Friday, 7 January 2011

Pipe Focus-The 7 Sherlock Holmes 'The Return of ' pipes

Pipe Focus-The 7 Sherlock Holmes 'The Return of ' pipes.

Regular Blog followers will recollect that I had previously reviewed the first Sherlock Holmes issue of seven pipes,'The Original Collection',back in September.Here is the second issue for review,'The Return Of'.

Please appreciate that my comments are my personal opinion and may not be representative of opinions, 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 to lose the subjective focus,so here are my thoughts on this iconic series of Peterson pipes,warts and all. To facilitate my personal thoughts,I have scored each pipe from 0-10 on a quality,functionality, value and aesthetics scale.
In general terms I find the Sherlock Holmes series very appealing to the eye,but disappoints by failing in quality control and value for money. I would suggest that there is room for improvement in both the quality of finish and basic engineering, to make these much improved smoking pipes.

The second issue was called 'The Return of' - and was based on the success of 'the Original',with seven additional new shapes and dedicated wooden rack being created. All similar to the first issue,with XL bowl sizes and similar sterling silver bands with the SH stamp.

The first pipe in the 'Return' series was 'The Rathbone'- a large elegant bent, with a large stack bowl. In honour of the actor who played Holmes in the old black and white pictures of the nineteen thirties and forties. This is shape XL20.A great comfortable bent shape with a good draw. Scoring a solid 8.

Next pipe is 'The Hudson' – a large quarter bent Bulldog. A great classic bulldog shape that smokes as well as it looks. This is shape XL21. I would score this one 7.5 .

Third is 'The Mycroft' - named after Holmes's brother. A classy elegant Horn shape that is an excellent smoker. This is Peterson shape XL22.Scoring a good 8 on the scale.

The fourth pipe in the series 'The Lestrade' - is my personal favourite of all of the Sherlock Holmes series. This is the instantly recognisable, full-bent apple shape XL23. It is the quintessential dangler/clench-er pipe. It is equally tactile in the hand when not dangling,in this form I prefer it with a tapered fishtail stem to maximise the draw and smoking pleasure. Being a wee bit biased in regard to this one, I have to give it a very worthy 9 score.

Next is 'The Milverton' – a large full bent with an angular stem .Peterson shape XL24.I have to admit, it is not one of my favourites. I just do not like the angular stem. In terms of smoking it is average by me. I would rate it a 7 on the scale.

Number six is 'The Strand' – a quarter bent apple, it is Peterson shape XL25.To my mind a very pleasing elegant flowing shape. Very tactile for a straighter stemmed pipe and an excellent smoker.
I would score this one a credible 8.5 on the scale.

Finally, the last of the seven is 'The Hansom' – a shape I just cannot warm to. I find it seriously wanting in regard to it's aesthetic appeal. A bent Rhodesian, Peterson shape XL26.I only have one to complete the collection. I find it neither pleasing to hold, or to look at. Others may feel differently,I can only award it a 7.


  1. My feeling about the Return Of are very similar to yours Jim with the exception of the Hansom. The one I had smoked wet and I would rate it at a 5

  2. Chuck,In regard to the Hansom,it is almost a misnomer ,there is nothing 'hansom' about it.IMHO it is an ugly duckling!

  3. Personally, I love the look of this pipe. It is kind of unsettling like an Edgar Allen Poe poem. It's very Victorian and reminds me of an old Victorian Manor house I once worked in that was most certainly haunted.I would love to own one of these, but I will have to settle for its less expensive cousin, the Kinsale XL26.

  4. I like the Hansom because it's different, like myself.