Here is the thing. As we all know, there are skilled artisans and wonderfully-crafted pipes in today’s pipes and tobacco marketplaces. And over time, the Pundit has managed to purchase a parcel of these prized pipes. Lately, the Pundit has become particularly interested in Peterson Pipes from Sallynoggin.
It has to do with history and quality.
As most any pipe smoker knows, Peterson is the oldest continuously operating pipe factory in the world.
At 150 years young, and now under the leadership of Laudisi Enterprises, the parent company of Cornell & Diehl tobacco, Laudisi Distribution Group, Low Country Pipe and Cigar, and Smokingpipes.com, Peterson continues to surprise and satisfy its huge consumer base year-in and year out with innovation, such as its newest sandblasting techniques.
Without sounding too much like a PR piece, the Pundit thinks of Peterson pipes, especially those in the Pundit herd, as Everyman pipes.
No, neither are Petes the most expensive nor are they the least costly.
They range from a reasonable price point to the upper range, without hitting the stratospheric heights of some well-known brands or venture into oligarchy regions like other brands we know and dream of owning.
And it is hardly a bad call when you go with a Peterson in the Sherlock Holmes series. With the Holmes, which the Pundit has owned since they first arrived from Dublin in the late 1980s, it is difficult to be disappointed.
Simply stated, I don’t have a bad smoking Holmes. Period. And you can take it from the Pundit, they have been put through smoking severities.
Any pipe good enough for Basil Rathbone in his masterful Holmes performances, and the worldly intellect of the famous detective, Sherlock, is more than adequate for the Pundit.
In fact, I have yet to have a bad turn with a Holmes pipe. They smoke, as an old-time pipe-smoking pal once told me.
Yes, the Pundit has pricey pipes corralled in the herd, such as Dunhill, Ashton, Cavicchi, an old Charatan, and others.
Please forgive the Pundit for being in a Peterson moment. St. Patrick’s Day in March got me thinking about my everyday smoking life.
Blame it on the Ides of March, or March Madness. The Pundit answers to any of those excuses!
It’s become something of a riddle or a conundrum. My Petes call daily, but that means I must put the Dunhill or Ashton either into a weekly rotation or ignore them altogether, which is difficult.
This also works to hamper my thoughts of some very fine-smoking Algerian briars that are more than 50-year-old performers. At the time they were purchased, those ebauchons were at least a half-century in age.
It has been a sacrifice worth making, but lately, the Pundit has been a bit perplexed about his older, familiar companions in the stable.
I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan since reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and other stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Doyle created a transcendent fictional pipe-smoking character and an erstwhile compatriot, Dr. John Watson, as Holmes’ sidekick.
Watson first appeared in Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887.
I have always admired these Holmesian quotes from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, published in The Strand Magazine between July 1891, and December 1892: “You see, but do not observe;” and “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
For a better look at the Peterson Sherlock Holmes collection of pipes, head over to Peterson’s Sherlock Holmes Pipes: An Infographic September 4, 2019, by Andrew Wike in Pipe Line: A Closer Look At Peterson’s Sherlock Holmes Pipes: An Infographic
Now let’s recognize some notable pipe-smoking authors who died in April:
Saul Bellow, the novelist, and playwright, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976, was born June 10, 1915, in Lachine, Quebec, and died April 5, 2005, in Brookline, Mass.
Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army, was born Jan. 26, 1880, in Little Rock, Ark., and died April 5, 1964, in Washington, D.C.
Evelyn Waugh, British journalist, novelist, travel writer, book reviewer, and biographer was born Oct. 28, 1903, in West Hampstead, London, and died April 10, 1966, in Combe Florey, Somerset, England.
Günter Grass, 1999 Nobel Laureate in Literature, was a German novelist, poet, and playwright, born Oct. 16, 1927, in Danzig, Germany, and died April 13, 2015, in Lübeck, Germany.
The Pundit has admired this quote from Saul Bellow: Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.
Now, fellow pipe travelers, we are in the throes of beloved early Spring. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the Pundit is preparing his pipe travel bag.
Fellow travelers, you do have a pipe travel bag, eh?
The Pundit’s bag always stands at the ready. You never know when you have to hit the hiking trails this time of year, between April showers, and May’s flowers (please overlook the schmooze).
The Pundit’s pipe bag contains nothing from the precious herd, but a bristling bunch of corncobs tried, and faithful friends.
Next comes a plethora of pipe tobaccos, from Sir Walter Raleigh (yes, indeed the old burly-based sweetie) several C&D favorites (Autumn Evening, a beautiful aromatic, and Opening Night), and numerous pouches of burleys and aros.
You never know when you might just want a more robust English blend for a long, long walk in the woods.
Here’s hoping you have a great start to spring. Pack that pipe travel bag and keep on hoofing.
One last quote that I have always found impressive and prescient:
It’s from General MacArthur in 1951, giving his retirement speech before the U.S. Congress.
In it, he recalls a hoary ballad popular in the barracks and the plains of West Point in his cadet days.
A portion of the narrative related that “old soldiers never die; they just fade away,” the venerable, highly decorated and admired general said.
And now, if you don’t mind, the Pundit will riff off the old general’s famous words:
“Old pipe smokers never die; they simply rise aloft in the blue haze of their favorite blend.”