The 24th annual St. Patrick’s Day commemorative will debut Wednesday at Smokingpipes.com. This year’s pipe returns to a classic F/T nickel army mount, this time around with in-house chocolate rustication, the obligatory SPD green stem and an SPD leather pipe rest. As this year’s release includes a number of rare and consequently exciting shapes, you may want to plan on keeping an eye on your email for the drop time or hire a surveillance team. Usually these drops happen in mid-morning here in Texas, so calibrate according to your time zone.For the first time in several years, Pete Geeks will be treated to a number of rare and fascinating shapes in an annual commemorative issue, including a quartet from the Sherlock Holmes series (the Watson/XL17, the Original/XL11, the Baker Street XL13 and the Deerstalker/XL14):
XL17 / Watson
XL11 / The Original
XL13 / Baker Street
XL14 / Deerstalker
There will also be two shapes from the D group, the D6 from the original Danish shapes of the 1990s and the D20 from the POY 2016 (which was most recently featured in the Nassau Street Trinity Fox small batch):
Expect the D shapes and the Sherlock Holmes shapes to be in very limited numbers. They’ll go fast enough that you may not even see one! (Just sayin’.)
Other rarely-seen shapes in this year’s SPD include the B42 (Darwin), 124, 104 and 102. And notice the great Irish bends on the 124 and 104:
B42 / Darwin
124 (the original churchwarden shape)
I gotta say that I love the very Irish touch of the slightly bent stem. It knocks me out and should also making clenching just a wee bit more comfortable.
This year’s standard lineup, incredibly, includes another 21 shapes: 01, 03, 05, 65, 68, 69, 80s, 86, 106, 120 (not shown), 150, 221, 230, 304, 338, 606, 608, 999, X105, X220, XL02, XL90:
So it’s quite a selection–the largest number of shapes ever assembled for the SPD, unless I’m much mistaken. Of course that means that there’s a greater chance you’ll find the exact shape in the exact rustication to suit you (and more on K&P’s rustication in a few weeks). I try not to look at any single one of them too much or my fingers will stray to the keyboard on the day and I’ll find several of these in my basket. Right now (can you tell?) I’m obsessing a bit about the little 221:
Certainly an unmanly thing for me to say, but it’s just too cute. It’s a shape that goes back to the Patent era, originating as the 20 and now seen as the 20s Deluxe and the 314 Systems (neither of which are easy to find by the way). It should be perfect for mornings with a cuppa or short smoke with a stout flake, or. . . . there I go again.
On to stamps. I believe we’re looking at a new kind of stamping here, but I haven’t heard back from K&P yet. The stroke across the “t” in “Peterson” looks higher than it used to look, doesn’t it? And the “OF DUBLIN” as well as “ST. PATRICK’S over DAY 2022” look like they’re all part of one stamp. It’s gorgeous. I love the deep serifs and bold strokes of each letter.
Finally, for those of you who (like me) have difficulty smoking an army mount, there is a pipeman’s hack I’ve been working on. While I suspect most pipe smokers don’t have any trouble with this type of pipe (or K&P wouldn’t make them), the gap between tenon and mortise and the fishtail with its straight-bore airway give me heat and turbulence problems. My preferences run to tobaccos with high sugar content anyway,which in combination with my pH can give me third degree tongue burns if I’m not careful. In consultation with my engineering guru Prof. Schantz, I’ve begun chamfering army mount acrylic F/T stems. It’s not a difficult DIY and I’ve reaped the benefits on my army mount Christmas 2019 304. I still have to be careful of my cadence, but with a smaller bowl this seems to work pretty well for me.