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What tobaccos to cellar and other obscure tips?

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    geopiper

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    Looking for obscure cellaring tips and tips on increasing cellar variety.

    I'm familiar with cellaring basics (mason jars or properly sealed tins from the factory. Dry, dark location. Label and date the container. Purchase more tobacco than is smoked which results in cellar growth)

    Tip that made sense when I heard it: Don't store one blend in one large jar: use several smaller jars so one can be opened allowing the remaining sealed jars to continue to age.

    Now for the subjective question. How can one increase their cellar variety? Is it as simple as buying several tins/bags of a previously untasted tobacco and cellaring if you don't like it, or buy more if you do like it? How to know what will taste better after being aged? There's hundreds of blends out there: it's unrealistic to buy some it all just to cellar.

    thanks

    Posted 5 months ago #
  2. jpmcwjr

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    I sample stuff before cellaring, and don't buy a big quantity of anything I am unsure of.

    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 5 months ago #
  3. ashdigger

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    Since you asked about aging....read this.

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

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 5 months ago #
  4. trouttimes

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    Great FYI Ashdigger. Thanks.

    “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 5 months ago #
  5. sablebrush52

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    Now for the subjective question. How can one increase their cellar variety? Is it as simple as buying several tins/bags of a previously untasted tobacco and cellaring if you don't like it, or buy more if you do like it? How to know what will taste better after being aged? There's hundreds of blends out there: it's unrealistic to buy some it all just to cellar.

    As has been suggested, sample blends to find out what you like. Buy more of what you like, while continuing to sample new to you blends. While it's possible that you will come to like, at some future point, a blend that you initially did not like, I wouldn't count on it. So I would not cellar blends I dislike on the hope that I will someday like them. I cellar deep on blends that I return to again and again and again, blends that survive those cycles where my tastes change and other once favored blends sit untouched.

    All of which is a way of saying that building a good cellar isn't just a case of amassing a bunch of tobacco that others rave about. A good cellar is the reflection of your considered tastes in tobaccos. And building that takes time and knowledge.

    As for aging, no one can predict how a blend will age. If you have an optimal place to keep the tobacco, cool, dry, dark, then whatever happens, happens under optimal conditions. Tobacco doesn't improve with age. It changes with age. Whether you find that change to be an improvement is really your choice.

    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 5 months ago #
  6. ashdigger

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    As for aging, no one can predict how a blend will age. If you have an optimal place to keep the tobacco, cool, dry, dark, then whatever happens, happens under optimal conditions. Tobacco doesn't improve with age. It changes with age. Whether you find that change to be an improvement is really your choice.

    And is very subjective. I have blends that I prefer fresh and blends that really zing with age, but I am the lone arbiter.

    An example TO ME is Solani 633. Fresh I'm on the fence, aged about 5 years in and this is just wonderful.

    Another example to me is Reiner Blend 71 - Long Golden Flake - Fresh is tastes like a good glass of lemonade of hot day. Aged it has muted plum with a wisp of lemon. Both are great, but both are different.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    geopiper

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    Thanks for the info everyone. Sometimes I need to hear logical statements like “cellar what you like” to affirm my thoughts. Also, hearing that unpalatable blends don’t evolve into “must have” blends gives me peace of mind.

    Any other subjective or objective tips?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  8. trouttimes

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    Geo piper, I would caution you that if you are new to pipes, your taste will change. Some blends you don't like may be ok later. I have definitely grown to like some blends that I thought taste like crap at first. This is not always true but enough to take a wait and see attitude. Blends I liked off the bat, I still like so those I stack deep.i do agree "smoke what you like".

    Posted 5 months ago #
  9. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Tastes absolutely do change over time. Blends that I didn't like I sometimes do find that I like later one, and the converse is also true. And sometimes blends go in and out of favor and then back in. For example, when Viprati first came out I really liked it and I stocked up on it. Then I recently opened up a tin a just hated it. Also, blends can change depending on who is making it. I love Escudo, both fresh and aged. But the Escudo I loved aged was made by A & C Petersen. I recently opened up a tin of STG made Escudo that was 5 years old and was very disappointed in it. Where the Petersen made Escudo developed a wonderful richness and fruitiness in place of the black pepper, the STG made Escudo hadn't changed much at all. It was rather a dull smoke. Fortunately, I still have a few tins of the A & C Petersen product. And it's possible that the STG Escudo will eventually develop into a great smoke.

    Different makers source different tobaccos to make their blends. So going by a blend's past reputation alone is no guarantee of quality when the maker of that blend has changed.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  10. mechanic

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    Im still searching blends but did jar a few pounds of sutliff va slices from the last sale. So im just cellaring stuff i like if something has rave reviews i might get a oz or so to try before buying pounds to cellar.

    "I'm a kind person, I'm kind to everyone, but if you are unkind to me, then kindness is not what you will remember me for." - Al Capone
    Posted 5 months ago #
  11. lucky695

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    buy all you can of whatever you can. If you don't like it, there is a good chance someone else does; and when the curtain is finally drawn, you can sell a "vintage" tobacco tin with a free gift of tobacco in it to go along with your vintage tin.

    "A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his mouth." - C.S. Lewis
    Posted 5 months ago #
  12. haparnold

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    and when the curtain is finally drawn, you can sell a "vintage" tobacco tin with a free gift of tobacco in it to go along with your vintage tin.

    I don't know how long this will be able to continue. I imagine there will always be a way to swap tobacco between people, but I'm not planning to retire off the proceeds from my tobacco, and I certainly wouldn't buy anything I didn't like just because it may be valuable later.

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 5 months ago #
  13. mtwaller

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    Lots of good advice on this thread. I’m super new to pipes myself, I have about 8 blends I’m rotating right now, I only love 2 of them. A couple I think will definitely get better with age. A couple of them I’m trying to convince myself that I like when I really don’t care for them all that much. I also want to expand the variety of my tiny cellar, but rather than trying a shit ton of new blends (which I eventually will), I might just stock up on 8 oz of Plum Pudding and a couple more tins of Orlik DSK! Smoke what you know you like and sample some new ones when you get burnt out on your old reliables. Me personally, I’d rather have a treasure chest full of nothing but Plum Pudding than 50 different blends that I’m ambivalent towards. But everyone’s different, half the allure of getting into pipes is the endless possibilities of different blends. I wish you luck on your ever-growing cellar. Let us know if you find something new that blows your mind!

    “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”.
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    jeffya2

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    Use mason jars but run them thru the dishwasher 1st

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    jeffya2

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    Don't pack the tobacco tightly
    Keep in a dark closet

    Posted 5 months ago #
  16. crashthegrey

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    I disagree. New Mason jars are cleaner than your dishwasher.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  17. lucky695

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    I certainly wouldn't buy anything I didn't like just because it may be valuable later.

    I am not advocating this as a money making effort, just get tobacco while you still can...

    Posted 5 months ago #
  18. sablebrush52

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    With regard to packing density for jarring and aging, pack flakes dense enough that you can still pull one without necessarily destroying it. With ribbon cut, pack at a 1:2 ratio, that is 2oz tobacco in a 4oz jar, 4oz tobacco in an 8oz jar, etc. That is a density similar to commercially vacuum tinned tobacco. Leave about 1/4" air space at the top so that the little critters can do their work before they croak out. If you want to retard aging, vacuum seal the jar.

    Short of a cutter top tin, few tins are good for long term aging. They weren't designed to do that. The worst seem to be the small rectangular and square vacuum sealed tins. This makes sense considering maintaining a consistent pressure around a squared perimeter would be a neat trick. They're good for a few years, maybe as much as 5-7 as the seal leaks and the pressure equalizes and the good inside dry out. Some of them hold up a long long time while others crap out. It's up to you how into gambling you are. So you can jar them fresh, which is what Greg Pease now recommends rather than keeping the tobacco in the tin. You can bag the tins or reinforce the seal with metal tape. Round tins hold up better, but I wouldn't trust any of them for long term storage. There will be the inevitable codger who will post that he opened a 15 year old tin of Armpit Aromatic and it was just moist and perfect. Assuming that's actually true, my response is congratulations and guess what? You're not the entirety of the Known Universe. You might enjoy rolling the dice with your investment. Don't go telling others to do the same.

    BTW, you want to satisfy yourself that tins leak? Fill a locked-top bin with tins of Virginia, Va/Pers and the like. Fill another lock-top bin with English and Latakia tins. Seal them in and wait a few weeks, then pop the top and take a good deep sniff. The Virginia bin will smell of Virginia and the English will smell of Latakia and Oriental. Guess where that smell came from, besides the interiors of your "sealed" tins. There will also be a person or two who will proclaim that he doesn't smell anything, to which I suggest that he make an appointment with his doctor for a physical, 'cause that smell ain't faint.

    Even jars aren't a permanent solution, but they're pretty darned good.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  19. cosmicfolklore

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    Great post, Sable... I am reminded of the guy, four or five years ago, that posted that he was in India where there were no glass jars. He posted that he was sealing two bowls together with tape to store his bulk blends.
    There is no 100% risk free way to ride this. You have to either be willing to risk loss, or get out of the game.

    Michael
    Posted 5 months ago #
  20. woodsroad

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    If you want to retard aging, vacuum seal the jar.
    OK, I'll take issue with this, without a shred of empirical evidence to back up my opinions:

    By the time pipe tobacco has reached our sweaty little hands, it has been exposed to the air for a very long time. Perhaps years. So, it has had sufficient time to undergo whatever changes will happen in an oxygen-rich environment. Leaving headspace in the jar isn't going to do anything to promote further aging. What is needed is less air, so that the anaerobic process can begin.

    Discuss.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  21. cosmicfolklore

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    That sounds like a viable thing you said there.

    I like headspace. But, only because I don't want too much in the jar. I can usually only get 3.5oz in one of those pint jars. And, that is if I really stuff it.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  22. sablebrush52

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    OK, I'll take issue with this, without a shred of empirical evidence to back up my opinions:

    By the time pipe tobacco has reached our sweaty little hands, it has been exposed to the air for a very long time. Perhaps years. So, it has had sufficient time to undergo whatever changes will happen in an oxygen-rich environment. Leaving headspace in the jar isn't going to do anything to promote further aging. What is needed is less air, so that the anaerobic process can begin.

    Discuss.

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

    http://www.glpease.com/Articles/vacuum.html

    BTW, I didn't say it would stop aging, just retard it.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    jeff540

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    FWIW, I've had much success using the short wide jars to store tobacco from the 2oz flake tins.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  24. woodsroad

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    OK, for one thing, he was using the FoodSaver bags for a lot of his tobacco. Not good. They are moisture and oxygen permeable. Second,as for the jars being packed tight vs loose with headspace, this is one anecdote, one person, in an uncontrolled experiment. I'm not doubting his impressions, but they are his impressions after all.

    If what he says however is actually true, then that pokes a hole in the aerobic/anaerobic theory of aging. Interesting.

    My own experiments in this area lead me to other conclusions.

    GLP: "Tobacco needs some air to be locked in with it , at least to begin with, in order for it to age."
    That's my point: "at least to begin with". To my mind, that has already happened.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  25. cosmicfolklore

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    To my mind, that has already happened.

    My interpretation of what Greg is saying that you need the O2 to get started, but then as the O2 dissipates, there is another phase that takes effect. I am not 100% sure what he is talking about, and he is merely talking from theory, not anything provable... or at least he offers no evidence.

    I love quoting Greg when it will serve me in a discussion, but after talking with tobacconists, tobacco growers, and manufacturers, about curing tobaccos... I am convinced that no one knows "exactly" what is happening with tobacco at any phase of curing.

    I do know that Greg pops his ancient tobaccos from the tin, and then takes great pictures of them. I have never seen a picture if him smoking from a jar.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  26. woodsroad

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    Michael, there certainly are people out there with an intimate knowledge of the science of tobacco and tobacco production. Take a look at the work of the USDA, and in particular, the work of the late T.C. Tso, author of "Physiology and Biochemistry of Tobacco Plants".

    Posted 5 months ago #
  27. cosmicfolklore

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    I don't doubt that "someone" knows, but at the rubber meets the road level...

    Posted 5 months ago #
  28. woodsroad

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    Read Tso.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  29. ashdigger

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    Don't say I didn't tell you Tso.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  30. cosmicfolklore

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    Have you read it, Woods? It's an out of print book, that is available to collectors, ranging in the 100$ range. I looked at the table of contents and it doesn't look like easy reading. I already have 12 books on tobacco that might as well be written in ancient Greek for all of my ability to interpret them.

    The site suggests it for people who work in agronomy of tobacco production... which is the complicated way of saying the guy who fertilizes tobacco plants... making me think the books uses biochemical jargon that I have never studied.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  31. sablebrush52

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    One of the things I've wondered about is how Companies like Mac Baren and the late lamented McClelland, could still produce pungent Syrian Latakia blends more than a decade after the last harvest, given that Latakia has a relatively short shelf life. It's not like the last production runs of Vintage Syrian were made from a fresh crop. Something is keeping these stocks from fading.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  32. woodsroad

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    Michael, I do have a copy, that I picked up cheap somewhere. I'll scan the pertinent chapter(s) for you.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  33. jpmcwjr

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    GLP: "Tobacco needs some air to be locked in with it , at least to begin with, in order for it to age."
    That's my point: "at least to begin with". To my mind, that has already happened.

    I compact jars pretty hard when going for medium-long term storage. MY theory is there is plenty of oxygen in the interstices! (Daily vocabulary word from 1960, meaning spaces in between- in this case, between the bits of tobacco).

    Posted 5 months ago #
  34. cosmicfolklore

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    Michael, I do have a copy, that I picked up cheap somewhere. I'll scan the pertinent chapter(s) for you.

    That would be awesome!!

    What I don't understand about Syrian Latakia, is that surely there was more than one farm making this? And, like American tobacco production, they would share information between farms to keep crops consistent... what the hell happen to wipe out all knowledge of this plant and its production? No other farming practice is based on keeping secrets. It doesn't work that way. Even Mark Ryan of LaPoche spends a great deal of time spreading word on how he produces perique.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  35. woodsroad

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    I think that they had a civil war or something. Followed by ISIS invading. Followed by Iran invading. Followed by the US invading. Followed by Russia invading. Followed by Turkey invading. A half-million people dead.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  36. pipehunter

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    FWIW, I don't leave any headspace on purpose (with flakes and such, some is inevitable). In fact, I pack the jars quite tight. The results have been satisfactory.

    Admittedly, unlike Greg, I'm not popping tins from the 70s left and right. But I have a few pounds each of blends from the early 90s that have come along well, at least in my opinion. Might they have aged faster (or differently) with more air in the jar? Possibly. Would that difference have been positive? No idea.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  37. cosmicfolklore

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    Phhhht, that's nothing... I've driven through Atlanta at noon.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  38. pipehunter

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    I think that they had a civil war or something. Followed by ISIS invading. Followed by Iran invading. Followed by the US invading. Followed by Russia invading. Followed by Turkey invading. A half-million people dead.

    A terrible tragedy. Certainly, I don't want to gloss over it. But I think end of Syrian Latakia production predated the civil war, no? 2004 or 2005, if I remember correctly....

    Posted 5 months ago #
  39. woodsroad

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    I believe that the government banned it's production doe to the deforestation that was taking place to feed the fires. I have to no cite for this.

    EDIT: In doing some cursory research to answer this question, I found a book "A History of the ‘Alawis: From Medieval Aleppo to the Turkish Republic", that states Abu Riha tobacco (smoke cured) dates to 1744. Here is a link to a pdf. Go to page 139

    Posted 5 months ago #
  40. brian64

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    I heard it was because the camels are all genetically modified now and they can no longer duplicate the original flavor.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 5 months ago #
  41. woodsroad

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    Here is the link to Chapter 16 "Chemical Changes during Curing, Aging, and Fermentation" of the book "PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY OF TOBACCO PLANTS"

    by

    T.C.Tso
    PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCH DIVISION
    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
    BELTSVILLE, MARYLAND
    1972

    Posted 5 months ago #
  42. thedudeabides

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    "One of the things I've wondered about is how Companies like Mac Baren and the late lamented McClelland, could still produce pungent Syrian Latakia blends more than a decade after the last harvest, given that Latakia has a relatively short shelf life. It's not like the last production runs of Vintage Syrian were made from a fresh crop. Something is keeping these stocks from fading."

    That's a fascinating question. When I've opened up a fresh tin of blending Latakia (Syrian, back when they had it) from O'Connell, it shows no sign of fading... and I've been fortunate enough to open up some old tins with Syrian as a component where I've only gotten a vague hint of what was, so I'm optimistic that I would know the difference. Same thing with some of the McClelland blends, H&H, etc. where the Syrian wasn't really in question. It pops pretty brightly and noticeably, and then begins to fade

    It does make me wonder if they were compressed and stored in actual airtight containers, bags, etc. to retard the aging process in some capacity. "True" anaerobic storage? In any event, I agree with Sable that blenders are somehow able to store tobacco long-term without significant changes to what we perceive as "freshness."

    Posted 5 months ago #
  43. woodsroad

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    Most respectable blenders have time travel abilities.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  44. thedudeabides

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    I think that's what the "Old London" series was all about. I'm not saying G. L. Pease is, in fact, Jack the Ripper, but I've never seen them together.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  45. lucky695

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    If the OP's (Geopiper) head isn't spinning from the newbie nic hit... this thread has done the job in relation to the original question...
    Good work Gentlemen

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    geopiper

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    What are some strategies to build and rotate the cellar? Should someone buy several tins: one to smoke now, some to smoke later, and some to cellar for a longer period of time?

    Yes, this has all been good information.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  47. crashthegrey

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    Thanks for sharing that chapter, Dan. I can't wait to sit down and read that.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  48. davet

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    All very fascinating but where can I get this " Armpit Aromatic "? Is this blend still available?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  49. workman

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    I was also intrigued by the Armpit. I'm thinking about taping a couple of flakes to my armpits for a night or two to try and make my own stuff. OGS is already halfway there so that ought to work.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  50. recluse

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    How can one increase their cellar variety? Is it as simple as buying several tins/bags of a previously untasted tobacco and cellaring if you don't like it, or buy more if you do like it?

    That's exactly what I do.

    How to know what will taste better after being aged? There's hundreds of blends out there: it's unrealistic to buy some it all just to cellar.

    You won't know until you do it yourself. I have bought some I've yet to try in bulk simply because it's hard to come by. I figure if I hate it, I can trade it/sell it in the future.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  51. seanv

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    With regard to packing density for jarring and aging, pack flakes dense enough that you can still pull one without necessarily destroying it. With ribbon cut, pack at a 1:2 ratio, that is 2oz tobacco in a 4oz jar, 4oz tobacco in an 8oz jar, etc. That is a density similar to commercially vacuum tinned tobacco. Leave about 1/4" air space at the top so that the little critters can do their work before they croak out. If you want to retard aging, vacuum seal the jar.

    This is what I am conflicted on. I have jarred over the years and stufffed the jars full. I have many tins that are kept well enough but not in the cool dark climate. I am back and forth on jarring all of them and rejarring some newer packed jars to leave some space. Anything that has been jarred for over a year I will leave alone.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  52. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    Sean, I think that the most important thing that anyone can do in regards to enjoying their cellared tobaccos is to not fret about it. Everything that you’ve done sounds fine. If you want to change it up, moving forward, that would be fine, too. Best practices in storing pipe tobacco leave a lot of latitude.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  53. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    I began buying a tin or two and reordering those I liked by the 3's, one to smoke and two to store.

    I soon after realized that I like just about all non-aromatic stuff from reputable producers, so experimentation went mostly by the wayside.

    I now have a large-ish cellar 3/4 of which I never have tasted. Some would call it foolish, but I am confident I will be fine.

    you have to try at least enough things to get a bearing for your tastes and then determine the level of risk vs. reward that fits your criteria.

    If you're finicky, proceed more cautiously. If, like me, your tastes are broad and forgiving, fear not the adventurous acquisition.

    I'm not cellaring with an eye towards trade, but I'm confident that, should I actually hate any of the stuff I have, I'll be able to trade it for another blend or coffee or 2x4's or something.

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 5 months ago #
  54. seanv

    seanv

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    Sean, I think that the most important thing that anyone can do in regards to enjoying their cellared tobaccos is to not fret about it. Everything that you’ve done sounds fine. If you want to change it up, moving forward, that would be fine, too. Best practices in storing pipe tobacco leave a lot of latitude

    Thanks Woods. I have only opened a few 5+ year old tins and have had no problems. I think I’ll leave everything as is but I’ll jar the squar tins. I hear far too many bad things about blown seals over prolonged amount of time. That’s not a chance I’m willing to take.

    Posted 5 months ago #

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