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Ageing without hoarding

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
Nice! We don’t have quite the same access to all those blends. I enjoy Ennerdale myself.
 
Nice! We don’t have quite the same access to all those blends. I enjoy Ennerdale myself.
Thanks. They're some of the easiest to find over here, except for Bosun Flake, which is normally sold as plug. We kind of have three levels of availability. Supermarkets, which are pretty much St Bruno and Condor. Newsagents might carry those, plus a range of Gawith loose in the cardboard drums. Then there's the specialist tobacconists which carry everything that's fully paid up in the UK to the EU TPD fiasco (initial registration, and annual fees). Those rules will remain beyond the end of the year, so I don't see us ever getting the likes of C&D, GL Pease, Escudo, and the other usual "go to" tobaccos over there.

Back to the samples, I had a nerdy half hour yesterday, weighing stuff, so see what's left. Nothing precise, just crappy kitchen scales, to get a rough idea of where I'm at. Easily enough to see me through the year, unless I start gorging on it. I'll probably be cracking open the first of the tins by spring next year. It'll be interesting to see how many tins I go through in year one, and whether my stock level is about right.
 
With all the thought and planning you put into this, I'd be surprised if you were far off.

I like reading about what's available where in different parts of the world. Here on the US east coast, we have a couple of drug stores which carry some goopy heavily cased Captain Black and one or two dusty cardboard tins of codger burleys (Carter Hall, Prince Albert, and Half and Half are the only ones I've personally seen, although across town I've heard rumors of Velvet existing in the wild). That sounds like your newsagents. You can go, pick up a Grabow and pouch, and be on your way.

We have specialty shops here. But the majority of these are cigar stores with a smaller section of pipe related products. There you'll find a few either Peterson or Savinelli in a glass case going for online prices plus 15%, and that good old basket full of Brand X Italian factory briars. Those are universally a variant of billiard with a couple princes and a quarter to half dozen churchwardens. Also in the case are a few tins of Pease, C&D, Escudo, and one or two others. In the wall behind are jars of Sutliff, C&D, and sometimes a couple Stokkebye bulks. Sometimes perfect, sometimes dry. Also sold at online plus 15%. Sometimes behind the counter will be a kid who likes cigars and jobs where he can sit behind the counter smoking one. (For the record, I wouldn't mind it either if it paid better.) Other times it's an older gentleman who has been enjoying tobacco since Moses was a private. If that man knows anything about pipe tobacco, he knows EVERYTHING about pipe tobacco.

And those are our options for B&M tobacco purchases here. But I do have a question for you. How does online shopping work there? I've never lived outside the States in a time with online shopping so I really don't know. Can you, in the UK, go onto buysometobacco.com and get some of the more ubiquitous American brands the way we can buy yours? I mean, besides getting whacked with shipping and taxes/duties (I'm guessing?). Or are the import fees (however worded) adding a sizeable percentage of the total? I'm seriously curious because I see comments from friends across the pond saying things variants of "I'd order/smoke more of/try [____] if it were available locally."
 
With all the thought and planning you put into this, I'd be surprised if you were far off.

I like reading about what's available where in different parts of the world. Here on the US east coast, we have a couple of drug stores which carry some goopy heavily cased Captain Black and one or two dusty cardboard tins of codger burleys (Carter Hall, Prince Albert, and Half and Half are the only ones I've personally seen, although across town I've heard rumors of Velvet existing in the wild). That sounds like your newsagents. You can go, pick up a Grabow and pouch, and be on your way.

We have specialty shops here. But the majority of these are cigar stores with a smaller section of pipe related products. There you'll find a few either Peterson or Savinelli in a glass case going for online prices plus 15%, and that good old basket full of Brand X Italian factory briars. Those are universally a variant of billiard with a couple princes and a quarter to half dozen churchwardens. Also in the case are a few tins of Pease, C&D, Escudo, and one or two others. In the wall behind are jars of Sutliff, C&D, and sometimes a couple Stokkebye bulks. Sometimes perfect, sometimes dry. Also sold at online plus 15%. Sometimes behind the counter will be a kid who likes cigars and jobs where he can sit behind the counter smoking one. (For the record, I wouldn't mind it either if it paid better.) Other times it's an older gentleman who has been enjoying tobacco since Moses was a private. If that man knows anything about pipe tobacco, he knows EVERYTHING about pipe tobacco.

And those are our options for B&M tobacco purchases here. But I do have a question for you. How does online shopping work there? I've never lived outside the States in a time with online shopping so I really don't know. Can you, in the UK, go onto buysometobacco.com and get some of the more ubiquitous American brands the way we can buy yours? I mean, besides getting whacked with shipping and taxes/duties (I'm guessing?). Or are the import fees (however worded) adding a sizeable percentage of the total? I'm seriously curious because I see comments from friends across the pond saying things variants of "I'd order/smoke more of/try [____] if it were available locally."
Yes, your drugstores sound like our newsagents in that respect. Except for the pipes. A lot will sell the tobacco, but nothing to smoke it in.

As for online shopping, there are a fair few online UK tobacconists, so we're not short of options. As to importing tobaccos, that's a minefield. You'd be eligible for duties at the border, plus VAT on top of that, plus handling/release fees. Just the added costs alone would be close to the price of buying from a UK store, so it's not worth the hassle.

There is one company online that will try to sell US tobaccos direct to you, but the tobaccos are expensive (£18/$25) and you have to buy 1100g minimum, effectively 20 2oz tins. That's my entire stock limit. However, with over 80 tobaccos on my shopping wish list, I could smoke UK available products for ten years without ever buying a second tin of anything. So while it's a shame I don't have access to them, I'm not missing out, and there are many other excellent tobaccos available to me.

Much like with shaving soaps, I'm not interested in chasing other people's favourites. I just want to find my own. I also want those favourites to be something I can keep buying again and again. For the last 7-ish years, I've just been smoking Condor, Samuel Gawith and Gawith Hoggarth tobaccos, and been perfectly happy. Now I've opened that up to Rattray's, Peterson’s, Solani, Charatan and so on, I have more than enough options to keep a grin on my face. Plus, if I find a favourite, I can easily get more.

Some of the Gawiths that you might find harder to get, I can get from a dozen or more online vendors, and there'll always be stock somewhere. Most of the online tobacconists over here will sell well over a hundred blends. Just because I can't get some blends that others can elsewhere in the world is not cause for much disappointment, as I can get other stuff easier. Many will be virtually the same as yours. We have Louisiana Flake, and you have a GL Pease blend that's the same thing but with a different name (stone-something I think).
 
GH Sweet Rum Twist today. Another one for the reject blend. Too cigarish for my liking, and a pain in the padded area to light and keep lit, even after a couple of days left in an unlit bowl. I'll wrestle my way through this bowl to avoid wastage, and pack a bowl of something else in the meantime. I haven't used the Zulu in a while, so I'll find something to go in that.

*rummages*

Victorian Mixture! I know the Zulu is supposed to be for straight Virginias, but they're still ageing. I'm sure the occasional Perique in there won't hurt.
 
Victorian Mixture! I know the Zulu is supposed to be for straight Virginias, but they're still ageing. I'm sure the occasional Perique in there won't hurt.
Perique in that Zulu works brilliantly! Even better than the Bent Bully. Maybe I should lump Virginias and VaPers together?

Does Perique ghost?
 

Claudel Xerxes

Moderator Emeritus
Perique in that Zulu works brilliantly! Even better than the Bent Bully. Maybe I should lump Virginias and VaPers together?

Does Perique ghost?
For the guys who enjoy perique, I imagine that VA and VaPers usually get lumped together. I consider VaPers in the VA category. So, i don't worry about perique vs straight VA. If you're iffy about perique, then it might be best to separate your pipes accordingly.
 
For the guys who enjoy perique, I imagine that VA and VaPers usually get lumped together. I consider VaPers in the VA category. So, i don't worry about perique vs straight VA. If you're iffy about perique, then it might be best to separate your pipes accordingly.
Thanks Erik. :thumbup1:

I do like VaPers up to a moderate level. I dare say some might be "too much" for me, but that shouldn't affect the next bowl, I'd imagine. If I was iffy about Perique, I simply wouldn't have any :tongue_sm

That frees up the Bent Bully as a general short smoke pipe, something I was kind of lacking, aside from the Mizzou and mini meers. I've found that quite often, I don't want a full 20mm dia x 40mm deep bowl of something, and it'll be nice having another shorter smoke option. :)
 
Well, I had thought I'd avoided duplicates, with the exception of the three tins of Ye Olde Signe, but apparently that's not the case. After a bit of reading, I discovered I have a few clones, albeit under different names.

I was already aware of the parallel Dunhill tributes with Peterson and Charatan, and had steered clear of doubling up there, but hadn't realised that Rattray's had some Peterson clones too. So not only do I have a tin of University Flake but Wallace Flake is essentially the same blend reborn after Peterson switched blenders. I did have Irish Flake on the wishlist too, but it seems I already have that now, under the guise of Stirling Flake.

Then there's Ashtons and Chieftain. I did have my suspicions about these to be fair, but it was only after purchasing that I found some vague confirmation. As such I have Artisan's Blend duplicated as Blacksmith's Blend, and Consummate Gentleman duplicated as Roberts Mixture. Apparently Ashtons are disappearing from the market, and Chieftain are carrying forward some of their blends. Thankfully, I didn't duplicate Stormy Skye with Rainy Days.

It's a rather incestuous world the tobacco blending scene, isn't it?

Not to worry, Irish Flake was on the wishlist anyway, University Flake is good enough to own two tins of, and the write up on the Ashtons/Chieftains sounds quite promising. Besides which, they might all taste different smoked a couple of years apart anyway :)
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Perique in that Zulu works brilliantly! Even better than the Bent Bully. Maybe I should lump Virginias and VaPers together?

Does Perique ghost?
I’ve never experienced ghosting with Perique. However, I smoke mostly Burley which plays well enough with Periqie. The only VaPer I have is Victoria which I am cellaring for a year. I did keep a bit out for the occasional smoke.
 
I've been really enjoying Perique in that Zulu. I just wish the damn thing would sit! I haven't gotten round to making the brass stem stands yet.

One thing I am very pleased about, is that my tobacco consumption has remained moderate, despite having all these smoking options at my disposal. By moderate, I mean less than ten bowls a week, and it might even be under five. I think I've smoked 2.1/2 bowls in the last four days. Often, a bowl will be smoked on and off during a day, or even over two days.

I haven't been tempted to keep adding more and more tobacco either. OK, I am waiting on yet another batch of samples, but I'm not clamouring after more tins. This isn't boredom, or guilt of having overstocked, just contentment. I have more pipes than I need, and more tobacco than I need. But not to the point where it feels like too much.

It will be this time next year before I really know if it's working though. When I've been cracking full tins for a few months, not just little sample bags, and am seeing how long they last me. I'm hoping that same contentment hasn't turned to gluttony. I have a plan for that too though.

As my birthday is towards the end of the year, if I go through the year, next year that is, without greedily buying or consuming, I might treat myself to one pipe (a sitter of course) above my usual £25 limit. Not only will that give me a reason to maintain moderation, but will also give me chance to see whether I feel like I've been missing out by sticking to the cheaper pipes. Till then, I have 14.1/2 months of casual piping ahead of me to enjoy. Firstly, working through all the samples, and then seeing if I can discern much benefit in having bought the tobaccos in advance.

No buyers remorse yet.
 
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