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Storing Bulk Aromatics - How Long Can They Last?

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  • Started 1 year ago by numbersix
  • Latest reply from skapunk1
  1. numbersix

    numbersix

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    I've seen a few threads on storing tobacco - but none seem to address aros.

    I like my occasional aros and wouldn't mind stocking up on some bulk, but I've noticed that any aros I've stored in mason jars (not the OTC tobaccos with preservatives) become noticeably drier in only 3-4 mos.

    I have assumed there's no point in storing them beyond that, and so I have yet to stock up on aros. Is there a trick to storing these or are they just not meant for the long haul.

    "Be seeing you"


    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. metarzan

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    Funny you should say that. I checked on about a dozen or so aro's that have been jarred up from 10-12 years and all were moist as the day they went in the jar. Smell great too but haven't tried them out since my relatively recent fascination with non aro's.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. numbersix

    numbersix

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    That's really promising. How are you storing them *exactly*? I just use a mason jar with a screw on cap. Are you doing something different?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. rmbittner

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    I think the expiration dates on aromatics are measured in half-lives. . .

    BB

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. mikephillips

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    I've got a 1/2 pint jar of 1Q sitting here on my desk that is at least 10 years old, possibly much older. Still smells nice, not terribly dry or molded...I wouldn't be afraid to smoke it, if I didn't despise 1Q. I'd say they'll last as long as any tobacco provided they're stored properly, can't think of any reason they wouldn't.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. numbersix

    numbersix

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    I'd say they'll last as long as any tobacco provided they're stored properly

    I always figured aros needed to be handled differently from regular tobaccos - but maybe not. Aros are wetter and have flavorings, so seems to me that they need to maintain their moisture, more so than reg. tobaccos. When my aros have gotten very dry, I notice they lost a lot of their flavor.

    Which leads me to another small concern—are they all safe after long storage? For ex., I like a Wilke aro that uses natural VT honey and vanilla. I wonder if certain ingredients will go bad after a while?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. mikephillips

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    I think some ingredients in dressings are more volatile than others, and might not last a long time. I doubt many things are used that could spoil or "go bad". Aren't most aromatics toppings alcohol based?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. judcole

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    They don't improve with age,like Virginias do,if that's part of what you are wondering. They are intended to be smoked now.

    Other than that, I don't know, because I don't smoke 'em.

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. numbersix

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    Aren't most aromatics toppings alcohol based?

    Good point - I don't know if all are, but you're probably right about that.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. numbersix

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    They don't improve with age,like Virginias do,if that's part of what you are wondering. They are intended to be smoked now.

    Thanks Jud. This was something I was aware of - but its worth mentioning. With tobacco policies and prices being so volatile, I'd like to bulk up on some of my favorites—if possible. Still not really sure. Sounds like some here have had more success than me, but not sure what they are doing differently.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. mikephillips

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    I really don't know if the "Aromatics don't improve with age" thing is entirely true....This small sample of old 1Q here certainly isn't the same as the horrible stuff I was conned into buying originally. This actually smells very nice, and isn't sticky or goopy, and the color even seems darker than I remember. I think maybe because of the flavorings in aromatics the changes in the tobacco aren't as noticeable, but as for not improving at all...I don't see how that could be the case, considering it's still aged tobacco, and aged tobacco is almost always better than un-aged tobacco.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. numbersix

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    I really don't know if the "Aromatics don't improve with age" thing is entirely true....This small sample of old 1Q here certainly isn't the same as the horrible stuff I was conned into buying originally. This actually smells very nice, and isn't sticky or goopy, and the color even seems darker than I remember. I think maybe because of the flavorings in aromatics the changes in the tobacco aren't as noticeable, but as for not improving at all...I don't see how that could be the case, considering it's still aged tobacco, and aged tobacco is almost always better than un-aged tobacco.

    The plot thickens...

    I agree that some of my goopier aros improve quite a lot after some months of drying out, but I was always under the impression that tobaccos with flavorings won't age the same because they are coated, which inhibits the aging process.

    But maybe not. I think we need a Tobacco Test Kitchen.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. lazybugger

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    I am real keen to here more about this concidering how things are going .. am i wasting my time stocking up on aros ?, should i stick to other blends? .. i would not be to worried myself if they lost a small amount of flavour, however i would be kinda pissed if i spent a wad of cash stocking up only to have them go bad ...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. lordofthepiperings

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    I have some bulk blends that have been stored for almost a year now and they're not overly dry or anything. Still smell and smoke great. I use the plastic hinged jars with the rubber seal.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. mikephillips

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    I am real keen to here more about this concidering how things are going .. am i wasting my time stocking up on aros ?, should i stick to other blends? .. i would not be to worried myself if they lost a small amount of flavour, however i would be kinda pissed if i spent a wad of cash stocking up only to have them go bad ...

    As I said above, I have a small jar of 1Q that's at least 10 years old, seems perfectly smokeable. I had a much bigger jar that I dumped because I can't stand the blend itself and didn't stop to consider that someone else might be interested in having it before I trashed it, but it was the same as this, pleasant aroma, not overly dry, but no longer goopy, sticky and wet. They were both stored in sealed jars for the same amount of time.

    I wouldn't be afraid to store aromatics at all, if I smoked 'em. While the jury is still out on whether they get better (going to send this jar to someone who knows the stuff well and let him decide), I think a 10 year test on one of the most heavily sauced blends available is enough to prove they don't get worse, or "go bad".

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. crpntr1

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    i dont know if this is at all true...I was told by a friend whos smoked 1Q for 20 or so years, that it isnt cased like most aros, whereas most of them will loose flavor over time because the casing is alc based and it evapoates.
    Is it cased different or is my buddy making stuff up?? I cant say for sure but he claims the aged 1Q like Mike is referring to has a great chocolate tone.
    I do like 1Q alot but have never tried any aged..

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. mikephillips

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    i dont know if this is at all true...I was told by a friend whos smoked 1Q for 20 or so years, that it isnt cased like most aros, whereas most of them will loose flavor over time because the casing is alc based and it evapoates.
    Is it cased different or is my buddy making stuff up?? I cant say for sure but he claims the aged 1Q like Mike is referring to has a great chocolate tone.
    I do like 1Q alot but have never tried any aged..

    Well, I don't know either, I'm just going on my impression of the stuff I smoked it years ago. It seemed, at least to me, as heavily flavored as any aromatic I'd ever tried, maybe more than most. The smell in the bag is nice, and the room note is wonderful, but for me that was the extent of the good about it.

    I wish to hell I hadn't dumped that big jar of the stuff without thinking, I could've split it up into 40 or 50 samples and mailed it out to enough people who know the blend well to get a decent idea of what age does to it. Unfortunately, stupidity has it's cost, always, and so I'm only able to send a small bit to a single gentleman for evaluation, but maybe that'll be enough. He's apparently fond of it, smokes it often, and should be able to give a good idea of the changes, if any, that occur.

    As for whether it's alone among aromatics in it's ability to improve with age (if it does at all)...not knowing what's used in it in comparison with other aromatics, I guess I can't offer any opinion.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. numbersix

    numbersix

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    i dont know if this is at all true...I was told by a friend whos smoked 1Q for 20 or so years, that it isnt cased like most aros, whereas most of them will loose flavor over time because the casing is alc based and it evapoates.
    Is it cased different or is my buddy making stuff up?? I cant say for sure but he claims the aged 1Q like Mike is referring to has a great chocolate tone.
    I do like 1Q alot but have never tried any aged..

    Hmm... I have no idea, but losing flavor in my better aros has been true in my case. So I wonder if some 1Q versions use preservatives...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. zonomo

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    Maybe the answer is: It depends. Not a good answer but that seems to be the case.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. numbersix

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    I use the plastic hinged jars with the rubber seal.

    That may be better than the screw on caps I am using. Thanks.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. metarzan

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    My aro's are stored in a hodge podge of different glass jars. Some mason style, some empty salsa jars, some hinged and some friction fit plastic or rubber gasket. Also had some stored in plastic bags and tins and those were toasty.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    From my experience aromatics keep just fine in screw-top jars for long term storage. But none of them age well very well -- by that I mean they don't age (except virginia forward aro's where the virginia sweetens some with age). At best, they stay the same and at worst the toppings & casings that flavor the aromatic will flatten out/weaken into oblivion.

    The "smell" lasts longer than the flavor. A jar that's been sealed for some time can often smell great, but the flavor, compared to a fresh sample, can be varying degrees of blah.

    I'm of the opinion hat aromatics can be well preserved and lose nothing for about a year or so -- some longer. Beyond that, they will smoke fine, I just don't expect the same experience as fresh -- "aged" aromatics just get progressively dilluted in flavors.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. pipeinhand

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    Over the last 10 years I have been heavy into Aro's. Some of my first blends from 15 years ago are still in good shape. I smoked a blend I stored 17 years ago last week, and it smoked and tasted just like it did 3 years ago, which I remember was what it tasted like 7 years ago.

    Jud is correct, they do not age, (get better) but, stored correctly they should not get worse. Air is the enemy, keep that out and the casing will last. Evaporation needs to go somewhere and giving it no where to go keeps it in the baccy stored.

    I Only use mason jars and make sure the lid is new, sealed tight and do not open and close it often. In fact my blending stock is all stored in mason jars, and it never seems to suffer.

    On a side note, if you want to fresh up a flavor, set the jar, unopened on a heater vent for a day. It will sweat into the baccy again, and not be dry. I have done this many times.

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. numbersix

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    Thanks guys - very promising.

    I smoked a blend I stored 17 years ago last week, and it smoked and tasted just like it did 3 years ago

    That's really surprising, but great to know. I may just start stocking up a bit on my favorites. I've got to do a little more testing.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. crpntr1

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    He's apparently fond of it, smokes it often, and should be able to give a good idea of the changes, if any, that occur.

    I can't wait to hear about it...I've actually been wondering this very thing for awhile
    1Q is the one aro I do smoke regularly

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. captainbob

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    My Captain Bob's Blend is most certainly a light English aromatic tobacco. I have mixed five-pounds and stored it in quart mason jars simply sealed with a twist of the cap and opened them three years later with absolutely no change in smoking pleasure at all. I could not tell the difference between freshly tinned and the stored tobacco in mason jars. Simply, gently hand press the air out of the jar as you pack it and all should be just fine! At least, that is my experience with my own blend. That being said, note that the "blender" has manufactured your aromatic to be smoked upon completion and not all aromatic flavorings will perform the same. Just because my blend does age extremely well, that is not necessarily the case with all aromatics. My blend contains no PG (propylene Glycol). Personally, I will not smoke any blend containing PG for the purpose of preserving the blend on a shelf. The reason that Cornell and Diehl does not vacuum-seal their tins is to allow some air for aging of the tobacco.
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    supdog

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    The thing to do is to get one of those "food saver vacuum sealer" thingies and vacu-seal in some oxygen barrier plastic bags. The tobacco should stay fresh for years. Take out the air and there will be no aging or evaporation.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. jtaggie320

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    I have a Mac Baren Vanilla Cream that I despised fresh out of the tin. After about a year in a mason jar (never opened) it mellowed a little and provided a very enjoyable smoke upon revisiting. It's very possible that my taste changed a little over the year but I like to think that the year of storage helped this blend IMO. Either way I store a lot of tobaccos (primarily aros) long term in mason jars. Other than my favorites that I open constantly to refill my pouch, I never notice much drying in the blends that remain untouched when I do finally get around to opening them. Just my 2 cents...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. sparroa

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    "Smokeable" and "worth smoking" are two entirely different concepts...

    To me, an aromatic that has sat around for a decade may still be smokeable, but it may not be worth smoking.

    In a best case scenario, all of the humectants and a lot of the added flavours have evaporated, leaving you with neutral tasting tobacco with a hint of aroma and a normal moisture level.

    Worst case scenario, the humectants/flavours have destabilized and negatively affected the flavour. The tobacco has dried over time and it tastes like shredded newspaper or worse again!

    It is certainly a philosophical thing. Do you subscribe to "waste not, want not" or do you believe that you should seek for the best flavour possible with every single pipeful?

    If you subscribe to the former, then smoke away. If you subscribe to the latter, then you will probably be better served with another supply of tobacco...

    Some of us are really sensitive tasters and others have leather tongues. Some of us live for OTCs and others are highly discriminating. Only you can tell what will suit your tastes.

    In my own personal experience, I have never ever been satisfied with an aged aromatic. (Or an aged light English for that matter!) The flavour becomes far too subdued and you miss out on the intended aromas - therefore there is no point of smoking the blend except for pastime and nicotine consumption...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. doctorthoss

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    My experience, for what it's worth, is that it depends entirely on the individual blend we're talking about. We can't just say "aromatics in general" do or don't age well/retain their flavor because the category of "aromatic tobacco" is HUGE. There is simply no reason to expect Captain Black or 1Q to age the same as Autumn Evening or something from MacBaren. Each company uses their own processing methods and their own supplies of leaf, which will lead to tremendous variations. Some will age well, some won't, and some will just stay the same for years.
    My only advice is to do what I do --- experiment and see what works for you, on a blend to blend basis.

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. mthanded

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    I hear a lot about evaporation but in a hermetically sealed jar, would that be the case? If there is no air, where does the evaporation go but back into the tobacco? Think canning, the product should be the same as when you put it in except the flavoring would have "married" back into and made a much better tobacco with even distribution. With all this said, I haven't stored any aros yet.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. captainbob

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    All tobacco blends that are aromatic or non-aromatic are manufactured to enjoy immediately. One can argue the benefits of aging long term of non-aromatics. It all depends on the method and the blend. If preservation is the ultimate goal, just store it in a mason jar, press the air out of it and all will be fine. Air is essential to aging tobacco. At the same time, air is the enemy of tobacco. Therefore, fill the jar with a gentle pressing of getting the air out of it. Do not vacuum seal for aging. Aging requires a little air. That is why the C&D tins are not vacuum sealed.
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  33. trucha

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    I've noticed several people say they've opened up their mason jars to smell them. I've had several stored away and have been afraid to open them up and see how they were coming along. Will opening them affect the aging in any way.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I hear a lot about evaporation but in a hermetically sealed jar, would that be the case? If there is no air ...

    If preservation is the ultimate goal, just store it in a mason jar, press the air out of it and all will be fine.

    If the goal is to age the pipe tobacco blend properly, some air is required for the aging process to happen at all. And when you think about it, even if we jam that tobacco crammed full in that properly functioning canning jar, no matter how much we try to remove it, there is still air in there with the tobacco (as there should be).

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    I've noticed several people say they've opened up their mason jars to smell them. I've had several stored away and have been afraid to open them up and see how they were coming along. Will opening them affect the aging in any way.

    Every time the canning jar is opened, the aging process stops.

    Therefore, if the goal is to age the tobacco, do not open the jar until you are going to smoke the contents.

    Of course, the aging process will begin again when you reseal the jar, but aging tobacco is a rather slow process, thus opening the jar before you're ready to smoke it completely defeats the purpose.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. mikephillips

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    Every time the canning jar is opened, the aging process stops.

    I'm going to need someone to explain the chemical goings-on, then, of the aging process, because having the process halt when the lid is removed, without changing air pressure, quality, etc. makes no sense to me. It isn't that I doubt this happens, just that I'm one of those "gotta know why" guys.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    having the process halt when the lid is removed, without changing air pressure, quality, etc. makes no sense to me.

    More than a few experts are on the same wave length as I am on this and they've waxed poetic about how this happens, why and how it works. I'll provide one link, there are dozens that extrapolate, if you care to research it.

    http://www.glpease.com/FAQ.html#AGE

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. captainbob

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    Personally, I have no problem with opening and re-opening to sample the process. The biggest mistake I made was to age a wonderful Virginia non-aromatic blend for twenty-years and then smoke it to find it was not pleasing me. So, it is my opinion that over-aging is a possibility. Remember, all pipe tobacco is manufactured for your immediate satisfaction, not for aging as a predominant purpose. Stashing and storing is not a bad motive. However, keep in mind that the maufacturer is preparing a blend for your immediate enjoyment. Personally, I do not age tobacco for aging purposes! I age tobacco only to get a hedge on the inevitable tax and price increases. However, I no longer age tobacco for more than a year under any circumstances. That being said, does not mean that you cannot enjoy aged tobacco. But, don't be mislead that aging is necessarily better than enjoying the fresh finished product. This whole aging thing is over-done. That is just my personal opinion and is not meant to discourage you from doing what you desire to do with your pipe tobacco. I am not looking for argument. It is just my personal experience after smoking pipe tobacco for 50 years. I am age 63.
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    Cap, we agree to disagree. I'm more aligned with Greg's take on aging. But then again, I'm 65 and only been puffing for 40 years.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. nsfisher

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    Good varying opinions guys. I can't chime in as my baccy doesn't age longer than a yr or so.

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. numbersix

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    I have mixed five-pounds and stored it in quart mason jars simply sealed with a twist of the cap and opened them three years later with absolutely no change in smoking pleasure at all. I could not tell the difference between freshly tinned and the stored tobacco in mason jars. Simply, gently hand press the air out of the jar as you pack it and all should be just fine!

    Thanks CaptainBob - very good to know.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. murf

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    Glad I found this thread. But, I have a question. So, roth, you said:

    Every time the canning jar is opened, the aging process stops.

    So, would this mean, that if I don't want to "age" my aromatics, should I pop the tin every once in awhile? Or would I just be better off leaving it alone, as aromatics use mainly toppings for flavor? And we're talking about the aging of the TOBACCO itself, and not the blend as a whole? Would popping the tin release the flavor into the atmosphere, resulting in it being lost forever?

    Again, roth, in another thread, you mentioned that you don't smoke aromatics much, but that you enjoy H&H Manor Heights. And I'm pretty sure you said you cellared it. And that you transfer it to jars upon receipt, since you don't trust the tins. So, have you tasted any "old" Manor Heights?

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    @ Murf =

    I was corrected on that -- Rather than to say the process "stops" it's actually more accurate to state that the aging process "changes" each time the canning jars are opened.

    So opening a canning jar thus interrupting the aging for something you want to age, such as a non-aromatic virginia, is not a good idea IMO. This is why I use 8 ounce canning jars -- I can open a jar and add it to my rotation while leaving my other unopened, sealed jars of the same blend in the cellar to age.

    For an aromatic that you enjoy fresh anyway, aging the tobacco doesn't matter much so, ya, I don't think there's any issue in opening the jar, taking out what you need, and sealing the jar up for later use. You're right, I don't smoke aromatics that much and though I thought that the flavors in aros would mellow over time, others here, who do smoke a lot of aromatics have dismissed that, so I'd go with their take on this.

    As for the H&H Landmark Series: Manor Heights, that's correct, I did jar my 8 ounce can into several 8 ounce canning jars of it upon receipt as I do all similar 8 ounce cans. And no, I don't have any old jars of Manor Heights in my cellar.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  44. murf

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    Thanks for the insight. It seems that my TAD got away from me too early on in my exploration of my new hobby. I don't even know how much stuff I've ordered that I haven't even tried yet. I'm trying to work on smoking certain blends up, so I don't have 2 dozen half-filled mason jars.

    On the flip side, I have a decent sized, and well varied cellar. So, when taxes do hit, I'll be laughing

    However, if I fall in love with a blend, I'll be sure to stock up on it

    Posted 1 year ago #
  45. mephistopheles

    mephistopheles

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    Gentlemen,

    This topic has been very useful to me.

    I'm wondering if a year later any opinions have changed or if any further insight has been gained?

    Posted 6 days ago #
  46. danielplainview

    danielplainview

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    Good topic. I'd like to stock up on my aro stash before the tax-a-thon is too much to handle.

    What about unopened tins of aro? Would this be any different than jarred bulk aro?

    I have 12 tins of Moontrance unopened !

    Should I leave them be, or get to smoking ?

    We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.
    Posted 6 days ago #
  47. skapunk1

    skapunk1

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    Sealed tins will slow the deterioration of flavour compared to jarring.

    My first tin of Sunset Breeze was old... i would guess 5+ years due to the print on the covering paper, and how it was soaked through with oils. It took me 3 months to work my way through the tin as it sat in a jar.... my last 10 bowls were the best...

    Now i buy it new, jar it right away, let it sit for 6 months, and the result in my opinion is amazing.

    Warren
    Posted 5 days ago #

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