The 2019 Summertime pipes are here, or will be shortly, depending on your favorite Peterson source. This year’s line features a soft, textured version of the new in-house rustication and a ruby-hued stain (not chocolate, as some seemingly color-blind folks might try to tell you) which creates the effect of one of my favorite candies from childhood, French burnt peanuts (think M&Ms De Luxe):
A dozen shapes are in the lineup: 01, 03, 05, 68, 69, 106, 120, 221, 606, 999, X220 and XL02, which represents a good cross-section of the Classic Range.
The 05, 68 and XL02 strike my fancy, but what I actually look for in any rusticated Pete is the random nature of the rustication itself. I like it when the crown of the bowl has some ripples across it, or when the bowl sides pinch in a bit, eschewing any hint of a regular pattern.
In a recent episode of PipesMagazineRadio, Brian Levine interviewed Glen Whelan at the IPCPR, and Glen said it takes a craftsman about 5-6 minutes to rusticate an Aran rusticated. I would expect about the same for this finish and perhaps a bit longer for the sharper Rosslare Classic, but what do I know? (Like Levine, however, I am an expert on my own opinion, and I’m hoping Peterson might go one step beyond the Rosslare some day with a really gnarly, stand-out rustication that might qualify for a Premier-grade sterling-mount System.)
Aside from the ruby-red FBP (French burnt-peanut) finish, the 2019 Summertime features an acrylic marmalade fishtail mouthpiece with a great 4.4mm button on the two bents I’ve examined (a 69 and a 303) and an even better 4.2mm on the 606 straight. Just for comparison, when Peterson first issued their acrylic mouthpieces back around 2003, 4.7-4.8 was about the standard. That .5mm makes a difference when you’re clenching acrylic, and I’m quite happy with 4.2 to 4.4. There was no stain in the pipes I examined, and no visible tear-away in the air holes.
The bowls are hand-stamped, which takes considerable hand-strength and coordination as I found out for myself when I was at the factory last month , requiring one to push in the stamp while rocking it left to right and up to down (all my attempts went to the reject bin). The fat “Peterson’s” in script over all-caps OF DUBLIN stamp has been used, with a small caps SUMMERTIME beneath. Shape numbers have also been hand-stamped. But where oh where has the year gone? A “2019” would have been nice, but maybe the line isn’t going to be an annual.
The nickel ferrules, all bright and shiny this year, have the K&P maker’s mark over PETERSON in small caps, a stamp which has been on Peterson nickel-mount ferrules since 1896. I’m still hoping for the return of the classic nickel-mount marks of shamrock, wolf hound and round tower, which were on all nickel ferrules from 1896 to about 1963.
If the Summertime seems like it’s been around a long time, it actually hasn’t. What makes it seem so is that it was linked up with the annual 100gr aromatic Summertime Blends and their gorgeous, embossed old-time hinged tins. These are seen above, from 2010 through 2013 (top row) and 2014 to 2018 (bottom). The first six were designed by Peterson’s own Elke Ullman, since retired, but who has promised an interview at some point for the blog, as she was responsible for the creation of many of the Dublin era’s great special collections.
Peterson began issuing its annual commemorative pipes in 1998, as those of you with a copy of The Peterson Pipe know, beginning with the high-grade LIMITED EDITION / POY and the gateway St. Patrick’s Day and Fourth of July lines. Other annuals have come and gone, but the St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas are still with us.
The first Summertime line (seen in the chart above) was introduced using all Classic Range shapes in 2016, a nickel army mount with a smooth royal blue finish, tangerine acrylic fishtail and silver hot-foil P.
The Summertime 2017 commemorative was actually double-described as the Summertime 2017 line and as the Tara line. Quite striking visually, as well as a refreshing change from what has become an overload of army mount lines, the 2017 is memorable not only for the nickel band with its sun stamp and flaming orange acrylic mouthpiece, but because—as used to always be the case—it included two collectible shapes, the XL16 (Sherlock Holmes Professor) and the amazing D18 (Founder’s Edition) oom paul.
Last year there was a similar confusion with the Summertime 2018, as it was known across the pond, and what was called the Burren line here in the US. The line was a follow-up to the very small batch hand-selected Rogha System sterling mount sandblast naturals that had seen three previous releases exclusively through Italy’s Sansonne Smoking Store. The Burren line has proved quite successful and is still available. As one of the very few natural pipes currently on the market, I can see why—they’re the sweetest smokes imaginable and a joy to watch as they darken with smoking.
As this year’s Summertime is actually stamped Summertime—although it lacks no year stamp—I wouldn’t be surprised if, like the Christmas annuals, it doesn’t disappear from the market fairly quickly. Having made that caveat, I should add that I do see some examples of both the 2017 and 2018 lines still available in several on-line shops.
Thanks to Peterson & Laudisi.
Photos by Chas. Mundungus
TIN TALK #11:
“The letter kills, but the spirit giveth life.”