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 The high price of tobacco?

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PostSubject: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:49 pm

A few years ago I decided to bypass the blenders and the high price of tobaccos by growing my own. I spent a good amount of time researching the growing of various kinds of tobacco plants and processing of leaf before I started. My first crop was plagued with pests, molds, blight, and fungus. Yield was nil. Intending to grow organically I spent the winter researching solutions to the problems, soil enrichment, resistant strains of plants, and natural pesticides. The next two years provided good crops and the need to process the leaf into a smokable product involving building a kiln and strict regulation of temp and humidity on a daily basis. The results were questionable and although I did produce both Burley and Virginia that could be smoked, the quality wasn't up to snuff. Life got in the way and I abandoned the project although I felt with more work I could have been successful, at least making an OTC comparable blend. Three years of time and cash outlay provided me with a great appreciation for that ten dollar tin I was complaining about and the skill that went into it.

If you have the time sift through some of the tobacco information on the link below.


http://fairtradetobacco.com/

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:36 pm

I can't even imagine all the time, work, and toil that inevitably goes into producing a smokable blend, let alone a superior one. The folks that do this certainly do it out of tremendous dedication and discipline, as well as love of the leaf. Not to mention what must be a pittance return on their investment.

Yes, these folks have my highest respect.


cheers


Cheers,

RR

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:10 pm

$10 is a small price to pay for all the work, knowledge and skill that goes into a tobacco I can just stuff in my pipe and enjoy relaxing on my porch.
Though I strive to learn most everything I can to make my life cheaper and easier that is one
more that I'll leave for the professionals. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:29 pm

I just skimmed through a bunch of threads in the growing your own section. Phew, I am exhausted. Seems like most of those guys are part uber-gardener, part mad scientist. The stuff regarding growing traditional style versus high nicotine Orientals was quite interesting.

I am quite happy that someone else is doing it for us, and I'll gladly pay 1-12 bucks a tin.
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Richard Burley

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:50 pm

My mother was a genuine Tennessee/Kentucky hillbilly and would gladly relate stories of raising tobaccoweed as a child, something she was prone to do on way too many occasions. But it had its effect: I wouldn't be caught dead trying it, even if I knew I could pull it off, which seems damned unlikely. Division of labor is a great thing--let the experts do it, sez I. The cost of pipe tobacco is low on my list of concerns.

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:56 pm

All I know is I'd quit the pipe before walking one more row with the slit bag on my shoulder... Not even sure I'd be willing to ride the setter anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:59 pm

Brewdude wrote:
I can't even imagine all the time, work, and toil that inevitably goes into producing a smokable blend, let alone a superior one. The folks that do this certainly do it out of tremendous dedication and discipline, as well as love of the leaf. Not to mention what must be a pittance return on their investment.

Yes, these folks have my highest respect.


cheers


Cheers,

RR

Not unlike brewers.

afro
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Dutch

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:11 am

A couple thoughts come to mind.

Compared to a premium cigar, pipe tobacco is an out and out steal. I think a lot of the sticker shock comes from some pipe and cigar enthusiasts being able to remember when tobacco was much cheaper. Upside is that at some point they won't remember how cheap it used to be, and they will just enjoy smoking it. My dad told me when he was a kid, it cost a dime to go see a movie, and a nickel to buy a coke. I don't think they had invented popcorn yet, or maybe he just didn't have another nickel.

Also, I figure if you can afford a decent briar or meerschaum pipe, you can't really complain about the cost of premium tobacco. I'm betting that we are enjoying higher quality tobacco right now, than at any other time in history.

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puros_bran
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:05 am

Dutch, you hit on why I abandoned cigars for the pipe...   Price.  

Back then I could spend $2-3 on a decent  Padron/Fuente/etc or I could spend $5-6 on a tin of pipe tobacco and get 15-20 smokes.

I figured for $60-70 I could get a pretty decent pipe and a tin of tobacco or I could get a decent box of cigars.    When the 20 cigars were gone I had a box, when the 20 bowls were gone I had a pipe.



Edited in: Abandoned is a misnomer, I still enjoy a good cigar on occasion but it's not a daily and definitely not a multiple times per day occurance.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:10 am

puros_bran wrote:
Dutch, you hit on why I abandoned cigars for the pipe...   Price.  

Back then I could spend $2-3 on a decent  Padron/Fuente/etc or I could spend $5-6 on a tin of pipe tobacco and get 15-20 smokes.

I figured for $60-70 I could get a pretty decent pipe and a tin of tobacco or I could get a decent box of cigars.    When the 20 cigars were gone I had a box, when the 20 bowls were gone I had a pipe.



Edited in: Abandoned is a misnomer, I still enjoy a good cigar on occasion but it's not a daily and definitely not a multiple times per day occurance.

PB, I suppose different people have different motivations for smoking pipes and cigars. I too like the price break I get with pipe tobacco, but I also like the versatility that the pipe allows. This is the primary reason I reach for a pipe more often than a cigar. I sometimes enjoy smoking a pipe multiple times before I finish it completely, unlike a cigar which I feel I need to devote enough time to finish completely, or not smoke it at all.

I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:31 am

Well, we've known all along Size Matters.


I came for the price... I stayed because it's more stimulating.

I'd written a long lost poem about smoking my pipe as I drove through the night. Those alone times when you can just really get into the funky drift of your mind. Thinking about the people involved in the pleasure you enjoy at that moment (kinda like what's already been said tobacco wise) the man that toiled to grow it, the blender, the guy that drew the tin art... And the briar.. The man that dug it up, the cutters, the guy that cured it, the carver, or the guy that works at the pipe factory mindlessly cutting stems all day. The poor guy that works in the pipe shop, so numb to all the blends and briars around him because it became a job at some point. The guy who watches the machine making the matches or the cleaners. It really numbs my mind to all my problems when I get to thinking and puffing... Or when I'm playing in the celler or just messing with the pipes... Yeah price got me here but my mind keeps me here. There's a differing mentality in the different tobacco uses, and the pipe suits me just fine.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:35 am

Wise words Dutch and PB.

Without wishing to sound like the poorer cousin, this might make US prices a little more palatable; an average tin over here costs around $19.60. Offcuts might save a dollar or two. This is why we don't have cellars that make the Earth's crust sag.
Every cloud has a silver lining though... I truly savour every puff with each bowl being a special occasion that demands I stop everything and immerse myself in the moment. Of course, it would be nice if it was cheaper, but with our government (and likely any that follows), that isn't going to happen. Rolling Eyes
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Thomas Tkach

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:48 am

DireWolf wrote:
Brewdude wrote:
I can't even imagine all the time, work, and toil that inevitably goes into producing a smokable blend, let alone a superior one. The folks that do this certainly do it out of tremendous dedication and discipline, as well as love of the leaf. Not to mention what must be a pittance return on their investment.

Yes, these folks have my highest respect.


cheers


Cheers,

RR

Not unlike brewers.

afro

I think brewing is much easier than growing tobacco. It's not hard to brew decent beer at home on the stove, but there is a lot of work and needed equipment to do VAs right, smoke-cure latakia, steam-press a flake, etc. Brewing excellent beer takes some skill and attention, but making decent beer is not too hard.
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Richard Burley

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:09 am

Dutch wrote:
I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.

Yeah, what's with the fellatio bit, anyhow? I don't get it either. Guess I'm biased, preferring the corona size, or maybe a toro when feeling gay. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:21 pm

Thomas Tkach wrote:

I think brewing is much easier than growing tobacco. It's not hard to brew decent beer at home on the stove, but there is a lot of work  and needed equipment to do VAs right, smoke-cure latakia, steam-press a flake, etc. Brewing excellent beer takes some skill and attention, but making decent beer is not too hard.

May not be.

But it's not worth my time or expense.

Anyone can cook a steak in the microwave.

That doesn't mean a chef can't make magic.

The blenders that make the magic in the tin are just that - chefs.

IMO, of course.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:25 pm

Making excellent homebrew is challenging. I can't compare it to blending, as I have never tried my hand at it. However, home-brewers (much like home-chefs) tend to take for granted the amount of effort that goes into producing the high-quality ingredients that are needed to make their magic.

Growing and curing tobacco, IMHO, is on another level. In the brewing world, that would be the equivalent of malting your own barley.  

I have always thought that home-cooking and brewing, is probably a little less challenging than home-blending. The process and time involved with tasting and correcting your beer/food mistakes is practically instantaneous when compared to smoking through your tobacco blending errors. I often wonder how guys like Greg Pease feel smoking their mistakes. I would imagine there's a lot of patience involved to see a great blend to fruition, more patience than I have anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:43 pm

DrumsAndBeer wrote:
Making excellent homebrew is challenging. I can't compare it to blending, as I have never tried my hand at it. However, home-brewers (much like home-chefs) tend to take for granted the amount of effort that goes into producing the high-quality ingredients that are needed to make their magic.

Growing and curing tobacco, IMHO, is on another level. In the brewing world, that would be the equivalent of malting your own barley.  

I have always thought that home-cooking and brewing, is probably a little less challenging than home-blending. The process and time involved with tasting and correcting your beer/food mistakes is practically instantaneous when compared to smoking through your tobacco blending errors. I often wonder how guys like Greg Pease feel smoking their mistakes. I would imagine there's a lot of patience involved to see a great blend to fruition, more patience than I have anyway.

You've hit the nail on the head. I can pretty much buy the same malt, yeast, and hops that any craft brewer uses to make world-class beer. But that's not the same as growing my own barley and hops and malting them myself, etc. I've toasted brown and amber malt in the oven, but even that was from commercial 2row, not from stuff I malted myself or something.

Home blending is more comparable to home brewing. The problem there is I can't get blending leaf much cheaper than finished product, whereas I can brew beer much cheaper than buying it commercially (due to the taxes on beer that aren't placed on malted barley, hops, etc, used to make the beer). Some of my favorite tobaccos are hot-pressed flakes, which you just can't replicate in home blending with loose leaf.
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Dutch

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:02 pm

Richard Burley wrote:
Dutch wrote:
I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.

Yeah, what's with the fellatio bit, anyhow? I don't get it either. Guess I'm biased, preferring the corona size, or maybe a toro when feeling gay.  Laughing  

Richard, some of the best tasting cigars I have ever smoked, were in the smaller ring gauges. It's also interesting to note that a 50 ring gauge Cuban is a large ring gauge in their culture. Most of their cigars fall in the 40 ring gauge sizes, and I believe it is probably the sweet spot balancing filler and wrapper.

Here in America, we like 4000 calorie meals, Lincoln Navigators, and cigars so large they make the owner look ridiculous. How can you blame the cigar companies for marketing them, regardless the experience they deliver.
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:14 pm

Dutch wrote:
Richard Burley wrote:
Dutch wrote:
I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.

Yeah, what's with the fellatio bit, anyhow? I don't get it either. Guess I'm biased, preferring the corona size, or maybe a toro when feeling gay.  Laughing  

Richard, some of the best tasting cigars I have ever smoked, were in the smaller ring gauges. It's also interesting to note that a 50 ring gauge Cuban is a large ring gauge in their culture. Most of their cigars fall in the 40 ring gauge sizes, and I believe it is probably the sweet spot balancing filler and wrapper.

Here in America, we like 4000 calorie meals, Lincoln Navigators, and cigars so large they make the owner look ridiculous. How can you blame the cigar companies for marketing them, regardless the experience they deliver.

Look at it this way, it gives the rest of us some one else to laugh at.
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Thomas Tkach

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:20 pm

Dutch wrote:
Richard Burley wrote:
Dutch wrote:
I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.

Yeah, what's with the fellatio bit, anyhow? I don't get it either. Guess I'm biased, preferring the corona size, or maybe a toro when feeling gay.  Laughing  

Richard, some of the best tasting cigars I have ever smoked, were in the smaller ring gauges. It's also interesting to note that a 50 ring gauge Cuban is a large ring gauge in their culture. Most of their cigars fall in the 40 ring gauge sizes, and I believe it is probably the sweet spot balancing filler and wrapper.

Here in America, we like 4000 calorie meals, Lincoln Navigators, and cigars so large they make the owner look ridiculous. How can you blame the cigar companies for marketing them, regardless the experience they deliver.

Maybe some of you older guys can confirm, but haven't pipe bowls also gotten larger? Did Savinelli 320s with 1" wide bowls exist back when Dunhill still made tobacco?
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Dutch

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:37 pm

Cartaphilus wrote:
Dutch wrote:
Richard Burley wrote:
Dutch wrote:
I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.

Yeah, what's with the fellatio bit, anyhow? I don't get it either. Guess I'm biased, preferring the corona size, or maybe a toro when feeling gay.  Laughing  

Richard, some of the best tasting cigars I have ever smoked, were in the smaller ring gauges. It's also interesting to note that a 50 ring gauge Cuban is a large ring gauge in their culture. Most of their cigars fall in the 40 ring gauge sizes, and I believe it is probably the sweet spot balancing filler and wrapper.

Here in America, we like 4000 calorie meals, Lincoln Navigators, and cigars so large they make the owner look ridiculous. How can you blame the cigar companies for marketing them, regardless the experience they deliver.

Look at it this way, it gives the rest of us some one else to laugh at.

Definitely! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:42 pm

Thomas Tkach wrote:
Dutch wrote:
Richard Burley wrote:
Dutch wrote:
I recently visited a local tobacconist in Marietta, GA. I was interested in one of their lines, but could only find it in a 60 plus ring gauge. I asked if they had it in a toro or robusto size, as I have never liked the mega ring gauges. I made the comment that I was surprised that the mega ring gauge fad had lasted as long as it has. The clerk informed me that some folks come in not searching for a particular brand or blend, but rather the largest ring gauges available. I suppose for them, it's all about the image that the cigar presents in a particular size.

It's easy for us to forget I suppose, that some people smoke not for enjoyment or hobby, but instead for the image they hope to project to other people.

Yeah, what's with the fellatio bit, anyhow? I don't get it either. Guess I'm biased, preferring the corona size, or maybe a toro when feeling gay.  Laughing  

Richard, some of the best tasting cigars I have ever smoked, were in the smaller ring gauges. It's also interesting to note that a 50 ring gauge Cuban is a large ring gauge in their culture. Most of their cigars fall in the 40 ring gauge sizes, and I believe it is probably the sweet spot balancing filler and wrapper.

Here in America, we like 4000 calorie meals, Lincoln Navigators, and cigars so large they make the owner look ridiculous. How can you blame the cigar companies for marketing them, regardless the experience they deliver.

Maybe some of you older guys can confirm, but haven't pipe bowls also gotten larger? Did Savinelli 320s with 1" wide bowls exist back when Dunhill still made tobacco?

From what was told to me and I observed back in the late '60s early '70s, most of my European friends that were pipe smokers smoked what would have been considered mostly grp2/ grp 3 in size due to the cost of tobacco over there compared to what it was over here. Because Americans were able to buy tobacco at comparably lower costs, they tended to demand and the makers produced much larger sized pipes for the American market. I remember one B&M that had trouble selling many of it's grp 2 sized Dunhill to the point that they sold many of the same style of the smaller pipes at reduced prices to the more usual grp 4 or grp 5 sizes that they tried to stock. The really BIG pipes came in with the "Danish Freehand" era of the '70s /'80s when folks started wanting something "newer" in style. We seem to have always smoked larger sized pipes than they have in Europe especially in Great Britain. But then we've ALWAYS paid LESS for our 'baccy than they do across the big pond. STILL DO Twisted Evil
My father was a cigar smoker back then and I never saw him with anything bigger than a ring size 42 Carona whether it was a domestic or Cuban cigar. He always said that "... those larger sizes were for idiots that didn't know what a good cigar tasted like ! "  When I smoked more cigars than I do now, I found the ring size 40/42 seemed to truly give the best all around aspects flavor and smoking wise than the larger sizes did so he was somewhat correct. But "back in the day' we had $.15/gal gas and 16'-0" Cadillacs too! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:13 am

Interesting, and makes perfect sense. You know, every Tom, Dick and Harry that's new to piping prefers a ridiculously big pipe until they smoke 1792 or Happy Brown Bogie.

I prefer small pipes because I don't have time for a 2 hour smoke, ever. 30-45 minutes sure, but 1.5 to 2 hours are impossible for me unless the wife and kids are out of town. That said I either smoke a smaller pipe or I pack 1/2 bowls..


Last edited by DrumsAndBeer on Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : t)
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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:46 am

I have been trying my hand at making perique style tobacco and the result is smoke-able and pleasant, but I would agree that, in the end it is more cost efficient to allow a master tobacco producer and blender make a great blend than to try yourself, probably spending years just to get it right.  Hardly cost efficient, though probably more self satisfying to smoke your own.

But re-blending is definitely something I recommend: never enough perique!

Oldbear
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Thomas Tkach

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PostSubject: Re: The high price of tobacco?   Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:24 am

DrumsAndBeer wrote:
Interesting, and makes perfect sense. You know, every Tom, Dick and Harry that's new to piping prefers a ridiculously big pipe until they smoke 1792 or Happy Brown Bogie.

I prefer small pipes because I don't have time for a 2 hour smoke, ever. 30-45 minutes sure, but 1.5 to 2 hours are impossible for me unless the wife and kids are out of town. That said I either smoke a smaller pipe or I pack 1/2 bowls..

THIS! I recently did a video about how I like smaller pipes for the most part. Though some blends taste and smoke better in bigger bowls, stronger blends and especially pressed tobaccos go in smaller pipes. This time of year I almost only smoke while on my short commute, so it's either DGT or a partial bowl in a small pipe.
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