Fewer Blends, An Upside?

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Log in

Search on Site

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,237
436
Along with most Forums members I romp through the vast variety of blends enjoying a golden age of choice in pipe tobacco while it lasts. Some of us, however, live where the selection is quite limited. And members like to speculate on what one blend they'd take to an isolated island. Many pipe smokers stick with one blend or several only and enjoy it, like some people have one brand of beer or one whisky they always enjoy. What is the upside to a limited choice? Is the dependable expectation a plus, delivering one enjoyable experience? Or do you get different experiences with one blend that provides its own variety? If you're "stuck" with one or only several blends, is there an upside? As I've often reported, my dad smoked only Granger in pouches, from age 15 to 65, until he quit cold turkey. The tobacco itself probably fluctuated a little, so there was that. He would have smoked from about 1932 to 1982. Fewer or one blend, any advantages?

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
As much as I love lobster I could never eat it all the time. Same with pipe tobacco for me. I need variety as I would be bored to tears with only one blend.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,237
436
cigrmaster, there's a lyric from a Great Depression era song that goes, in part: "After you've been eating steak a long time,/ beans taste fine."

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,632
564
Alaska
Yeah, it would significantly limit my TAD flare-ups. Probably save me a lot of time too, no more plunging the deepest darkest recesses of the internet searching for that tin of Marlin Flake or Dunbar. Honestly, if they outlawed everything but Capstan, Escudo, Navy Flake, Old Dark Fired, Plum Pudding, and Lane 1Q, part of me would be somewhat relieved.
Part of why I love going to my cabin. You can only bring so many blends in the airplane, don't have to think about it for days. VA after coffee, english after scotch, eat sleep repeat.
Don't think I'd like to live with just one though.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,927
739
Wish I had known about Angler's Dream years ago. That would be all I would have in my cellar.

 

ebnash

New member
Jun 5, 2019
44
0
Los Gatos, CA
I'm quite new to pipe smoking, but this question is relative to my current situation.
When I started, I was overwhelmed by all the choices and recommendations from fellow smokers. I went a little nuts and in the 1st 3-4 moths found myself with 20-30 jarred tobaccos of various types. I started by buying a lot of aromatics because the tin note was so delicious, but soon found that to me, most aros taste very chemically and synthetic. Alas, I'm just not an aro fan. ]
Also, many seasoned smokers where giving me suggestions to buy a lot of widely loved blends that had Latakia in them. I had no idea what Latakia meant at them time, until I popped that 1st tin of FM On the Town and knew I did not like it. I do not enjoy smoky anything. Smoked meats, campfires, brush burning piles are all just overwhelming to my senses. So now, I also had some Lat blends that would go neglected. I would go back a couple times that 1st year and never found it appealing at all. The only blend I currently smoke with any Lat, is EGR and it's barely even in there.
So nowadays, I know I love OTC Burleys, Burley Flakes, (not dark fired), Straight Va Flakes and a couple VaPers. I find myself wanting to keep buying more and more of the blend types I know I like thinking I might find a Goldilocks tobacco when I'm already loving what I'm smoking.
I'd rather not have all the neverending options because I don't smoke daily, much less multiple times daily, and it's hard to get myself to smoke the same blend over and over because there's so much out there.
So on the other forum I belong to, I'm running a contest to win 16 blends that I am culling from the cellar. Most of them are almost full tin qty or even multiple ounces that I will split in half so 2 winners will get 16 tobacco's to try. It's a relief to get them all out of my storage. Having said that, I found myself walking into my local shop looking for new blends to fill the space, when what I need to be doing, is just enjoying what I have saved.
Like the OP's Father, who smoked something he liked for many years and didn't think of other choices, I would prefer to just keep repeat buying the same tobacco, not really thinking about all the rainbows on the horizon.
Someday...

 

ophiuchus

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2016
1,204
16
Honestly, if they outlawed everything but Capstan, Escudo, Navy Flake, Old Dark Fired, Plum Pudding, and Lane 1Q, part of me would be somewhat relieved.
:rofl: -Even you're pared down list is still a list. We're sick people, we are.
I've thought about this a bit ... I remember back in the day when I'd buy a couple tins of "import" blends (how I thought of them in the '80's) and a tub of codger; I'd lose track of the tins before even opening them and smoke nothing but the contents of the tub, admittedly between many cigarettes. When the tub ran out, I'd pick up a few more import tins and maybe the same tub of codger, maybe a different brand. Again, I'd lose track of most of the tins and smoke nothing but that tub. Repeat. (Then I'd move or something, and find the tins. This is how my "cellar" started, very much by accident.)
I didn't think so at the time, but life was simpler back then.
More recently, there have been times when I felt like running out for a hike, only to be stalled, staring indecisively at the collection of little jars, trying to decide what to smoke. It's one of the reasons I pre-load my pipes more often than not, in more decisive moments.
I love the variety. It's like having an open bar, as opposed to visiting the same cracked fifth in the kitchen cupboard. But then I think of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, who more or less had multiples of the same outfits hanging in their closets, decluttering the choices they had to make at the beginning of the day. One blend, less clutter? Interesting question. :puffpipe:

 

kylef

Member
Oct 17, 2018
149
50
Cape Ann, MA USA
ebnash,
My journey has been very similar to yours, although you're a little further along.
I've been trying everything, and I think I have more than twenty jars now. I also only smoke 1-3 bowls a week, and it's just so tempting to always keep trying something different each time, and to keep buying new blends.
I've discovered that I mostly lean towards aromatics, OTC burley blends, and old-school American-English blends with just a small touch of latakia. And I have discovered a number of blends that I really love--so why do I feel the need to keep trying everything under the sun? I think narrowing down my selections might be good for me, too. But dang it, I like variety, too.
It's like the DEVO song:
There was a poem in ancient Rome

About a dog who had two bones

He licked the one, he licked the other

He made a circle, and he dropped dead

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,632
564
Alaska
Even you're pared down list is still a list. We're sick people, we are
Haha, yep! Gotta have one each of my favorite types of blends! If you made me pick between Va/VaPer and English/Balkan I think my head would explode. I know, I know, everybody grew up on their Walter Raleigh or whatever OTC and that was all they had and life was simpler and better, and we don't appreciate all the options we now have, etc. etc.
But what can I say? I am a spoiled millenial, a shameless product of my environment, given every option and advantage and still wanting more, having earned absolutely none of it. :nana:

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,105
242
Lexington, KY
Personally, I'm happiest with a small stable of blends in rotation. There are really only 5 blends that I seriously cellar, and I could be perfectly happy with any one of the blends as my only option.
Obviously I've revealed a preference for multiple blends over just one, but it would only slightly distract from the experience if I was down to one blend.

 

brian64

Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2011
5,249
164
For anyone who considers fewer blends to be a good thing, you'll be getting your wish soon enough.
Fewer blends are the future.
Paul Simon said it best:
My lack of education hasn't hurt me none

I can read the writing on the wall


 

fusion

Junior Member
May 18, 2019
97
0
Im still very new to pipes and trying everything i can lay my hands on, finding i like the Virginia, Burley Perique blends the most up to now, also some of the "milder" aromatics as in not overwhelming on the added flavorings

 

ebnash

New member
Jun 5, 2019
44
0
Los Gatos, CA
As much as I like all the exotic Burley Flakes for the concentrations of flavor and the tanginess of a good straight Va., I can honestly say that if I had to smoke on Sir Walter Raleigh for the rest of my time, I'd be more than pleased.
It was the 3rd tobacco I tried and the only one that I've actually finished a package and bought more.
There are others that I bought more to cellar after the 1st hit off the pipe, but I haven't finished those initial tins.
If I'm unsure, I pack a bowl of SWR. Just wish it had a more nic.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,879
802
Monterey Peninsula
Well, Dylan said this:
Keep a clean nose

Watch the plain clothes

You don't need a weather man

To know which way the wind blows
But I believe we'll still have hundreds of blends to choose among, and that's just American made products.
It's good to buy American.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,237
436
Between the expansive cellars described by Forums members and a range of blends that will survive on the market or a new black market, I think most members would do pretty well for many years, even with draconian enforcement of the deeming regs. What will change is pipe smoking for new pipe smokers who will not have the enticement of pages and pages of available blends. That could have an extreme effect on the market or not. Or our world may be distracted entirely from the issue.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,429
180
I have a handful of blends I rely on to deliver a great, satisfying smoke, every time. Testing, then tossing blends is of no interest. The demise of Dunhill simply reduced the number of blends I keep on hand. I've not found it necessary to find replacements.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
warren, you are such a fuddy duddy. Open your eyes, look to the horizon, there are tons of great blends you need to try. Tell me what you enjoy now and I'll get a list of say 25 new blends to try. I guarantee you will love them all. In fact you will love them so much you will want to pay me 100.00 for every new blend you love.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,025
157
I like choices in most everything I do. I prefer choices and options. If I fail to discipline myself when having those choices and options, shame on me. The other issue is competition and capitalism. If for some reason, limits were put on variety, that means there would be less competition. Prices would rise and quality would decline. What is being described with such limits is Communism. Yes, we the wealthy and powerful know what is best for everyone. If that's your preference, get a Visa and head to China or Russia. Let us know how that works out for you.

 

kcghost

Preferred Member
May 6, 2011
2,379
47
I could live with Escudo, Six Pence, Stonehenge, and Mad Fiddler until the end of time.