A Closer Look at The Peterson Deluxe System Pipe

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By Jim Lilley

Darwin Deluxe, Jim Lilley collection
Deluxe 11s, Jim Lilley collection
Deluxe Mark Twain Bent, Jim Lilley collection
Deluxe 02s, Jim Lilley collection

The version of the system pipe for our closer inspection is one of Peterson's more recognisable

series, the handsome and very distinctive Deluxe system pipes, which include the Darwin and Mark Twain. These pipes are at the top of the 'system' series in terms of quality and finish.

Each Peterson Deluxe is made from carefully selected, age mellowed root briar. In matt finish with hallmarked sterling silver mounts and a unique space fitting mouthpiece to allow for years of wear. They are available in a wide range of shapes numbered, as follows :- 1s,2s,3s,4s,5s,8s,9s,11s,12.5s,20s,XL5s, 20FB and 11FB.

The pipes are well carved, construction,engineering and workmanship,is outstanding. The stems are well drilled and aligned. Silver work is excellent, finish very good, and the often maligned briar is of outstanding quality.

The design is a very typically Peterson classic shape. Apart from the Darwin,the balance can be stem heavy,the bit is thick and chunky,especially in the larger versions. I also enjoy the sense of presence they give to the pipe,particularly if smoking in company with friends or strangers. They have a sophistication about them.

The smoking qualities are excellent,dry and cool. The draw is good, and the flavour is particularly great in new pipes. The Mark Twain's are outstanding in this department.

As for the aesthetics and ergonomics, I find some shapes much more attractive than others. Favourites for me are the 1s,2s,3s,the Mark Twain's and the Darwin deluxe. As a clencher most are very good to hang,except the beautiful Darwin which is more of a 'hand holder.'

The one weakness I find is the modern orange/golden colour, (the so called natural) it is, in my opinion, less attractive than that found in the older Walnut finish of the eighties.

As far as value and cost is concerned,for the excellent quality finish, these are competitively priced at around $135 to $250 depending on size and briar grade.

For what it is worth,I reckon the Deluxe s are probably the best value range of pipes that Peterson produce, both in terms of functionality and value. There is not a thing wrong with these pipes. Those who malign the brand because they're made by the hundreds using machines, are very wrong, IMHO. I like them a lot and the bang for the buck is the best I've ever seen for new pipes of this quality.

The De-luxes are all excellent smokers. The Darwin, of course, is a truly outstanding pipe, its only "flaw" being that it's not a clencher. One particular aspect of this pipe, that appeals to me most is its physical beauty and presence, they are a pipe like no other. For me, they also offer a bowl capacity that I like and a balance in the hand that I appreciate. They are well named Deluxe s for giving that special experience.

I have included some photo examples from my own collection.

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