I'm building up a tobacco cellar, and have been focusing on tried and true bulks from MacB and PS. When I first hooked up with PSF, I had been back at the pipe for a couple of years and was smoking what OTC's I could find locally - generally, PA, CH, and SWR. The evil people here at PSF corrupted me, and I've become a serious flake and Lakelands fiend. I've also been introduced to some other great tobaccos. However, I've neglected OTC's. The fancier stuff I've tried since hooking up with PSF have been great, don't get me wrong, but I find that I don't really get much out of a nuanced blend like, say FMOT. A great smoke, but I'm not sure I really appreciate it. Now, throw something simple and one dimensional at me like MacB Mixture Flake, MacB Solent Mixture, MacB Golden Extra, PS Cubed Burley, PS LNF, or PS EOS and I'm really good to go. Pipe smokers have differing needs and tastes, and I just want a nice relaxing bowl of baccy. So, I've been slowly revisiting good old American Burley, aka OTC, blends since they are about as simple and one dimensional as you can get - and I've been loving it. Many of these blends have been around for far longer than most of us have been alive and for one very simple reason: they're good pipe tobaccos. The fact that many of them are inexpensive and easy to find doesn't hurt either. The internet only helps with these tobaccos, since it allows me to locate OTC's that I cannot find locally. So far, I've revisited the usual suspects: CH, PA, SWR, Walnut, and H&H. Well, I haven't actually revisited CH or SWR because these are perenial favorites that I have as part of my morning smoke rotation. Walnut is also not a revisit, and I've always had some this on hand because it's really good. These smokes have all been around since Mobby Dick was a guppy cuz they're very good smokes. Now PA and H&H were revisits, more-or-less, and I find that they are not among my favorites. PA tends to get a little sour on me half-way through, but aside from that it is a pretty good smoke. H&H is just too light for me, but I certainly see the brilliance of this blend and why it appeals to so many smokers. Middleton Cherry Blend is one that I've sampled from time to time, but never actually bought a whole pouch. However, I found it locally and have now been through two pouches, and I have to say that it is just brilliant. SWRA is an aromatic OTC that I often saw, but never got around to really trying. However, I've been through two pouches of this and I think it is another simply brilliant tobacco. My upcoming hit list of OTC tobies to revisit includes Granger (just ordered two pouches) and Velvet (on the slate for next payday). I'm gonna check out my favorite "tobacco shop" on Friday and see what Jay, the owner, managed to order. Hopefully, he will have scored some Mixture 79 (yes, I'm up for a potential suicide mission) or any one of the other 10 blends I put on the list. If so, then I guess I'll have to pick up a pouch of something. Hell, I might even give Paladin or Captain Black a go just for shats and giggles. The OTC's of legend were intentionally designed to be mild and one dimensional. Blenders wanted to create pipe tobaccos that the masses would return to time after time, and they realized that the best way to do this was to put out relatively mild and smooth blends with a pleasing taste and room note, that goes easy on the consumer's wallet, and is relatively inexpensive to produce so that they can maximize profits. (Yes, they were men of bidnis - not "artisans."). I suspect that this is harder than we think, but they managed to do it, and in the process they managed to create some really brand-loyal consumers. Many an old codger I've known over the years had one or two OTC blends that they blissfully smoked for all their many years, and they tended to favor one blender over another. They certainly tried other blends, but they invariably returned to their old favorites. Thus, one codger might be a "Middleton Man," while another is a "Pinkerton Man." Perhaps this might seem boring to some, but I find the notion kind of comforting. I'm looking for blend or two that I can count on to give me years upon years of smoking pleasure. I posses the codger desire to have nothing more than just a good bowl of tobacco, and I really appreciate the OTC tobacco's abilities to deliver such smokes. I've yet to settle on my codger blend, but I've certainly found some good condidates. So the search continues, and that search is half the fun of pipe smoking.