Factory Aging

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haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
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Lexington, KY
I know it's been discussed ad infinitum here that certain blenders age their tobaccos before selling them. Much has also been made of the difference between aerobic and anaerobic fermentation that occurs in tobacco, and many say that care should be taken not to disturb anaerobic fermentation until you're ready to smoke.
So how is factory aging done? I can imagine a couple of possibilities. Maybe the individual leaf is aged before blending, maybe it's blended/pressed/etc and the completed blend sits on the floor of the warehouse for some time, or maybe they tin up a fresh blend and just sit on it for awhile.
It just seems hard to imagine a way that a factory could abide by some of the common rules we abide by for cellaring. But maybe this stuff only matters on a scale of years, not months.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
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My guess is that it is tinned and then allowed to sit. I think that would allow for the most practical storage before it is transported.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Farmers will set on crops for a few years, with some swearing that their crops all go through a couple of sweats, which is referring to summers in the barn. I remember farmers even burying their crops under straw for at least a year. these are all kept bone dry for the most part. The middlemen, between the farmers and the "brands" we know, will sometimes process a tobacco down into cuts, and then turn them in these "stalls" occasionally as tobacco ages. And, then some "brands", which is the last company to hold the tobacco which we are familiar with will sometimes tin up their tobaccos and then let them set in warehouses for a number of years, such as Bringham had been doing with Klondike Gold.
As far as I have learned, there is no one standard way of doing this. Each farmer, processor, and tobacconist/blender "brand" has their own ways of handling this before it reaches our shelves. And, some companies handle processes for other companies under contract... as I understand it. So...

So how is factory aging done?
There is no one answer for that question that will cover the gambit of tobaccos that we are offered via retail.
If you are looking for reasons for you, yourself in how you will handle jars or tins, then just do what you want. Me... I just jar it, and keep the damn jars closed until I am ready to smoke the whole jar. And, I keep tins closed until time to smoke them. You, you can do what pleases you. But, you don't see wine collectors taking sips from bottles and then putting them back into their cellars, because it causes all kinds of unpredictable things to happen to the wine, even with those silly accessories that let newbies and novices take sips from bottles and then put them back in the refrigerators. There is a difference between a serious wine collector and housewives that want to save the rest of a wine bottle till the weekend.

 

crashthegrey

Preferred Member
Dec 18, 2015
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Mike McNiel shared that in his opinion, it is not really done anymore. The tobacco used to age in hogs heads for 3 plus years. Now you are lucky if it sits for 10 months. It's part of why he left the industry. So take that with a grain of salt.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,525
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United States
The only blend that I know of that was aged in their tins was the Brigham Klondike Gold that Cosmic mentioned, and they said they aged them for 2-3 years. You would think that with all the people aging tobacco today that if anyone was aging in tins, they would advertise it.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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Didn't Dunhill have one of their last releases aged in the tin? One of the Matured-something-or-others? And, then the Aged Burley Flake... I'm not exactly sure who all has ever aged in tins, before releasing it. I think we are most aware of Klondike Gold, because Brian Levine was working for them at the time, when everyone was waiting the release of that flake.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,886
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Cosmic, thanks for the "inside baseball" glimpse of various tobacco aging procedures (rituals?). It seems like there would be some economic pressures, waiting out or hurrying into a low or high market. Tobacco farmers are under pressure, of course, to get their investment out of any given crop. Likewise, as much as blenders would like to refine a blend in the warehouse, there must be some response to supply and demand. Any time the consumer can add a year or two, or much more, to the aging process, this is likely usually all to the good. This is an interesting thread, and thanks for original and all posts. When I crack a tin with dust on the cover, I always experience what seems like extra nuanced flavor, a better melding of the constituent tobaccos. Then, to be honest, I've reveled in cracking a fresh tin without any added aging in my stash.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,874
66
Whoops, just saw my typo "swearing" instead of "sweating" It was in talking to Mark Ryan that I heard about sweating out the Tobaccos. A very fresh flue cured tobacco isn't truly fully cured. Sure, there are some who are pushing out fresh flue cured as soon as they can, mostly used in the tobacco industry, but to me it still has too much ammonia left in it. If a farmer thinks that he can raise the price of his crop by setting on it for two years, you bet he will (or would have).
Of course now that the auction system is pretty much kaput, and almost all tobacco farming is done by the corporations under profit pushes, today we are just getting what can be scrapped up and passed off as tobacco... except for some of these guys in the pipe world who can push and shove their way into getting what they need.