Peak Age for Balkan

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hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,284
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Is a subjective question. Some blends age differently than others, some people like blends at different ages. I like some aspects of your tobacco, sharp flavors. I like some aspects of aged tobacco, smother and sublime. It's been said many times here, age changes tobacco but not guaranteed to be better.

 

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judcole

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2011
4,987
2,156
Detroit
Have you smoked this blend before? What do you think of it fresh? That is going to influence your decision.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,870
598
@Jud has it correct. English/Balkan blends can be enjoyed 1)young/fresh; latakia sharp, zing, punch, pow, zap, or 2)aged/mellowed; Virginia forward, sweeter, latkia mild, more melange of flavors, changed in quality.
I like both personally. Example, Penzance is better for me with lots of age and mellow, but Artisan's blend is better fresh with punch and power.
You will get lots of answers to your question. Ultimately, it is completely personal. There is no right or wrong answer.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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According to all tobacconists that have participated on this forum, the peak age for enjoyment of ALL blends is immediately. They work hard to give you the best product to be smoked immediately. But, some of us prefer to let the magic keep on happening for our serendipity, and sometimes disappointment. There is no magic year for any blend that would be agreeably better in a full consensus. It is an individual preference, and years per blend and your own expectations make aging tobacco a fishing trip. You may get a trophy bass or an inedible carp. That's the risk. Aging isn't for those not willing to risk losing out on a few pounds. It's an expensive luxury. Play at your own risk. :puffy:

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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There are no guaranteed universal expectation for any element of a blend. You can't say that ALL burleys don't age well, and you cannot say that all latakias mellow and fade. You can guesstimate based on past experiences, but crops are different each year, processes change, recipes for casings change, environmental conditions change, temperatures over the years of storage, was the jar completely sterile, was it from a good batch of bulk or from a tin? I've had enough aged blends to know that there are no absolutes. Lots of vectors. It's always a gamble.
You either play the risk because you think the reward is worth it, or you don't because you can't afford to lose a whole batch of something.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,870
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Play at your own risk.
I love this quote! It's very true. Some people are willing to take on more risk than others with their tobacco cellars. The short answer is we don't have hard and fast rules. We have more guidelines and opinion based on experience.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
10,825
4,653
Just echoing what Cosmic said. The benefits of aging vary from blend to blend and smoker to smoker. The only hard and fast rule is that there is no hard and fast rule.
For a lot of us who cellar, aging is a secondary consideration. We're more concerned about favorite blends becoming unavailable in the future.
Sometimes wonderful things happen with a blend after years in the tin. Other times really terrible things happen. And many times, nothing much happens at all.
The idea that one must patiently wait many years before a blend becomes worth smoking is rubbish.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,150
6,595
Monterey Peninsula
Yes.
It wasn't all that long ago that many pipers would avoid "old" tobaccos, and insist on the freshest tins possible. Kinda like roasted coffee beans and milk.
--

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.
~ Abraham Lincoln

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,601
9,364
If aging is your idea, how old are you now? I'd give it about five years, to experience a real development without risking diminished flavor, but as earlier posts point out, fresh is probably just fine and aging is not a guarantee of improvement. For some blends, twenty is good. If you're a fatalist, I'd go ahead and smoke it when you please.

 

someguyfawkes

New member
Apr 15, 2019
4
0
I'm smoking Balkan Sobraine. I enjoy it fresh as a couple bowls a week change of pace. I'd like to put some up and also experienced it aged in a few years.

 
Mar 16, 2014
1,652
294
I like the most recent Sobranie version, but many don't. As for aging Balkan and the peak age, the latakia fades over time and by about 8-10 years it becomes very subdued. The peak age for a tin of Balkan is relative to the smoker, but in my humble opinion... it's the same as a Va/Per, in that, 5-7 years is just right. It stays good forever though if stored properly.

 

cachimbero

Member
Apr 9, 2019
165
29
A couple of years ago I opened a tin of My Mixture 73 that was 15 years old. It was after a dinner with pipe smoking friends. Some of them were very concerned about the age of the tobacco. It was fabulous, and it is a tobacco with more than 50% Latakia. I still have two tins of it which I bought in 2002 in the St James store and I am not concerned at all about their state.

I have found a 100 grams tin of 965 that I purchased in Germany in 1997. When I open it I will report, but I have never been disappointed by an old English mixture, at least until now.

 
Mar 16, 2014
1,652
294
What blend(s) have you found this true of?
Every latakia, English, Balkan blend I've smoked with 8-10 years of age. Latakia is just like perique for me, in that, at about 7 years it's just right and anytime after it starts to lose that flavor punch.
Or is it something you've read?
I read it on here and am just saying it. I don't smoke pipes and tobacco.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,150
6,595
Monterey Peninsula
What blend(s) have you found this true of?

Every latakia, English, Balkan blend I've smoked with 8-10 years of age. Latakia is just like perique for me, in that, at about 7 years it's just right and anytime after it starts to lose that flavor punch.
I agree. But that's quite different from "becoming very subdued".
And the second part of your reply was a bit bitchy, Mom.

 

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