Building Your Cellar - Things To Consider

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Charlie718

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 25, 2021
955
8,663
34
Bronx, New York
I do like AGS just said and write down the date I received the tins and then the date I opened them. I use that white labeling tape so if I wanna sell something down the line to an anal buyer the tin isn’t written on lol. I also keep a log book so in the future I wont have to dig to the bottom of the bin to check dates
 
Oct 7, 2016
2,412
5,070
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.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,812
90,887
65
Sarasota, FL
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.
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.
 

DanWil84

Lifer
Mar 8, 2021
1,515
10,390
The Netherlands (Europe)
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.
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.
 

briarbuck

Lifer
Nov 24, 2015
2,230
5,201
I got lucky with good timing when I first started. EBAY was crazy good about 5-6 years ago. OLD aged Va's, all the McClelland stuff all for under $30 a can. I bought virtually everything I could get my hands on for a couple of years to establish a base of aged stuff. It's 5-6 years later and I still have a 50 or so cans to get through.

Most of what I buy now goes right in the cellar to sit for a decade.
 

JKoD

Part of the Furniture Now
May 9, 2021
810
8,621
IN
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.
 

pantsBoots

Lifer
Jul 21, 2020
1,934
6,613
Great post, Mark, and safe advice. The only thing I'd add regarding the mason jars is to keep them in the cardboard case they come in. You can also only remove the top of the plastic off the case of jars and keep it tight around the sides, to help cradle the jars together tightly. In this manner, it's not hard to carry 3-4 cases stacked up.

I'm about to move and it's not the numerous trips that will be required to carrying these flats of jars, it is the 70ish pound box of tins. That sucker is heavy! Still, I'm not in my 60s, so it's all moveable so long as I use my body mindfully.
 

RookieGuy

Starting to Get Obsessed
May 2, 2021
238
551
Maryland
I think I'm at the point in my life where any more moving is being done by a moving company. I'm more than happy to let the kids carry my cellar into my car, and then out again. Although I recently did get a food storage sav-a-meal thing. I might have to try mylar bags.

And something I found helpful. Don't jar up more than a couple ounces in a jar. That way you can try a blend at different intervals and see when you like what. A pound of Elizabethian Match divides up at eight jars with 2oz each. That's a jar fresh, 6, 12, 18 months, 2, 5, 10, and 15 years.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,812
90,887
65
Sarasota, FL
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.

I just told my family you get the jar of Captain Black Grape.
 

JKoD

Part of the Furniture Now
May 9, 2021
810
8,621
IN
I just told my family you get the jar of Captain Black Grape.
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...
 

rmpeeps

Lifer
Oct 17, 2017
1,012
1,379
San Antonio, TX
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.
Wise words.
Having spent 20+ years acquiring my hoard, there’s not a single statement I’d refute.
And, remember, ........MYLAR!!
 

rmpeeps

Lifer
Oct 17, 2017
1,012
1,379
San Antonio, TX
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.
Then go ahead and wait 10 years to buy what you like. That is if you think the market will hold that long...
I’d say about 5% of my blends with 20+ years have gone afoul. With many being no longer available, I’d say it’s an acceptable loss ratio.