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Mac Baren Tins vs. Bulk

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by User4408, Jul 3, 2013.

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  1. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    Amen. One of the things that kind of bothers me about some new pipe smokers is their frequent apologies for not liking some blend that us old farts just love. I think pipe smoking is about what each individual smoker likes. I love certain Lakeland blends or Lat Bombs, but don't care much for others. I offer no apologies, because I just don't care for the blends that I just don't care for. I figure that's why there are a gazillion blends out there.
     
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  2. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    I trained on St Bruno, and smoked it almost exclusively for 10 years. Then I moved on to stronger fare like Irish cut plugs and bars that frankly made St Bruno taste a bit watery. At that time I couldn't tolerate Mac Baren blends, finding them completely flavorless and even harsh.

    But in retrospect, I now realize that was more a reflection of me rather than the tobacco. Being used to heavy doses of flavor and strength, I couldn't help but puff too hard and fast on MB in search of the hit. And that was a mistake.

    One of the real benefits of reviews is that they can open people up to new knowledge and experiences. I don't think the point is to create some absolute standard of taste, or, at the opposite extreme, to merely reflect views that are only relevant to oneself. The latter would probably best be left for a personal diary or journal, it seems.

    All I can say is that I'm extremely glad to have opened up and learned about different techniques and styles of pipe smoking. The experience is now infinitely richer and more rewarding. My mentor smoked a single tobacco (St Bruno) his entire life and absolutely loved it. And that's great. But it's not me. And I suspect that many other PSFers are as keen on learning as I am. At least judging from their posts.
     
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  3. User4408

    User4408 Active Member

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    Amen to that too. One of the toxic notions out there is this idea that there's some sort of absolute standard of good taste.

    Similarly toxic are the blanket condemnations of certain blends, blenders, and blend types. That's why it's sad to hear people dismiss blenders like MB out of hand, implying that people who smoke their blends are either naive or idiotic. This can be particularly stunting to newbies who haven't yet developed confidence in their own tastes, and are looking for helpful guidance. They're like to grab on to such pearls of ignorance in an effort to sort through this very confusing and complex hobby of ours.

    My four decades of pipe smoking have taught me that almost all long-established blends out there have virtues. And if I'm not getting it, it's probably a result of operator error or ignorance. This is a humbling experience. But it's a very rewarding one too.
     
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  4. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    My late uncle Danny was my pipe mentor. His whole life he never had more than two cobs and a pouch or two of his favorite tobacco (Granger or Velvet) at any given time. I loved room note on both. My first pipe, now that I think about it, was a Yellow Bowl bent Billiard. My first tobacco was a pouch of Granger. Uncle Danny's influence was strong, and I enjoyed that Yellow Bowl and the Granger. I soon bought two "good" pipes (a couple of Italian basket pipes - one of which I still have) and a pouch of the local "house blend." In short time I went down the pipe snob path, and had actually convinced myself that B&M house blends were far superior to drug store tobaccos. Then I got into tinned tobacco, and like a lemming I followed more experienced pipe snobs over the cliff of "Brand X" is inferior to "Brand Y." Most of the time I had never even tried "Brand X," and my palate was so undeveloped that I could not tell you what made "Brand Y" a superior smoke. I was just a parrot repeating what the rest of the snobs were saying. In hind sight, the only blends that I voted as being superior during that time that actually had/have any merit were ERR, Kentucky Club Continental, Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture, Dunhill EMP, Dunhill Standard Mixture Medium, MacB Plum Cake, and McConnell Red Virginia. Sadly, I would never have admitted to the other pipe snobs that I actually liked ERR or KCC, and I dismissed a lot of blenders out of hand because I had some absurd notion that they were not exclusive enough or because they were so commonly available. I'll admit that I even dogged-out or praised some blends without ever actually having tried them. Idiotic? Yes sir, pretty idiotic.

    Cigars actually saved me. I got big into cigars, but I had also matured as a person and had finally become a secure human being. So, I approached cigars far more realistically and realized that there were some very expensive cigars that I did not care for, and also that there were some inexpensive cigars that I just loved. I love a good Ghurka or Perdomo, but I find that I really enjoy a Padron, Bauza, or Curly Head. I would read the cigar reviews and often go away laughing in the same way I go away laughing when I read some of the reviews on TR. Having been a knuckle head who would diss a pipe tobacco without ever having tried it, I could tell who had actually never tried the cigar that they were trashing. It's an interesting experience to be able to tell when the person reviewing the smoke has either never even tried it, or is upset because one distinct genre is not the same as another distinct genre, or has just tried one and then decided that the whole line sucked. Unfortunately, I also learned that my wallet could not support my cigar habit, and the wife banished me to the nether regions if I tried to smoke one in the house. So, I got back into pipes.

    Coming back to pipes, I approached pipe tobacco the same way that I had been approaching cigars. I don't much care what others think about it because I'm the one smoking it. I have no prejudices against one blender over another, because cigars taught me that the same blender can put out a really great smoke on minute, and then put out the tobacco equivalent of stale grass clippings the next. Price is not necessarily indicative of quality - there are some $20 cigars that are worth every penny, there are some $12 cigars that aren't worth squat, and there are some $3 cigars that are just wonderful smokes...and some $3 stogies are plain old dog rockets. (Likewise, the price of a pipe tobacco blend is not necessarily indicative of how good it is or how much I will enjoy it). The on-line reviews of cigars and my own life experiences have taught me that those reviewing a pipe tobacco often have no clue what they are talking about, or are praising or condemning a tobacco because of certain unfulfilled emotional needs.

    Hopefully, anything I post here at PSF will contain at least one useful pearl to a new pipe smoker. I've been pipe smoking for almost 40 years, but was in the dark for most of that time. I've learned a lot about pipe smoking and tobacco in the few years that I have been associated with PSF, and I really hope that other pipe smokers (new or old) get as much out of it as I have. I really do think it is the best pipe smoking forum out there. I've been to others where the members seem to be mostly like I was back in my younger pipe smoking years - ill-educated snobs being influenced by other ill-educated (and often ill-mannered) snobs.
     
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  5. northernsmoke

    northernsmoke Member

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    Glad I came across this. I have some MacB London Blend and Navy Flake on the way. :th1:
     
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