’s interesting to see that the Champagne Spigot was originally dubbed the Caramel Spigot. Both names, by the way, are a departure from Peterson’s line naming practice, which in the past has usually used Irish towns, counties, rivers and even neighborhoods.

Derry RusticDerry Rustic

The Derry is one of my favorite standard Peterson rustication patterns, and looks great with the stain, acrylic mouthpiece and nickel mount. Don’t look at that XL339 on the left side. I’m sure it’s got my name on it.

Short ClassicsShort Classics


Summertime alt TipperaryI include two photos, not only because this is a really fantastic, extroverted example of the Army mount (think Chris Askwith pipes here), but because it was originally going to be called the Tipperary, as you can see.

Orange ArmyOrange Army

I think this may be my favorite of the 2016 finishes. The Champagne’s beautiful, but the orange really glows, don’t it?

Elf Army Xmas 2016Elf Army

I’m sure Peterson doesn’t appreciate me renaming the 2016 Christmas pipe, but it is an Army mount, right? I’ve got a few Christmas Petes in the rack, but I can already hear the tiny bells of that X220 calling me. Hurry up, Santa!

Now that Peterson is reinvigorating the Army lines, let’s hope they follow up next year with another sea change by refitting their tall ships—the System line!

One last thing about Pipe Divan / James Fox – don’t go to Dublin without stopping in at their 119 Grafton Street shop after you’ve been to the Peterson shop on Nassau Street. James Fox is important to Pete freeks* not only because they’ve been working with Peterson pipes for 135 years, but because when new lines come out, being in Dublin means they’ll have them in stock long before the Peterson pod crosses the pond. ‘Nuff said.

Síochán leat.

Photographs courtesy James Fox / Pipe Divan

 *freek: unashamed of excessive enthusiasm or being perceived as being an outlier in a particular community.

39. New Peterson Lines for 2016

front catalog imageWell, 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

Champagne SpigotAs 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)

POYSomewhere 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.

POY 2016Peterson 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:

Length: 145mm
Height: 57mm
Diameter: 32mm
Mouthpiece: Fishtail
Bowl Depth: 50mm
Inside Diameter: 19mm
Weight: 40g

POY 2I’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

Dublin & LondonAlong 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

Orange ArmyAs 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

Derry RusticWow! 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 ClassicsShort 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.


(7) Summertime

SummertimeThis 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.


(8) Roundstone

RoundstoneI 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)

Christmas PipeBack 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?