Manawydan's Starter Cellar

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

Watch for Updates Twice a Week

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Manawydan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 24, 2024
212
1,334
Southern California, US
Greetings Fellow Pipers! It's time for another lengthy missive as I contemplate my naval -- or rather my nascent tobacco cellar. Fill a bowl, find a comfy chair, and let the wisps of pipe-weed carry my tale forward.

Firstly, this is a devious hobby. It draws a person in much as easily as we draw the heady smoke in and before you know it you're placing a blend order before the last one has arrived. As one who has taken but the first steps in this journey it is like casting your eyes upon the ocean for the first time: awe-inspiring, vast, and beckoning.

I placed an order for my first pipe -- a Savinelli bent apple 606 alligator blue -- and then an order for a couple tins around the same time. The pipe arrived first. Being impatient to begin my journey of patience I searched yon interwebs and discovered that there was a Tinder Box only a dozen miles away. I ventured forth and was met by a friendly proprietor who was genuinely delighted that I was interested in pipe tobacco and not some Willy Wonka-inspired chemical stick. They had a dozen or so jars of loose-leaf leaves and about a dozen or so tins to choose from. Realizing that I had an order coming in a couple days I decided to just choose one -- "a 'medium-full English' please" I asked the gentleman (tying together a few words I had recently seen on PMF). He selected a couple and I took in their aromas. Wow. Such an enticing, rich, wonderful door that opened! I selected the store favorite: "Sherlock's Choice" and scurried home to try my luck. After all, a journey of a thousand pipes begins with the first puff.

I will modestly state that having voraciously watched about a hundred videos on the subject, I didn't do half bad. The blend was hearty but not overpowering, intriguingly bitter on the draw but settling in to a lightly sweet smoky flavor. I didn't experience tongue bite, was able to generally keep the pipe going, and most importantly: I really enjoyed myself. I sat outside under my orange tree and slowly took in this new sensation of pipe smoking.

[As an aside to those who read my earlier essay, I actually tried smoking a pipe nearly thirty years ago. That brief interlude was without mentor or videos/forums and ultimately ended as quickly as it began. So I really consider this to be my 'first' real experience.]

In the subsequent weeks I have built up quite a little cellar for myself. I wanted to get a couple examples of the major blend types and set out to discover what it was that I am drawn to. I ended up with more blends than I intended and decided to set a few aside for breaking out when I've really experienced those that were already open. Here are my specific thoughts so far:

Storage: my wife had a case of 8 oz. Ball canning jars so I decided from the beginning that when I opened a new tin or bag, I'd put the majority of the tobacco in a nicely-labeled jar and leave the remainder in the original packaging to smoke from. This way I could have several bowls of each open blend without continuously going back to the jar. I could also appreciate the artwork and descriptions of the tins. I also purchased a few of the "Pocket Jars MAX". The blends that I really like I have dedicated a Pocket Jar to for portability/convenience. I found that the 9.1L "Really Useful Box" rectangular tubs perfectly fit the 8 oz. jars or four stacked tins so I dedicated two of them: one (blue) for my 'active' blends, and one (grey) for 'cellared' blends (or at least, the 'not just yet' blends). This system has worked very well for me. I will consider it a measure of the strength of my will if I don't start a third tub. Here are my two tubs:

IMG_4139.jpeg

Blends I've Tried So Far: I am going to separate these lists by approximate blend type, and list each blend in order of how much I currently like it (first blend is my favorite):

English: Peterson Nightcap, Boswell Northwoods, Tinder Box Sherlock's Choice, Maltese Falcon
Balkan: SPC Plum Pudding Bourbon Barrel Aged, SPC Plum Pudding Special Reserve, Balkan Sasieni
Virginia/Perique: GLP Haddo's Delight
Aromatic: Boswell's Best, Cult Blood Red Moon, CAO Eileen's Dream

Here is my active tub's contents:
IMG_4140.jpeg

Unopened Blends I Own: Here are the blends I have purchased and haven't opened yet. Right now I think my next blend to open will likely be the Old Gowrie or the Old Dark Fired depending on my mood in the moment. These are not in any particular order:

English: Peterson Early Morning Pipe
Virginia/Perique: Russ Oulette's Fire Storm, STG Escudo Navy de Luxe, Peterson Elizabethan Mixture
Virginia-Based: Rattray Old Gowrie
Dark-Fired Kentucky: Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired
Aromatic: Boswell Cherry Smash (I received an ounce of this with the purchase of my Boswell Graceful Swirl Nose-Warmer)

And here is picture of the cellar tub contents (note that there are some duplicates here -- I am drawing from the partial containers in the active tub and will re-fill from these jars as needed):
IMG_4141.jpeg

Well, this bowl's about finished. I expect my next treatise will involve the smoking implements themselves (by the end of this next week I should have seven!). What a rabbit-hole I've fallen into there. Thank you for falling down the hole with me.
 

FurCoat

Lifer
Sep 21, 2020
9,584
88,341
North Carolina
I started my cellar with a small cabinet that I saved from a kitchen remodel. When that got full, I added a banker’s box. Then a second. And a third. And yesterday, I bought a damn six-shelf bookcase cuz all my boxes are full. I need help….
I feel your pain. I started with a two drawer filling cabinet. Now I have stacks of 66 liter Rubbermaid tubs.
 

Manawydan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 24, 2024
212
1,334
Southern California, US
Thought I'd give a wee update and confession:

"I think we're gonna need a bigger tub." (apologies to Jaws) :ROFLMAO:

Yes -- I've failed the aforementioned 'test of will' and will be exceeding the bounds of my two existing tubs when the next shipment arrives. Though oddly, it feels more like a success to me. It all started with a desire to try the regular Plum Pudding (I have both the Special Reserve and the Bourbon Barrel Aged) and it exploded from there. I added that plus some Corona lighter flints, a digital hygrometer (for my cigar humidor), and some G&H Bob's Chocolate Flake for good measure from SmokingPipes.com. Threw in a couple more PocketJar Max's (love those things) and another leather pipe stand (can't have enough of those).

And then ended up on BoswellsPipes.com. On my actual to-try list was G&H Rum Flake and Sutliff's 175th Anniversary The Old Boss, and Boswell had both in stock. Not wanting to squander shipping, and knowing that he is highly-thought after for his aromatics, I added the Summer Assortment to my cart. But wait! He also had a rather convenient 'blending kit' with nine single leaf varietals! Sold.

I'm going to use 8 oz mylar bags to store the aromatic summer sampler and blend kit components rather than the bulkier canning jars. And it's hilarious really: these two orders are still in transit, and I'm already thinking about my *next* order!

Happy piping!
 

Manawydan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 24, 2024
212
1,334
Southern California, US
You are going to need a notebook to keep track of the different tobaccos you have tried and your reaction to them.
Way ahead of you there — I have journaled every smoke I’ve had to date and am keeping my own ratings of each blend. It has actually been quite helpful and is also interesting to me to see how my taste is evolving over time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kcghost and Lucro