Pipe Focus-The 7 Sherlock Holmes 'Original' pipes.
The subject for this pipe focus is the 'original'issue of the Sherlock Holmes pipes.
I realise that I had previously touched on the series albeit briefly, in an expansive and general sense,however lets look more closely at the individual pipes in more detail.
Probably the most successful series of pipes ever introduced by Peterson in terms of numbers. They were first issued in 1987 to honour Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictitious detective character, Sherlock Holmes.
The initial issue was in the form of a 7 day set and included a wooden rack for the complete set. The pipes were made from selected briar. These were made available in meerschaum, smooth, ebony, rustic and some sandblast. All are extra large bowls.with a hallmarked Sterling silver band,with the options of the Peterson lip and fishtail mouthpiece.
Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the most famous pipe smoking character in fiction. He is reputed to have kept a selection of favourite pipes – from plain black clay to richly grained briar – to which he frequently resorted to for inspiration,while unravelling a mystery, or solving a knotty problem. For solace, after bringing a difficult case to successful conclusion, and always for pleasure. A man who kept his tobacco in a Persian slipper has to be something of a character, and a colourful one to boot, as indeed was Mr. Holmes of 221B Baker Street, London.
The pipes are crafted in Ireland from selected Mediterranean sourced briar, and are made to honour the novels original characters,places and items encountered by Sherlock Holmes in his various adventures. Each pipe is mounted with a genuine Hallmarked Sterling Silver band and Sherlock Holmes profile stamp, specially struck to honour the Great Detective.
Peterson offer the same range of pipe shapes as second grades, in the issue known as the 'Kinsale'.I appreciate that this allows prospective smokers the opportunity to own the same range of shapes at budget prices. However as in most things in life ,cheaper doesn't always mean as good as. These 'seconds' have bowls of a lesser quality and finish and do not have the hallmarked silver SH bands. I find the acrylic coating quite off putting and in my opinion, contributes substantially to increased overheating of the pipe bowls.
Please also appreciate that my comments are my personal opinion and may not be representative of,or held by others.It is based on many years ownership and experience of smoking the complete Sherlock Holmes series.
It is so easy to be drawn into the romance and mystique of such a well known issue of pipes and lose the subjective focus,so here are my thoughts on this iconic series of Peterson pipes,warts and all.
In general terms I find the Sherlock Holmes series appealing to the eye,but failing in quality and value for money. There is room for improvement in the quality of finish and the basic engineering to make these much improved smoking pipes.
The first pipe in the series is named 'The Original',and is a typical Calabash shape which has long been associated with Holmes himself. It is the bent urn Peterson shape XL11.
My own personal thoughts and experience of this shape I have to admit, have not been that positive. As well as not scoring highly with me in terms of both looks and functionality, I find that it tends to overheat quickly. Even when deliberately controlling my smoking cadence and maintaining a deliberate sipping technique, it continues to burn hot. On a scale of 0-10 I would score it at 7.0.
Next pipe is ' The Baskerville'.I have to admit a soft spot for this one ,as it was my first ever Peterson pipe. To me it had it all ,the looks,plus charisma and was a large bent. A clenchers delight. It is a full bent and is Peterson shape XL12.I would score this one at 7.5.
Third is 'The Baker Street',a large bulldog, Peterson shape XL13.Again I find this both an appealing shape and a very tactile and comfortable pipe to smoke.It has an excellent draw.Scoring 7.5.
Fourth pipe is 'The Deerstalker' a quarter bent bulldog,Peterson shape XL14.To my mind this shape just oozes classic Peterson charisma and elegance.It is a favourite shape,again one that I find very tactile and a wonderful smoker.I would score this one an 8.0.
Next is 'The Squire,another bulldog,one that I would call a large quarter bent Rhodesian.Very elegant and comfortable in the hand..Peterson shape XL15.Scoring 7.5.
The sixth pipe is 'The Professor',a large half bent brandy shape. Another shape that I am drawn to,superb in the hand and an excellent smoker.This is Peterson shape XL16.I would score this one 7.5.
The final pipe is 'The Watson' the largest and to my mind the best of all.A full bent Rhodesian.Tailor made for me,it is a clenchers delight to smoke.Peterson shape XL17.Scoring a worthy 8.5.