61. The 2017 Peterson Pipe of the Year

Here it is, at last — the 21st annual Peterson Pipe of the Year! Formerly known as the “Limited Edition,” and extending back 1997, if I’m counting right, this is the 22nd pipe to be released in this series (since Y2000 was a pair).

Just a little background to give some context to this year’s pipe: Peterson “shifted gears” back in 2014, as some of you know, so this is the 4th new-generation POTY.

The 2014 POTY was the first to be available only with an acrylic stem, and to bring a slightly different aesthetic than the 1997 – 2013 pipes. 2014 was also the last year the POTY was offered in a numbered series of 1000.

2015 was Peterson’s celebration year, so a bit of a time-out for the POTY, being the year of the Founder’s Edition and a return to the grander visions of earlier POTYs. It was made available in vulcanite P-Lip and fishtail acrylic, with a beautiful gift box and in an edition of 1865 pieces, to celebrate the earliest documented date of Kapp & Peterson. The large number has had the side-benefit of the pipe still being issued in small numbers – in fact, I just recently found my own smooth P-Lip after a long search.

2016 was the first year the line was reduced to 500 pieces, making it scarcer – which is sort of the idea behind a POTY, isn’t it? More importantly, it was the first time the POTY was issued in a non-XL size and without a gift box. But I’m not complaining, as it’s among the most original of all the POTY shapes, and a personal favorite in my rotation.

So here we are at 2017, and as the catalog says, the canted-egg shape takes its inspiration from one of the company’s earliest shapes, the “Large Jap” found in the 1906 catalog. One advantage of the 1906 catalog is that shapes were reproduced full size, which means you can lay the actual pipe on top of the illustration, as I’ve done in the photo below. The 2017 bowl shape and size is an exact reproduction of the original.  (And, if anyone’s asking, the variants of the “Devil Anse” shape so popular a short time ago are very close in size and shape to Peterson’s original.)

There appears to be greater thickness to the 2017 POTY chamber walls as well as a beveled rim – both improvements over the original, to my mind. The 2017 also has a very slightly longer shank. The stems of the two pipes are the same length. The wide saddle bit is quite comfortable, as I knew it would be from smoking Italian chubbies of similar dimensions, making the acrylic a decided plus for me, as I won’t have to keep after it with Obsidian oil to keep it black.

The 1906 original, of course, has a Patent-Lip “B” or tapered stem, something the current market simply won’t accommodate (despite my constant whining). But Pete fans will eventually change all that, as distributors begin hearing from tobacconists that the guys who smoke these pipes want the original graduted bore P-Lip mouthpieces. In the meantime, as you can see in the photo below, Peterson has an excellent deep-slotted, wide-grip comfortable mouthpiece. (This is one of the new-gen mouthpieces I’ve been seeing on all Peterson’s acrylic-stemmed pipes, by the way.)

This year’s pipe is laser-stamped on the bottom, with only the smooth bowls being numbered, as has been Peterson’s practice on all the POTYs (aside from the Founder’s Edition).

The pipe feels good in the hand, but do take notice of the forward-cant of the bowl. It’s not a problem for me, but you should know you won’t be able to see the flame light the tobacco. If you smoke a B35 (the antique Kaffir reproduction) or the 268 Bent Albert (what Pete Freeks call the zulu shape), this won’t be a problem.

The chamber geometry is a steep V or cone, what some called “triangular,” much more so than my Peterson Dublin 120s. I haven’t smoked this pipe enough to tell you how it performs, although that always varies quite a bit from user to user.  I will say that after the 309, my next favorite Pete bowl shape is the 120, as it requires very few relights as compared to a traditional billiard, so that I’m hoping for something similar from the new POTY.

Smooth Measurements
Length: 127 mm. / 5.00 in.
Weight: 48 gr. / 1.70 oz.
Bowl Height: 48.97 mm. / 1.92 in.
Chamber Depth: 41.07 mm. / 1.61 in.
Chamber Diameter: 18.59 mm. / 0.73 in.
Outside Diameter: 39.43 mm. / 1.56 in.
Stem Material: Acrylic
Logo: Embedded Aluminum P
Filter: None
Shape: Canted Egg / “Large Jap” (c. 1906)

Sandblast Measurements
Length: 127 mm. / 5.00 in.
Weight: 47 gr. / 1.65 oz.
Bowl Height: 48.97 mm. / 1.92 in.
Chamber Depth: 41.07 mm. / 1.61 in.
Chamber Diameter: 18.28 mm. / 0.71 in.
Outside Diameter: 38.75 mm. / 1.52 in.
Stem Material: Acrylic
Logo: Embedded Aluminum P
Filter: None
Shape: Canted Egg / “Large Jap” (c. 1906)

Rustic Measurements
Length: 127 mm. / 5.00 in.
Weight: 46 gr. / 1.60 oz.
Bowl Height: 48.61 mm. / 1.91 in.
Chamber Depth: 41.07 mm. / 1.61 in.
Chamber Diameter: 18.43 mm. 0.72 in.
Outside Diameter: 40.23 mm. / 1.58 in.
Stem Material: Acrylic
Logo: Embedded Aluminum P
Filter: None
Shape: Canted Egg / “Large Jap” (c. 1906)

Photographs by Charles Mundungus

Pax in Fumare

 

 

Coda

While you’re waiting for the right 2017 POTY to appear in your mailbox, here’s something else to think about: an 18K gold cap and band rustic 307! Kris told me about it over at Black Swan in Surrey, and I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. It’s a one-off unlike anything you’re ever likely to see in the world of Peterson pipes.

The 307 is shape 9 from Charles Peterson’s original Charles Peterson Patent designs in the 1896 catalog, in production for over 120 years. Kris is a deep-down lover of all things Peterson, as you know if you read the last blog on the Peterson Plato shape. You can read the story of this pipe’s creation at the link below. At the time of this posting, it is still available, should you decide to add it to your collection. Tell Kris you saw it here!

www.thebackyshop.co.uk/products/rare-stunning-custom-peterson-standard-system-rustic-307-18k-gold-mount-and-cap

 

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