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Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by orto, Jul 24, 2012.

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  1. orto

    orto Member

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    Hey gents. First of all, forgive me if I've posted this in the wrong place. New to the forum, but this seems to be the most appropriate section!

    I've been spending a little time everyday window shopping on various online shops, trying to decide what tobacco I want to order when a little money comes in this month. Trouble is, there are armloads of choices and I don't know where to begin.

    To my knowledge, there are three places that sell anything remotely resembling pipe tobacco here in ol' Tallahassee. My shop, which is run by a few very nice older fellas who've been incredibly hospitable, but which primarily deal in cigars. They do stock a small selection of nice lower-end pipes and a decent little tobacco menu. It seems to be all inexpensive bulk Altadis tobacco (which I've really enjoyed, honestly), but I've tried it all. I love the Medium 502 English blend, and could happily spend the rest of my days on an island with a never-ending supply, but at the same time, I want to taste it all! Then there's the new shop, which is also more catered to cigar smokers, and has a decent selection of pipes but value brand tobacco one might find at the local Walgreens, and dreadful service. The two times I've been in, the folks there have simultaneously tried to pressure me into various purchases, while also picking my brain of any information on pipes/tobaccos. Not a fan, but they're new and I'm waiting and hoping that they work out the kinks over time. And my third option is a fancy, soulless roll-your-own cigarette outlet that sells $1.50 Red Cap tobaccos and fake MM cobs from China (as well as no-name basket pipes that are priced to rival Savinellis and the like). Those folks did have one tin of Mac Baren's Plumcake, but they wanted $39.00 for the small, dusty, half-crushed tin. Basically, options are limited locally.

    I've heard good things about various Cornell & Diehl tobaccos, as well as lots of different Davidoff, Dunhill and Mac Baren blends. The last one I had was a nice gift of Mac Baren No. 1 Virginia and I really enjoyed it. These companies seem to be fairly default suggestions to newer pipe smokers, but I've only heard good things, and there are so many lesser-mentioned brands out there, I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

    I'm a huge fan of the Altadis 502 English. I love, love, love the leathery room note. I like aromatics just fine but I'm more interested in finding a good, rich blend that smells of tobacco, and tastes of tobacco. I've read of CH/PA suggestions, but I've never even been able to find that in person.

    Any suggestions for something I really should try? Help me narrow it down, if you'd be so kind. Haven't got the spare change lying around to go crazy, but there's so much out there and you gotta start somewhere!

    Thanks everybody, and sorry to be long-winded!
     
  2. Glenn

    Glenn Active Member

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    A good way to go if you are going to order online is to shop the bulk blends. You can generally get alot more bang for your buck like that. Depending on the retailer you can get a good selection of McClelland, C&D, G&H, Peter Stokkebye, Hearth & Home, MacBaren and several other lines of bulk blends at up to half the cost of the same blends in tins.

    If you like that english blend Smoking Pipes has C&D Pirate Kake right now for about $28/lb. That is a pretty good deal.

    You ought to get some McClelland 5100 and 2015. From Peter Stokkebye maybe some Luxury Twist, Luxury Navy Flake, Proper English and Balkan Supreme. C&D has a crazy amount of good choices. Some of these you can get in the $8-10 range for 4 ounces. That ain't bad.

    Get you a virginia, virginia-perique, english and a burley to start. Just to get a sense of what each one is about. Then you can branch out from there based on what you like.
     
  3. orto

    orto Member

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    Glenn, thanks so much. That's exactly the sort of list I was looking for.

    I was initially afraid to buy in bulk 'cause I wanted to try more and more before finding myself stocked with something that I potentially wouldn't be over the moon about, but I'm also not terribly picky. I think $28/lb. of just about anything would be smoked before long. All of the other suggestions sound great too. I saw a review of Luxury Twist and Balkan Supreme, so I'll have to try those too. I'm thinking I'll start stocking up on some 4 oz. tins for a while first.

    The better of the three shops in my area has lots of different bulks, as I'd mentioned, and I've tried many an ounce of their various Virginias, Light and Medium English, and Burley (as well as most of their aromatics) and none of them have really disappointed me as of yet, with a slight exception to the burley. Kind of a foul, bitter aftertaste on that one, unless I mixed a little of a different blend into it, in which case it was rather enjoyable.
     
  4. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    I do all of my on-line shopping at either Cup O Joes or Mars Cigars because they will let me pay by money order. (TAD + PAD + Credit Card = Disaster). Glenn speaks wisdom when he suggests beginning with Stokkebye bulk, since you can get Stokkebye for the same price as Altadis, and I think it's better quality.MacB bulks are my personal favorites. C&D also has some very nice bulk blends.

    If you like English or Balkan blends, I'd suggest MacB Solent Mixture or Vintage Syrian. Also, C&D Star of the East. Also also Stokkebye English Oriental Supreme and Balkan Supreme. If you like a VaPer, C&D Bayou Morning is very nice.

    Flake? MacB Navy Flake and Mixture Flake, or the Stokkebye triplets: Luxury Twist Flake, Luxury Navy Flake (has a bit of Perique), or Luxury Bullseye Flake (which has Cavendish and Perique in it).

    Virginia and/or Burley blends? MacB Golden Extra, London Burley Blend, Scottish Mixture, or Symphony. Stokkebye Cubed Burley, Natural, Natural Dutch Cavendish, or Aromatic Dutch Slices. C&D Haunted Bookshop (which has a bit of Perique) or Virginia Gentleman (which has some Turkish mixed in).

    These are all exceptional bulk tobaccos, and well-worth cellaring - and considering these average $25 to $35 a pound, they are very affordable if you consider that a 14 ounce tub of OTC runs $20 - $35. And speaking of OTC's, there are some venerable classics that should not be overlooked: Carter Hall, Granger, Prince Albert, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic, Walnut, Sugar Barrel, Cherry Blend, Kentucky Club Mild and Continental.

    If you notice that there seems to be a similarity between some old school OTCs, some MacB blends, and some Stokkebye blends, well... there is. The classic MacB blends (Golden Extra, Scottish Mixture, London Burley Blend, and Symphony) were created by a fellow who worked in American tobacco factories during WWII. He brought what he learned back to Denmark and put it to work for MacB, which would later influence Stokkebye's offerings.
     
    TheMadMan and orto like this.
  5. orto

    orto Member

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    Thank you sir. Great suggestions and history! The OTC ones are the funniest to me, in that they're the most obvious ones I ought to have tried by now but can't find locally, and I've been overlooking them online.

    The only OTC's we seem to have around here are Captain Black, Red Cap and some True Value blend, or something to that effect. Value Brand, Value Puff, True Great Value, Valuable Value, whatever the hell they're calling it. And I've tried 'em all!
     
  6. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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  7. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    In many places, it seems that pipe tobacco is going extinct locally. There are several reasons for this, and the reality is that on-line vendors are slowly but surely replacing traditional pipe shops and the drug store pipe tobacco isle. Changing times, and perhaps a bit sad. But technology has advantages, and there are now more offerings available to pipe smokers today than at any other time in the past. Find an on-line vendor that you like, and just explore... you'll have about 2K possibilities.
     
  8. orto

    orto Member

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    I know what you mean about the local places. And I guess I don't blame them. Can't expect a place to stock up on every imaginable pipe/tobacco when I only just found out there's a pipe smoker other than myself in my town (and I found him through here!).

    Looks like I'm going to do a little more research this afternoon and place an order. I'm rather excited.
     
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