Building up your tobacco collection

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by Cristos, Jan 5, 2014.

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  1. Cristos

    Cristos Member

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    Hello again, ladies and gentlemen!

    So, this is my first official post aside from my introducing myself to the forum. As I said in my first post, I have been smoking pipes off and on for about 7 years now, but I have only recently been doing some serious research on various blends and, more specifically, building up a cellar of tobacco that would essentially be self replenishing. I know that most of you hardcore collectors out there have an impressive collection of your favorite tobaccos that I am sure has taken many years to build up. My question is, what is the best way for someone wanting to start a cellar to get the ball rolling? I know some suggest that when you order new tins or bulk, to order twice what you want, cellar half, and then smoke half. Or, is it better to just bite the bullet, spend a large sum of money, and order a huge quantity of tobacco once and then just replenish with small orders later on? Keep in mind that I'm a broke college student on a rather tight budget and want the most bang for my buck. I apologize in advance if I am beating a dead horse here, but it seems like the more I read and research, the more my head begins to swirl. I'm still experimenting with all the different types of blends out there, trying to decide what's best for my palate, and in the meantime I want to make sure that I'm keeping the blends that I've already discovered well stocked. Please help a guy out!

    Thanks in advance,

    Cristos
     
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  2. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    With this in mind...I would recommend not spending too much money on any one blend until you get sorted out exactly what you do like. The first highlighted item is what I did to get my cellar going. If you were going to buy one tin to try... buy two. Pitch one in the cellar and smoke the other.

    Bulk blends are a good way to get your cellar fairly deep without spending a fortune. I'd recommend buying no more than a few ounces to try (of any one blend) unless you're fairly sure...based on comparisons to comparable blends...that you're going to like it.

    Early on, I REALLY like aromatics. I tend to only smoke them sparingly now (with them exception of one blend that I really like). If I had followed that advice early on (not buying too much of any one blend), I wouldn't have pounds of tobacco jarred up that I'll likely not try to smoke again anytime soon.
     
  3. Cristos

    Cristos Member

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    Thanks for the quick response Bubba. After I posted this question, I gave it some thought and decided that what I'm really wanting is not so much a cellar, but more of a surplus (which I guess could be the same thing???). I know myself well enough to know that I really don't have the patience for cellaring a tobacco for some 10+ years before I crack a seal. What I want is enough of a surplus of what I like to know that I will not run out anytime soon. With that in mind, I guess buying in bulk, or double the quantity of tins, makes the most sense.

    I guess I'm just going to have to factor in tobacco on the monthly budget! :haha:
     
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  4. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    First things first. No apologies are needed when you ask a question here.

    As a one blend smoker, I am not sure how much help I'll be. But my generic advice is to first let your budget be your guide.

    I'm not sure about ordering 1 to smoke and 1 to cellar until you know your preferences. If you find you don't like a blend, you won't be happy knowing you have one in the cellar.

    Go slow. Discover your likes and dislikes. Then start thinking about cellaring.
     
  5. Ehrgeiz

    Ehrgeiz Member

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    Already some good advice given, but here's my two cents...

    Take the time to try different brands, blends, and tobacco types to find your "core" of preferred tobacco type as a home base, cellar some, and branch out from there.
    Throw no tobacco away... just put in the cellar and come back to it later.
    Take notes about what you like/dislike about each blend at each age milestone you set, so you can compare later, or find similar "stepping stone" blends to other tobacco types.
    Revisit blends you disliked. You may refine your tastes and expand as your experience grows. Or use it as trade.
    Heavy aromatics, in general, will lose their "punch" over time, so stocking up for years on that "Peaches and Cream" may not necessarily reap the same enjoyment tomorrow as you have today.
    Protect your investment - make sure you prepare/preserve your tobacco correctly.

    A bonus to "snowballing" your cellar and adding as you go, you'll have a steady rolling timeline of tobacco becoming ripe with a good base of your favorites already getting a head start.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
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  6. rondel65

    rondel65 Misplaces Lighters

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    It takes time to grow your cellar. You have to try many blends to see if they are for you. That's the fun part. If it's a blend I really like, I keep at least 8 tins or more on hand. If you like a blend and it's available in bulk, that's a good thing. I pay attention to what people are smoking on this forum and have many blends on hand that I haven't tried yet. I'll use these as trade bait one day or I may decide to try them. Quietly maturing and aging, only getting better. It's nice to have a wide variety but if I was just starting out, I would first concentrate on what you like and build that up first. Good Luck!
     
  7. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Active Member

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    Your best bet is whatever works well for you! First, yes, have some level of confidence that you like a blend before you start squirreling it away (or be sure it's a blend you'll have no trouble trading away to a forum member in a few years ;)). Second, as to amounts...if doubling up your order works well for you, go for it. I'm more likely to cellar bulk blends than tins myself, so I like to buy a pound or two at a time. Many bulks come in 5 lb bags and that's often the best price break per ounce, but that's often more than I like to spend at once. Either way, a very common tactic is to put together an order that gets you free shipping (around $100 for a lot of the tobacco e-tailers). But you really can put any amount away - mason jars come in many sizes, and tins are ready to go! - so do what works for you.
     
  8. Cristos

    Cristos Member

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    You guys are giving me some excellent advice here! Buying in bulk seems to be my best way to go. And Tony, I hadn't even thought of the free shipping on larger orders, but now that you mention it, I know you're right. I've already found a few blends that I know will become regulars of mine so I suppose I will be ordering those in bulk when I can and squirreling away the majority. Like I said, when it comes to something like this, patience is not my virtue. I want it all, and I wanted it yesterday. One thing I just started doing is keeping a simple e-journal on the blends I have available at the moment. In fact, I'm in the process of reviewing an aro as we speak. I feel like this will definitely help me keep track of what I want to drop some serious moulah on and what I don't. Anyway, thanks for all the quick responses! Now back to le journal...
     
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  9. Jayson

    Jayson Member

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    I will have to do the order 2 smoke 1 method. Our draconian tobacco laws here in Canada mean that any order over 7/8oz get taxed HEAVILY!!
     
  10. umfunix

    umfunix Active Member

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    ....a quick tip from me on a tobacco or blend you don't like. Keep it and use it to blend your own. I had 2 to 3 blends I bought which I didn't like too much. I took a scale, wrote down what I'm going to do and started blending small quantities, smoked and made some notes. This way I never had to throw unliked tobacco away. :). And its kinda of fun blending your own.
     
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  11. javajunkie

    javajunkie Member

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    set a goal, clearly and concisely, and set a realistic budget. then, try to taste everything you can get your hands on, to get an idea of what is out there. also, realize that a lot of non-aromatic tobaccos are going to be as good, or not better, with age.

    (and i KNOW i may not meet the criteria of "old fart", but as someone who has spent a year agressively cellaring, AND as a 15yr stogie vet, i feel these points are basic enough to stand)
     
  12. Stewart

    Stewart Member

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    Why not go to the tobacco reviews website and identify the most highly rated tobaccos with the most reviews and then order one tin of the top ten? Your exposure should be no more than about $100 with free shipping.

    Alternatively, ask everyone here for the benchmarks in each style. You'll get plenty of input.
     
  13. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    Something that hasn't been mentioned is which blends age best.
    Virginia/Va-Per blends will age best. Some 20+ year old Va's are sublime.
    Next would be your English/Oriental blends...they're good for 8-10 years before the Latakia shows significant fading.
    Burleys don't have enough sugar to "age", but will store indefinitely.
    Aromatics are the pits to store...buy what you want to smoke as you smoke it.

    Determine which GENRE of tobaccos you like best, then look at bulk purchases within that genre. Always put name, blender and date on your storage jars. Date tins as you receive them too
    .
     
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  14. Cristos

    Cristos Member

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    More good advice...so let's keep it rolling. Stewart suggested that I ask everyone about their opinions on the benchmarks of each category of tobacco...any thoughts/opinions on some good starters? Here's what I currently have in stock and what I have tried recently:

    -Lane Q40 (I'm assuming that's what it is. It came from my local B&M advertised under a different name, but the guy said it was one of the most popular aro's in the country right now, so I'm guessing it's Q40)

    -Sutliff Molto Dolce

    -Erik Nording's Hunter Blend-Labrador

    -McClelland Deep Hollow

    -Seattle Pipe Club Mississippi River

    -P&C.com's Hearth and Home series-Mazatec

    -Dunhill EMP

    -Dunhill NC

    I also have a straight Latakia that I was talked into buying a couple oz of. I usually use it as an additive. It's not much of a variety but I'm working on branching out and have already decided that a couple of those blends will have a permanent position in my daily rotation. What else can you guys suggest I try? If this question belongs in another part of the forum then I will start a separate thread.

    Cheers,

    Cristos

    p.s. T-bear, I already started the habit of marking my jars with the brand and title of each tobacco, but I haven't marked my tins or any jars with a purchase date as of yet...good idea.
     
  15. Cristos

    Cristos Member

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    *Edit* Sorry about calling Lane's 1Q by the wrong name...they call it IQ 140 at my B&M so I guess my brain combined the two.
     
  16. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    Take the time to get to know a blend before your order it in bulk. I have a lot of bulk blends in my cellar, but I never order a pound (or more) before I've smoked a tin or a pouch. Whenever I order tinned tobacco, I order three of them. If it turns out that I like it, I then already have a couple on hand. If I don't care for it, then I'll have trading plunder.

    However, thus far I haven't found a blend that I don't care for except for Sutliff Golden Age and Sutliff Spinnaker. Golden Age was so postured by the manufacturer as the equal of Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture that I was skeptical, so I only ordered a tin. Glad I did that. The Spinnaker was a freebie from 4noggins (I think). Just vile! I disposed of it into a hazmat disposal baggie after tagging it as alien excrement. I'm still waiting for the Men in Black to get me with that flashy thingy.
     
  17. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    You didn't mention which of these you favored. What you need to do Cristos, is divide those blends into categories. and see which one 9or two) your favorites fall into. This is the genre you need to concentrate your trials on. Use this forum and/or www.tobaccoreviews.com to find more in that genre.
     
  18. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    If you were rich , I'd say just order what ya want and alot of it ! Being yer a regular dude like most of us , I'd say that first .. figure what you like best , though if it were a bulk blend .... even better . Buy a pound at a time . Bulk blends start at 21 bucks and go to damn near 50 . But a majority of bulk blends are 3o bucks there abouts . I would have figured pipe tobacco to be taxed way higher by now but given the disaster that the current administration has procured , apparently they have other issues that come first . So , stock up now , if ya can , because at some point theyre gonna see to it that us pipe smokers get waylaid in taxes ... I'd bet DMKerrs left pinky on it
     
  19. browny

    browny Member

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    Mate your government is pretty bad but it could be a lot worse......trust me, the Australian government went past draconian atleast 5 years ago.

    I have just started a cellar last week, and it will take some time to improve on a few tins but it has to start somewhere, I plan to buy a little extra each order even 1 tin a month for the cellar is better than nothing. Once you have something you think is worthy, get that bit extra whenever you can and label it with the date.
     
  20. SteveH

    SteveH Active Member

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    One possible way of gradually building a cellar (or a surplus) if you can't afford to buy a large amount at one time (as I can't, being on a fairly modest weekly wage), and which I keep meaning to try myself but not getting round to, is to buy modest amounts, more often than you need to. I may start buying three or four 50gm tins (or two 100gm tins) of my favourites every week, which is quicker than I get through them.
     
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