Christmas cheer - when to smoke?

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Lunter

Well-known member
Patron
#1
I have 300grams of 2011 Xmas blend from McClelland. Straight Virginia. It is 8 years now. I know there is an arc to tobacco aging in terms of flavour development - when would you open the first tin? How long is too long for pure Virginia? I have lots of aged tobacco (wasn't intentional) but of course with mcC once it is gone it is really gone...

Thanks.
 

JRobert

Nuclear Moderator
Staff member
#2
This topic might help: https://pipesmokersdens.com/threads/pipe-tobacco-aging-storage-and-cellaring-faq.898/

Specifically this section of the FAQ: https://pipe-club.com/tobacco_aging_faq/eng/aging.php#q1

And the short answer, quoting G.L. Pease from that section:
From my experience with tasting old tobaccos, Virginias, really good ones, have indefinite life expectancies. I have no idea where the plateau is, or if there is one.

Nearly any good tobacco, like a good wine, will improve with age. How much it will improve, and how long, depends on a lot of factors. Virginias and perique will improve with age, seemingly indefinitely. I've smoked ANCIENT Virginias and VA/perique blends that were just sublime.
But other people may have a different opinion. Let's see what people here say...
 

Ozark Wizard

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Old Ted Award Winner
#4
I've had fresh, I've had aged. I can't say whether or not they are better aged, but they are different. Your eight year old Christmas Cheer is most likely great now. This would be what I'd do.

Open one, jat up most of it and smoke some now. Leave the other two tins to sit another five years. When you get the itch, smoke some out of the jarred stuff. I've got some 2000 Christmas Cheer that I recently opened that was nice, but I couldn't tell you if it was "better" than when I opened a fresh tin 19 years ago. I really couldn't tell you if it was even changed honestly because that was almost twenty years ago, and there's been a lot going on between those times. Christmas Cheer never really had rough edges to smooth out over time, and was already aged a bit before being released.

Anyway, "better"? That's subjective. "Different", that's more likely.
 

Flakesmoker

Well-known member
#8
What Ozark and spillproof said.
It's all very subjective, one pipeman' trash is another's treasure. I have several vintages of CC, my oldest was a 1996 tin. Imo, that tin was a little past it's prime. Good, but a little flat tasting. To my palate, the 8-10 year old window is where the CC series really shine.
The brown label tins are a bit different. The #24, 27, 22 Matured Virginias can be amazing at 20+ years.
As stated, it's subjective to each smoker's palate as to what is a "perfect" vintage smoke.
Therefore, YMMV.
 

MakDragon

Optomistic Curmudgeon
Patron
#12
If you open the tin and smoke some of it, not all, then jar the rest until next Christmas and see how that changed it. Obviously the change will be different then the unopened tins because of the oxygen that has been reintroduced to the tobacco.
I have a tin of Peterson Christmas Blend 2012 that I purchased that year and is also the year my dad passed so I only smoke a little each year since and only from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Each time I open the jar, it is the same but different.
 

Drydock

Well-known member
#13
Ugh. Still kick myself not getting any Christmas Cheer. At the time, I felt that my taste/ability wouldn't be 'up to' understanding & appreciating McC blends. Never thought they'd close. Hindsight, man.

I agree with above--smoke some now, enough to form an opinion--then jar up and let rest for several months, see what's up. Taste experiments are great! But I also find time & place can affect a smoke (for me) almost as much as the blend itself. Have had some 'meh' tobacco's elevated by company (or isolation), some 'good' tobaccos that fell flat due to headspace or whatever.

@MakDragon, same for me--but with dad's last bottle of Lagavulin. Small family and for whatever reason, most died between Nov-Jan, so this time of year begins to get rough. Scotch ritual is something to look forward to. (y)
 

dryan

Well-known member
#18
I still have about half of my first tin of CC (2015) in a jar I pull out during the holidays a few times or on special occasions; though, to be perfectly honest, with the infrequent amounts I smoke it, I'm not sure the improvement age has had on it with being opened a few times a year. I have three '16 and a '17 stowed away and plan on letting them age a while before opening, though the rate I smoke it I imagine I'll easily get some age on them.

Essentially, I'd just smoke it as the mood strikes.
 

tipofthelake

Fiddlesticksing sick of politics and posturing
Patron
#19
There are a lot of great opinions in this thread from those way more experienced than I am, but I would say open some and enjoy it whenever it strikes you to do so. Too many people put off enjoying their lives only to never get the opportunity. Plan for the future, but don't forget to live today.
 

tfdickson

Well-known member
Patron
#20
There are a lot of great opinions in this thread from those way more experienced than I am, but I would say open some and enjoy it whenever it strikes you to do so. Too many people put off enjoying their lives only to never get the opportunity. Plan for the future, but don't forget to live today.
This is great advice. I bought 2-3 tins of CC every year starting in 2000 or 2001. My plan was to smoke each one at the ten year mark. Today I’m still on 2003 for no particular good reason. In my case the happy news is that I still have those tins but under so circumstances would I have ever felt bad about cracking one and at this point the marginal gain from aging is minimal. Crack one and enjoy!
 
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