Today’s review is somewhat different. In fact, it has all the hallmarks of a pictorial article rather than an actual review – I mean, can you actually review a block of briar? Sort of!
Warning this post is picture heavy!
I’ve made a few pipes, but that was many years ago and none were briar. I’m not sure why, but since I started smoking a pipe (again), I have had this overwhelming desire to make a “proper” pipe. I say make loosely – I currently don’t have the machinery required to bore out the smoking chamber or draft hole (I’m working on it!). So I’d have to pick up a predrilled block which would serve as a creative carving platform. Its a small enough compromise to make when you can’t do everything yourself, and in all honesty, shaping the pipe gives me the greatest pleasure, so with that decided, I searched the web for a pipe kit.
Breaking in the Peterson Deluxe System 11FB would require some self restraint. I was sorely tempted to just fill this beautiful Irish creation to the rim with luscious tobacco and smoke away, but I decided to go down the half bowl route for the first few smokes.
I had cracked open a tin of Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader a few days before the 11FB arrived from Brucciani’s and decided to use this English (medium) blend for the break in period (anticipated at 7-10 days).
Squadron Leader is a real favourite of mine. Its a classic and has just about everything going for it from tin note to smooth smoke. The good lady wife is not keen on the room note and I agree its not exactly a crowd pleaser in that respect, so I smoke this alone in my study.
As mentioned in Part 1, the 11FB smoking chamber was decidedly smooth and also very deep (40mm or so). It would require some slow, careful smoking, preferably to the bottom to encourage heel cake.
My love affair with Peterson pipes goes back to the late eighties. The local tobacconist I frequented sold a few good pipes and a lot more lower quality unbranded or basket pipes. My modest collection fitted the latter bracket so I would enviously eye the Peterson range which unfortunately were out of my teenage budget.
I recall the pipe I longed for was clipped to a wooden board or more precisely a screen covered in holes, and had a £60 price tag hanging from its bent stem – bear in mind my most expensive pipe at the time cost around £14 (an Italian made Meerschaum lined Prince), so this was a lot of money back then. It was a rustic briar, similar to a System 314 in appearance. Very remiss of me, but I never knew the exact model number, just that I liked the shape!
Anyway, I never got it, but I swore that, one day, I would aquire a Peterson of Dublin pipe.