Building Your Cellar - Things To Consider

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sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
17,225
34,418
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
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.
This is one of the best and smartest posts on cellaring I've read. Thank you!
 

dcon

Lifer
Mar 16, 2019
2,543
19,738
Jacksonville, 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.
Mark, I believe that is one of the best posts that I have ever seen on the subject. I 100% concur.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,812
90,890
65
Sarasota, FL
Hey, @hoosierpipeguy: what kinda mylar bags do you buy/use?

I think it was Prairie Farms brand on Amazon. Main thing for me is that it is 7 mil, not 5. I like the ones with the zip lock as well, you cut the heat seal and then have a zip lock to keep it fresh while you smoke it. I also like to get them plenty large. Doesn't change the price that much. I still put in the same amount but the bag is flatter if it larger, easier to stack in a tote. Also, if the bag is a bit wider, easier to reach in and grab the tobacco. If it's ribbon, you can do a codger load.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,812
90,890
65
Sarasota, FL
I can't find your packaging discussion. Post a link?

My question is, are you breaking open tins in order to put them in mylar? I wonder whether sealing the entire tin isn't easier, either with a vac bag or with sealing wax?
In a nutshell, we are selling our Indiana home where the majority of my cellar is. Packing the tobacco to move to a climate controlled storage area, I discovered first hand what a PITA mason jars are to move. Two very large plastic totes had various sizes of jars laid in kind of Willy Jilly. Had to wrap those in bubble wrap and split them up due to weight. The totes with tins and mylar were simply picked up and moved, no stress over breaking them, no weight issues.

To be fair, I had 4 or 5 totes with the smaller mason jars that were stacked in their original box. These stacked rather nicely but were still quite heavy. If I had it to do over again, I'd use zero larger mason jars and a lot more mylar.
 

danimalia

Lifer
Sep 2, 2015
4,300
25,705
40
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
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.
Stellar post with a ton of great advice. I'll keep these tips in mind for sure.

?
 

DanWil84

Lifer
Mar 8, 2021
1,515
10,390
The Netherlands (Europe)
Great post Mr Hoosier, especially for the noobs like me. When I was buying cigars I always bought more than I smoked, maybe triple or quad the amount I smoked each month which results in a nice stash now which I won't touch most being Cuban and still have to mellow down for at least a year or 4. I'm now just buying pipe tobacco at a rate of 750 grams to a kilo a month which will last me also a while, about 20 to 25 bowls a month, never weight it which would be smart in the long run if I want to finetune my purchasing behavior or not and go rampage each month or 2. Being from Europe I generally dont have to wait on tobacco dropping so that's a good thing.

What's your take on storing or even aging in the original tin unopened? Do you recommend it for just a few months to a year or even longer and only yar when opened? I'm now generally planning to buy 2 x 50 gram tins, smoke one and put one aside for a year or so, if I liked it fresh it should be better in theory with some age and buy more. Dunno if there is a guide, but what's your take on date of tins? Macbaren has a clear dating system, dunno if most have a similar one. For my cigars it's easy, as there is a month and year stamp on it.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,812
90,890
65
Sarasota, FL
Great post Mr Hoosier, especially for the noobs like me. When I was buying cigars I always bought more than I smoked, maybe triple or quad the amount I smoked each month which results in a nice stash now which I won't touch most being Cuban and still have to mellow down for at least a year or 4. I'm now just buying pipe tobacco at a rate of 750 grams to a kilo a month which will last me also a while, about 20 to 25 bowls a month, never weight it which would be smart in the long run if I want to finetune my purchasing behavior or not and go rampage each month or 2. Being from Europe I generally dont have to wait on tobacco dropping so that's a good thing.

What's your take on storing or even aging in the original tin unopened? Do you recommend it for just a few months to a year or even longer and only yar when opened? I'm now generally planning to buy 2 x 50 gram tins, smoke one and put one aside for a year or so, if I liked it fresh it should be better in theory with some age and buy more. Dunno if there is a guide, but what's your take on date of tins? Macbaren has a clear dating system, dunno if most have a similar one. For my cigars it's easy, as there is a month and year stamp on it.

A little more than half my cellar is in the original tin. I expect a minimal amount of spoilage but overall not worried.
 

seanv

Lifer
Mar 22, 2018
2,545
7,271
Canada
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
I have considered the mylar bag storage option for some time. I am loaded in jars at the moment since most of my purchasing is bulk. Making the switch will be tiresome but probably worth it.
 

Reggie

Can't Leave
Aug 22, 2020
458
2,236
Gardendale, Alabama
Damn that’s a lot of morals but great seeds of wisdom! I only started my cellar about 3 years ago and you guys have me cellaring intently. Occasionally, I question myself and wondering if I am crazy or impulse buying all the great blends available today. Your post just helped me to focus on the goal. Thanks for the reality check!
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,457
52,314
I put on the brakes as I approached one hundred pipes, just deciding that I don't want a substantial trove of pipes that go in the drawer and don't get smoked. Likewise, I keep an eye on my accumulation of tobacco, I try to exercise the same restraint. If you smoke all day every day, then fifty pounds of tobacco might seem reasonable, and one hundred pounds not unreasonable. Though you still have to reckon in storage space. Factor in paranoia about tobacco regs and tobacco pricing related to your own comfort level. Most of us could smoke less and conserve our stash if necessary, resupplying a little as we go.
 

glub

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 24, 2021
135
2,640
KC MO
Great post Mr Hoosier, especially for the noobs like me. When I was buying cigars I always bought more than I smoked, maybe triple or quad the amount I smoked each month which results in a nice stash now which I won't touch most being Cuban and still have to mellow down for at least a year or 4. I'm now just buying pipe tobacco at a rate of 750 grams to a kilo a month which will last me also a while, about 20 to 25 bowls a month, never weight it which would be smart in the long run if I want to finetune my purchasing behavior or not and go rampage each month or 2. Being from Europe I generally dont have to wait on tobacco dropping so that's a good thing.

What's your take on storing or even aging in the original tin unopened? Do you recommend it for just a few months to a year or even longer and only yar when opened? I'm now generally planning to buy 2 x 50 gram tins, smoke one and put one aside for a year or so, if I liked it fresh it should be better in theory with some age and buy more. Dunno if there is a guide, but what's your take on date of tins? Macbaren has a clear dating system, dunno if most have a similar one. For my cigars it's easy, as there is a month and year stamp on it.
I scrawl the month/year bought on the back of the tins I buy before stashing them in tupperware and use LIFO to rotate through stock until I have several years' worth accumulated. At that point, I tend to alternate between old & fresh to preserve more of the old stock and compare how aging has affected it.