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Rare (Or getting There) Tobaccos

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  • Started 1 month ago by alaskanpiper
  • Latest reply from alaskanpiper
  1. alaskanpiper

    alaskanpiper

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    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......

    "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 #
  2. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

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    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.

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. redglow

    redglow

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. workman

    workman

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    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.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    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.

    Harris
    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    cigrmaster has a pretty solid list there. I’d add Plum Pudding and Blackhouse for some Balkan flair, both are also widely available.

    “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. alaskanpiper

    alaskanpiper

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. hauntedmyst

    hauntedmyst

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    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.

    A tattoo on a beautiful woman is like graffiti on a Ferrari.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. anthony416

    anthony416

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    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.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
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    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. alaskanpiper

    alaskanpiper

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    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.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. pipebaum81

    pipebaum81

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    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

    "I am a firm believer in the idea that who we are today is strongly influenced by the sum total of all of the individuals whom we have had the privilege of knowing."
    -huntertrw
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    jzbdano

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. seanv

    seanv

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    Well put. There is more than one justification to chasing the unicorn blends.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. 5star

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    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 ?

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

    Embers

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    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!

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. 5star

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    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.)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. alaskanpiper

    alaskanpiper

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    Embers......holy shitballs.....just Scrooge McDuckin’ it in pools full of tins up there...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. hoosierpipeguy

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    Whether it's worth it, or not, is up to you. I personally cannot imagine paying a premium for Frog Morton or just about any so called unobtainable when there are so many blends readily to reasonably available that are so much better. The grass really isn't greener. If you have several hundred pounds cellared and still have disposable income, then by all means, try some of the rare blends. If not, you'd be much wiser to spend your money on building your cellar with blends that sell at MSRP. The way things are going, before long, they all may be unobtainable and you'll wished you had built your cellar.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. anthony416

    anthony416

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    Embers...I nearly choked on my tea when I saw that photo!
    Those are exactly the tobaccos I love and I even have the same tobacco jar you have in the background! (Japanese one made in the 1950s)

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    foursidedtriangle

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    Yes it is worth it in some cases. Frog Morton cellar is the best tobacco ever made, how much would you pay for that though? Penzance is actually good, worth the hype. Again your call on how much is too much but trying it once is a good idea.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. chasingembers

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    Penzance is actually good, worth the hype.

    At around $3.75/ounce, it's not a bad one. Good for pepping up flat blends and aros too.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. tavol

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    IMO price and in particular rarity adds massively to the taste of a blend, at least for a lot of pipe smokers. All psychosomatic you understand.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. chasingembers

    Embers

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    IMO price and in particular rarity adds massively to the taste of a blend

    For me it's just the opposite. Anything over $5/ounce becomes very unappealing.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. ophiuchus

    ophiuchus

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    Forgive me if this topic has been beaten to death by n00bs like me before.

    Please, don't be sorry. Beating topics to death is what we do here.

    I'll only reiterate the wisdom already expressed here: Forget Dunhill. Forget McClelland. They're gone. There's too much all else around to waste your time and money on dead brands.

    Take a look at Seattle Pipe Club, Hearth and Home Mid-Town. Pick up some War Horse. Peterson and Savinelli sell good pipe tobacco as well as pipes. Read the lists above (and the ones that may follow).

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. ophiuchus

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    Oh, yeah ... and try some Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired, regardless!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Frog Morton cellar is the best tobacco ever made, how much would you pay for that though?

    To you that may be true. To many others it was either nothing special or disappointing. As a crossover blend it had serious fans. It also had a great many who found it nasty. And this is the point. Some discontinued blends were real stars to some, or even many, pipe smokers. None of them were stars to everyone. I still have the Frogs in one of my bins because I don’t like them.
    As much as I enjoyed smoking State Express London Mixture or Craven’s Mixture, nothing I tasted is worth spending hundreds of bucks for a tin, especially when I can enjoy a perfectly satisfying smoke for 10% to 1% of the cost.
    Some people derive a great deal of pleasure from owning rarities because they’re rarities. I understand that perfectly. I own some rarities in terms of pipes and tobacciana, and a few tobaccos as well, but never as an end in itself, and not for “sucker” prices.
    I sure as hell wouldn’t suggest to a beginner that he/she need seek out extinct blends to enjoy smoking a pipe. It’s BS, and it’s both unhelpful and unproductive BS as well.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. jpmcwjr

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    What sable says, especially the last sentence.

    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 #
  31. spartacus

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    As a fairly new pipe smoker I wouldn't pay inflated prices for something I haven't tried. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to try a lot of the unobtainable blends in pipe clubs and as gifts from forum members.

    I chased two blends in the beginning. FMC and HH Vintage Syrian. Given my time smoking a pipe now I have smoked just over 300 blends. If I had it to do over, I would not have stocked up on those blends. Especially now since they are going for much higher prices than I paid. As my taste change and refine somewhat I wouldn't put those blends in my top ten. Top fifty yes! I wouldn't shed a tear if I never had the opportunity to smoke those blends again. There are so many great blends that are available now. I would find blends that are available that you like and spend the money there.

    Now in a pipe club when I smoke an well aged McLelland blend, I just enjoy it for what it was. I'm not in that mindset of chasing some blend down the rabbit hole.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. thedudeabides

    thedudeabides

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    Sable, as per usual, has it right. When I started in this hobby, I hunted what was rare. Some of it I really do enjoy, so I'm glad that I went to the trouble, but I also admit that some of it I wanted to try - and to "have" - because it was rare and I thought it would be "cool" to have a stash of the "good stuff" that was hard to find. The old adage, however is true, you cannot have your cake and eat it too, so once you have the rare stuff, you may find that you sit on those tins, knowing that replacing them could be impossible, or at least, very expensive and/or time-consuming.

    For example, I'm still wondering what fortuitous circumstance will lead me to crack open that old tin of Three Nuns.... or will I die knowing I "had it?" Boy, that sounds grim - not my intention : )

    It can be fun to find something rare and pay a fair price for it, or even sometimes to overpay to have a unique experience, but it is far wiser to invest the time to try a lot of blends that you can easily find and determine your tastes and preferences first. With that approach, you can establish a cellar for which you can a) pay a fair price, b) add to and replace tins over time, and c) base any splurges on rarities upon your well-established tastes.

    PS - I will say, in my defense, that I didn't pay obscene prices, I just invested the time to hunt.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. alaskanpiper

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    "For example, I'm still wondering what fortuitous circumstance will lead me to crack open that old tin of Three Nuns.... or will I die knowing I "had it?" Boy, that sounds grim - not my intention : )"

    Maybe when you open a tin like that, that IS the fortuitous circumstance.....

    PS excellent username

    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. dmcmtk

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    PM sent.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    jzbdano

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    Everyone has come to this hobby/obsession/addiction a different way. I first tried a pipe after smoking cigars regularly for a year and a half. Pipe tobacco is relatively inexpensive compared to a $3-8 cigar so cost was not a hurdle I've ever stumbled on for the tins I considered buying. I did a lot of browsing and research, on forums primarily, to find the tobacco that I might like best. It's part of the fun for me in this hobby. In my research I read McClelland ages very well and VaPers age into a raisin/plum/mushroom goodness so the first VaPer I purchased a month after starting the pipe was a 100g tin of McClelland St James Woods dated 1998 from Pipestud for $48, this was spring 2016. I didn't need to be an experienced pipe smoker to really enjoy such a fine tobacco. Since then I've learned better technique and I shelved the Petersons for Castellos and meers and I enjoy smoking much more. I smoke @10 times a week split between cigars and pipes, the ratio varies seasonally. I have quite a bit of tobacco in my cellar that I have bought on recommendation/impulse that I will never smoke. This fact disturbs me a little. The longer I've been smoking the fewer blends I make time for. I have enjoyed almost every one of the 200+ blends I've tried but I wouldn't buy 90% of them again and probably won't smoke half of them again. I quit trying new blends from most of blending houses because everything I have tried from them is not for my tastes and I would rather be satisfied with what I like rather than disappointed in something new. Everyone needs to find their own way. I'm glad I found pipestud early in my smoking days, his advice was very helpful and it was way easier to pick up a tin back then. I'm grateful to Sable for his forsite warning us in the summer of '17 that smaller blenders like McClelland were at the greatest risk with the deeming regulations. These are some of the reasons I like what I like. If I started over again it would be different because what's available today is different than what was available a few years ago. One thing that wouldn't change is the desire to find the best tobaccos for my taste.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  36. the85boro

    the85boro

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    cigrmaster has my favorite tobaccos all listed. WOW

    Leaves Into Ash
    Posted 1 month ago #
  37. cigrmaster

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    boro, that means you have very good taste.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  38. krizzose

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    Chasing down some unobtainium very expensive discontinued blends is fine if you want to try them and can afford it, but I would just caution any new smoker who might be chewing up his tobacco budget that could be spent stocking up on widely available blends. There’s also a clock ticking on tobacco prices and availability, and getting as much as you can when you can get it is always a good idea.

    I’m creeping up on a 20 year supply (assuming I don’t materially increase my smoking rate) of what are my favorites that I can still buy. Now I’m making a little more room in my budgeted purchases for cheaper bulk blends that I know I like (I’m looking at you, PS Cube Cut) as a little extra insurance. Even so, I’m feeling the pressure not only of increasing regulations and taxes, but also the very real possibility that more states may cut off shipping of tobacco products like Washington does.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  39. thedudeabides

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    @alaskanpiper - As one of the others on this thread have said, once you have been here awhile, post about something you would like to try (or trade for), and likely one of the many nice folks on this forum will work something out with you. Note that some of the ones that act the crabbiest actually end up being the nicest...

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    foursidedtriangle

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    I do not agree with Sable. Full disclosure I have been smoking for 2 years only but FMC and Penzance are far superior tobaccos and worth trying at least once especially early on so you have benchmarks of how good tobacco can be.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  41. chasingembers

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    FMC and Penzance are far superior tobaccos and worth trying at least once especially early on so you have benchmarks of how good tobacco can be.

    Early on amd not quite knowing what you are tasting would be wasted on extremely expensive tobacco and it's hard to really call those benchmarks. Good quality but a far cry from benchmarks.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  42. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    wondering what fortuitous circumstance will lead me to crack open that old tin of Three Nuns.... or will I die knowing I "had it?"

    As with my pipes, I buy tobacco for one reason -- to smoke. If it's *old* 3 Nuns, crack it now. If it's *new* 3 Nuns, same thing. Some things (& I'm one of the ones who say it) are legendary, even mythic, & if you've got 'em, great. But one shouldn't spend one's life searching for the legendary at the cost of bypassing excellent tobaccos that are fortunately not in short supply. Carpe Smokem.

    Bill

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  43. sablebrush52

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    I do not agree with Sable. Full disclosure I have been smoking for 2 years only but FMC and Penzance are far superior tobaccos and worth trying at least once especially early on so you have benchmarks of how good tobacco can be.

    To you these are benchmarks. There are no absolutes when it comes to ANYTHING related to pipes and tobaccos.

    Equally full disclosure, I’ve enjoyed smoking pipes for 48, almost 49 years. I smoked Balkan Sobranie when it was made by Sobranie, Dunhill blends that were actually made by Dunhill, British blends actually made by Brits in different factories with different owners, Rattray’s blended in Perth, actual real Escudo and great blends made in-house by local tobacconists with palettes and loads of experience because we had that availability. Your benchmarks are not my benchmarks.

    FMC was what it was, a popular bridge for entering the world of English blends and there are other choices available, like Black Frigate, that aren’t deceased, don’t empty ones pockets, and which still have a future. I tried FMC and it really put me off McClelland for a while, but I’m fussy about English/Balkan/Oriental blends. I’ve never fallen under Penzance’s spell. Much as I wanted to like it, I’ve found it poorly balanced, not a bad blend, not a great one either, but good for a cheap bulk, which is what it is. Scarcity has bestowed a status upon it that it didn’t formerly enjoy. Neither of them are superior blends from my perspective, though both of them are influential for other reasons.

    There are great choices available at “normal” retail that do not constitute a consolation prize.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  44. dcon

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    If there is one absolute in tobacco it is what sable just said: “There are no absolutes when it comes to ANYTHING related to pipes and tobaccos”.

    Smokers that have a memory repertoire have a different perspective than those newer to smoking pipes. I agree that Penzance is not all that. It is decent and I own quite a bit of it. I believe that, I value it more for its potential future trade value when the tobacco world goes totally to Hell than for its current smoking pleasure. I spent a great deal of my life in the KC area and sold McClelland blends when most of the pipe world paid little attention to them. They were always a quality product but, I never fell in love with any of them. I am not saying this to be critical, just to give a perspective that concurs with sable’s message. The lack of availability adds to the legends of tobaccos.
    I am currently smoking some 1982 Dunhill Elizabethan that I have ‘hanging around’. Recent discussion about old Dunhill (Murray’s), STG Dunhill, and Matches has prompted me to do a ‘go back’ compare and contrast on this and some 1982 Nightcap to those current Matches. I plan to post something in reviews in the near future.

    Duane
    (Not Embers)
    Posted 1 month ago #
  45. mso489

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    Nothing like Embers incredible stash, but I have enough of my discontinued old favorites to bid them fond farewells over time, so I would not spend extra to stockpile into the unforeseeable future. And the reason I'm not smoking them up on a regular basis is that I keep ordering in small quantities or being sent samples of terrific new blends or blends I just haven't tried before, which makes me feel like too much mooning after tobaccos of times gone by is wasted energy. I have a contentious preference for blends that remain available; are produced so that the supply meets the demand; and are widely and generally distributed. Those who make those blends have respect and good feeling toward their customers. I enjoy those unicorn blends from time to time, but not to distraction. If someone else feels happy paying $200 for a 1.75 ounce tin of discontinued blend, more power to them; not me. When I smoke up that tin of Royal Yacht, I'll enjoy it like the last one, but I won't go into mourning.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  46. kylef

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    Early on amd not quite knowing what you are tasting would be wasted on extremely expensive tobacco...

    Yep, as someone who IS early on in my pipe smoking journey, that's pretty much been my philosophy. I've tried a lot of different types of tobacco, but from everything I read there are lots of very good examples of all styles in production right now, and at reasonable prices. I'd rather just try those rather than track down any rare ones.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  47. renfield

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    Knowing what I know now I’d say a new piper is better served by sampling widely. Figure out what you like first.

    There’ll always be unicorns to chase. Hell, at some point 2019 1-Q may be a unicorn fetching $50 an ounce.

    If you’re young enough you just have to wait for us old farts to keel over and our spouses to sell our cellars. Lots of unicorns available then.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  48. 3rdguy

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    Germains just came out with a new blend they are calling the doppelgänger of Penzance but at the price I have seen it is cheaper to just buy Penzance.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  49. jmsmitty6

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    I tend to agree with both Cigarmaster and Sable. However, on the whole, I can't imagine being new in the hobby and shelling out the money for blends that you may or may not like. I do think that there are plenty of 'benchmark' blends that you can get your hands on now to see if you like specific components/mixtures/blenders.

    As a different tact, I'd recommend going to pipe clubs, shows and generally participating in forums. Oftentimes, you will get to sample these blends for free and can make a determination for yourself. The last pipe club meeting I was at, I gave away some Frog Morton and Red and Black so others could try

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop smoking my pipe
    Posted 1 month ago #
  50. cachimbero

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    I have been smoking pipes for more than 30 years now. I have stashed lots of blends that are unobtanium now, but I paid retail price for them because they were available. I bought them because I liked them and stashed them because pipe tobacco distribution in Spain has always been bumpy. At that time it seemed impossible that tobacco was at risk of been legislated into non existence.
    Now it seems a very probable outcome. Let me say again the little secret many of the forum members have told you in this thread: there are excellent tobaccos currently made and, living as you do in the US they are currently available to you at the best prices in the world, absolute and, of course, relative to median income. I don´t smoke aromatics, so I will not comment on them but you have available, readily and at great prices:
    The MacBaren HH line; I have still to try one of that line that, in my opinion, is not excellent.
    GL Pease tobaccos.
    The excellent blends made by K&K: Rattrays, Solani, McConnell.
    Peterson tobaccos.
    Some of the wonderful stuff Savinelli is making now for the US market thanks to Smokingpipes.com
    Cornell and Diehl, where I am sure there is at least an excellent blend for every pipe smoker.
    Ashton tobaccos (one of them, not being the same, makes me not miss my beloved Nightcap).
    Seattle Pipe Club blends. I have not tried any of them, but they are very highly regarded.
    You are even having some legendary blends resurrected by a great blender (yes, I am thinking of John Cotton´s Smyrna of which I received recently a few tins after paying a prince´s ransom in Spanish customs).
    And many more I am forgetting.
    Be happy with what you have, not only because it is a good life strategy, specially regarding a hobby, but because you [b]should[b].
    I understand you would like to try some of the unobtanium: go to pipe club meetings in your area and you, most certainly, will.
    If you ever visit Spain let me know and I will share some gladly. I am certain I will visit the US some more times in my life, but I doubt I´ll go to Alaska

    Posted 1 month ago #
  51. hiplainsdrifter

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    AK, that is a huge moose! I would actually consider buying a few unicorns even as a new piper. If you know a general genre that you like, why not. These old crumudgeons lose their mind at the thought of paying double the retail cost of a blend, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth that. On eBay you will often see an uncommon blend in a fresh tin selling for the same amount or even more than a tin that has been aged ten+ years. In my mind, that makes the aged stuff an exceptional value. I was too cautious to avoid unicorns when I started cellaring. I wish I had snagged a few tins of Bohemian Scandal when they could be had for 75-100 bucks. Now they are more like 200-250.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  52. krizzose

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    The MacBaren HH line; I have still to try one of that line that, in my opinion, is not excellent.

    If you haven’t tried any of that line, how can you know if it’s not excellent?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  53. alaskanpiper

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    AK, that is a huge moose!

    Yeah, it's one of the good ones for sure Thanks for the opinions!

    f you haven’t tried any of that line, how can you know if it’s not excellent?

    I was wondering the exact same thing!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  54. sablebrush52

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    I wish I had snagged a few tins of Bohemian Scandal when they could be had for 75-100 bucks. Now they are more like 200-250.

    Funny you should mention Bohemian Scandal. Paying that kind of money is proof that Barnum was right. Buying vintage tins is a crap shoot, especially some of the early Pease tins. I wrote about this a year ago.

    Here's a tin of Bohemian Scandal from that post:

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/look-carefully-before-you-leap#post-1196593

    Haddo's:

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/look-carefully-before-you-leap#post-1198402

    Samarra:

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/look-carefully-before-you-leap#post-1196906

    Anyone spending a lot of money on these tobaccos isn't dealing with a full deck.

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  55. alaskanpiper

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    So Sable, you seem to be a sage/oracle of infinite wisdom on these forums, and I thank you for all your incredibly informative contributions and for sharing your wealth of experience.

    My question is quite simple in this case. Would you recommend immediately opening all new tins purchased and transferring them to mason jars if they are going to sit for more than a couple years? 4 years? 6? 10?

    What do you do?

    And also, as far as buying "estate" tobaccco on ebay, etc. How old is too old to be sure?

    Thanks!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  56. seldom

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    In Germany shops can not sell pipe tobacco for significantly more or less than the price on the tax strip. If you find something from a German shop it will be the same price no matter where you buy it. If you find something that is rare/discontinued it isn't likely to have a giant mark-up.
    There is some great tobacco that continues to be made here. For example HU is producing very nice blends. One could put together an order and have a nice collection of tobacco not readily available in North America. Currently produced, not "unobtainium", but locally rare.

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 1 month ago #
  57. sablebrush52

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    Would you recommend immediately opening all new tins purchased and transferring them to mason jars if they are going to sit for more than a couple years? 4 years? 6? 10?

    What do you do?

    And also, as far as buying "estate" tobaccco on ebay, etc. How old is too old to be sure?

    Good question!

    It really kind of depends on the type of tin, the blend, and the blender. Not all of the early C&D tinned Pease blends have had problems, but Bohemian Scandal, Raven's Wing, Renaissance, Haddo's, Samarra, and several others have become very "iffy". If you are going to pay a few bucks for a tin it might be worth the gamble, but not the prices usually being asked unless you like taking a gamble and accept the odds.
    McClelland used food grade tins, but even these have failed. Shortly after I made that post, several people contacted me to tell me that some of their 1990's McClelland tins had failed.
    Square and rectangular tins are slowly leaking from the get go, and there's no surprise there, as there's no way for them to maintain an even amount of pressure all around the perimeter. Round tins tend to hold up better in my experience, as do most canisters.
    But none of these tins were ever intended for long term storage. They're not heavy duty cutter tops. GL Pease wrote in his FAQ that tobacco should be left in the tin to age, but last year he changed his thoughts after finding that tobaccos in his cellar had been ruined by failing tins. Now he recommends jarring them as soon as possible for long term storage.
    I have a lot of Esoterica Bags, and a member here discovered that some of his bags had pinholes in the creases and that the tobacco had dried in those bags. So I bought a stack of heavy duty, .7 mil metalized Mylar food grade gusseted storage bags and heat sealed the Esoterica bags inside of them, one Esoterica bag to one heavy duty Mylar bag.
    The rectangular and square tins are sealed inside other heavy duty Mylar bags as well. I haven't gotten around to the round tins as of yet. And I jarred a lot of tobacco, small 4 oz jars for more immediate use, larger jars for the longer haul. None of my McClelland tins are old enough for me to be worried, yet, but I'll eventually seal them up as well, or jar them. Just don't have the time at the moment.
    As for how long should one trust a rectangular or square tin? Personally, I'd say not more than 5 to 7 years, tops. Sure, some will last longer, but others won't last even 5 years. If you think you are going to age something longer, jar it or bag the tins.
    But also be aware that not all blends age well, and some varieties of tobacco, like Latakia, have a shorter shelf life.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  58. alaskanpiper

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    First of all, thanks for the thorough response. I'll only bother you with a couple of follow ups.

    Well, I have already vacuum sealed my big whopping two esoterica bags. Was pondering vacuum sealing the tins I intend to age for long term storage as well. Would regular foodsaver vacuum sealed bags (like the kind we use for moose meat and fish) work or does it have to be mylar?

    Also, are jars the better option regardless? vacuum sealing is nearly as much a pain in the ass as jarring, so if jarring is a sure thing I'll probably just take that approach....thoughts?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  59. sablebrush52

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    Any plastic isn't totally impermeable on its own. Metalizing reduces the gas exchange significantly. The bags I use are a 7 layer laminate, so there are 7 layers of aluminum (IIRC) each of which reduces the permeability significantly.

    For long term storage, jars are still the best way to go.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  60. alaskanpiper

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    Awesome, sable! Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago #

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