Building Your Cellar - Things To Consider

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Jan 28, 2018
10,102
79,890
65
Noblesville, IN & Sarasota, FL
Building your Cellar is one of the most discussed topics here. At five bowls per day and at age 64, I have enough stocked to last me to age 107. I feel pretty comfortable at this point. Here are some things to consider as you build your own Cellar.

I almost wish I had 100 pounds each of Vauen No 14, F&T Cut Virginia Plug and McClelland 40th. But when I started building my cellar, that wasn't feasible for a number of reasons if I wanted to do it in any reasonable time frame. Obviously, the McClelland is no longer available. Popular Virginia blends generally ship 2 to 4 times per year, have purchase limits and sell out quickly. I decided to branch out and I'm happy I did. I went somewhat deep in blends such as Union Square, Carolina Red Flake, Aylesbury Classic Flake, Opening Night, HH Pure Virginia and Mac Baren Virginia Flake, F&T Vintage, Dunhill Flake, SG FVF and BBF, Newminster 400, Orlik Golden Sliced, Rattrays Old Gowrie and HOW, Wessex Gold Virginia Flake and Gold Slice, Astleys 44, Hamborger Veermeister, Capstan Blue and a few others. A number of these blends are readily available, several in bulk. Believe me, I don't suffer when I'm smoking some Union Square or HH Pure Virginia with 3 to 5 years or more of age. Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to branch out within your favorite genre.

You may be forty, work a full time job and still have children at home. You smoke one bowl per day, if you're lucky and are building your cellar based upon that volume. But how many bowls per day would you smoke if you could and have the time? When I was 40, no way could I have smoked 5 to 6 bowls per day. Now, at 64 and semi retired, I have no problem doing that. Moral of the story? If you're wanting to build a lifetime cellar, account for changing circumstances.

If you can possibly afford it, don't be afraid to spend a dollar or two more per tin to obtain what you want. Ashley's 44, CVP, Campaign Brigade Dark Flake and a number of others are gone in the blink of an eye at SP and TP. Or have 2 to 10 tin limits. However, there are many smaller online shops that have these same blends, sometimes a dollar or two higher in price. And if you're fortunate enough to have a local B&M, they often have these blends as well. Picture yourself ten to twenty years down the road. Internet tobacco sales are extinct. Are you celebrating having saved a dime per bowl by not buying from these secondary sources or kicking yourself in the ass for being a tightwad while you puff on your bowl of some dog poo blend? Or maybe have nothing at all. Moral of the story? Bargain shop when you can but spend a little more to get what you want the most when necessary.

Slow and steady wins the race. For reasons I've already mentioned and a host of others, you're not going to build your lifetime cellar in one month, six months or a year. Lots of European vendors ship 2 to 4 times per year. Budget a certain dollar amount every month and put it away for when those shipments hit, then spend it. It would be nice if we still had tons of local B&Ms where we could drop by and buy a tin or two as we need it. It would be reasonably nice if one could log into their favorite online retailers and buy a handful of Astleys 44 or CVP or any other number of popular blends when it was convenient for you. That's not reality, not even close. Moral of the story? Dedicate dollars every month, build a bankroll then hit it hard when the shipments hit the shelves. If you do this, you'll be pleasantly surprised how rapidly you will build your cellar.

I covered packaging last week. Think 7 mm mylar bags, not mason jars. I think mason jars are the best storage device but they're very heavy, fragile and consume lots of space. The average person changes residences every 5 to 10 years. Your back will thank me when you're carrying a tote full of mylar bags versus mason jars. Moral of the story? Consider space and relocating you're cellar when deciding on what you store it in.

I'm mostly done buying at this point. I'm expanding only with a few absolute favorites when they become available. And yes, I get bored and do not hesitate to grab ten tins of a special release now and then. I buy 5 tins here and there to replace the blends I smoke most often. YTD, I've spent a small fraction of what I spent in previous years.

Am I likely to die and leave my heirs with many pounds of tobacco to deal with? I sure hope so as that prospect seems far more preferable than running out before I'm laid in the ground.

Before I end this long post, let me propose that you don't ruin your marriage, miss mortgage payments or go bankrupt buying tobacco. That would be worse than stupid. Buy tobacco with discretionary funds.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,102
79,890
65
Noblesville, IN & Sarasota, FL
Very useful post for people building up their cellar. ? As per my calculations your cellar will last till you are 122, and wishing you that you enjoy your cellar till you are 122 years of age ?
I used 3 grams per bowl, 15 grams per day and came out with 107 years old. I'll be reasonably happy to last until I'm 87.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,102
79,890
65
Noblesville, IN & Sarasota, FL
Question regarding long term cellaring. Thoughts on long term cellaring vs. cellar to age? Being 38, there's the challenge of cellaring for decades but not wanting all of it to age for decades and be useless by time I get to it.

I would have some concern were it English blends as the Latakia allegedly diminishes in flavor. If properly stored, I'd have minimal concern. I am expecting some minor amount of spoilage.
 

chilllucky

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 15, 2018
820
1,723
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
Question regarding long term cellaring. Thoughts on long term cellaring vs. cellar to age? Being 38, there's the challenge of cellaring for decades but not wanting all of it to age for decades and be useless by time I get to it.
This is a real concern. Like wine, there is a real, biological, limit on the beneficial aspects of aging. There's vintage, and there's vinegar. If you're buying stuff now at 40 hoping it will be smokeable when you're 80, you may be bitterly disappointed.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,013
50,631
I'm a retiree, though it feels like I work full time at various life tasks, but I smoke about a bowl a day, sometimes two, sometimes none. I don't buy pipe tobacco by the pound, just a few ounces bulk, a tin or two, or a pouch or two, but since I buy more than I smoke, it accumulates. Even with my puny stash, I doubt I'll run out. What I have would last me five to ten years, or more if I were conserving.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
37,258
78,597
Question regarding long term cellaring. Thoughts on long term cellaring vs. cellar to age? Being 38, there's the challenge of cellaring for decades but not wanting all of it to age for decades and be useless by time I get to it.
If you wish to retard aging, vacuum seal the tobaccos you wish to shield from aerobic bacteria action.
 

chilllucky

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 15, 2018
820
1,723
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
I don't think you can compare wine to tobacco as relates to aging. If the seal of the storage device remains intact, what is going to cause the tobacco to age past a certain point?
The science is over my head, but my understanding is that what we consider to be the benefits of aging are the results of enzymatic processes that only happen in certain conditions. At some point in the lifetime of a sealed system at least one of those catalysts will get used up and the process will allow to nothing or stop. Or the seal will fail and you'll get mummy dust.
 

3rdguy

Lifer
Aug 29, 2017
3,472
7,277
Iowa
I agree with everything hoosier said. No better time then the present to start cellaring if you want a supply down the road. Who knows when the state you live in will ban internet sales and eventually there could be a total internet sales ban.

I will say some blends with latakia I did not care for fresh but with some age the latakia dies died down in intensity, the Virginia's and other components spread their wings and I enjoyed them much more. An argument could be made that aging helps some of these blends…maybe try a tin with some age and see how it hits you.

Also the prices on any tobacco now are a screaming deal for what they will be in a few short years. I should be retired in the next 2 weeks and I am currently smoking 5-6 bowls a day. I see that slowing down a bit after the transition but I never regret having a large, if not huge cellar and neither would you.

I will say one thing McClelland and Esoterica have taught me and that is having blends of either, even ones you ended up not caring for have probably tripled in value (if not more based on recent trends) and will help get me the blends I may want down the road when those are no longer around.