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Fewer Blends, An Upside?

(41 posts)
  1. mso489

    mso489

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    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?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. cigrmaster

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    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.

    Harris
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. mso489

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    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."

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. alaskanpiper

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    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.

    "We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us." ---Hank

    "Yeah, well, you know that's just like, uh, your opinion, man..." --- The Dude
    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. chasingembers

    Embers

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    Wish I had known about Angler's Dream years ago. That would be all I would have in my cellar.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. ebnash

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    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...

    Hunt Hard, Kill Swiftly, Waste Nothing, Offer No Apologies...
    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. ophiuchus

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    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.

    -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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. mso489

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    ebnash, burley, me too.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. kylef

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    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

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. alaskanpiper

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. haparnold

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    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.

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. brian64

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    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

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. fusion

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    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

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. ebnash

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. jpmcwjr

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    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.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. mso489

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. warren

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    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.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. cigrmaster

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. hoosierpipeguy

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. kcghost

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    I could live with Escudo, Six Pence, Stonehenge, and Mad Fiddler until the end of time.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. dcon

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    As a political scientist, I really hate when some one brings up politics in these threads. Most people know little of the definitions for the terms they use. I do agree, though, with having choice and options.

    Duane
    (Not Embers)
    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. hawky454

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    I could live off Condor and Condor only. But I too am glad I have variety as I don’t ever want to get sick of Condor (God forbid).

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. didimauw

    didimauw

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    As most people know, I'm a very boring person. I like only burley blends. Everything else is too hot, and tasteless to me. I also am a boring/lazy eater. I could and sometimes do, live off of cheeseburgers. I don't like food with bones, shells, skin, etc. If I have to pick around that stuff, ill just pass it up.

    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. glassjapan

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    I'm perfectly happy just smoking straight virginia's and virginia/orientals.
    Trying to smoke down the cellar to about a dozen blends and would even happier if I could half that amount of blends. But more power to the folks that want a huge variety. It helps to keep everybody in business.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. hoosierpipeguy

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    As a political scientist, I really hate when some one brings up politics in these threads. Most people know little of the definitions for the terms they use. I do agree, though, with having choice and options.

    As a business owner and someone with 40 years of hands on business and adult life experience, I hate it when somebody book learned criticizes my intelligence. If you have a problem with my posts, block or ignore me.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. warren

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    I understand there are many blends I would enjoy. I just don't feel the need to find them all. I am content with my few blends of choice. That is not to say a Jim Inks revue can't pique my interest. I simply have no interest in widening my vistas unless there is a need as opposed to a desire. I am a very contented pipe smoker. The guy getting elbows deep into my chest tomorrow wishes I'd find another diversion entirely, though.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. alaskanpiper

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    The guy getting elbows deep into my chest tomorrow wishes I'd find another diversion entirely, though.

    That sounds serious. Good luck with whatever it is you have going on tomorrow.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. warren

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    Thanks. I'll be off line for maybe a week. The rumor mill doesn't need to gear up if it's longer. Might be a shorter time frame. Depends on how good the cutter is I suppose.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. dcon

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    hoosierpipeguy I have no problem with your tobacco posts. THAT is what we are here to discuss. Your extraneous comments are supposed to be taboo and add nothing but potential venom. Which, BTW, I have none toward you or anyone else here.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. hoosierpipeguy

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    I am grateful on this wonderful day to be blessed with you, the awesome Political Scientist, being available to criticize and inform me. Thanks for your unsolicited opinion and for sticking your nose in my business. Have a great weekend.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  31. alaskanpiper

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    This needs to end. You guys are assing up a good thread on one of mso's (as usual) interesting topics. Everybody go smoke a bowl and get over it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. dcon

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    Exactly my point alaskanpiper. Apologies on my part.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. dcon

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    In my younger days, growing up in a small rural community, there was little availability unless you traveled to ‘the big city’. I would not say that I was satisfied with SWR or SWR aro but, it made those trips to the city more special. Variety is the spice of life.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. alaskanpiper

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    I would not say that I was satisfied with SWR or SWR aro but, it made those trips to the city more special.

    mso489: "After you've been eating steak a long time,/ beans taste fine."

    dcon: "After you've been eating beans a long time,/ steak tastes like a goddamn miracle."

    Both applicable for sure. I would add: thank god for the internet. If it didn't exist I would have to drive an hour into Anchorage from where I live to get anything other than smoker's pride or borkum riff. And pay AKs lovely 120% tobacco tax. $30 a tin...........no thanks.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  35. dcon

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    alaskanpiper I sympathize with the problem. The B&Ms are long gone from this area and the internet (for now) is a tobacco blessing.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  36. trouttimes

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    I like choices and I find that a blend I didn't like a few years ago, now is the greatest thing since sliced bread. That said...like most of you, I have 3 or 4 go-to blends I stack deep. I have an aro or two and several basic English I would hate to see go by the wayside.

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 1 month ago #
  37. odobenus

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    I continue to be somewhat obsessed with finding and trying new blends, but conversely, the more I've narrowed it down to, say, my top 5, the more contented I've been. It's nice to know what you like.

    Non Serviam
    Posted 1 month ago #
  38. krizzose

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    My hands are up...just walking through no man’s land on my way to the OP....

    I love the variety. My cellar is a shallow lake with a handful of very deep holes. If the lake dries up, I could be happy with the handful of favorite blends I have stockpiled. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I truly think this Golden Age is burning bright like the candle about to go out.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  39. redglow

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    I have my regular "go to" tobaccos. But, I'm glad there are plenty of different options out there. I rarely smoke two consecutive bowls of any tobacco. Being able to try new tobaccos from time to time keeps things interesting.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  40. 5star

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    When I first started pipesmoking I tried a lot of blends of different types to see what I liked. I stocked up on those I particularly enjoyed. But, later I would find other blends that I enjoyed more, so would get that. Also, my preferences shift over time. Now I’ve been focusing on English blends with lots of Latakia.

    So, for me, there are times when I’ll smoke a dozen varieties of blends in a month. And, there are also times when I’l only smoke one blend during the month.

    "You are remembered for the rules you break." - General Douglas MacArthur
    Posted 1 month ago #
  41. newbroom

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    I've been pipe smoking for 5 yrs now. I tried multitudes of blends during the first 3 yrs. Most were either codger or non aromatics.
    I had been rolling cigarettes but was convinced that the paper was causing me to cough. I went and got a cob and smoked it as if it were a cig until I discovered this forum.
    Sure, initially I tried an aromatic or two or three, I'll admit to that. I even bought at least 3# of P&C's Best of the Rest during the 'early years'. I tried lots 'o stuff from straight perique to Penzance and so many more that would break the bank if I were to have continued smoking those hard to get or pricier blends.

    I probably got my first real good taste out of a bowl of SWR and its just weird. Actually, I felt predisposed to like it, so that helped. (I know, mso489, you don't get any taste from it, you do with the aromatic but that's a whole 'nuther 'animal'.

    Anyway, limited blends are now how I roll. I limit myself primarily to 3 blends from D&R. They are all terrific standing alone and they play with each other like seasoned band mates. 3 Sails, TwoTimer, Picayune. Get some. It's dry, ya. so what? you can hydrate it or not. I don't. So, we're tawkin a nice VA blend, a nice Burley blend, and a STRONG blend with enough perique to enliven the other two if the desire is such. All for about $2.50 per 2oz. tin's worth.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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