SPECIAL BULLETIN: Kapp & Peterson’s final release for 2021, the Barley Spigot, will drop tomorrow, TUESDAY, December 14. A tanshell sandblast, the new line is a gorgeous and arrives with just enough time to tuck under the Christmas tree or enjoy during the Twelve Days.
Tanshell blasts, like vergin blasts, are special pipes for a specific clientele, pipemen who, like meerschaum smokers over a hundred years ago, enjoy watching their pipe ripen under their very eyes. While the Italians have always loved the Dunhill Tanshell and the natural vergin because of its bare chamber and unique coloring properties, smooth virgins have been around for decades. K&P had an entire line of natural finish pipes made at their London shop in the post-war years, and in Dublin they released the Killarney Natural in the early 1950s.
XL90 Barley Spigot
I cannot be certain, but in terms of finish I believe a true virgin is entirely unadorned. That means the bowl must be extremely clean inside and out after blasting and through production and finishing. Right below the virgin, in this way of thinking, would be the natural finish, which is very, very light and at Peterson has been a light orange for a few decades now and was a very light brown before that.
XL02 Barley Spigot
This is the first tanshell blast Peterson, echoing the three previous vergin blasts they have created. The concept for K&P echoes Castello’s decades-long Natural Vergin finish and, before that, Dunhill’s original Tanshell, a light brown sandblast line introduced in 1952. The connection between the Castello and the Peterson vergin is the Italian market, specifically the Sansonne Smoking Store in Milan. The good folks there, enthusiastic about the Peterson pipe, wanted to create a Peterson vergin, and with the help of Mario Lubinski (who was K&P’s distributor in Italy at the time), did just that with three different releases of the Rogha , the last in 2017. These bowls were hand-selected in very small batches of around a dozen pipes each, and in a harrowing moment as the jet lifted off for Dublin, I was able to acquire one. It is among my top five smokers, a truly magic briar as Fred Hanna would say.
My 2017 Rogha System after 31 smokes
In 2018, K&P created a popular version of the Rogha with a nickel mount, the Burren, which was well received but utilized bowls with a few blemishes. As the bowls were unfinished, the Burren was a true vergin blast.
Then in 2020, Adam O’Neill oversaw the very limited release of the Nassau Street Edition which sterling and a genuine Cumberland stem, featuring the new in-house blasting technique and near-Supreme grade bowls.
Nassau Street Edition 221
I don’t know how many pipes have produced for the Barley Spigot, nor whether it will be around for awhile or is a one-time issue. MSRP is $220. As it has the K&P bowl coating, it is, strictly speaking, a tanshell. But that bowl coating will make for an easy break-in and the pipe will still color beautifully, just like a vergin. As per usual, right-clicking on the gallery photo will let you take a look at the various shapes, although of course each blast will be unique.
Electronic Strut Card
Many thanks to Andy Wike
and Laudisi for help and Barley Spigot photos