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Who Is The Best Virginia Blender With McClelland Now Gone?

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  1. plugugly

    plugugly

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    McClelland was a unique blender of Virginia tobacco; probably irreplaceable in point of fact. But they are gone now and Virginia lovers have to buy somewhere! This forum has a great depth of knowledge and experience so the question is: who is the best remaining Virginia blender (if there is only one) and perhaps a few words on why the poster holds the opinion?

    Lead,Follow-Or Get Out Of The Way!
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. cosmicfolklore

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    Damn, the body is not even cold, and you guys be moving on in on selecting replacements.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. cigrmaster

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    In my opinion I think Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG makes some great Virginia's. Examples would be Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake, Astleys no 109 and no 44, Rattray - Hal O' the Wynd ,Marlin Flake to name a few.

    Samuel Gawith makes Best Brown, Full Virginia and St James Flakes, all fantastic blends.

    R.Will makes Solani 633 and Silver Flake.

    Mac Baren makes Old Dark Fired, St Bruno Flake, Capstan Blue and Gold flakes.

    Peterson makes University and Irish Flake and Perfect Plug.

    I am sure there are many more people will name. Tons of great Virginia's still out there.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. hoosierpipeguy

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    There are many other quality Virginia products out there. Unfortunately, none come remotely close to the unique flavors, variety and quality the Mcclelland line afforded.

    Try some stuff. SG FVF or BBF. Rattrays have several decent Virginias. Capstan Blue flake. GLP union square. The list is near endless. Order some and form your own opinion.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. gkr1

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    Damn, the body is not even cold, and you guys be moving on in on selecting replacements.

    That is funny HaHa! The rabbit has died already!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    There are excellent Virginia available, such as the ones mentioned above. They will be of a different style than McClelland, but not inferior.

    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 year ago #
  7. cigrmaster

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    Mark,

    There are many other quality Virginia products out there. Unfortunately, none come remotely close to the unique flavors, variety and quality the Mcclelland line afforded.

    Totally disagree with that statement. Mc Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. hoosierpipeguy

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    Totally disagree with that statement. Mc Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.

    Perhaps I should have prefaced my comment with Red Va. I also made 3 points, unique flavors, variety and quality. I agree quality is subjective. As to the other two, I can’t think of another company that comes remotely close.

    You well know I took your list and have tried nearly every one on it, perhaps every one. I have ended up purchasing multiple tins and in some cases, pounds of each. I haven’t found any of them very similar to McClelland but still very good and enjoyable on their own merits. Between the 40 pounds of McClelland I managed to stock up on and your list, I should be able to enjoy good Va tobacco through the end of my life.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. cigrmaster

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    When it comes to Red virginia's yes MC does it differently than anyone else.

    I am glad you were able to stock up like you did, looks like your source was on the money.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. cosmicfolklore

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    Rattray's selections are close, as far as having that slight acidic vinegary aroma from fermented leaf. But, the actual smoke is not very tangy or sweet, or not as tangy to me as McC's.

    Most of the rest of what I have tasted just tastes processed, but pleasant to smoke. I would have agreed with Astleys 109, as it was my first Virginia to fall in love with, at least until they changed something about their product.
    But, I fell fast and hard for McClellands. Sure, I have stocked the rest of them, but that tangy sweet red Virginia is hard to beat. The rest of the Virginias are just... meh, ok, IMO. I'll smoke them to be smoking.

    Nope, once gone, I don't think we will see the likes of that wonderful aroma that they were famous for again. Unless someone unlocks their secrets. I'll be growing and playing around with trying to capture their essence for my own homegrown enjoyment. But, this is all coming at a time when it will be hard for a company to just come up with a new product, even if they figured out McClelland's secret curing process.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. folanator

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    Maybe it's becasue I'm an entrepreneur that looks for opportunities, but I'm having a real hard time thinking that some producer won't try and re-create the magic.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    @folonator, four words: Food and Drug Administration

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. thomasw

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    Totally disagree ... McC Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.

    There are excellent Virginia available.... They will be of a different style than McClelland, but not inferior.

    +1 Wessex, MacBaren and Solani make VA-blends I love. Capstan Blue or Wessex Brigade Campaign Dark Flake might be my personal favourites.

    After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.

    The Hobbit
    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. folanator

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    @oldgeezer hoping that the powers that be come to their senses. It's happened before. Fingers crossed.

    Is McCranies still going to be available or are they made by McC as well?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. mso489

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    I'm still holding out for the pipe angel to rescue McClelland, but if not, other blenders have had their sterling example. No one is going to do just that, from their sources, with their secrets and expertise, and their artistry, but there are some fine blenders out there. Russ O.'s Fire Storm is one of my favorites, but there are a number of excellent Virginia blends out there, some that will survive the regulatory onslaught, and some blenders that may specialize more to fill the gap, if one opens.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. virginialover

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    Well I think that McClelland Virginias were American and that gave them the savory flavor profile along with the special process. Most brands especially German and English use Empire Virginias (Africa and India) which are earthier and with coarser characteristics. I heard that some Danish brands still use American Virginias, it's worth checking.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. josephcross

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    Solani 633, Rattrays Hal o the Wynd, Escudo and Samuel Gawaith FVF or St James Flake are my favs. GlPease’s Fillmore and Luxury Bullseye Flake are excellent too. I think there are many fine VA’s out there. They not be McC, but they are just as good to me. Now is a good time to explore and figure out what you like because McClellands is just the beginning of the madness.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. cortezattic

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    In addition to Harris's list, I'd add Sillem's, Fribourg & Treyer, Dan and Orlik.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. hawky454

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    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Esoterica’s VA’s yet! To my tastes Esoterica’s and Samuel Gawith make the best VA’s the world has ever seen. I enjoy McClellands VA’s too but after awhile they all started tasting the same to me so I was able to just pick one and stick with it. I am going to miss them and their closing has really given me a heavy heart and I wish them the very best in their retirement but life goes on and so shall we.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    For those with slightly deeper pockets, check out HU tobaccos. Hans is one of the finest blenders there is. You can order HU tobaccos here:

    https://www.pfeifendepot.de/produkt-kategorie/pfeifentabak/hu-tobacco/

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. cigrmaster

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    Thankfully the site is in German and I don't read that language. I am not finished cellaring my last blend ever, I don't need new ones. Everyone who reads German, go buy them out.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. dmcmtk

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    Is McCranies still going to be available or are they made by McC as well?

    Yes they are made by McC.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. unadoptedlamp

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    I agree on HU tobaccos. I never heard of them until I was in a tobacconist while in Germany. Somehow I wound up ordering direct from the source while I was there. Maybe it's still possible? I am looking forward to getting some more when I go back this spring, that's for sure.

    And... yes, the site is in German, but many of the blends have English names. And many english descriptions too. They're worth trying out at least once. Really, fantastic tobacco. Maybe the German version of a GL Pease? Perhaps even better.

    Director's Cut is a very good VaPer to get started with and the rest... is just plain interesting. Fayyum Kake?

    No cellar is complete without a selection from HU, in my opinion. It is that good.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. kaleehb

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    Dan tobacco makes some really great VA blends in my opinion. With Dunhill and McClelland both exiting the market, Dan tobacco is my next favorite in line. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud. Jinxed it....

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Harris,
    The site is in German und English. Click on any of the tobaccos and the description of the ingredients is in English.

    Jeez, buy some Director's Cut so that you can become helpless in its thrall. Then try Old Fredders, Sunset, Makhuwa, Jery Sarrono if you're in the mood for an aro with cherry and Amaretto, or any of the other blends available. But perhaps they may be flavorful for you. One thing about the tobaccos Hans sources for his blends, they are not bland cardboard. They are pulled from all over the planet and are something wonderfully different from American and UK tobaccos.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    jesse, my google translator wanted to translate it for me and I declined. I am not going to get captured in anyone's thrall, I have enough damn tobacco. So quit tempting me as I know what you are doing, you want to see me sleeping with unopened boxes on my bed because I ran out of room.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. rhoadsie

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    HU tobaccos are nice, but you actually need to pay attention if they are in stock...

    Nicht vorrätig = Not in stock

    You might need to go the group buy route vis-à-vis past Motzek Strang. Good luck.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. kcghost

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    There is no angel.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. derfargin

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    Esoterica VA's dont even rate for me, why? Because they're essentially gone too. Can't find them, and when they do pop up too many people are playing whack-a-mole.

    McClellands were top notch blends, that anyone and everyone could easily get their hands on.

    There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary, and those who don't.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. sablebrush52

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    jesse, my google translator wanted to translate it for me and I declined. I am not going to get captured in anyone's thrall, I have enough damn tobacco. So quit tempting me as I know what you are doing, you want to see me sleeping with unopened boxes on my bed because I ran out of room.

    Chrome does a better job with Google's semi-literate translator. It so easy, even you could use it. You know you want these blends, Harris, you know you do. It's only the fear that you will realize how bland are all those Esoterica and Wessex blends you have wasted your money buying. Face your fear, Harris. Buy HU and set yourself free.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. virginialover

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    Samuel Gawith: Full Virginia Flake, Best Brown Flake, Golden Glow, Full Virginia Plug, Kendal Plug.

    Gawith Hoggarth: Bright CR Flake, Curly Cut, Deluxe Twist XXX.

    Sutliff: 507C Virginia Slices.

    P Stokkebye: Luxury Navy Flake.

    Dan Tobacco: Hamburger Veermaster.

    Mac Baren: Capstan Original Navy Cut, Capstan Gold Navy Cut / Yellow Flake.

    Astley's: No.44 Dark Virginia Flake, No.109 Medium Flake. Wessex and Fribourg & Tryer also have some interesting ones.

    Basically, I find that German Virginia tobaccos, while good, are interchangeable. The exception is Dan Tobacco, who manages to get that old school spirit. I also have some HU tobaccos that I haven't tried yet but they have a good reputation. For Virginia only tobaccos, I prefer the British/English tradition with usually a casing that's not too sweet while the Germans tend to have a sweet tooth. This is of course my experience with Virginias, your millage may vary.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. hoosierpipeguy

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    You know you want these blends, Harris, you know you do. It's only the fear that you will realize how bland are all those Esoterica and Wessex blends you have wasted your money buying. Face your fear, Harris. Buy HU and set yourself free.

    I think Jesse has you pegged Harris. I've been wanting to say the same thing to you but didn't know how to broach the subject. Besides that, you know you enjoy buying the tobacco even more than you do smoking it. C'mon man, it's for the children. LOL

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. metalheadycigarguy

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    Even before McClelland closed up shop; my favorite straight Virginia blend is Dan Tobacco - Patriot Flake. Love that stuff. Dunhill Flake is a close second, but unfortunately they're going away as well. SG Golden Glow is a very good and underrated Virginia as well.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. cortezattic

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    So now, instead of ketchup, we can complain about the odor of Sauerbraten.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. saltedplug

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    My tastes run to dark tobaccos with a nicotine wallop: Dark Flake and Plug, brown and black rope, 1792, Irish Flake, War Horse, etc., and VA/Perique,: Escudo, Stonehenge, Solani 633, but I also smoke straight VA: Christmas Cheer 2012, MC 40th, FVF, Chenet's Cake. Of those four I have about 13 pounds.

    Oh, I also have a 200g, 2003, canister of Heinrich Special Curly and an 8 oz canister of 2007 Laurel Heights. Not contemplating more VA now.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. mawnansmiff

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    I wonder if the sad demise of McClelland means there will be a glut of leaf on the market come next harvesting time. This could mean many things but I wonder if perhaps prices might fall?

    Also possibly new blends might become available in countries where the long arm of the FDA cannot reach.....now that would be nice.

    I don't know how much leaf McClelland got through in a year but I should imagine it was considerable.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. crashthegrey

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    I, too, am in search of the closest "ketchup" essence to McClelland. Cosmic mentions Rattrays, which I will try as I have never bought any of their red Virginia selections having had access to McClelland. Any other good vinegar-esque options? Which Rattrays may come closest to say, No. 27 or Red and Black?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. mso489

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    mawn', the notion that McClelland closing would lower prices on other blends because tobacco prices would go down seems farfetched, I think, because much of the U.S. tobacco market is exported anyway, and the greater demand is oversea, plus the new regulations, if they swing into full effect, will increase the prices of blending so much, it will absorb any savings and add high (huge) administrative costs. Cigarettes and cigars have gone sky high while pipe tobacco has been relatively inexpensive, but I'm afraid we're losing that edge. And increases could be steep. Make friends with some of the over-the-counter tub blends and stock up on some of those. A tin of premium pipe tobacco could easily double. What's $!0 online and $20 in a pipe shop will likely double. How many walk-in customers at pipe shops can lay down $40 for a tin? Maybe things aren't as bad as we think. In the Navy there was a sarcastic response to excessive optimism: Dream on, sailor boy.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. sablebrush52

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    I wonder if the sad demise of McClelland means there will be a glut of leaf on the market come next harvesting time. This could mean many things but I wonder if perhaps prices might fall?

    Also possibly new blends might become available in countries where the long arm of the FDA cannot reach.....now that would be nice.

    I don't know how much leaf McClelland got through in a year but I should imagine it was considerable.

    Jay, it's fun to speculate, but my guess is it won't affect prices at all. In the vast scheme of things, McClelland was barely a drop in the ocean. Pipe and pipe tobaccos are a tiny portion of the market, and McClelland was a small, though essential, part of that. Tobacco prices are already very low, such that farmers are ditching tobacco and are planting other crops which pay much better. Lower prices will result in smaller production.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. civalwar

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    Sutliff: 507C Virginia Slices is pretty tasty stuff

    My ex-wife told me it's either me or your pipe collection. I considered that a win-win.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. cigrmaster

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    Now I have Jesse and mark breathing down my neck to buy more tobacco, I guess that is what friends are for. I actually have tried these tobaccos now that I think of it. Flakey Jakey sent me a sampler package. . I will have to find it. I have no idea if I liked them or not is was a few years ago.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. saltedplug

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    Cellars are for hoarding. What else to call goods bought years in advance of intended use, if used at all, stored beneath ground with tuberous vegetables for the winter?

    The main consideration for a cellar is money as a cellar is a hedge against the future,and one can only project future needs by current. But current needs change, and thus so do the needs of the future, so we again return to money. How big a cellar is big enough? (Of course for Harris, it can never be big enough.) But again a cellar is a hedge, and being prudent, and for any pipe smoker worth his salt, it really should be twice as much as calculated for the remainder of a lifetime. Once you get to that size, a cellar is measured in orders of magnitude three, five or ten times as much.

    If you have more than you need, you won't run out. Isn't that what a cellar is about, plentitude in times of scarcity? Could be that the Indians rise up and leave the reservations to murder the arrogant whites who have sullied the pipe, smoking it outside of its sacred, tribal past, etc., etc. If they take your head, that's a lifetime of scarcity, and in which case your cellar won't be of much use. Be does that really matter? Be prepared. Cellar!

    Before we leave the cellar subject, it should also be said that one should take no heed for the disposition of one's cellar, unless of course you have a bud who gets all of it. If so he's likely to be with you during your last days, holding a pipe to your mouth so you can take a few draws and then your head as you hack. You'll know. Surviving family won't have a clue. They won't even fight for it, which is saying something for the disreputables spawned by most families. No, they'll likely carry the 500 ibs to the curb, all of your careful, ongoing work to cellar destroyed in an hour by your relatives and the garbage crew.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  43. cigrmaster

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    salt, I do appreciate your dry sense of humor. I cellar so I can smoke aged tobacco and have my favorites available so when blends get discontinued, I will have plenty. I have never bought a blend that I don't smoke just to save it and try to make a profit years later. I am currently smoking a bowl of Curly Block and it is awesome. My first 2 bowls of it were good, but not like this one. I found a perfect pipe for it and now all I can think of is how many of those ropes am I going to buy. "

    "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in"

    Posted 1 year ago #
  44. sablebrush52

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    If you like the flavor of aged blends and don't wish to be cornholed by by scalpers, then cellaring is a necessity. And, as we are being reminded, a favorite bend, or and number of favorite blends can disappear with little to no warning. I know folks who started cellaring McClelland Virginias as soon as they appeared on the market and now they can enjoy a bowl of 30+ year aged leaf whenever they want.

    As cellars go, mine is pretty modest. I started seriously cellaring very late, 5 years ago. But I'm glad that I did it. I have what I want and don't have to chase anything. The scalpers can look elsewhere for victims.

    As for my family tossing the cellar in the trash after I've croaked out, I've left instructions in my will regarding the value of the tobaccos and various ways to get it sold off.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  45. cigrmaster

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    Jesse, I was also late to the game as I only started cellaring in 2012. I decided on how many pounds I would need averaging 4-5 bowl a day. I thought I had completed it back in 2013 but I just had to go looking for new tastes. I should stop as I don't need more tobacco but I am like most junkies, ruled by my addiction. I was really going to stop when I got as many Butera tins as I wanted, but no I just had to fall in love with 2 more blends. I am not going to cellar these last 2 like I did the Butera, I am not, I refuse to be ruled by TAD.

    Sometimes I feel like I am back in the 70's chasing Rorer 714's. Once a junkie always a junkie.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    derekflint

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    To cellar ...Or not to cellar...THAT is the question !!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  47. unadoptedlamp

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    I would prefer not to cellar, but am slowly accepting this is just not wise in the current climate. For some reason, I prefer almost every blend I smoke to be fresh. After a year or so, some of my favourite blends meld together into something new and lose some of the features I enjoy. Haddo's does this to me. Which I guess is part of the point of aging tobacco... you basically get a new blend. Sometimes that's great, but other times, I find myself wanting the original.

    I want a future where I can buy my favoured blends at a reasonable price, damnit! And free trade on tobacco is another pipe dream.

    The economics/logistics is a major hurdle for me. Unfortunately, and it is a pain in the ass sometimes, I have to divide my time between Canada, Germany and Brazil. All with an unfavourable climate to tobacco imports. In Brazil, you can't even pay a tariff. They just return it to the sender. I've had packages resent more than 3 times before finally getting in, each with at least a month of shipping time. For some, the bonus is that it arrives aged... So I'm left with the choice of amassing a huge stockpile in one country without any guarantee that I will settle there. I could end up with two cellars being write offs.

    No shit, I've seriously considered the logistics and consequences of loading up a sail boat on the day I settle into a spot and finding some patch of shore where I can unload my contraband. It's very depressing. I might even have to make a decision to go primarily with flakes, despite a fondness for blends like Telegraph Hill, simply because it's easier to hide a bigger quantity of them and store in the hold of a sail boat that I can be sneaky with.

    Is anyone else amassing multiple cellars?

    When I retire, I may just end up turning into a tobacco pirate! Ply my trade on the high seas, shuttling tobacco around the world. It's sad to think there may even be a demand for this one day. It might be exciting, but I'd rather just kick back and smoke my pipe in peace. It's getting more tricky by the year.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  48. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    Why don't you find a tobacco shop in Canada or Germany where you can rent a small locker? Store your tobacco in the locker. If it is a friendly store owner, you may even be able to talk him into accepting shipments for you and putting them in your locker. For that matter, you could rent a larger mailbox at a Mailboxes Etc. or something similar. Just explain to the manager you're gone for lengthy times and need somewhere for your things to accumulate.

    If you want to do it badly enough, there are any number of ways for you to get it accomplished I think.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  49. elvergun

    elvergun

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    Totally disagree with that statement. Mc Virginia's are definitely unique but better no way. There are tons of people who dislike the ketchup style of Virginia's that MC makes.

    I'm one of the people who think that nothing is better than McClelland Virginias.

    FVF is pretty darn good though.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  50. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    I would prefer not to cellar, but am slowly accepting this is just not wise in the current climate. For some reason, I prefer almost every blend I smoke to be fresh. After a year or so, some of my favourite blends meld together into something new and lose some of the features I enjoy. Haddo's does this to me. Which I guess is part of the point of aging tobacco... you basically get a new blend. Sometimes that's great, but other times, I find myself wanting the original.

    Well, there is a method for preventing aging, if you're interested:

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

    Posted 1 year ago #
  51. chasingembers

    Embers

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    No profit plans here either. I cellar to get ahead of ever increasing tobacco prices while I can still afford it. I've freely given blends that scalpers sell for $100 or more. My intent is to have tobacco when I want it in the future and to secure favorites while they are still available.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 year ago #
  52. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    When I retire, I may just end up turning into a tobacco pirate! Ply my trade on the high seas, shuttling tobacco around the world.

    Thar be room aplenty aboard the Black Frigate, matey. Come on down...

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 1 year ago #
  53. lasttango

    lasttango

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    Not sure who makes it, but Watch City Cigar Blends like old dominion... In particular, Watch City Slices is pretty nice (for a burley/dark fired blend).

    A man that hoards up riches and enjoys them not, is like an ass that carries gold and eats thistles.
    -Richard Burton
    Posted 1 year ago #
  54. User has not uploaded an avatar

    oldtoby

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    I'm definitely not a C&D fanboy, but the Carolina Red Flake they put out a while back was

    some of the absolute best I've ever had. Opening Night and Red Carpet are excellent blends as well.

    Smoking can't be bad for you. It cures Salmon.

    -Unknown-
    Posted 1 year ago #
  55. civalwar

    civalwar

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    McClellan's gone? Guess I missed that one.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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