Every 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!
However, 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.
Anyway, 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).
After 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.
I 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.
From 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.
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!
Photos courtesy Charles Mundungus, Bolittopipe.it and Smokingpipes.com
Lá Altaithe Sona Daoibh!
Happy Thanksgiving to You All!