I agree. While my cellar has more straight Virginia blends than everything else combined, I have quite a bit of VaOr, VaPer and VaBur blends put away as well as more than enough English blends to scratch that itch when it arises. I've had 20 and 30 year old Latakia blends that were still absolutely superb. Perhaps not the complete in your face Latakia bombs they were when fresh but better to me with the aging.Excellent post, @hoosierpipeguy
I would suggest that one might diversify a wee bit. If you are convinced that the only blends worth cellaring are Virginia’s and VaPers, but there are presently on the market VaOr’s and blends containing Latakia that you can stomach, put some of those aside, too. Your taste might change, and I personally believe that time is kinder to these blends than the conventional wisdom suggests.
This is a approach I attempted with cigars, point is they are to damn expensive to do that. In order to get a good sense I have to buy boxes of the same blend. With pipe tobacco that's much easier for me. Thanks for the suggestions on writing it on the tin, I also found some YouTube videos on how to date a tin from certain manufacturers.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.
Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s great to read about other’s experiences and learn from how things happened for you and what you’re still learning today.
I hope you get to enjoy the spoils of your efforts...and share my contact information with your next of kin if they don’t smoke a pipe. I don’t want them struggling to figure out what to do with all of it.
Haha! Aged tobacco and grapes - it might be like a fine wine and pipe together at last. With you being a Virginia guy and me still working to understand the flavors and smoking them - good move. They smell so dang good off the pipe, but I’m just not mastering the craft of smoking it or my tastes don’t fit the tobacco. Maybe someday. I’m going to keep working on it...I just told my family you get the jar of Captain Black Grape.
Wise words.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.
Then go ahead and wait 10 years to buy what you like. That is if you think the market will hold that long...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.