Rare (Or getting There) Tobaccos

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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
93
Alaska
Hello All,
Forgive me if this topic has been beaten to death by n00bs like me before. I searched the forums but didn't find anything of note. With the supposed tobaccopocalypse looming, it seems like I have entered this pipe smoking world at a time of many old favorites becoming very hard to obtain or disappearing entirely, only to be found on ebay or obscure local shop websites such as McLelland blends (Frog Morton,etc.), Some of the Dunhill Stuff, certain Esoterica blends, etc.
At the same time, I often hear that we are living in the golden age of pipe tobacco from a price and availability standpoint here in the United States....something that may end shortly after the aforementioned tobaccopocalypse.
So I guess my question for you more experienced old timers out there is this: Is it worth paying 3 or even 5 times the price of your average tin of good shit to acquire something like Frog Morton or Esoterica when there is so much other good readily available stuff out there at such a low cost? Or, would it be wise to invest and buy them now, before ALL pipe tobacco becomes that expensive even if it is readily available...?
Let the numerous differing opinions begin......

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
4,510
16
East Indiana
No.....there is no point in chasing after unicorns as a new pipe smoker. It would be wiser to buy more tins of readily available tins to try out and find out where your tastes lie.

 

redglow

Preferred Member
Jan 7, 2019
1,419
143
Michigan
I recommend buying the great tobaccos that are readily available. The hard to get stuff is really being eclipsed by some of the great mixtures that are being made today.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,702
5
I hate it when I pop a tin of something new, only to discover I don't like it. I would hate it a lot more if I had payed 5 times its worth.

Try to discover tobaccos that are available. Some of them will also disappear and then you have the upper hand. Everything is always changing.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,547
171
United States
I wouldn't pay scalpers prices for any tobacco, especially when lots of the unobtanium is really crap.
Here are some of my favorites that are readily available.

Capstan Blue Flake

Escudo

Mac Baren Old Dark Fired

Solani 633 and 660 Silver Flake

Savinelli Doblone d'Oro

Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky

GL Pease Navigator needs a few years.

 

mtwaller

Senior Member
Nov 21, 2018
404
8
Atlanta, GA
cigrmaster has a pretty solid list there. I’d add Plum Pudding and Blackhouse for some Balkan flair, both are also widely available.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
93
Alaska
cigrmaster I have all of the above in the cellar (and the pipe!) except for the GLP Navigator! Looks like you and I have very similar taste in tobacco so I may have to pick some up! Thanks for the recommendations and thanks all for the great advice so far. It is certainly what my wallet wanted to hear, hahaha.
mtwaller...........same! Haven't tried the blackhouse yet, but Plum Pudding is on my desert island list at the moment. Love that stuff. Got shamboozled by the prospect of massive savings and will be trying their Potlatch next, as I couldn't resist the current deal on P & C (8oz cans, yes that's an 8, for $16. If it's half as good as plum pudding It'll be worth it.

 

hauntedmyst

Preferred Member
Feb 1, 2010
1,119
71
You'll be happy with your decision. Especially when you try something off the beaten path. I love a couple of Esoterica blends but they have been sold out the moment they hit the shelf for the last 7 or 8 years. There is no way I am paying for them at the gouging prices I saw at the Chicago Pipe Show. As a result, I've found some awesome blends, particularly from some smaller shops like Park Lane.

 

anthony416

Member
Sep 30, 2016
239
0
Agree with all of the above. Follow those recommendations of cigrmaster & mtwaller and you are well on your way.
Some time in the future, if your are really curious about a certain unobtainium, then usually a generous member here may send you a sample to try either for free or a small cost.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,306
5
Chasing after discontinued blends and paying quadruple (and sometimes double that) just isn't logical when you can spend 10 dollars a tin on great readily available blends. I find the hunt for McClellands blends especially to be fueled by the Facebook pipe smoking community as a means of doing no more than... "Hey look at this great photo of McClelland No.27 I just paid 100 dollars for because I'm just really that awesome! Be jealous of me!" At which point some people "oooh" and "aaah", and some people try to get free tobacco by adding, "I wish I were able to get some of that... one can dream" followed by a sad face emoji. And then someone states how ridiculous it is to pay that amount for a tin of tobacco but a week later does the same thing himself.
If it's a blend you already know you really like and you're able to get a decent deal on it, then by all means do so. Otherwise, better to buy ten tins of something else for the cost of that one tin.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
1,319
93
Alaska
anthonyrosenthal......that is part of the reason for this post. You see the same thing happen in the craft beer trading community, people pulling ridiculous cash/hauls for "white whales" that are rarely any more special than something you can probably buy right up the street. There is just less of them out there so they get hyped up to bejesusville by ravenous freaks looking for the next big score. In that community we call them "tickers" who are really after the "achievement" of acquiring it rather than the product itself.
I figured it might be similar in the pipe tobacco world, just wanted to get a feel for it. So far it sounds like that is the case! Definitely good info so far. Honestly what I hoped to hear.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,617
120
I don’t disagree with any of the sentiments expressed above. I have quite a few “rare” tobaccos that weren’t “rare” when I bought them, and on exactly zero of them would I spend multiple times retail. I have spent extra for a couple of blends, still in production, that I like with a lot of aging. And I ‘m done doing that. There are hundreds of great blends currently available without pissing away good money chasing unicorns. Unicorn chasing is all fine and well, but is its own little game, not to be confused with obtaining a great smoke.

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
0
Some time in the future, if your are really curious about a certain unobtainium, then usually a generous member here may send you a sample to try either for free or a small cost.
This is exactly right. @alaskanpiper, after six months of smoking your pipe and posting here feel free to drop me a line and we can chat about setting you up with some of a Frog Blend you might not have had the chance at. I found them early on and just loved loved loved Frog Moron on the Bayou. Clearly one of my favorites and I will be sad when it runs out but if one has never had it you aren't missing a quantifiable joy you can't find elsewhere.
j/B

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,117
4
Well, a mild dissent. I have happily paid “secondary market” prices, though perhaps not as much as eBay prices at the moment I got them from other sources, for things I know from experience are good. McClelland Red Wax Anniversary, some years of Christmas Cheer, some pre 2000 Green Label Orientals, etc. As someone who still smokes mid price range cigars on occasion, economically measured by cost per minute of smoking, I feel pipe tobacco is cheaper even at the prices I have paid. And if it weren’t, I would pay it anyway since I get more pleasure from a bowl of vintage pipe tobacco than I do from almost any cigar.
That the OP is a relatively new pipe smoker doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have the experience of trying out some unobtainum, though I wouldn’t say all of the Esoterica blends are unicorns or that any of them are worth more than MSRP. It is the OP’s pocketbook. Heck, he might even want to try a brand spanking new Dunhill to smoke it in.

 

jzbdano

Member
Jul 7, 2016
147
6
I have paid the inflated prices from the stud or on the bay and probably will again. I would only pay it again for a couple of blends I know I like. There is nothing I have tried that satisfies me like my favorite McClelland Red Virginias and I have dozens of blends in jars that were said to be just as good or a suitable replacement. To my tastes, nothing is like McClelland. A $2 bowl once or twice a week when I can sit down relax and get lost in the smoke is worth it to me. If you have the means I would encourage you to find that blend or 2 that you consider special. Mine happen to be discontinued and 5 times the price of the online specials.

 

5star

Senior Member
Nov 17, 2017
404
0
Like most things - it all depends. Your disposable income/assets, age, location, etc, etc, etc . . . can all make a difference in what you decide.
And, there's also the 'crystal ball factor'. No one I've met actually has one. I have items that I bought over the years and decades which shock me when I look at their old purchase receipts. I never imagined they would fetch such ridiculous prices in the future. They're not even serious collectors items. It's just that the purchasing power of money has been so degraded over the years that it takes a lot more of it to buy things today.(None of the personally owned items I mention are tobacco related.) All I can say is that I have a number of well loved items today that I'm extremely glad that I purchased in the past. Today they are too expensive for me to justify buying. Oh, I could buy them now; but the sacrifice of actual essential needs to do this would be too great.
Will people someday say - "Dam*ed ! I could retire now if I had bought a couple pouches of Penzance and a tin of Frog Morton back in the day!" ?
Maybe.
Maybe not.
Who knows ?

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,546
184
Will people someday say - "Dam*ed ! I could retire now if I had bought a couple pouches of Penzance and a tin of Frog Morton back in the day!" ?
Yay! I can retire! :rofl:


 

5star

Senior Member
Nov 17, 2017
404
0
My reply above may not be all that helpful to the OP, so I'll leave him with this:
What got you interested in activity X ? Did you want to participate in it for its own sake ? Did you seek to make money ?
Answer those questions and your other answers logically follow.
(Where I experienced huge % gains from non-work hobbies & other activities, I had zero profit motive. I still haven't profited, since I don't plan to sell - at least while I'm still breathing. Afterwards, I don't care.)