"Essential" Blends for a Beginner?

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jiminy

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 27, 2017
164
293
Saskatchewan, Canada
I think it is hard to go wrong with any of the old codger blends for a beginner (I lump myself into that category). I was given an aromatic when I started smoking, and it wasn't the most enjoyable. Eventually I found myself some Carter Hall and man what a difference! It burned easy and was no nonsense. I still really enjoy it
 

blackpowderpiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 19, 2018
270
1,223
Middle Tennessee
Essential. Don't know how anyone can not like this stuff. It's what I always reach for when I can't decide what the hell to smoke.
Agreed. It is definitely on my list of essential tobaccos. The problem is I have not been able to get any over the last couple years. Seems like when it comes in stock, it's gone before I can get there.

Something that I would caution a new smoker about is don't get hung up too much on some of these blends that you can likely never source. It's hard to miss something that you've never had. I enjoy Sam Gawith, Fribourg and Treyer, Rattray, Esoterica, Germains, etc, but have essentially given up on trying to get them. I may grab a tin here or there if I get lucky and can find them but have come to realize that maintaining a steady supply is probably not going to happen for me.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
15,884
27,938
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
There's no such thing as an "essential" blend at your point in the journey. Try stuff out. For starters take a look at the various Sutliff offerings, including their various match blends. They're generally in stock, well made, high quality, highly popular, can be bought in bulk and are attractively priced. Some of the more popular match blends are Match Victorian and Ready Rub Match, both of which are successful matches to more expensive name brands. I also like Revelation Match and Troost Match.
I also suggest you check out watchcitycigar and check out their blends, some of the best tobaccos blends being made in the US today.
 

WVOldFart

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 1, 2021
950
2,665
Romney, WV
There's no such thing as an "essential" blend at your point in the journey. Try stuff out. For starters take a look at the various Sutliff offerings, including their various match blends. They're generally in stock, well made, high quality, highly popular, can be bought in bulk and are attractively priced. Some of the more popular match blends are Match Victorian and Ready Rub Match, both of which are successful matches to more expensive name brands. I also like Revelation Match and Troost Match.
I also suggest you check out watchcitycigar and check out their blends, some of the best tobaccos blends being made in the US today.
I agree with sablebrush52. Try the Codger blends and the Sutliff Match blends. There should be something there that will stuff your pipe.
 

Puff nstuff

Might Stick Around
Dec 2, 2021
75
456
Inland Southern California
I'm a fairly new smoker myself, and of the roughly 20 + blends that I've tried, a few have really resonated with me to the point that I have returned to them more often than others:
Codgers: Granger, SWR
VaPers: OGS, LNF
Aro: Derby Club
English: John Bull RE
Lakeland: Glengarry Flake
Burley/DF: Old Dark Fired
I have a bunch of others I look forward to getting into, but it's been pretty slow going so far. So many tobaccos, so little time! Enjoy the ride!
 

Merton

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 8, 2020
637
1,739
Boston, Massachusetts
I agree with the Amphora sampler, orlik and codger/match blends. Been a pipe smoker for more than 40 years and tried granger for the first time last week. Not bad at all. And go ahead and add a little 1Q. Lots of us started with it and it might make the initial experience a bit easier. The very best advice is to remember that your taste in both pipes and tobacco will change over time, so don't buy 5 or 10 pounds of anything just yet.
 

cigrmaster

Lifer
May 26, 2012
18,964
47,199
64
Sarasota Florida
Unlike my esteemed brethren I will tell you the must have blends to begin with.
1. Capstan Blue Flake-- you will need to read and watch videos to find out how to pack a flake.
2. Peterson Navy Rolls another flake so same reading and watching.
3. Savinelli Doblone d"or
4. Mac Baren Old Dark Fired, yes another flake.

I say jump into the deep end of the pool as once you have mastered flakes, and entire world of tobacco will open up for you. Pipe tobacco is so cheap that even the best may cost one whole dollar for an hour or two of smoking pleasure.
If you do not listen to me, you do so at your peril.
 

troutface

Lifer
Oct 26, 2012
2,103
7,809
Colorado
If you replace the word essential with popular, this exercise becomes a bit more manageable. Go to smokingpipes.com and click on tobacco, then choose either Tinned Best Sellers or Bulk Best Sellers. While those lists do have some limited edition blends or blends that just came back in stock, the lists are generally full of well known, time tested blends that I would consider classic and worth trying as a starting point. All blends sound great when you read the label, swooning about richness and complexity and how much your IQ will rise when smoking it. We all fall for it at some point (here's looking at you Eight State ! :LOL:) Marketing folks are good at their jobs.
 
Dec 3, 2021
1,406
10,168
Pennsylvania & New York
An interesting shortlist might be to choose one blend that has been in production for more than forty or fifty years for each group, i.e., Virginia, English, Aromatic, etc., to establish a baseline of tried and true blends and get a sense of what has stood the test of time. After that, you can branch out to more boutique blends, or exotic mixtures.
 
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J-Evverrett

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 17, 2021
198
429
39
Meriden, CT
If you’re still easing away from full aromatic: I’d say start on Prince Albert for a classic burley, then Carter hall for an easy introduction/ understanding of Virginia, some early morning pipe for an English and lastly deluxe navy rolls for a Virginia perique. That’s probably a good range, without being too deep. We’ve all smoked them, they’re great and easily found.
 

ofafeather

Lifer
Apr 26, 2020
2,752
8,938
49
Where NY, CT & MA meet
So many great suggestions. My recommendation is to watch the “What Are You Smoking” threads. Always great stuff popping up there. One that’s often overlooked is Edward G Robinson blend. A great, easy smoke.
 
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OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
2,630
12,462
69
Sydney, Australia
SmokingPipes has lists of favourite (based on sales, I assume) tobacco blends - aromatics, English (Latakia/Oriental), Virginia/VaPers, etc.
You can do further research on specific blends on Tobacco Reviews.

That was my approach when I returned to pipes a few years ago.

Problem when you toss up a question like yours I s that everyone has their favourite(s) which might NOT necessarily be to your liking.
Ask 2 people and it's highly unlikely you'd get the same answer.
Ask several hundred Forums members and you're going to get a shit-load of confusing information

There are retailers eg Boswell's that have sample packs. That's a good and cheap way to try several blends.

And do remember that tastes change over time. You may start of loving one genre, then find another you prefer more. I couldn't get enough of English blends initially - Latakia is instantly recognisable.
I find that while I still really enjoy English/Balkan blends, I'm favouring the more subtle Virginia/VaPers blends now.
 

OSOBUCO

Part of the Furniture Now
I am new as well and I have just been meandering and trying a variety over the past 6 months. I have learned a LOT but If I had to start over again, knowing what I know now, I would get a couple of each "variety" and explore more systematically. So a couple Aros, well maybe more than a couple since the flavors are so varied - vanilla, maple, cherry, etc etc. I would get a couple VaPers, Latakia blends, 100% virginia, 100% burley, etc and try them all. I seem to be able to appreciate all varieties Aro and non-Aro and I am glad I did not limit myself by listening to the "non-Aro snobs" out there. I did listen to the non-filter snobs but I now use filters when I can as they really protect me from tongue bite if I get sloppy. Anyway, enjoy the journey!