They are a little pricy, but I'm sure as stated before it's because of a better quality briar. I haven't really heard too many bad things about them. From what I have heard most are good smokers. I myself plan on, if I get back to work in the next month or so, ordering one of the complete series' for a self Christmas present. I must say I love the look of the Le Strade and it's the reason I'm leaning more towards that series.
They do sell themselves as the classic/quintisential Sherlock Holmes pipe maker. Certainly very good smokers - I was lucky enough to be allowed to try a friends. And if you really feel like being daft, you can smoke Peterson's Sherlock Holmes in a Peterson's Sherlock Holmes.
I was just at a Peterson Road Show and they had a new Sherlock Holmes smooth there with a fill in it. Not bad but I expected to see better, I think the older ones are as I have a rusticated that I adore and is super light weight for its size and smokes wonderfully. I guess just have a very close look as always or you might be surprised by a fill you were not expecting.
It is interesting that you bumped this old thread up since I was just about to ask a question:
I really want a Lestrade. Is there really a reason to fork out $236 for an authentic Sherlock Holmes when I can get the same shape from the Kinsale series for half that price? I do want the silver band and all, but what do you think? Is the briar really better?
I have five Sherlock Holmes. Four Hudsons (XL 21s) and a Squire (XL 15) they're great smokers. The textured finishes are a bit more reasonable (Sandblast $175 and the rusticated $156) Smooth pipes run between $235 and $250 (actual price paid). They don't smoke any different so if you're not really concerned about smooth finishes the price is reasonable. The Kinsale wood isn't the same quality. I think they us that line as a place to market stummels that aren't good enough for the Sherlock Holmes series but again they smoke as well so the price difference is for aesthetics.
I have a rusticated Kinsale XL22 (Mycroft). I had to drill it out but I really like it.
The smooth XL23 in Kinsale is beautiful but the Lestrade with the Sherlock silver band is a real beauty. I may cave in and buy one.
I have four (Rathbone, Mycroft, Watson & Deerstalker), the Watson is my favourite. They are amongst some of the largest pipes Peterson produce, which partially accounts for the high price, and of course its quality is a lot better than the rest of the Peterson pipes.
I have a Kinsale XL17 that I have had for a couple of years and was made most likely somewhere in the 80s. Its a rusticated one and I do enjoy the pipe very much and it smokes very well. I recently got a Milverton estate pipe from around 1994 and I can tell you it is an excellent pipe. Though similar in size the Milverton is very much lighter in weight and is very well made with excellent boring and finish and the band is perfectly fit. They may be the same shapes as the Sherlock Holmes and should be judged on a pipe by pipe basis but it does seem the Sherlock Holmes are made to a higher standard overall.
I just found a Lestrade at a local shop made around 2000 and its being held for me as it too is a beautifully made pipe though a bit heavier than the Milverton I expect it to be a great smoker if I buy it.
Very few Peterson lines interest me. Sherlock Holmes briar is not top notch, thats a myth. Peterson will not guarantee "pit-free" status even in their top lines. Unless you are talking Supremes in the highest grades which costs $600-$800 or above.
Sherlock Holmes series is good, but dont expect top notch briar unless its in natural finish and even dont expect no pits.
I have been told that securing good briar has been an issue. Can't name names, but its someone who is close to the Peterson people.