74. Sneak Peek: 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Pipes

This just in from my friends at Tobaccopipes.com–a first look at the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day pipes. Paddy’s Day is still a ways off, but in a sense Paddy’s Day is any day a Pete Nut picks up his favorite Peterson, right?

The Dublin Era (1991 – present) has seen a number of annual comemoratives, including the July 4th, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas pipes. The St. Patrick’s Day pipes began in 1998, and each year I’m sure they scratch their heads in Sallynoggin and try to figure out what to do next. This year marks three firsts for the series: the first army-mounts, the first sterling ferrules, and the first amber-color acrylic stems.

If you watched Tom Palmer’s interview posted a few blogs back, he said Peterson liked to think they’d captured the green, white and orange of the Irish flag this year–something the commemorative did in a more modest way with a triple-ring acrylic band for its first issue in 1998.

As far as shapes go, it appears that Peterson is sticking to a dozen tried-and-true established, smaller Classic Range numbers, including several Pete-lover favorites: the 120 dublin, the 999 rhodesian, the 305 calabash, and the fabulous B10 hybrid. The photo of the flat-bottom 304 isn’t particularly illustrative, but it’s one of Paddy Larrigan’s original designs, a wonderful barrel-“setter.”

The pipes can be pre-ordered at Tobaccopipes.com here in the U.S., and should be out early in the new year.

For those who can’t wait, Tabaccheria Guzzi’s eBay store is offering a few right now on eBay. As you can see from the photos, the finish is something a bit new and different from Peterson. At first I thought it was a matt spray, but I’m not sure at this point. I think I can see a bit of grain beneath the green. I also want to call your attention to the inlaid aluminum P —another indication of the high quality of this year’s release. Note, too, Jason Hinch’s sterling “Hinch Mount” on the 03 and X220.  I’m also excited Peterson is continuing the use of the commemorative sleeve. The laser-engraved shamrock on the laser-stamping is also a nice touch!
Illustrations courtesy Toaccopipes.com
and Tabaccheria Guzzi



67. Sneak Peek: The 2017 Christmas Pipes

I know Christmas is still eons away, but it’s not every day one gets the chance to visit the Peterson branch of Santa’s Workshop and see what the Sallynoggin elves are up to, much less take photographs and bring back a report. So turn down the air-conditioning (if you’re here in the hottest part of the U.S.), don your Aran sweater, put on your favorite Christmas music, and take a look.


I didn’t think we’d see another Elf Army, but I am happily proved wrong. This year’s lineup, as you know from earlier blogs, features the full “12 Pipes of Christmas”—for 2017, shapes 01, 03, 05, 69, 87, 106, 408, 999, X220, XL02, XL11, and XL90. Eleven are from the Classic Range shape chart, but the twelfth, the XL11, is the “Original” Sherlock Holmes shape designed by Paddy Larrigan back in the 1980s. That’s two straights and ten bents, as usual in a variety of chamber dimensions to suit almost anyone’s tobacco preferences.

XL11 (Larrigan’s Original Sherlock Holmes shape)

Shapes 03, 999, 69

The “Elf Army 2” (ask for it by name!) features a nickel mount with a laser-engraved bow on the top of the ferrule and the classic K&P over PETERSON nickel stamp on the bottom.

The laser-stamping of the bowl gives full documentation, as you can see, of the line, the year, and the shape number. Bravo.  The stain is a deep brown over red contrast, producing a suitably seasonal ember-glow effect. The blast on the ones I examined is also quite nice, as Peterson continues to improve in that department.


Sometimes the blast will be quite striking, and on the whole, it’s even craggier than some of the current spigot lines, which suits me just fine. I don’t mind saying again just how soothing a good sandblast can feel, rolled between thumb and fingers after a long day.

The acrylic fishtail mouthpiece is widely slotted, featuring a silver hot foil-stamped P.

As you can see from the detail photos, the acrylic rod isn’t white, but a lovely striation of creams, mostly straight but varying just a bit from stem to stem. It will be difficult to see these photographed against white, like most e-tailers do, so I thought I’d set it them against black to give you a little better look.

I’ve been trying to learn how best to smoke a Peterson fishtail army-mount, because it doesn’t behave for me like a System, a P-Lip, a spigot, or a fishtail “Navy-mount.” When I try to use my usual smoking style (long drafts), I find it smokes too hot and is less flavorful than other Peterson mounting styles. Recently, however, I’ve learned that short draws seem to make all the difference, bringing back the flavor and dissipating the heat. If you smoke an acrylic-stem army-mount, please chime in and let everyone know how it works best for you.





I can’t remember when the 2016 Christmas pipes arrived here in the States, but I think it may have been as early as August. Until then, a thought from forgotten essayist Hamilton Wright Mabie: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”



Photographs: Chas. Mundungus

Next: Can it be? The Last of the B Shapes Catalog!


57. Peterson B Shapes, Part 4 (B35 – B48)

01-b46-kapreis-2With this installment, we’re just past the mid-point in the visual dictionary of Peterson’s B shapes. If this is your first look at the Bs, you may want to take a look back at Parts 1 – 3, because these twenty-five years—which span the early 1990s through 2013—mark an important and probably ended chapter in Peterson’s shape history. This is just a hunch, of course, but I suspect the era of Peterson special collections and extravagant Limited Edition pipes has come to a close, at least for now. What follows includes pipes from the Castle Collection (2009), the Antique Collection (2009), the Writer’s Collection (2010), and a sprinkling of Limited Edition / POY shapes.




02-b35-christmas-2013The “Kaffir” B35, one of my favorite shapes, is part of the 2009 Antique Collection. If you haven’t read about this Peterson shape before, you can catch up at  https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-peterson-kaffir-horn-and-bent-albert-zulu/ .  It has appeared in a number of lines after the Antique Collection, including (but probably not limited to) the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day, 2013 Christmas (seen above), 2014 Christmas, Italian Rock of Cashel (with acrylic marmelade stem below), the Italian Army Linseed blast, Derry Rustic, and most recently, a saddle bit Killarney (directly below).

Given all these appearances of the B35, I think I must be the odd man out, and it is quite possible no one else much appreciates this shape. Pete fan Mark Domingues may echo many pipemen in his dislike of this shape, because, as he rightly observes, when you’re smoking it, you can’t see inside the bowl, making it difficult to light or know if you’re scorching the rim.

03-b35-rock-of-cashel-alpascia-obverseKillarney Measurements:

Length: 6.52 in. / 165.58 mm.
Weight: 1.40 oz. / 39.74 g.
Bowl Height: 2.03 in. / 51.51 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.55 in. / 39.35 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in. / 20.17 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.35 in. / 34.37 mm.



71258 Petersons Castle A4.p1.EPSShapes B36, B38-B40 are taken from the 2009 Castles Collection



05-b36-hunter-rusticThe B36, a barrel setter, derives from the Malahide, part of the quartet forming the 2009 Castle Collection. Its best presentation is certainly in the current Derry Rustic line seen below, although it previously has appeared in the Donegal Rocky and James Fox Hunter Rustic lines.

07-b36Derry Rustic Measurements:

Length: 6.04 in. / 153.48 mm.
Weight: 1.81 oz. / 51.41 g.
Bowl Height: 1.93 in. / 49.11 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.53 in. / 38.84 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in. / 19.05 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.46 in. / 37.18 mm.


08-b37-christmas-pipe-2014This pipe is the other part of the 2009 Antique Collection, a quiet, slender billiard found in the 1906 catalog. It has appeared in the number of lines since then, including the Italian Blackrock (sterling mount) seen directly below, Christmas 2014, Donegal Rocky, Killarney, Derry Rustic, and, to great effect, last year’s Roundstone Spigot pictured after the Blackrock below.

10-b37-roundstone-spigotRoundstone Spigot Measurements:

Length: 5.71 in. / 145.03 mm.
Weight: 1.60 oz. / 45.36 g.
Bowl Height: 1.93 in. / 49.02 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.56 in. / 39.62 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in. / 19.30 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.47 in. / 37.34 mm.



11-b38-derry-rustic-2The B38, named the Glinn in its original appearance in the 2009 Castle Collection. This is one of two truly amazing shapes to come out of the Castles quartet, rarely seen but in my opinion an absolute gem as it appeared in the set. A few appeared in the Derry Rustic line, Donegal Rocky and James Fox Hunter Rustic lines, all on the European market.

12-b38-hunter-aka-glinnHunter Rustic (James Fox) Measurements:

Length: 5.55 in. / 141mm.
Weight: 2.01 oz. / 57g
Bowl Height: 1.92 in. / 49mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in. / 42mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.71 in. / 18mm.
Outside Diameter (obverse to reverse): 1.57 in.  / 40mm.



14-b39-donegalThe B39, an amazing panel of near-chimney proportions, appeared as the Lismore Castle in the 2009 Castle Collection. I have one in my rotation and despite appearances, it doesn’t sit. My father had a rusticated one that did, so the balance of the design is rather precarious.

Donegal Rocky Measurements:

Length: 5.85 in. / 148.59 mm.
Weight: 2.60 oz. / 73.71 g.
Bowl Height: 2.28 in. / 57.91 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.85 in. / 46.99 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. / 20.32 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.56 in. / 39.62 mm.



15-b40-kap-royal-european-leftThe B40, named the Birr in the Castle Collection, is close to the B34 from the Rivers Collection, but not the same. Both shapes may, perhaps, be described as bent brandies. The B40 has appeared in the prestigious sterling-mount Kapp Royal line (seen above), as well as the 2011 (below) and 2012 St. Patrick’s Day line. A Flame Grain also appeared (further below), but Flames, while stamped as as a line, are rather rare, especially when decked out line the one pictured below.

16-b40-flame-grain2011 St. Patrick’s Day Measurements:

Length: 4.70 in. / 119.38 mm.
Weight: 2.30 oz. / 65.20 g.
Bowl Height: 2.00 in. / 50.80 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.72 in. / 43.69 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. / 20.32 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.79 in. / 45.47 mm.


18-b41-aka-le-2009This was the beautiful Limited Edition / POTY 2009. The only subsequent appearance I have been able to trace was in the James Fox 9mm Hunter line pictured below. As I remarked in the visual history of Peterson’s Limited Edition / POYs, the full beauty of this shape isn’t revealed unless you see it from the top and can appreciate its pinched shank.

19-poy-2009-top-detailHunter Measurements:

Length: 5.07 in. / 145 mm.
Weight: 2.3 oz. / 65 g.
Bowl Height: 2.16 in. / 55 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.65 in. / 42 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.70 in. / 43 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in. / 20 mm.



42-b42-darwinWhen the B42 appeared in 2009, it  was the first new System pipe to appear since the late 1970s and the only one with a B shape number. Per Tony Whelan at the factory, it was issued simultaneously as the Darwin commemorative and the B42. While it has appeared in every conceivable System configuration, the only other appearances I have traced are in the Italian-market sterling-mount Blackrock (seen below) and Rock of Cashel lines.

43-b42-rock-of-cashelPremier System Measurements:

Length: 6.26 in. / 159.00 mm.
Weight: 2.66 oz. / 75.30 g.
Bowl Height: 2.17 in. / 55.12 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.62 in. / 41.15 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.84 in. / 21.34 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.87 in. / 47.50 mm.



b43-2010-limited-editionThe B43 was the 2010 Limited Edition / POTY (above). It appeared in two Italian-market lines, the Blackrock (directly below) and the Rock of Cashel (second below), both sterling-mount, acrylic fishtails. It also appeared in the James Fox exclusive Hunter Rustic (9mm). I wonder if it, too, has a pinched shank, which is why I include the photo of its original appearance, which seems to suggest one. If you have one of these pipes, drop me a line and let me know.

2010 LE Measurements:

Length: 5.47 in. / 138.94 mm.
Weight: 2.30 oz. / 65.20 g.
Bowl Height: 1.95 in. / 49.53 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.43 in. / 36.32 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. / 20.32 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.62 in. / 41.15 mm.



2010-writers-collection-strutcard-adThe B44 – B47 sequence comprises the 2010 Writers Collection, the penultimate B shapes collection, again featuring some wonderfully original designs.



46-b44-donegal-rockyThe B44 originally appeared as the Shaw, a bent dublin variant from the 2010 Writers Collection quartet. Its only appearance thus far seems to be in the European market as the Donegal Rocky.

Shaw Average Measurements:

Length: 5.10 in./129.54 mm.
Weight: 1.70 oz./48.19 g.
Bowl Height: 2.22 in./56.39 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.63 in./41.40 mm.



48-b45-hunter-rusticThe B45, deriving from the Writers Collection Joyce, is a personal favorite of mine, although its character is changed somewhat in its B appearances. It certainly strays far afield from the Peterson house style. I wonder what James Joyce would have made of it? Someone at Smokingpipes called it (with a hint of derision) an “egg-billiard hybrid,” which entirely misses the elegant femininity of this lithesome shape. It seems more Danish than anything else to me, not that I get out very much. I’ve only traced it in the Italian sterling army-mount Blackrock (seen below) and the James Fox Hunter Rustic (seen above).

47-b45-blackrockHunter Rustic Measurements:

Length: 5.62 in.  / 143 mm.
Bowl Height: 2.08 in. / 53 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.57 in. / 40 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.57 in. / 40 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.725 / 18.42 mm.
Weight: 1.80 oz.  / 51 g.



50-b46-dublin-castleThe B46 is the Writers Collection Yeats. It’s a lovely setter, and appeared in the Italian Blackrock (below) and Italian Kapreis lines (at top of article) with acrylic stems and sterling army mount. It also appeared in the European-only Dublin Castle 9mm line (above) with sterling band.

b46-blackrockYeats Measurements:

Length: 4.82 in. / 122.43 mm.
Weight: 2.00 oz. / 56.70 g.
Bowl Height: 2.25 in. / 57.15 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.65 in. / 41.91 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in. / 19.56 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.48 in. / 37.59 mm.



51-b47-kapp-royalThe last entry from the Writers Collection was the Wilde, the B47. As an enthusiast of the Dublin shape, I must say I’m quite taken with this one’s flared bowl. It’s appeared in the Italian market a a Kapp-Royal high-grade army-mount (above) and a Rock of Cashel (below) – Fisherman, and in Europe as a Donegal Rocky.

52-b47-rock-of-cashel-fishermanWilde Measurements:

Length: 5.82 in. / 147.83 mm.
Weight: 1.60 oz. / 45.36 g.
Bowl Height: 2.15 in. / 54.61 mm.
Chamber Depth: 1.75 in. / 44.45 mm.
Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in. / 20.07 mm.
Outside Diameter: 1.65 in. / 41.91 mm.



Per Tony Whelan at the factory, no stock number exists for this bowl.


Photo at top: B46 Kapreis (courtesy Bollitopipes.it)
Photographs courtesy Bolittopipes.it, AlPascia.com, James Fox (Pipe Divan), Smokingpipes.com,
and Charles Mundungus

The final installment of the
B Shapes Visual Dictionary,
B49 – B65


Bail ó Dhia ort!


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!