Have Any Blends Gotten Better?

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Jul 12, 2011
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Do you think going past 20-25 years they might lose flavor ? Or do you think more age is always better for VAs
Higher naturally present sugars in Vs only make each year in cellar better IMO - Now others blends I did indeed find that some flavor loss / perhaps rounding off too much of that "edge" happended for me. Happy to say my Penzance after 12yrs+ still tastes wonderful and is a joy to smoke.
 
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vosBghos

Lifer
May 7, 2022
1,533
3,381
Idaho
Remind me full names GH/SG. And how impossible are they to get new in USA ?
Gawith Hoggarth / Samuel Gawith , very easy to get , you might have to dig a bit or pay more between drops for the more popular blends but they are in no ways unicorns
 

vosBghos

Lifer
May 7, 2022
1,533
3,381
Idaho
Add note, many would argue SG/GH has gone downhill. With less "sauce" and mold issues as well as shipping issues. I disagree.
would argue depends on the blend a lot of their standbys sans heavy lakelands still hold up YMMV
 

pinem

Might Stick Around
Aug 16, 2015
65
106
Nebraska
One could argue the unscented GH flakes/plugs/twists have improved now that they have gotten the cross contamination under control.

From what I've heard, most blame for loss of quality in German and UK blends resides with EU and UK regulations.
 
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Peterson314

Can't Leave
Sep 13, 2019
430
3,264
I started smoking a pipe more than 20 years ago, and I think pipe tobacco is better than it ever has been.

When I started, my options were whatever Lane product was repackaged at The Tinder Box, or a cigar. Now, I have three dozen jars in rotation and another three dozen blends in my cellar that I haven't tried yet.

I generally like everything that Russ makes. I was totally unimpressed with The Country Squire until I learned how to smoke their blends. The new Bengal Slices is not the old Bengal Slices, but it's a new favorite of mine. I have found things I like from Jeremy, GLP, and Gawith & Friends. I've enjoyed some Esoterica blends and have been totally confused about the hype of others. I've found a lot that I don't like, and that's ok too. There are a million blends out there and a lot of reportedly great boutique blenders that I haven't tried.

The biggest change for me was improving my skills at finding the flavor pocket of a blend and learning how to hang out there. Over time, I think that flavor pockets have gotten tighter. That, or I'm just better at chasing it. Hard to tell from this point.

There's no getting gold from a terrible blend, but I certainly know when I've screwed up a session and turned a good blend into a mediocre experience by smoking incorrectly. It's hard to believe that I enjoyed anything 20 years ago, but that's probably why I'm still in love with BCA. That stuff is idiotproof and unchanged.
 
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rmcnabb

Lurker
Feb 19, 2024
27
132
I started smoking a pipe more than 20 years ago, and I think pipe tobacco is better than it ever has been.

When I started, my options were whatever Lane product was repackaged at The Tinder Box, or a cigar. Now, I have three dozen jars in rotation and another three dozen blends in my cellar that I haven't tried yet.

I generally like everything that Russ makes. I was totally unimpressed with The Country Squire until I learned how to smoke their blends.

If I can ask, how do you smoke C. Squire blends?
 

Peterson314

Can't Leave
Sep 13, 2019
430
3,264
If I can ask, how do you smoke C. Squire blends?
In my experience, Country Squire blends like to be smoked hot.

Most pipe tobacco I've tried like to be smoked slow and low. Especially the common bulk ones that I started with--Lane Limited 1-Q, BCA, LL-7. I smoked these blends too hot for years, and then I finally learned how to pack a pipe loosely that allowed for airflow, and for my pipe to stay lit. This allowed me to smoke at cooler temperatures and keep an ember going, allowing the flavor of pipe tobacco to be carried through, instead of everything just tasting like a generic smoke.

So once I figured out how to pack a pipe and find the flavor, I used this method for every new blend I tried. Start slow, keep the ember a deep red instead of bright orange, and I'd find the flavor. When I tried this with my first shipment of TCS blends, I was so underwhelmed that I was looking to pass it off. Then I loaded a cob with a TCS blend just to burn it and took my dog on a walk and lost all of my practiced patience with the pipe. I started puffing on it like a train and the flavor exploded.
 
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