Aging Virginias & pipe tobacco in general

Duckcheeps

New member
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Hi all,
I lurk and read a lot about pipe tobacco, but need some direct advice from tenured pipe smokers because I have read some differing articles/advice on this subject.

Some background: I started off with English blends coming from cigar smoking, but dipped my toes into Virginias just recently. I first bought Haddo's Delight and was floored by the flavors, then quickly started to look into purer Virginas and VaPer/VaBur blends... I researched a bunch. My head started spinning....I ended up buying LC Edisto and Escudo, opened both tins as soon as I got them, and was underwhelmed, but not disappointed...I could taste the potential. I labeled, dated, and mason jarred these two tins immediately and they are in my closet to rest for at least 6 months before trying again. I then went out and bought 3 more tins of Escudo and 1 more of LC Edisto. Do I leave these new tins to age in the original or move them into mason jars for aging? I also have some 2 year old Ten Russians....just opened from the tin and it is heaven but I haven't tried it fresh to compare. What about other tobaccos regarding aging?

P.S. I also have some Watch City Cigar Flake #558 on the way (Thanks Slow Tri..great reviews), along with GLP Windjammer...pretty sure I am morphing into a Virginiaman. Any advice on aging is appreciated.

Thanks to everyone
 

Sasquatch

Not my monkeys.
Staff Member
Okay, I mean, pipe tobacco certainly changes with age, but it's not a for sure thing that it all gets better with age, even virginias.

I would say that across the board, the result of aging tobacco is a lessening of sharper flavors. Sometimes a perceived increase in sweetness, but I've certainly had tobaccos that did not move favorably in that regard. I've had a number of really old tobaccos that had a sort of ... dusty library... taste to them. Not bad but not interesting or especially pleasant.

I think in the case of virginias, when we age them, we hope some of the nippy edge comes off the flavor profile. And that usually happens with 3-5 years in a jar. I think Va/Per type blends are harder to assess - the virginia is flattening out, but the perique might not be, and in fact if the virginias are fermenting at all, they may be getting a little more perique-y in some ways, so old Va/pers can be pretty punchy.

You'll see less obvious changes in most latakia mixtures (like the ten russians) unless you age them a very long while indeed. I've got Midnight Ride here that's probably ten years old and it's delicious and spicy and full and smoky... it might be just a little less prickly than when it was fresh, but ... it's still pretty interesting. Age has not calmed it down much.

There's always the possibility that you like a blend fresh. I smoke lots of Club Blend from Mac Baren, and I prefer it in a 3-5 year window than say, at 15 years - when it's old, it's all soft and wimpy and not as spicy and doesn't have quite as much difference between the component tobaccos showing. I like it a little rude.

I think you shouldn't worry about this stuff. Enjoy the tobaccos you enjoy, and stay away from the ones you don't. Aging doesn't make a bad tobacco good. Nor does it make a tobacco you don't like into a tobacco you do like, in almost every case.

As your palate gets refined, and your smoking technique improves (and I'm talking a ten year plan for both), your tastes may change, and luckily, you'll have a few tins put away (and mostly, the screw top type tins are fine for aging, the square tins... probably jar up). There's just a world of flavors out there, and it's far more important to be smoking and enjoying and experimenting than to be worrying about whether you are opening this or that tin at just the right time.
 

Mikewood

Well-known member
I can’t add anything except to say a tobacco in a sealed tin that has been stored in a cool fry place is worth more as trading bait than one in a mason jar. Say you let these hang out for about 5 years. You crack your jar and decide it’s not for you. The tins won’t be that different. So you trade your unopened tins with someone on this board or another for something you do like. They will be happy and so will you. Then again you might love it and want to share. Or skip ahead and trade two fresh tins for someone who has a single old tin. Or whatever deal you workout. Then you can cut to the chase. Also like rings on a tree. If you like the old tin buy a few every year for the next five years and cellar them out.
 

SwampWeed

Black Rope & Black Beer
Patron
Sales
If it's tinned, I leave it in the tin. As long as it's climate controlled, it should be fine.

@Sasquatch is dead on. If you didn't really like escudo now, a little age may or may not help it. My advice is only cellar blends you like fresh instead of hoping something miraculous is going to happen in a few years.. Once you have a little time on the forum, you will be permitted to trade; I suggest you look into the new/old trading post and/or simply request trades for specific aged stuff. Chances are very good that someone on this forum has what you are looking for with some age on it.

For now, keep sampling and exploring!
 

owl

Well-known member
Any advice on aging is appreciated.
 

Duckcheeps

New member
Thank you all for chiming in. I have experienced zen-like moments with certain tobaccos that I have earlier smoked out of a different pipe that yeilded "meh" like results. Some of this I attribute to cadence in smoking and maybe even my mindset...sometimes I find myself impatient and smoking too quick because its cold out or the wife is pressuring me to hurry up with my bowl...I find the best smokes are when I am paying attention, breathing methodically, and focusing on what I am tasting and feeling... the ebb and flow of the pipe seems paramount. It's certainly a learning process. Particularly thanks to @owl for the link provided regarding aging and storing tobacco. I'm working through the texts. Enjoyed a bowl of Haddo's tonight and got some good cool smoke, with great flavors...going to finish the night with Mixture 965. Again, thanks all
 

Rastlin79

New member
Don't want to hijack your thread but this does concern aging so figured why start a new thread! I'm still super young in my pipe smoking life, pretty much started like duckcheeps with English blends "though I did start to venture into VaPer's recently" (Dunbar, PS Luxury Navy Flake). Wanted to start building a celler and my question concerns G.L Pease Westminster, this is one of his only Blends that comes in a 16 Oz tin at a substantial savings compared to the 2 Oz or 8 Oz alternative. Pease wrote an article about the benefits of aging the smaller over the larger which made sense to me but I was thinking I could accomplish the same thing if I divided it out in 2 Oz portions and sealed in mylar bags for aging. Would I ultimately achieve the same aging or is it better to buy a tin or two at a time and stop being cheap.😁
 

JamesM

Uninformed Expert
Patron
Don't want to hijack your thread but this does concern aging so figured why start a new thread! I'm still super young in my pipe smoking life, pretty much started like duckcheeps with English blends "though I did start to venture into VaPer's recently" (Dunbar, PS Luxury Navy Flake). Wanted to start building a celler and my question concerns G.L Pease Westminster, this is one of his only Blends that comes in a 16 Oz tin at a substantial savings compared to the 2 Oz or 8 Oz alternative. Pease wrote an article about the benefits of aging the smaller over the larger which made sense to me but I was thinking I could accomplish the same thing if I divided it out in 2 Oz portions and sealed in mylar bags for aging. Would I ultimately achieve the same aging or is it better to buy a tin or two at a time and stop being cheap.😁
I like the cheap idea. You can age in different stages to see what age you like best.
 

Haint

Well-known member
Patron
Try your Escudo and Edisto in different pipes with different preparation methods and different packing techniques. I find Virginias are the most subject to outside influences to flavors. IMHO
Much like you, I came to the pipe from many years smoking cigars and for the most part if you liked a cigar then you'd like the rest in that box. I discovered there are so many more variables in pipe smoking than with cigars. For sure try all the permutations that @Watchmaker talked about.
 

McWiggins

Photoshop Jerk
Patron
Don't want to hijack your thread but this does concern aging so figured why start a new thread! I'm still super young in my pipe smoking life, pretty much started like duckcheeps with English blends "though I did start to venture into VaPer's recently" (Dunbar, PS Luxury Navy Flake). Wanted to start building a celler and my question concerns G.L Pease Westminster, this is one of his only Blends that comes in a 16 Oz tin at a substantial savings compared to the 2 Oz or 8 Oz alternative. Pease wrote an article about the benefits of aging the smaller over the larger which made sense to me but I was thinking I could accomplish the same thing if I divided it out in 2 Oz portions and sealed in mylar bags for aging. Would I ultimately achieve the same aging or is it better to buy a tin or two at a time and stop being cheap.😁
It's up to you. All ways of doing this have their good and bad sides. I see my cellar as an investment in a world where the price keeps going up and regulations keep changing. I don't know what tomorrow brings. A well kept cellar helps me in knowing that I will have things I like to smoke, even if sales are outlawed, prices get too high for my budget or a blend/blender goes away. It's also an investment in future trades with members in the community.

Keeping the investment side in mind, what I do pack in mylar is either bulk tobacco or tobacco that comes in a cellophane bag as tins are more of what is accepted in trades. It's also nice as they are measured out and nothing more for me to really do other than I write the date I got it on the tin and update my spreadsheet so I know what I have, how much I have and how old it is.

Mylar is great as a low budget but proven method (when it comes to food storage and preservation) in keeping the tobacco around a while. Jars are another proven option. Whichever way one goes, they will age just fine with a few downsides. Mold is always an issue and sometimes it just happens, even from the blender but by packing away bulk, one can introduce something bad like a mold spore. It's an extra step of being out in the open. It's rare but happens and I take precautions using basic sterile practices learned in growing mushrooms. For those that don't know, when growing mushrooms, you have to be very cautious as mold can easily be introduced so you have to have good sterile setup. The other downside to packing in jars or mylar is that they arent worth as much in trades or sales.

Like I said, it's up to you. Personally, I pack bulk in mylar in roughly 2oz offerings and buy the smaller version of the tins if larger options are available. That's what works for me.
 
Okay, I mean, pipe tobacco certainly changes with age, but it's not a for sure thing that it all gets better with age, even virginias.

I would say that across the board, the result of aging tobacco is a lessening of sharper flavors. Sometimes a perceived increase in sweetness, but I've certainly had tobaccos that did not move favorably in that regard. I've had a number of really old tobaccos that had a sort of ... dusty library... taste to them. Not bad but not interesting or especially pleasant.

I think in the case of virginias, when we age them, we hope some of the nippy edge comes off the flavor profile. And that usually happens with 3-5 years in a jar. I think Va/Per type blends are harder to assess - the virginia is flattening out, but the perique might not be, and in fact if the virginias are fermenting at all, they may be getting a little more perique-y in some ways, so old Va/pers can be pretty punchy.

You'll see less obvious changes in most latakia mixtures (like the ten russians) unless you age them a very long while indeed. I've got Midnight Ride here that's probably ten years old and it's delicious and spicy and full and smoky... it might be just a little less prickly than when it was fresh, but ... it's still pretty interesting. Age has not calmed it down much.

There's always the possibility that you like a blend fresh. I smoke lots of Club Blend from Mac Baren, and I prefer it in a 3-5 year window than say, at 15 years - when it's old, it's all soft and wimpy and not as spicy and doesn't have quite as much difference between the component tobaccos showing. I like it a little rude.

I think you shouldn't worry about this stuff. Enjoy the tobaccos you enjoy, and stay away from the ones you don't. Aging doesn't make a bad tobacco good. Nor does it make a tobacco you don't like into a tobacco you do like, in almost every case.

As your palate gets refined, and your smoking technique improves (and I'm talking a ten year plan for both), your tastes may change, and luckily, you'll have a few tins put away (and mostly, the screw top type tins are fine for aging, the square tins... probably jar up). There's just a world of flavors out there, and it's far more important to be smoking and enjoying and experimenting than to be worrying about whether you are opening this or that tin at just the right time.
Bravo Sir!!! Nice read.
 

Green Drake

Well-known member
Patron
Don't want to hijack your thread but this does concern aging so figured why start a new thread! I'm still super young in my pipe smoking life, pretty much started like duckcheeps with English blends "though I did start to venture into VaPer's recently" (Dunbar, PS Luxury Navy Flake). Wanted to start building a celler and my question concerns G.L Pease Westminster, this is one of his only Blends that comes in a 16 Oz tin at a substantial savings compared to the 2 Oz or 8 Oz alternative. Pease wrote an article about the benefits of aging the smaller over the larger which made sense to me but I was thinking I could accomplish the same thing if I divided it out in 2 Oz portions and sealed in mylar bags for aging. Would I ultimately achieve the same aging or is it better to buy a tin or two at a time and stop being cheap.😁
You’re just trading your effort in re-packaging for a slightly lower price.
I do that with GH, I buy the 500g bags and stuff into jars. MacBaren though, some are tins and some are bulk. Peretti, I buy the 8oz paint cans and cellar as-is
The nice thing about tins is that when they arrive, just note the date and stick them in a drawer.
 

Russ H.

Mr. Fruity Pebbles
Out of many things I’ve read about storing tobacco the post @Sasquatch put up is the most sensible thing I’ve read in a long time. My main reason for putting some blends back is the fact it’s getting worse to find some stuff but there are some really great blends out there these days. On my end taxation is one of the things I looked at also. I stopped worrying a long time ago about whether I should open stuff up, and all that crap. Put some of your favorite blends back and don’t worry about it. The last thing I want to do is over complicate pipe smoking. Read and listen to folks like @Sasquatch and you’ll be in good shape for the shape you’re in.
 

Baboo

Well-known member
When we buy way more tobacco than we can smoke at a comfortable pace, the tobaccos will age whether that is our aim or not. In my experience, cellared tobaccos aged well and in most cases rendered them changed in a favorable way. Aging tobacco for my over abundant cellar was not necessarily my objective, just a consequence of too much to smoke with too little time.
 

Russ H.

Mr. Fruity Pebbles
I have found that storing/ aging does what most have found-knocks any harsh edges off the blend ingredients. Granted some aromatics loose a little flavor, but for the most part I haven’t had anything go totally flat tasting. The one blend I find for me that loses a litt something is Bobs Chocolate Flake—this blend seems to really mellow and loses flavor, but most any blend I have-and I have some really old stuff hasn’t ended up being flavorless or totally flat. I think over all most all of this stuff if kept properly will be just fine.
 

ajl67

Well-known member
Okay, I mean, pipe tobacco certainly changes with age, but it's not a for sure thing that it all gets better with age, even virginias.

I would say that across the board, the result of aging tobacco is a lessening of sharper flavors. Sometimes a perceived increase in sweetness, but I've certainly had tobaccos that did not move favorably in that regard. I've had a number of really old tobaccos that had a sort of ... dusty library... taste to them. Not bad but not interesting or especially pleasant.

I think in the case of virginias, when we age them, we hope some of the nippy edge comes off the flavor profile. And that usually happens with 3-5 years in a jar. I think Va/Per type blends are harder to assess - the virginia is flattening out, but the perique might not be, and in fact if the virginias are fermenting at all, they may be getting a little more perique-y in some ways, so old Va/pers can be pretty punchy.

You'll see less obvious changes in most latakia mixtures (like the ten russians) unless you age them a very long while indeed. I've got Midnight Ride here that's probably ten years old and it's delicious and spicy and full and smoky... it might be just a little less prickly than when it was fresh, but ... it's still pretty interesting. Age has not calmed it down much.

There's always the possibility that you like a blend fresh. I smoke lots of Club Blend from Mac Baren, and I prefer it in a 3-5 year window than say, at 15 years - when it's old, it's all soft and wimpy and not as spicy and doesn't have quite as much difference between the component tobaccos showing. I like it a little rude.

I think you shouldn't worry about this stuff. Enjoy the tobaccos you enjoy, and stay away from the ones you don't. Aging doesn't make a bad tobacco good. Nor does it make a tobacco you don't like into a tobacco you do like, in almost every case.

As your palate gets refined, and your smoking technique improves (and I'm talking a ten year plan for both), your tastes may change, and luckily, you'll have a few tins put away (and mostly, the screw top type tins are fine for aging, the square tins... probably jar up). There's just a world of flavors out there, and it's far more important to be smoking and enjoying and experimenting than to be worrying about whether you are opening this or that tin at just the right time.
Spot on.
I’m too old to buy new stuff to age, at least not worry about it. If i want aged I’ll hunt around and buy some with 3 or 4 years on it, but there is just too much good stuff out there that’s perfect for me right now.

Less thinking and more enjoying!
 
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