FVF - Too Much Age?

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SmokeClouds

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 7, 2019
161
375
New York
Tobacco being an agricultural product it will always have fluctuations from crop to crop. How it is handled after harvest to the point of tinning is out of our control. We have control regarding tin storage. I believe that a fairly cool environment with no temperature and humidity fluctuations is best for tin storage. Even so, after a few years it is a gamble. Many changes that are not fully understood can take place: fermentation, bacterial contamination, chemical reactions etc.
Regarding wines, because they were mentioned before, only a very small percentage (maybe 5%) have the capacity to mature after bottling. Most wines are produced to be consumed 1-2 years after bottling. Regarding wines that can bottle mature, after about 15 years no blanket statements can be made. Storage is extremely important for these bottles. In the fine wine world there is a saying that there are no great old wines but great old bottles.
 
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SBC

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 6, 2021
575
1,683
NE Wisconsin
I have much more experience aging fine beers than tobaccos.

Most beers don't age well, but those that do, age spectacularly. I wouldn't age anything sub-8%, and higher ABV than that (10, 11, 12 %) is better. But some big beers still don't age well -- high ABV is no guarantee that the bottle will take to age.
As a general rule, the darker the beer, the better it will age. But, there are exceptions. Samichlaus for instance can have a very translucent, ruby hue, and yet is a premier aging candidate. 120 Minute would be another example.

Anyway, to the point here, there absolutely is a point past which returns diminish, but that varies enormously by beer.

Samichlaus is the only beer I'm aware of that just keeps getting better. It's been had at over 20 years, and is apparently the nectar of the gods even then. I myself haven't had it older than...probably about 10 years.

Most imperial stouts age well to 10 years. And the improvement is just remarkable. When you have them side by side with fresh, the improvement can be shocking.

But after 10 years, you begin to take some big risks. Some will continue to age well for a few years. Others will turn south...badly. It's really not worth the risk at that point.

Other beers improve drastically with a year or two on them, but then never improve after that.
Last year, I tried a 6 year Mad Elf vertical, and it was definitely at its best at 2 years. 2 years was night-and-day better than fresh... yet it never got better after 2 years.

Once you push a beer too far, it can get super funky. Very unpleasant.

Nevertheless, I have a "Year Beer" put away from the birth of each of my six kids. I know full well that few if any of them will be good at 21 years... but it's the thought that counts, right?

Anyway, my experience with aged tobacco is more limited (but thus far positive).

I've had 8 YO Penzance (neither better not worse than fresh, but different).
10 YO OGS (100x better than fresh - makes it a completely different tobacco)
I had some approx. decade old Escudo too... I don't know that it was better or worse ... TBH Escudo is just OK to me either way...
I also wound up with an apparently very old tin of Germain's Special Latakia... it was not dated, but it was a rust bucket. The tobacco was phenomenal, but I've never had it fresh, so can't compare.

I've wound up with a number of other aged tins, but I've sold them, needing money more than the novelty of aged tobacco.

One thing I've been surprised by is how very quickly I notice positive jarring differences on a couple of Virginias. Namely, Union Hill and Newminster 400.
Even 3 months in a mason jar (!) and they are MUCH better than fresh from the tin.
Am I imagining this, or have others felt the same way?
 

alaskanpiper

Lifer
May 23, 2019
7,910
25,191
Alaska
I wouldn't age anything sub-8%,
Any beer with wild yeast, IMO, would be the exception to this rule.



Most imperial stouts age well to 10 years
Going to have to disagree somewhat with this. While some may, I've found the majority of Imperial stouts begin to oxidize pretty extensively between 3 and 5 years of age. Of course there are exceptions. I had a 7 year old bottle of Abyss (rye barrel) a few weeks back that was fantastic.

But yes, generally speaking it can be a bit of a guessing game. Once again, storage conditions are key as well.
 
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alaskanpiper

Lifer
May 23, 2019
7,910
25,191
Alaska
One thing I've been surprised by is how very quickly I notice positive jarring differences on a couple of Virginias. Namely, Union Hill and Newminster 400.
Even 3 months in a mason jar (!) and they are MUCH better than fresh from the tin.
Am I imagining this, or have others felt the same way?
This is absolutely the case in my experience. Stokkebye Luxury Navy/Twist/Bullseye is the same way. Even just a few months in the jar make a dramatic difference. Many GLP Va based blends are that way as well.
 
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Terry Lennox

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 11, 2021
152
1,020
Southern California
Many years (10 or more) on a Virginia will sometimes add a funky mustiness to the flavor. It is kind of like a medicinal background flavor on the finish. Some people love it. I like aged Virginia because it becomes smoother, sometimes sweeter and richer. But you never really know what you're going to get. There are so many variables at play.
 

kwg116

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 21, 2017
265
1,663
I would let it rest a few days in the original tin (then transfer to a mason jar). If you just opened it and smoked a bowl right away and didn’t get any flavor, from my experience, the tobacco needs some time to open up. I’ve had this happen a lot, and most of the time the tobacco just needed to breath after being sealed for so many years. I have also had experience where the tobacco continued to have zero flavor, but FVF usually ages well and smokes great after about a week of breathing. Good luck.
 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
4,937
8,543
Austin, TX
Let it aerate for a week or two, it’s been sitting in slumber with no air for a very long time, give it time to bloom before giving up. I am often disappointed by an aged tobacco when I first open the tin, try it every couple of days until you start tasting the goodness. This tobacco isn’t so old that it will lose all flavor in a week or two, in my experience aged tobacco (10 to 15 yrs) gets better about 2 weeks after first opening.
 

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
1,575
8,934
Iowa
Wines have the same results. Because something improves with a few years on it, does not mean that decades will make them even better. Most wines that do very well with a few years on them will start to diminish after 10 years. People will still buy wines with decades, even hundreds of years on them... and they are shit. I've been to a few uncorkings where I realized that someone got screwed, or just didn't know as much as they let on they knew.
When I hear someone go on about a certain wine the bought from 1970-somthing, I know that they are just full of shit.
I recall the contents a bottle of champagne at a wedding in the 70s that didn’t age even 3 hours in my stomach, lol.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
11,288
21,336
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
There are whole companies built on the scalability of that exact notion:

Not arguing just have to say the fact that more then "oh boy I like money" I read this and think "neat that's really cool oh and I can make money too rock on".
 
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sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
15,880
27,925
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
I often wonder if pipe tobacco goes through a "sick" period similar to aging cigars? I have also had the same experience as Hawky454, lve been disappointed with a blend often when first opening a tin. They need some breathing time in a jar for me before they fully show their flavors.
I've mostly had the opposite experience with really ancient blends, 60 to 80 years old, that I've smoked. If they are still good at all, they are good for anything from a few hours to a day or so and then curl up their toes and die from the exposure to fresh oxygen. Mostly they are DOA.
Once in a long while you get to try something really amazing, and it's the hunt for treasure that drives some to plop down significant cash for the experience. I'm always happy to try something really old as long as I'm not paying for it.
I have a few tins that are getting up there and it's past time to smoke them up while they are still viable.
 

spicy_boiii

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 5, 2020
538
2,438
Bay Area, California
I've noticed that temperature plays a huge huge factor as to speed of aging.

Blends at a consistent 50° in my dark, semi-underground garage, against earthen shorn concrete cinder blocks, age very, very slowly.

The same blends in the trunk of my work car, exposed to the elements, parked outside, seeing temperatures from 20° to, when the sun heats it in summer, 120°+, "age" incredibly rapidly in as little as six months.

There's not a blend I don't like better with a couple years vs. fresh.

5 is too much for very few. I've had another couple with 10+ that did not age well. Whether that was the age itself or the way it aged, I don't know.

I've never met an aged Va/Per I didn't like, interestingly enough.

For whatever any of that aforementioned anecdotal nonsense is worth.
 

Terry Lennox

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 11, 2021
152
1,020
Southern California
I've mostly had the opposite experience with really ancient blends, 60 to 80 years old, that I've smoked. If they are still good at all, they are good for anything from a few hours to a day or so and then curl up their toes and die from the exposure to fresh oxygen. Mostly they are DOA.
Once in a long while you get to try something really amazing, and it's the hunt for treasure that drives some to plop down significant cash for the experience. I'm always happy to try something really old as long as I'm not paying for it.
I have a few tins that are getting up there and it's past time to smoke them up while they are still viable.
I agree that most of the time with really old tins you have to smoke it quickly. The blend will change from exposure to air in ways you may not like. It really depends on your taste and what you are looking for. With English/Balkans just a week out of the tin and in a jar can really mute some of the original flavors. After a month it will be a different blend.
 

Thepipehunter

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 29, 2020
297
3,617
WV
I had a tin of Cope's Escudo that must have 35 years of age and it was the finest tobacco I ever lit a match to. My god you could hear the angels singing when I lit it up. Then a year or two later I had some of this tobacco from a different tin and it was absolutely tasteless.
This. It can be hit or miss from tin to tin. Different blends age to perfection at different rates, it may be 1 year or could be 10+. Also, there is a lot of folks that prefer tobaccos with minimal age. There are many factors that play into it.
 
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ahouston

Might Stick Around
Jan 27, 2020
62
86
Montreal
So far I've only ever been disappointed with aged tobacco, but mostly from a jar than a sealed tin. They lose their character and nuance I find. Just becomes bland!