Am I crazy, or…

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GtrSmoker

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Wait, don’t answer that.

I’m still a relative rookie when it comes to tobaccos. I know what I like, and I seem to like more than I dislike. Or maybe I just choose carefully.

Anyway, I’ll get to the point. It involves how jarred tobacco ages. For our purposes here today, we’ll be discussing Virginias and VaPers, mainly.

I should give a little backstory first. My first pipe smoking experience lasted for a couple of years around 2007-10. I had just discovered Virginias and VaPers, when a series of major life events, in relatively rapid succession, led to me switching to exclusively snus for several years.

Over the next decade, I would occasionally smoke one of my pipes, but usually multiple years would pass between these rare smoke sessions. Then, just before last Christmas, I casually mentioned my pipes to my fiancé… and a light went off in my mind. It was like John Belushi’s church experience in the Blues Brothers: “My pipes!!!”

So I picked them back up with abandon, and I’ve been ordering way too much tobacco over the past six months. Which brings us back to the issue.

I’ve found that I can recognize a cellaring-induced improvement in some tobaccos in as little as three months. Luxury Bullseye Flake is a great example. I can hardly stand it when it’s fresh from Stokkebye. It tastes acidic to me. Weird, I know.

But within three months, it’s begun it’s transition into something special.

One of the first big orders I made was in January, when I ordered a pound of Sam Gawith St James Flake, and a half pound of Full Virginia Flake from Switzerland.

By the time I actually got the tobacco, my taste had evolved a little, so I’ve actually smoked very little of either SG blend. And it’s had nearly six months of jar time now.

But I have to admit, I can’t really detect any improvement or change in either the FVF or the St James.

Am I crazy?

I expected it to maybe mellow/smoothe out a little, kind of like with the LBF. But I really can’t tell if it has. It’s almost like all the SG casings are acting like a formaldehyde or something, just keeping it as “fresh” as it was the day I got it.

What’s going on here? Do some brands of Virginia and Virginia Flakes age faster and/or better than others?

For instance, a good portion of my stash (in addition to the SG I mentionedis Rattray’s. Marlin, Hal, Gowrie… the usual suspects. I also have a decent amount of GH flakes. And at least a pound each of Newminster Superior Navy Flake, Sutliff Virginia Slices, C&D Yorktown and Bright Virginia ribbon, and the aforementioned luxury bullseye.

Which of these are likely to be the stars? Who are the likely duds?
 

RSteve

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Quote: "What’s going on here? Do some brands of Virginia and Virginia Flakes age faster and/or better than others?"

Much has to do with the crop of tobacco and the components of the casing. Some casing components function as catalysts to speed aging.
 

lestrout

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Yo Gtr - no duds in your list. The age thang probably has much more to do with actual age and supply chain than brands there. Stokkebye and C&D turn over in inventory very quickly these days, especially from the big Etailers. (In)famously you can often find a newly received tin of C&D with the batch number of the same month. In contrast, ordering from Synjeco might involve stock that's been there for a few months. Most of the Euro and Britblends take a good while to make it across the pond to US distributors. Then they are compiled for orders to retailers. Then you show up to get them. A few years ago it was common for some of the less popular tins to be years old by the time they showed up on a shop's shelf.
 

GtrSmoker

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Yo Gtr - no duds in your list. The age thang probably has much more to do with actual age and supply chain than brands there. Stokkebye and C&D turn over in inventory very quickly these days, especially from the big Etailers. (In)famously you can often find a newly received tin of C&D with the batch number of the same month. In contrast, ordering from Synjeco might involve stock that's been there for a few months. Most of the Euro and Britblends take a good while to make it across the pond to US distributors. Then they are compiled for orders to retailers. Then you show up to get them. A few years ago it was common for some of the less popular tins to be years old by the time they showed up on a shop's shelf.
First off , thanks to you and @RSteve for taking the time to respond. Secondly, even though I knew that the C&D and GLP are green as a pepper tree when I (we) get them, and that the Synjeco shipment was fairly likely to have been sitting for a while, I hadn’t fully connected the dots in regard to my initial question. That definitely makes sense.

I’m definitely looking forward to expanding my knowledge of how aging changes various makers’ product. I’m going to get one particular answer very soon. I recently ordered a fairly large (for me) haul of decade old stuff from a fellow BoBer. It includes some favorites, and I’m really excited to see how much one in particular has changed. I’ve had new stock GLP Triple Play, and I wasn’t impressed. It just seemed kind of boring to me, compared to comparable European blends that I really enjoy.

But based on what you’ve described, chances are these European products (GH, Rattray etc) have a decent head start by the time they get to me.

As a rule, GLP hasn’t impressed me at all. But maybe I just haven’t given them a fair chance to catch up with my favorites, aging-wise.
 

ftrplt

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Your taste in tobacco is to be commended! Your patience may need a "longer" view!! Ginnyweeds (straight, VaPer, VaBur, Oriental, English, Balkan), in my opinion, need at least three years of age to even be considered "good!" Just how I do it!!
RSteve's and Les's comments are spot on!
"Patience, Grasshopper, patience!" That GLP is goona' get gooder!!!! FTRPLT
 

GtrSmoker

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Your taste in tobacco is to be commended! Your patience may need a "longer" view!! Ginnyweeds (straight, VaPer, VaBur, Oriental, English, Balkan), in my opinion, need at least three years of age to even be considered "good!" Just how I do it!!
RSteve's and Les's comments are spot on!
"Patience, Grasshopper, patience!" That GLP is goona' get gooder!!!! FTRPLT
I hope you’re right. The two ounces I have coming my way have about a decade in storage. It definitely contains the sort of combination that’s right up my alley. I’d love to have something so readily available that I could stock up on little by little, without having to keep a vigilant eye out, and worries about missing out.

I already know I’m fond of 3P, which is in the same ballpark, at least as far as ingredients and presentation. And that’s pretty easy to come by.

It’a just that the past couple of months, I’ve been happening upon fellow pipe smokers selling off portions of some very well stocked vaults… and at prices comparable to buying new stock.

Something like that is really hard to pass up, especially for someone who should have had a well stocked stash himself by now, if not for a decade long absence from the wonderful world of pipe tobacco.
 

ftrplt

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GS...I have beaucoup jars of well-aged tobacco I procured/was gifted/traded for with fellow Bobs in the ol' cellar!! And, yes, it is hard to pass-up such an opportunity!!!! FTRPLT
 

GtrSmoker

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GS...I have beaucoup jars of well-aged tobacco I procured/was gifted/traded for with fellow Bobs in the ol' cellar!! And, yes, it is hard to pass-up such an opportunity!!!! FTRPLT

It’s the darnedest thing. I was a member of a pipe forum or two back during my first go-round with pipes. Just before iPhones and Facebook became ubiquitous.

Now, there’s pipe smokers Facebook groups, a fairly active Reddit area devoted to lovers of pipe tobacco… but they have proven to be a sorry imitation of this sort of place. I’ve found them to be more impersonal, particularly Reddit.

I SUSPECT the lack of very many longtime smokers is because once you reach a certain age (no offense intended), one becomes less inclined to try new things, like say Reddit.

Besides, there’s nothing happening there that isn’t happening better here. But those areas of the Internet suffer without the true veteran pipe smokers.

I’m not trying to encourage anyone here to go there… and there’s very few there who I’d actually invite here if it was up to me. A couple of exceptions.

Just making an observation… they’re not likely to come here because it’s not the cool new toy. And many BoBs have no incentive to go there.

On the plus side, I suspect the ones who stick with pipes long enough will happen upon this place eventually. There’s much to be gained here, in the way of knowledge… and fellowship, for that matter.

And there are a few experienced (by comparison) smokers there to provide a little knowledge.

But those places are (I’m estimating) 90% populated by people within their first year of smoking. And a good portion of those are most interested in image. What’s the most stylish pipe (by genZ standards)… what’s the coolest looking tin I can photograph said pipe alongside?

Sorry, I’m rambling. I’m just glad this place isn’t that. Not that I don’t occasionally enjoy snapping pics of my latest haul. There’s just not a lot other than that there.
 
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Ranger107

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What is a Reddit anyway? In my best Joe Peshi imitation. Chalk it up to age and indifference. Started smoking a pipe in college back in 1971. I prefer to intercourse with folks from my same era or close. What, you been smoking pipes for a year? Go away and don't bother me, lol.
 

GtrSmoker

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What is a Reddit anyway? In my best Joe Peshi imitation. Chalk it up to age and indifference. Started smoking a pipe in college back in 1971. I prefer to intercourse with folks from my same era or close. What, you been smoking pipes for a year? Go away and don't bother me, lol.
I understand. GenX here, and all my siblings are boomers. My parents were children of the depression. But I’m still genX, which kind of puts me in the middle.

closer to this side of things though… I only learned of Reddit via my fiancé, who’s 12 years my junior.
 

Ranger107

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I understand. GenX here, and all my siblings are boomers. My parents were children of the depression. But I’m still genX, which kind of puts me in the middle.

closer to this side of things though… I only learned of Reddit via my fiancé, who’s 12 years my junior.
No problem Gtr. I was being a bit facetious. If you're a pipe smoker glad to converse with you. Been smoking pipes on and off for nearly 50 years and still learn something new every day.
 

GtrSmoker

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No problem Gtr. I was being a bit facetious. If you're a pipe smoker glad to converse with you. Been smoking pipes on and off for nearly 50 years and still learn something new every day.
To try to better answer your earlier question: Reddit is weird. Imagine a forum kinda like BoB, but there’s thousands and thousands of sub-forums. There’s one devoted to pipe tobacco, there’s likely one devoted to your other hobbies and favorite author. Some are more active than others, just like here.

I think of it as mostly a waste of time. My fiancé wastes hours and hours on such forums (they call them sub-Reddits or subs for short) as “Am I the Asshole” in which people take the time to type out these lengthy descriptions of issues within interactions with other people, and ask the strangers who’s really in the wrong. Everything she reads me out of that one sounds like poorly conceived fiction to me, but she can’t get enough.
 

Ranger107

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Yeah, have the same problem with facebook. Some of the posts are interesting and informative whereas others are pure garbage, especially the ones about so called "celebrities".
 

GtrSmoker

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Yeah, have the same problem with facebook. Some of the posts are interesting and informative whereas others are pure garbage, especially the ones about so called "celebrities".

The internet appeared for public consumption not long after I’d graduated high school. I was still in college the first time I was ever online. 96-ish, I think.

I discovered message boards not long after that, and it became my go-to any time I wanted to connect with specific communities. I was a mod for a couple of years on the most popular Marshall University football fans board.

Message boards have fallen out of favor among people of a certain age, and I don’t understand why.

I’m a member of a forum dedicated to the fender telecaster, but haven’t been on there regularly in at least a year. But it was a vital source for me when I was in the market for the perfect tube amp for my specific needs.

Message boards can be a little “wild west” …but Reddit is considerably worse. The subs I check out seem to have little if any mod presence.

But technology is starting to pass me by. I keep hearing about TikTok and other things… I’m not interested in another form of social media. How much do we really need?

some would argue none.
 

RSteve

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What I find somewhat fascinating about Reddit is how ubiquitous it is. I'll do a search for information on a topic and what often pops up are numerous Reddit posts. There must be millions of participants.
 

GtrSmoker

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What I find somewhat fascinating about Reddit is how ubiquitous it is. I'll do a search for information on a topic and what often pops up are numerous Reddit posts. There must be millions of participants.
And it’s worldwide. As long as the user can read and type English, they’re part of the same community as us.

I realize there’s probably a handful of international members here, but nothing like the level there.
 

RSteve

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I’m a member of a forum dedicated to the fender telecaster, but haven’t been on there regularly in at least a year. But it was a vital source for me when I was in the market for the perfect tube amp for my specific needs.
Even the mention of Fender Telecaster makes me suspicious. A few years ago, a friend thought he'd purchased a mint vintage Telecaster; spent an ungodly amount of money for it from a musician who claimed to have had it for years. Played it, loved it, then found out several months later, when he had it appraised for insurance, that only the neck was original and it had been re-fretted. He confronted the seller, who admitted he'd had it professionally re-fretted and had the original electronics replaced with new Fender electronics, otherwise he'd always thought it was 100% vintage Fender Telecaster.
Apparently, the value of the guitar was significantly less than he had paid.

In the world we live, I'm guessing that counterfeits of everything are rampant.
 

GtrSmoker

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Even the mention of Fender Telecaster makes me suspicious. A few years ago, a friend thought he'd purchased a mint vintage Telecaster; spent an ungodly amount of money for it from a musician who claimed to have had it for years. Played it, loved it, then found out several months later, when he had it appraised for insurance, that only the neck was original and it had been re-fretted. He confronted the seller, who admitted he'd had it professionally re-fretted and had the original electronics replaced with new Fender electronics, otherwise he'd always thought it was 100% vintage Fender Telecaster.
Apparently, the value of the guitar was significantly less than he had paid.

In the world we live, I'm guessing that counterfeits of everything are rampant.

oh, electric guitars are as bad as Cuban Cohibas. You have to know who you’re buying from, do your homework… and your best bet is to buy from an authorized dealer lol

Sorry about your friend. That’s got to be an awful feeling
 

RSteve

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Sorry about your friend. That’s got to be an awful feeling.
He was pissed because he thought the seller had cannibalized the original guitar into two and took advantage of his reputation as a local musician. My friend could afford to get screwed and, to my mind, somewhat deserved it. He's since passed and I'm sure his daughter probably sold it for its actual value or less or dropped it off at Goodwill.
 

GtrSmoker

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He was pissed because he thought the seller had cannibalized the original guitar into two and took advantage of his reputation as a local musician. My friend could afford to get screwed and, to my mind, somewhat deserved it. He's since passed and I'm sure his daughter probably sold it for its actual value or less or dropped it off at Goodwill.
Yeah, the fact that he could afford it makes it a little less tragic lol

Still, people who are constantly trying to get one over on their fellow human beings are a big part of the world’s problems.
 
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