A Closer Look at the new Darwin Series

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Darwin Seven Day Rotation, Jim Lilley collection
Darwin Deluxe, Jim Lilley collection
Ebony, Jim Lilley collection

By Jim Lilley

The new Darwin series of pipes are large,sturdy, stout and feature the same military mount and ingenious moisture-trap found in other Peterson System pipes. Recently released, just in time, to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of the Species". Darwin pipes come in the Sandblast, Ebony, Rustic, Smooth, Red, Deluxe and Premier finish. The shape form is the newB42; a handsome and muscular bent apple that appears to have been specially created for the series.

I have to admit that I am smitten by this new series from Peterson. They epitomize my ideal pipe, both in looks and functionality. The Deluxe in particular is a very handsome specimen. I also enjoy how tactile these pipes are,they snuggle in beautifully in the hand. I am a big guy so it may be something to do with scale. With the pipes being so big I would imagine they will not be to everyone's taste. My own view is somewhat biased, the Darwin's were probably tailor made with me in mind!! I find them brilliant smokers,the bowls never heat up, because they are so large and the shape is so very comfortable for longer periods of smoking. Personally I give them a slight edge over the Mark Twain's in that department.

There are currently some strange production anomalies with the introduction of this series,the Deluxe in particular has been very difficult to source since it's introduction nearly a year ago. I was very fortunate to acquire one of the original production pieces, but I know other collectors who are still waiting for one, almost 1 year on. From inquiries it would appear that the problem is blamed on sourcing suitable quality briar. That is starting to ring rather hollow after such a long period from its initial publicity and introduction.

The official Peterson web site lists only four types,Deluxe,Premier, Rustic and Smooth. Yet I have managed to source three others ,Red, Ebony and Sandblast. It would seem once again that Peterson appear to be missing the opportunity to maximize both accurate marketing and publicity,coupled to poor production targets for the introduction of a new series. I would suggest that the loyal world wide Peterson pipe collectors and smokers deserve better. It is a great pity to stigmatize such a brilliant, handsome new series on its maiden issue.

I have enclosed some photos of examples from my own collection.

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