Pipe Tobacco Availability Frustration

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
banner
.

Log in

Search on Site

SmokingPipes.com Updates

24 Fresh Brebbia Pipes
72 Fresh Savinelli Pipes
48 Fresh Nording Pipes
2 Fresh Geiger Pipes
9 Fresh Ser Jacopo Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

mordy18

Member
Mar 12, 2019
115
231
As a new pipe smoker I'm struck by the lack of availability of many highly recommended blends that are supposedly still in production. I wanted to try a tin of Samuel Gawith's pure Virginia flake but it isn't available on line anywhere. Most Dunhill blends are gone (I bought a few tins of the ones I could find, and so far really have enjoyed Durbar). Esoterica? Forget about it. And quite a few others that have had very positive reviews are no longer available, not to mention all the Mclleland stuff that recently disappeared. And then I see people selling huge collections of "cellared" tobacco on this forum or on ebay, often at ridiculous premiums. (There seems to be plenty of Captain Black available.)
Quite frustrating. Has it always been this way, or are shortages growing? Or is this due to hoarding? Is the premium, desirable stuff more readily available in the UK?

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,870
590
Who is John Galt?
I understand the frustration. We all feel it, but I especially think it sad for the new pipe smokers. When you are trying to learn about blends and the hobby, it is nice to try the stuff others have talked about. It is a great way to match your pallet to others. And then nothing's available. I made a similar post the other day about how much has changed since just 2015. Believe me, there are wonderful blends out there. Just ask around and keep at it. You might also want to stick to the basics like Escudo, Capstan blue, PS Luxury Bullseye Flake (and Navy) and GL Pease quiet nights, etc to start. The rarer blends will come along, but unfortunately, not as readily available as in the past.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,223
4,299
GLP Union Square is readily available. I'll bet you if I look and call a few places, I could find some tins of SG FVF within 30 minutes or less. You can't buy an Edsel these days. Motorola flip phones are no longer available. Products come and go but there are generally a dozen or hundreds to replace them. You want something like SG FVF, a flake Virginia? These certainly aren't exactly the same but they're very, very good in their own right and readily available. Capstan Gold and Blue Flake. GLP Union Square as already mentioned. C&D Opening Night (discovered thanks to Sable and it is superb and reasonably priced?, John Aylesbury Classic Flake, Orlik Golden Sliced, Newminster 400 Supreme Flake just to name a few. There are many others that are also difficult to get but can be bought over time if you work at it such as Fribourg & Treyer Cut Virginia Plug.
If you really, really, really have to FVF, you can generally get it from European stores such as Pfeifendepot, Estervalls and Synjeco just to name a few. You're going to pay more but you can get it. And keep your eyes open the next few days, there are other shipments arriving at other internet stores you can jump on. Just takes a little effort on your part.

 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
banner
.

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,295
166
You're not missing out on anything. Plenty of blends to choose from that are still available. If you chase rainbows you'll only catch unicorn farts.
Go to tobaccoreviews.com, search for whatever hallowed blend you thing you'd like and look for similarities.
I've never been a fan of 99% of the McClelland catalog and 100% of the esoterica catalog.....why?? Because they weren't worth the effort to hunt for. So i found plenty to love elsewhere.
Expand your horizons.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
37
Raleigh, NC
+1 to Neal
I was in the same boat when I first started back to the pipe a little over a year ago. When I first started, it was a cheap ass cob and pouches of Captain Black Gold, cause you know, they smelled like pipe smoke always smelled to me and I liked it.
When I picked the pipe back up, I was floored by all the blends and companies out there. I couldn't decide what I wanted and had all kinds of trouble trying to figure out what that was. I joined up here and saw guys talking about stuff you just can't get anymore, and the stuff you can is practically unobtainable. I tried looking at all the lists of all the best top tobaccos out there so I could have at least some idea of where to start, but like you, found 90% of the ones I wanted to try were no where to be found. I came along right about the time McC's was shutting down the works and missed the boat on all those blends.
Since then, I have begun to narrow it down to only going after and stockpiling stuff that's readily available any time I want, in bulk, mostly, but some are tins. PS is always going strong, so is C&D and I've been really been meaning to hit up Boswell's for some of their stuff as it's fantastic.
There's so many good things out there to discover, but the trouble is, a lot of it is not a staple that many people have been smoking for 20+ years and has the track record to prove how good it is. Some still do, but I'm not going to mention Black Frigate here, nope, not gonna do it. Not going to mention Black Frigate one single time.

 

mordy18

Member
Mar 12, 2019
115
231
Thanks much for that input and those recommendations. I will keep my eyes open. And I am trying to avoid becoming a hoarder myself. I already have more tobacco than I can smoke in a year (I'm trying to keep it to 2-3 bowls a week).
I started out with a few different aromatics -- a CAO 4 tin sampler (mostly meh) and a large (much larger than I anticipated) jar of Rocky Patel Pure Prohibition (which I quite like actually, but I have 8 oz of it!). Also a pouch of Missouri Meerschaum Danish blend, which I think is excellent.
I quickly realized I wanted to try English blends and maybe focus on those and the aromatics may sit for a while. So far I have tried Dunhill BB1938 (which was ok, but need to smoke some more) and Durbar (which I liked a lot). Also bought a ridiculously expensive 100g tin of Frog Morton Cellar on ebay just to have a reference and I had one bowl which I thought was quite tasty and very smooth. I'll be going through that one bowl a week till gone (and won't be buying again). I have unopened tins of: Dunhill London Mixture and Ready Rubbed and some extra Durbar, GL Pease Quiet Nights, Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding, Escudo Navy, and Peterson Gold Blend. I will leave those tinned for now. So plenty to sample, but I want to try a pure Virgina -- I think I may try the Orlik Golden Sliced (which I understand has some perique in theory).
Thanks again. I may be in Rome this summer and will have a pipe and tobacco shopping excursion.

 

mordy18

Member
Mar 12, 2019
115
231
And thanks Carolinachruchwarden. Great to have the perspective of another relative newbie. And I like the beard dude!

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
37
Raleigh, NC
If you want a very nice Virginia, you could always try Peter Stokkebyes Luxury Navy Flake. I haven't had any in a few weeks, but it's a really good Virginia Flake. It's got a little perique in it, but not too much. It balances quite nicely.
Edit: Hahaha, thanks! Yeah, it got maimed back in October, but it's getting back out there. Was up to about 6 inches before the big shave, but I'm back at about 2 inches since January.
It gets better as you go along, finding new things to try and picking up this or that. I started buying up a few 1 oz samples of bulks I wanted to try and would snag about 3 or 4 of them at a time. All of it bulk stuff to figure out what I might want my cellar to look like.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
14,900
8,900
United States
There are plenty of great blends that are readily available. Some have been mentioned above and you should consider some of them.

Here is a list of others that are easy to find.

Solani 633 and 660

Mac Baren Old Dark Fired

Savinelli Doblone d'Oro

Escudo

Reiner Long Golden Flake

St Bruno Flake

Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky

GL Pease Navigator needs age

 

papawhisky

New member
Jan 29, 2019
44
3
Austin, Texas
Have you tried any local B&M's? I walked into one yesterday and they were stocked with many varieties of Samuel Gawith (including FVF) and Esoterica. Because they generally are not online, they don't tend to sell out as fast.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,489
670
I'm not going to mention Black Frigate either. Some folks are tired of us Brothers of The Black Frigate talking about Black Frigate all the time. So don't pay any attention to Black Frigate even though it's awesome.
The true fact of the matter is this. You go on the forums or Facebook or whatever else and everyone is hooting and hollering about how fantastic Such And Such Gourmet Tobacco Company's 5150 Hand Blended Anniversary Virginia Flake No.2 is, you pay 70 bones for a 12 bone tin, pack it in your pipe expecting true heavenly bliss while angels sing and virgins wash your feet.... only to discover it was 80% hype and that 10 dollar tobacco you were smoking before was far better. There are too many great blends out there to worry about the blends you can't find.
But I'm not going to mention Black Frigate.

 

mordy18

Member
Mar 12, 2019
115
231
Funny, I think have a hankering for Black Frigate.
I'm also a bit dismayed at how few good tobacconists are around -- and I work in NYC, midtown east, and live in Northern NJ. There are still quite a few cigar shops -- JR on 1st avenue and a huge one in Paramus -- and I've bought many a cigar there, but not sure how extensive their pipe tobacco collection is. There used to be a Barclay Rex on Madison avenue around 50th, and I bought a pipe there 5 years ago, but its been gone for a while. That leaves Davidoff (crazy expensive) and Nat Sherman on 42nd, which I can try but I think is heavily cigar focused, and a Barclay Rex downtown. There are plenty of vape shops around!

 

xingpao

Junior Member
Mar 11, 2019
90
0
Well, you see how the SG is dropping now and hiw Esoterica dropped a week or so ago, so if you want some just keep some cash available for the sporadic drops and make sure to apply for the email notifications,
Lots here swear by some of the Watch City blends, so give those a shot.
I bet you that I could run you out of money long before I could run out of places to track the blends you are talking about even at regular prices.
I understand the frustration, but I promise you can build an awesome cellar from what is still readily available now. Lastly, you can always post that you are searching for XY and Z and I bet you will get some help very quickly.

 

smudgersmissingleg

Preferred Member
Jun 9, 2018
1,184
3,266
England
If you are living in America then you literally have hundreds and hundreds of readily available blends and I would concentrate on them, the harder to come by stuff you can pick up on the way.

At the beginning I found it a daunting prospect but gradually its built up, a few tins here and there, birthdays & Christmas and any time I have some spare cash I buy some UK stuff to age or get an order from Germany or America to add things I can't get over here.

Give it a couple of years and you might be surprised how much you can squirrel away even on a modest income, that's been my experience anyway.
Chris

 

mtwaller

Preferred Member
Nov 21, 2018
639
549
30
Atlanta, GA
I am also frustrated by the scarcity of so many good blends. I’m new to pipes, and now I finally have enough pipes built up to where I can focus on sampling and cellaring various tobaccos, but they’re always out of stock. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of blends available that I’m sure I will love. But I know people hoard the “gold standard” type blends, and if you want to get them you have to buy every tin you can afford and be Johnny on the goddamn spot when they post online, because they sell out quick. It’s frustrating and induces a level of anxiety which seems to run counter to what pipe smoking should be. That is to say, relaxing! I don’t want to be that guy but I feel like I should start hoarding my few favorites, lest they go the way of the dodo, or become so scarce as to be effectively unobtainable. Sorry to be negative, but I feel your pain.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,223
4,299
They're not close to "always being out of stock". I started my cellaring efforts in January 2018. In that time, just to name a few, I have managed to accumulate:
90 tins of F&T CVP and 29 tins of Vintage
15 tins of BBF and 27 tins of FVF. 12.72 lbs of bulks of FVF and 9.53 of BBF
11 tins of Wessex Campaign Brigade Dark Flake
14 tins of Astleys No 44
I could on and on. If you want to put in some effort, you can find what you want. Perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow but within a few months, you can get it done. Or you can keep waiting on the announcements from smokingpipes, tobaccopipes and P&C and see how that works out for you. Or you can waste your time posting here about how they're impossible to get.

 

redglow

Preferred Member
Jan 7, 2019
1,722
1,913
Michigan
My experience has been similar.
I just returned to piping in January after an 18 year respite. Quickly found my favorite old Dunhill Nightcap, amongst others, was wiped out. Never to be heard of again.
3 months later, I have a stockpile of excellent tobacco (and probably a lot more interesting) on hand that I had never tried before and had never heard of until I started reading the forums and reading reviews on tobaccoreviews.com
Some of my favorites are that are readily available:
Peter Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye

Peter Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake

Escudo Navy De Luxe

GL Pease Odyssey

GL Pease Quiet Nights

GL Pease Gaslight

GL Pease Westminster

GL Pease Filmore

Mac Baren HH Bold Kentucky

Mac Baren HH Burley Flake

C&D Bayou Night
The list goes on and on.......
My point is, don't get frustrated trying to nab some of these unobtainable mixtures. Pick up some great, readily available tobaccos. Sounds like you're on the right track.
Occasionally, you'll run across opportunities to pick up some of the rare tins. The opportunities will come along and you can add those to your collection. If they don't come along, it won't matter. You'll have a great collection of fine leaf on hand to satisfy all of your tobacco needs.
Good luck. Chime in a few months from now and let us know how your collection is coming along. :puffpipe:

 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
banner
.