Have Any Blends Gotten Better?

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dobbs

Lurker
Aug 3, 2022
27
68
SF Bay Area, California
That is an excellent point. Every year and every batch, the sourcing and seasonal flux changes blends, but we assume that they are one thing forever. You have to seize the day and know when you have a good tin or baggie in the jar and savor it as a peak experience. So far as we know, there are no replays on life, perhaps not even with reincarnation where you come back as something else.
@mso489 is the MVP of posting on this forum, y'all should recognize.

That's mostly what I posted to say, to the question, I'm not sure, only been smoking a pipe for 3 years, I'll get back to you in 20 more.

-dobbs
 
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vosBghos

Lifer
May 7, 2022
1,578
3,448
Idaho
Wow. That’s pretty discouraging. I was thinking about this topic in the context of history and nostalgia. Many on this forum and elsewhere claim we are living in a golden age of tobacco blending, while others mourn the loss of tobaccos and the worsening of tobaccos that have shifted hands regarding production. I can’t help but wonder about the shift in overall quality. I have no idea as I wasn’t smoking a pipe 30 years ago. I was just thinking about how the world is changing. I was especially wondering about the quality of Virginia tobaccos being grown today versus maybe 20 to 50 years ago.
I think the main idea really is that there were blends by smaller houses that had a certain tobacco source and they were cased/topped inhouse then those same names were taken over by a larger producer/distributors that have a different source /topping/casing/ so that that old tobacco is just rebranded with a new source tobacco / casing/topping , it is entirely a new animal altogether , though it might be a decent smoke and all it's not the same thing as the OG. At the end of the day it would be preferable to smoke recent consistent smokes of the day, but that is not going to stop me from stocking up on older vintage blends till the money or product runs out.
 
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LudwigB88

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 4, 2023
206
254
I think the main idea really is that there were blends by smaller houses that had a certain tobacco source and they were cased/topped inhouse then those same names were taken over by a larger producer/distributors that have a different source /topping/casing/ so that that old tobacco is just rebranded with a new source tobacco / casing/topping , it is entirely a new animal altogether , though it might be a decent smoke and all it's not the same thing as the OG. At the end of the day it would be preferable to smoke recent consistent smokes of the day, but that is not going to stop me from stocking up on older vintage blends till the money or product runs out.
Exactly correct. Many think buying vintage tins for $50 (2 Oz) to $100 (100g) is crazy. I disagree. As I’ve said in other places, as long as it’s only costing me about $7/$8 a bowl, it’s still cheaper than a good cigar. Look what people pay for a vintage bottle of wine !
 

LudwigB88

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 4, 2023
206
254
I think the main idea really is that there were blends by smaller houses that had a certain tobacco source and they were cased/topped inhouse then those same names were taken over by a larger producer/distributors that have a different source /topping/casing/ so that that old tobacco is just rebranded with a new source tobacco / casing/topping , it is entirely a new animal altogether , though it might be a decent smoke and all it's not the same thing as the OG. At the end of the day it would be preferable to smoke recent consistent smokes of the day, but that is not going to stop me from stocking up on older vintage blends till the money or product runs out.
I just hope the vintage/historical (British?) methods of processing are either kept alive or brought back. I’m especially talking about casing methods that aren’t too intrusive/heavy-handed, and allowing tobacco to sit and ferment/sweat in natural environments, and then allowed to ferment again (after being cased) at the blending facility. These old ways and their results are priceless in my opinion.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,001
46,203
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
I recently bought a few tins of three nuns green (with Perique) I wonder why oh why did that go out of production but firstly why didn't they just put the Vaper version in the red tin in the first place? very strange.
MacBaren thought they were purchasing the rights to the Va/Per version, then found out they had purchased the rights to the Va/Ky version. Oops! A few years later Doblone d'Oro was born, to correct that.
Wow. That’s pretty discouraging. I was thinking about this topic in the context of history and nostalgia. Many on this forum and elsewhere claim we are living in a golden age of tobacco blending, while others mourn the loss of tobaccos and the worsening of tobaccos that have shifted hands regarding production. I can’t help but wonder about the shift in overall quality. I have no idea as I wasn’t smoking a pipe 30 years ago. I was just thinking about how the world is changing. I was especially wondering about the quality of Virginia tobaccos being grown today versus maybe 20 to 50 years ago.
Don't worry about it. Look for things that you like, that are available now. There are some really excellent smokes still in production. And if you find something you really like, stock up on it. Might change without warning.

As for whether tobacco blends are "better" or "worse" now, let's just say that they're different, and enjoy them on their own terms.
If you think you're going to experience the glory of 40 years agl by buying a vintage tin, forget about it. Assuming the contents haven't peaked and entered decline, years and years in the tin will have altered the contents to something different than what the maker intended when it was released.

Sic transit gloria mundi, baby!
 

vosBghos

Lifer
May 7, 2022
1,578
3,448
Idaho
I just hope the vintage/historical (British?) methods of processing are either kept alive or brought back. I’m especially talking about casing methods that aren’t too intrusive/heavy-handed, and allowing tobacco to sit and ferment/sweat in natural environments, and then allowed to ferment again (after being cased) at the blending facility. These old ways and their results are priceless in my opinion.
We must all bow to GH/SG , regardless of source tobacco which they are always trying to maintain or at last get as close geographically as possible, production, IE/ casing/topping is consistent and not likely to be taken over by someone else , at least not soon. This is THE company not to be overlooked when looking for quality control and as much consistency as can be achieved, when they finally fall it truly is the tobaccapacholypse.
 

K.E. Powell

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 20, 2022
526
1,905
37
West Virginia
To echo a point others have already made, there are those for whom change is reflexively perceived to be negative, therefore, no change is ever good or warranted.

I'm reminded of when my favorite pizza joint in my hometown changed owners, and despite the owners not changing the recipes at all, many just automatically started saying it wasn't as good. They've thankfully managed to convince many of the naysayers, but there are those who swear the, say, sauce is different, despite the sauce being patented and unchanged for literally decades.

I think that happens to tobacco. Granted, many changes are mostly made for sake of cost cutting than flavor, so oftentimes, a blend is worse off. But sometimes, a tweak is necessary, either for sake of improving a blend or because the original ingredients are simply unavailable.
 
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LudwigB88

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 4, 2023
206
254
We must all bow to GH/SG , regardless of source tobacco which they are always trying to maintain or at last get as close geographically as possible, production, IE/ casing/topping is consistent and not likely to be taken over by someone else , at least not soon. This is THE company not to be overlooked when looking for quality control and as much consistency as can be achieved, when they finally fall it truly is the tobaccapacholypse.
Remind me full names GH/SG. And how impossible are they to get new in USA ?
 

minerLuke

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 2, 2023
242
491
Vancouver BC
I think there was some improvement to the Borkum Riff line when STG took over production.

I was going to say the same. I remember smoking Borkum Riff around the year 2000 when I first started smoking a pipe and while my unpleasant memories were in large part due to operator error, from what I can remember of the good, the Borkum Riff blends especially Bourbon are much much better now. In fact BR Bourbon and Cherry have landed in my permanent rotation now with the Bourbon being probably my most smoked blend
 

Bbailey324

Lifer
Jun 29, 2023
1,539
19,480
Austin, TX
I was going to say the same. I remember smoking Borkum Riff around the year 2000 when I first started smoking a pipe and while my unpleasant memories were in large part due to operator error, from what I can remember of the good, the Borkum Riff blends especially Bourbon are much much better now. In fact BR Bourbon and Cherry have landed in my permanent rotation now with the Bourbon being probably my most smoked blend
Interesting you say that. I haven't tried any of the new BR stuff, I disliked it in the past and have left it there. I will say that the new Granger produced by STG is better than the older Pinkerton version. I liked the older stuff okay but the new version is somewhat better albeit somewhat subtle.
 

spicy_boiii

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 5, 2020
592
2,736
Bay Area, California
We must all bow to GH/SG , regardless of source tobacco which they are always trying to maintain or at last get as close geographically as possible, production, IE/ casing/topping is consistent and not likely to be taken over by someone else , at least not soon. This is THE company not to be overlooked when looking for quality control and as much consistency as can be achieved, when they finally fall it truly is the tobaccapacholypse.
And even employees of that company have disclosed changes in where (such as the country) they've source their leaf. Everything changes even if just a bit.

To answer the question, I remember noticing a stark difference between the bright Canadian VA Mark Ryan was using and blends produced by Laudisi. Nowadays D&R has changed and it seems Laudisi made blends have better bright VA.

I believe that some Sutliff blends, like the match Elizabethan, are better made now (to my tastes). I found some of the perique Sutliff used in the past to be not as tasty as other brands, but whatever they've done for the last 3 years or so has been delicious.

Although MacBarens special batch of DFK a la ODF is no longer available, I find the replacement stuff to be at least be just as good.

The most notable downgrades I've found have been Esoterica Blends and Carter Hall. K&K has messed with so many of their blends some are the same in name only.
 

kola

Lifer
Apr 1, 2014
1,545
2,397
Colorado Rockies, Cripple Creek region
Not a single blend has gotten better IMHO. But I'm an old fart here. We lost some stellar and nostalgic blends. A few are still out there, at outrageous prices but most are gone forever. Some blends have gone to shit too. Total shit. The other thing I can say on a positive note is that SG and GH are still producing damm good quality tobaccos. GLP still seems pretty much the same. But not better. For me, I'm happy for blends that remain pretty much the same as when they were first released. And I'm well stocked in them, thank God.
 

LudwigB88

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 4, 2023
206
254
Add note, many would argue SG/GH has gone downhill. With less "sauce" and mold issues as well as shipping issues. I disagree.
What you got stocked that you can’t live without ? Just curious.
 

G-beard

Lurker
Nov 20, 2023
16
23
One of my favorites is a Rattray's blend, which I find to be at its best with about 7 years of age.

I had a chance to try a tin of the original Scottish made version and find I prefer the K&K product available now.

Was the older tin suffering some from the greater age? I don't know. It just seemed to be a little less smooth.