As many of you may know (or perhaps all of you, as far as I know) Sykes and Alyson recently adventured to Ireland in order to shake hands with the lovable folks at Peterson of Dublin. Just as we were receiving our shipment of Peterson’s St. Patrick’s Day pipes here at Smokingpipes.com, the two were touring the Peterson factory, snapping pictures and shooting video.
I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by spending the evening whipping up this rather ‘decontextualized’, though no less engaging, web featurette on the best Irish pipe company in history.
You just have to love Peterson pipes; I know I do. Actually, I know you do too as we just recently put up our ten-thousandth Peterson pipe offering through Smokingpipes.com. And what’s even better was having the opportunity to actually visit the Peterson factory (or “shop” as Tom Palmer calls it) in Dublin just last month. While we have a bunch of videos that we are going to post in the near future, I thought I would put together a few photos I took while roaming the facility and hanging out with Tom. Enjoy!
It must be the luck of the Irish!
The St. Patrick's Day Peterson shipment is here! Bobby and I are busy working on the photographs now and the pipes will be added to the February 28th update (Today). The Peterson St. Patrick's Day pipes feature a Shamrock with March 17, 2011 stamped on the band. Here is a sample, but the entire batch will be available to view soon. A premature "Happy St. Patrick's Day" from Smokingpipes.com!
For me, ‘pipe shape’ wins over ‘pipe grain’ nearly every time. Still, I thoroughly enjoy seeing beautiful grain on a Preben Holm Collector or dense birdseye on some ‘no-name’ piece. I have come across many-a-pipe that had beautiful grain with a lovely shape just begging to be released from its clunky prison. And other pieces that matched the grain perfectly to the point that very wild, wispy facets were carved on the briar. For many of these reasons, a well carved briar on the rack usually finds the admiration of others.
There are straight-grain hounds and cross grain aficionados. Some collectors drool over perfect ring-grain patterns on a sandblasted billiard or freehand. Some, like me, find the front to back linear grain of an elephant’s foot the most interesting. This last pattern looks stunning to me on a classic shape because it gives the piece so much movement and was rarely done in favor of the other patterns.
While inspecting a fresh batch of Peterson pipes today, I stumbled across something new to me: a rather unassuming Killarney 69 red bent billiard. The grain is nothing to write home about. It's rather bald with birdseye as tight as an oil puddle, though the growth rings do give it a time-warping sense of movement. What this pipe does have, though, is a comet streaking across the side. Putting my nasal snuff down to get a second opinion, I found others marveled as well. If this particularly interesting tid-bit of grain has the same regularity as the Hale-Bopp comet from 1996, someone can expect to encounter this again in 2,389 years.
Wow. Just wow. Our Peterson Pipe Promotion was wildly popular this yuletide. "Buy a new Peterson pipe and you get a free tin of Peterson pipe tobacco". Sounds like a deal to me. The aim was to keep this promotion running through the end of the year; however, with the unprecedented response to such a bargain I’m sorry to announce that we just shipped out our last tin of Peterson tobacco. It’s all gone. I know because I was there to see it get boxed up and handed to a UPS driver. It was a bittersweet moment that nearly had me moved to tears.
The fate of the promotion has since been decided in a nerve-wracking bout of rock-paper-scissors between Sykes and the Bizarro Sykes that we keep hidden in the attic with the model trains.
A decision has been made. (The winner of the contest is immaterial.)
Your choices are: Waccamaw, Cooper, Santee, Black and my personal favorite Carolina Christmas.
Happy New Year All!
Tom Palmer, Managing Director of Peterson of Dublin, took a few minutes at the IPCPR show in New Orleans last week to talk with Alyson about all of the new stuff Peterson is doing this year, including the Pipe of the Year, the Christmas Pipe, the Writer's collection, and an assortment of new tobaccos.
It's been a whirlwind here in New Orleans over the past few days. Providing any sort of logical, or even chronological, order is beyond me at this point. So, in addition to eating our share of beignets and drinking coffee at Café du Monde, though really, Brian ate his share and nine other shares, and listening to Jazz in the Quarter, we've actually done some work. Or, whatever it is we actually do that we pretend is work to the folks back home so that they don't know what a raucously good time we're having while we're away. Seriously, the show has been lot of fun, but we've also covered tremendous ground, literally and figuratively. Here are some highlights from Monday through Wednesday, picking up where we left off after the last IPCPR post, where we'd just finished up picking out tons of particularly pretty Dunhills...
Oh, and also, we'll have a bunch of videos when we get home. Our cunning plan to edit and push videos from the road has hit a technical snag or six, so I think we're surrendering on that particular front until we can use real hardware and software back at the office. We do have some seriously fun stuff, including videos with Soren Lundh Aagaard, Managing Director of Stanwell, Rocky Patel, and many others...
Monday afternoon we picked out a few dozen Castellos at the Castello pre-show event. Usually, we'll pick out months worth of updates of pipes, but we were a little more restrained this year because we'd just bought a ton of awesome Castellos when we were in Italy in late June. Still, we added some great pieces, especially Sea Rocks and Old Antiquaris, which were a little thin on the ground when we were at the factory eight weeks ago. You'll have to wait to see what we have, but there were some sandblasts that had Brian and me swooning...and Susan and Alyson rolling their eyes a little bit at our enthusiasm (though, secretly, they're super-excited too; they just pretend they're not sometimes; simply witness Susan's intent pipe selecting to the right).
That night, we met Kevin Godbee from PipesMagazine.com for dinner at Susan Spicer's restaurant, Bayona. As I might have suggested previously, and while I don't want to turn this blog into a restaurant review page, I have a bit of weakness for the culinary arts. And Susan Spicer is an artist. The food was excellent and the company was even better. We spent a great five hours talking about the growth in pipe smoking among younger men that we've all been noticing and what we could do to help foster that and ease their entry into the hobby.
The first morning of the show is always a mad dash for us. No one needs to particularly hustle to cigar booths: it'll be the same cigars later that afternoon, but for pipes, it's imperative that we get to pick early. I hit Tsuge immediately, while Brian and Alyson went to Savinelli, and Susan went in search of Stanwells. After selecting a dozen Tsuges, I dashed over to pick out two dozen (or thereabouts, counting and speed picking tend not to go together) awesome Paolo Beckers. He's been experimenting with a new wood that has properties very similar to briar, but is lighter and blasts beautifully. We'll have more on that later, though. We all ended up back with the Stanwells, and picked out lots while we were there, including, we think, some pretty interesting stuff.
From there, the entire crew visited the Ashton booths to select Petersons. There are a few really nice new lines that will be available over the coming months, including the new version of the Kapet with a nickel band and a fantastic new Mark Twain shape. Plus, of course, the Peterson Pipe of the Year, of which we've already received the first few, pictured to the right. They also had a particularly good selection of Spigots that we could select from this year, plus we finalized an amazing deal for some very special Petersons that we'll be able to share with you in about two weeks, but for now, I'll have to keep mum-- I promise it'll be huge, though!
Tune back in tomorrow evening for more notes from the show...including our discussions with CAO about Dunhill tobaccos coming back to the US...