It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas … thanks to Peterson’s Holiday Season 2014 edition.
Coming so soon after the recent review of their Summertime and Special Reserve blends, we here at PipesMagazine.com knew we had to kick it up another notch for this review–so we’ll be reviewing a Peterson Christmas 2014 pipe as well!
Tin: The enjoyment of the blend begins immediately, with Santa slinking on by in a "Keep on truckin’ " gait–the whimsical graphics are a joy to behold on the embossed tins, and have become like Currier & Ives prints for tobacco lovers. Even the closed lid and Mylar bag can’t contain the alluring aroma within, those gorgeous ribbons of gold and black looking good enough to eat. This year’s flavor is billed as a "touch of vanilla and a hint of chocolate", with the result being a spot-on rendition of luscious butter toffee–in fact, remarkably, stunningly, exactly like butter toffee. I invite any curious readers to do a taste comparison and refute my claim; my personal pick being B. toffee’s hand crafted milk chocolate (https://btoffee.com).
Since 2010 the Christmas pipe also comes in a commemorative box sleeve, this year’s being a close-up of Santa’s belt, definitely another keeper for the collection. Inside is nestled my shiny new 106 billiard, a perfect companion for my Christmas 2010 pipe of the same make, though this one is rusticated in an acorn finish. Stained a bright red over black rustication, with a broad silver band sporting a laser-engraved holly sprig, and tipped with a bright red-swirled acrylic stem, this is the most festive release yet for Peterson.
Christmas pipes, Christmas pipes, calling us home on Christmas night
(Photo courtesy of SmokingPipes.com)
Char: I find that no drying is necessary, or recommended–take it straight from the tin for optimal effect. The aroma is absolutely intoxicating, making my mouth water with anticipation. Mild on the light, the hint of chocolate clearly comes through on the top, gradually deepening as the smoke progresses into the buttery richness that defines this blend.
Top: For all its richness, it’s worth noting that this is not a cloying aromatic–all-natural flavoring ingredients blended with a deft hand ensure that the flavors complement the tobacco, not mask it. But aromatic it is, a bright, sweet one that will have you sniffing the bowl and fielding compliments from all within range of the smoke.
Mid: In a smaller pipe, Holiday is a mere tasty morsel; an after-dinner candy, if you will. In the capacious bowl of the 106, chambered with its 9mm filter, it’s the fifth course of a Christmas banquet. I find that the filtered smoke gives an almost effervescent quality to the flavors, pronouncing them with exquisite clarity. I won’t lie, it’s a one-trick pony of a smoke–but oh, what a trick! The lush buttery-creaminess is the stuff that holiday memories are made of, never mind visions of sugar-plums.
Finish: There is, unfortunately, one huge drawback to this tobacco: it’s the kind of smoke you won’t put down until the tin is empty. Tapping out the ash from one bowl, with no moisture problems whatsoever, demands another tasting…and another, and another. All hyperbole aside, in reviewing this blend I found myself shaking out the last little bits of the bag before I’d written down any tasting notes past the tin aroma, and long before pulling the camera out for some snaps. Another tin was luckily purchased from Barclay-Rex (their last one!) in time for the review, but I’m afraid I’ll have to order another soon to accompany me to the season’s social gatherings.
Room Note: Caution must be exercised when lighting up around fellow pipe smokers, as it’s guaranteed that they’ll be asking for a pinch. For non-smokers, you will be congratulated on such a delicious selection. This blend really says "Christmas", in big, bold letters.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to review Peterson tobaccos without repeating myself. It’s a cinch to give 14 marks for the mischievous Santa tin and heavenly aroma of the elegant tobacco, though I admit some minor disappointment that it doesn’t contain the "flakelets" of the previous 2014 blends.
Draw and burn are, again, effortless and clean–34 points.
For flavor and aroma, I’ll settle on a 46 after two tins’ worth of deliberation. As mentioned, it’s very much a one-note smoke, but it hits that note with such surety and articulation that it can’t be faulted.
Cellar or Smoke?
Aromatic fans, be warned: a single tin will not suffice to see you through the entire holiday. Better make it two…or perhaps three.
And the pipe? 100 points!
Normally I’m not given to commemorative pipes. My Peterson 2010 billiard was purchased after my first taste of that holiday blend which I’ve waxed poetic on repeatedly, as much to preserve my memories of that blend as the time that I enjoyed it, and I’ve enjoyed every bowl from it since despite its bubbly finish. That being said, it was just a standard model with a non-standard band stamped "Christmas". This year, however, Peterson made the pipes truly special with the unique finish, opulent band, and dazzling stem. The tactile feel of the pipe speaks well of its bulky Irish proportions, the drilling is spot on, and personally I love that it’s chambered for the filter. Adding to that its extremely reasonable price point (around $100), I heartily recommend one of the twelve (natch) available shapes as a great gift for yourself or a loved one.
Blend: Holiday Season 2014
Tobaccos: Virginia, Burley, Cavendish
Room Note: Mild and (very) sweet
Tin Size: 100g
Tin Age: New
The taste of loose cut Virginias, Cavendish and ready rubbed Burley tobaccos come together and guarantee a slow and pleasurable smoking experience. Holiday Season 2014 will be your perfect companion during the festive season.