Does tobacco that has been well stored for more than 20 years get better?

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karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
1,385
5,450
Basel, Switzerland
My closing statement: I really hope all of our invested money and efforts aren't rewarded with unsmokable garbage "shit dust" tobacco 😂
You know I have wondered the same? I think it’s a very valid point/concern.

For the sake of hypothesis, assuming a “cellar depth” of 30-40 years is achieved, I just don’t see how that’s viable for quality smoking. I mean yes, I am nearly 40 and could invest in a pile of tobacco, but my gut feeling is that a cellar needs to refresh every 10 years to remain viable for GOOD smoking, let’s say 15 years max. Then the next question is “will that XYZ tobacco I love be available in 10-15 years?”, and “will i be able to get it with reasonable effort?”. Not sure the answer is an easy “yes”, there’s plenty of uncertainty.
 

orlandofurioso

Preferred Member
Dec 10, 2013
903
800
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
In our eerie cellar ( dark, dry and cold ) are ten 1981 Dunhill Standard Mixture so called "tall boy" tins .
Proud as punch when I stumbled over them.
I opened the 11th one :) and it is pure manna .
Will start selling soon , I smoke too little and these tins deserve a better home.
Also smoked ancient Dunhill Cuban Blend and the cigar leave was still so present and sweet.
 

tfdickson

Preferred Member
May 15, 2014
1,251
18,613
East End of Long Island
I have no experience with 80-100 year old tobacco but I have smoked many 20-25 year old VA and VaPer blends and have never had a problem with the tobacco going south after I open the tin. I immediately transfer it to a jar and try to be quick about opening and closing the jar when I dip back into it, maybe that helps a bit. Usually it takes me several months to go through the tin as I only smoke one or two bowls a day and I like to smoke a wide variety of blends rather than stick to just one, even if it is something special. To be specific, here are some examples from the last year or two:

1999 Dorchester
1994 McC #24
1980 Druquers The London Press
2002 McC Blackwoods Flake
 

64alex

Preferred Member
May 10, 2016
530
258
Any difference in aging time and tobacco viability depending on the cut? I would think that plugs and ropes as pressed and with less/no oxygen inside the plug/rope would age slower and also remain viable longer than ribbon cut blends.
 

Ahi Ka

Preferred Member
Feb 25, 2020
3,073
11,386
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
basically the is thread has got me thinking. I essentially have no easy way to continue adding to my cellar apart from homegrown. As it stands, my stash is pretty much split into equal thirds. 5kg of decade old stuff, 5kg with less than 2years, 5kgs homegrown with less than 2years.

I smoke in the vicinity of 750g a year, and I am 32, so wanting to cellar for 50years is not out of the question.

originally my plan was to dip into say 200g of my tins/bulk per year and rely on homegrown for the majority of my smoking. This would in theory get me to the 50year mark provided I could maintain a good supply of leaf.

however I wonder if I should be changing my approach and mainly smoke all the good stuff pretty much over the next 20 years and then just accept its homegrown from there on out.
 

elvishrunes

Member
Jun 19, 2017
139
226
I think this is the best option. If it's oxygen that degrades the leaf, removing it would halt the degradation, theoretically. Correct?! Lol. I worry about these things too. A tin can last me almost a month as well

the whole cellaring aspect of the hobby will eventually catch up to all of us and we will be smoking very old tobacco, at least the younger ones here.
I’m thinking the same about cellaring…. I don’t keep stuff to one day puff every tin, I just keep it in case stocks dry up. I doubt I’ll ever smoke my whole cellar and it’s still building. More a reserve,

Ive never had really old stuff, but an ark makes sense. It improves for a while than degrades, like most things. Different tobaccos would have a different ark…
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
7,075
31,269
Even though I have way more tobacco than I'll ever live to smoke, I plan to continue to purchase 5 to 10 lbs per year to safeguard against waste and this mythical turn to shit dust phenomena. Even if tobacco goes to $150 per pound, that's still only $750 per year to insure a lifetime of smoking pleasure. Can easily hit that target with small batch releases.
 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
8,325
35,535
58
Vegas Baby!!!
Here’s a thread discussing some aged tobacco.

it’s a good read.

 

Worknman

Preferred Member
Sep 23, 2019
817
2,426
I have no experience with 80-100 year old tobacco but I have smoked many 20-25 year old VA and VaPer blends and have never had a problem with the tobacco going south after I open the tin. I immediately transfer it to a jar and try to be quick about opening and closing the jar when I dip back into it, maybe that helps a bit. Usually it takes me several months to go through the tin as I only smoke one or two bowls a day and I like to smoke a wide variety of blends rather than stick to just one, even if it is something special. To be specific, here are some examples from the last year or two:

1999 Dorchester
1994 McC #24
1980 Druquers The London Press
2002 McC Blackwoods Flake
I haven't smoked 20 year stuff, but have smoked a couple blends in the 15 year range. And like you, after jarring the blend I haven't noticed any change at all even after 6 months or more.

Whats the consensus here? Do very old blends usually turn into crap once they've been opened if not smoked quickly?
 

SmokeClouds

Junior Member
Sep 7, 2019
70
148
New York
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to try 40-100 year old tobacco, but had plenty up to 40 years of age. However, I am eager to try older stuff if the occasion presents itself.
No tobacco will stay the same, frozen in time. The effects of oxidation, secondary and tertiary fermentation will be obvious. I would suggest that tobacco from freshly opened old tins should be preserved in jars with a layer of argon gas or CO2, both being inert. This will slow down the change, to some degree.
Oxygen can be devastating in some instances, as we can see with very old wines that should be decanted for sediment and consumed immediately after. Personal preference and understanding of a blend also plays a significant role in this decision.
 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,793
3,732
It looks like there is some degree of collective reconsideration of the cellaring trend.

Being in my 30's, I've more or less considered it a potentially futile effort to concern myself with building a lifetime cellar, though I have stocked up somewhat on some favorite blends, and am happy to have them now that they've been discontinued (McClelland). I would like to hear more from people who have smoked decades old tins. It would be good to know how often, and how fast, we can anticipate them to degrade after opening. That seems to be the obvious key issue.

Like @warren has mentioned numerous times in various threads, there will probably always be good stuff to smoke. It will just be a matter of price, and perhaps effort in obtaining it.
 
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Ahi Ka

Preferred Member
Feb 25, 2020
3,073
11,386
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
there will probably always be good stuff to smoke. It will just be a matter of price, and perhaps effort in obtaining it.
There is essentially one supplier of pipe tobacco in NZ, turns out they don’t (or can’t?) carry EGR. I looked at how much it would cost to import a single 1.5oz tin via the permit route. I’d be looking at shelling out $90usd just to get it to NZ, and then about another $130usd in fees and taxes. Despite being a top 3 smoke for me, the price and effort has made it unobtainable. Suffice to say, I wish I purchased another couple of tubs while I could still import.
 
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lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,793
3,732
There is essentially one supplier of pipe tobacco in NZ, turns out they don’t (or can’t?) carry EGR. I looked at how much it would cost to import a single 1.5oz tin via the permit route. I’d be looking at shelling out $90usd just to get it to NZ, and then about another $130usd in fees and taxes. Despite being a top 3 smoke for me, the price and effort has made it unobtainable. Suffice to say, I wish I purchased another couple of tubs while I could still import.

It's impossible of course to know how availability will be in the future, and of course it almost certainly will get worse and not better.

Comparing to Cuban cigars, I know that a lot of people just import them into the U.S. by mail and hope they make it under the radar through customs, which they most always do. There are vendors who sell to U.S. customers and guarantee delivery. Obviously those circumstances are subject to change as well, and I am not advocating black market practices, but only making the point that black markets exist where there is demand to meet.
 
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