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Ageing without hoarding

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
If anyone's interested (and for my own benefit in case I lose the book :001_tongu ), here are the tobacco shortlists I'm working to. Some I already have, some I've tried, some I might never get around to. These lists are basically what I'll use to go shopping for as and when the bottom. drawer needs topping up. Other people's favourites might not be on the list.

They include my...

Peterson shortlist
Rattray's shortlist
Germain's shortlist
Robert Lewis shortlist
Robert McConnell shortlist
Samuel Gawith shortlist
Solani shortlist, and
Gawith Hoggarth shortlist

Key to my adjacent notes:
V = Virginia
B = Burley
O = Oriental/Turkish
K = Dark Fired (not just Kentucky)
P = Perique
L = Latakia
T = Topped
(T) = Available as Aromatic or Unscented
? = Unsure whether topped or not
 

Attachments

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Well, I must be settled. I've run out of things to say 🤣

Just fired up a bowl of Cabbies Mixture in a cob, and realised it's been a few days since the last smoke. No cravings to buy anything, and still not been tempted to smoke my Christmas pipes early. Feeling quite content with my humble little stash stewing away in the bottom drawer.

Next year's tins are still untouched, and the samples are very slowly diminishing. Well, except English blends. I don't seem to be reaching for them much at the moment. The urge will return when the time is right.

I guess this is why the dedicated pipe forums are awash with the big spenders. They're the only ones with anything to talk about :lol:
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
My tobacco consumption really seems to have dipped of late. I've only been smoking two or three small bowls per week. If I had to guess, I'd say just over 1g per bowl. A small stash goes a long way when smoked at 3-4g per week! That's three to four months per 50g tin!

The same thing happened with snuff. I used a lot, stashed a lot, and then my usage plummeted. I haven't gone anywhere near as crazy with pipe tobacco though.

Maybe it will pick up again in the warmer months. If not, everything will just age that bit longer. I do feel quite relieved that I knocked purchases on the head though.
 
I guess there's worse things than not smoking quite as much. I remember you were smoking more than usual going through your samples. But that you had budgeted your 5 years based on so many bowls per week at so much per bowl. Well, when quantity goes down, quality can go up.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
I guess there's worse things than not smoking quite as much. I remember you were smoking more than usual going through your samples. But that you had budgeted your 5 years based on so many bowls per week at so much per bowl. Well, when quantity goes down, quality can go up.
Yes, indeed. I guessed at 6 tins a year to start with, based on the average consumption rate over the past few years. Then I upped that to around eight tins due to smoking a little more per week than I had previously. I didn't quite hit 40 tins, but once you've added in the pouches, samples, and what I have in the small jars, I comfortably get there.

There's very little in the way of Cavendish in the drawer though, which is what I understand is most likely to suffer in long term storage. So if my consumption rate stays low, everything else is perfectly safe to stew a little longer than planned, which obviously isn't any loss, assuming I'm still around to enjoy it.

However, it may be that I just smoke less in the cooler months than in the warmer ones, and I end up devouring my way through the backlog come late spring and summer. :biggrin1: Also, some blends might end up tempting me to immediately repack and go again, whereas others might take some working through.

The bottom line though, is I still don't feel particularly overstocked, nor understocked, at this stage. I reckon it's probably going to take a couple more years of having this ageing stash though, to understand my own personal rhythms with it, having been exclusively a "buy-as-you-go" pipe smoker in the past.

I am expecting big tax/duty rises in Spring though. The government have thrown a huge amount of borrowed cash at this pandemic and the social and economic behavioural changes, so they'll be wanting to claw something back. Hitting stuff perceived to be bad for health, particularly in relation to obesity and respiratory issues, will probably be an easy an topical justification for them.

So the justification to buy more is certainly there, as is the justification not to. I don't want it to become unaffordable, nor have a drawful of expensive crap I'll never get around to enjoying. So if I do succumb to purchasing temptation, for the glee of a little tax avoiding one-upmanship, I doubt it will be much. I think there's only a few more blends that I specifically want to try before them or me gets discontinued.
 
That's right! The equivalent of a tin every 2 months. It wouldn't surprise me if one the course of two years, you figure out that's your average. And I'm not shocked to find less cavendish on hand. It's always been your plan to replace those blends as you go, not age them.

I think you're right about a nice hefty tax hike coming round the bend. I'm expecting one too. A big fat tax hike on alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, and a couple other uniquely American things to tax. Our government too has been throwing money at the pandemic. And not collecting much in return. They're going to have to make it up somehow.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Indeed! The cash has to come from somewhere.

My tobacco stash is moving far too slowly for me to be concerned though. That five year (supposedly - might be longer) stash in the drawer isn't started yet, and won't be till the samples are used up. Or at least, the samples that feed the five small tins. I may well end up having to crack open a tin of aromatic, for example, while the other samples are still keeping the other tins topped up. I haven't kept track of what the mix of samples are... a project for later today perhaps...

There's maybe 140g still left in samples, plus what's lurking in the tins already, so it will be several months before ALL "next year's" 50g tins/pouches are opened. If 6 tins per year does work out at my average, any tax rises in 2021 onwards won't hit me till (pauses for quick mental arithmetic) probably 2027/2028 anyway, without any additional shopping. That's plenty good enough for me.

At my rate of consumption, I can probably swallow another 1/3 increase and it still be affordable. If it goes beyond that, I still have a few years of cost free coasting ahead of me, which I can ration to spread further if needs be. That's not factoring in the snuff, which I've already accepted I won't life long enough to finish 🤣 I don't plan on pipe tobacco following suit.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
That's right! The equivalent of a tin every 2 months. It wouldn't surprise me if one the course of two years, you figure out that's your average. And I'm not shocked to find less cavendish on hand. It's always been your plan to replace those blends as you go, not age them.

I think you're right about a nice hefty tax hike coming round the bend. I'm expecting one too. A big fat tax hike on alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, and a couple other uniquely American things to tax. Our government too has been throwing money at the pandemic. And not collecting much in return. They're going to have to make it up somehow.
You can bet your sweet bippy there are going to be tax increases - on everything!
 
Using quick and dirty math, I make it out that you have about 5 ounces, or 2.5 tins or 3 pouches. Plugging this numbers with previous estimates of longevity, you're sitting juuussst short of 6 months in samples. These numbers don't account for the uses of the blends (after dinner smokes vs lazy afternoon vs big bowl or small bowl etc.), but the margin of error isn't off by 3 weeks I bet. So you're sitting on 5.5 years of prepaid smoking (it's not cost free, you just paid it all upfront). But if you find yourself in a position to have to stretch it, 2027/28 looks pretty reasonable. I'm assuming for odd gifts here and there, very occasional trips to your friendly local tobacconist for something cavendish and possibly adding a tin, and other unplanned acquisitions.

I come from a very long line of engineers, I had the formulas and half the math done before I realized I did that.

As far as how long it can remain affordable, that's very much a YMMV thing. But we all have our number.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Using quick and dirty math, I make it out that you have about 5 ounces, or 2.5 tins or 3 pouches. Plugging this numbers with previous estimates of longevity, you're sitting juuussst short of 6 months in samples. These numbers don't account for the uses of the blends (after dinner smokes vs lazy afternoon vs big bowl or small bowl etc.), but the margin of error isn't off by 3 weeks I bet. So you're sitting on 5.5 years of prepaid smoking (it's not cost free, you just paid it all upfront). But if you find yourself in a position to have to stretch it, 2027/28 looks pretty reasonable. I'm assuming for odd gifts here and there, very occasional trips to your friendly local tobacconist for something cavendish and possibly adding a tin, and other unplanned acquisitions.

I come from a very long line of engineers, I had the formulas and half the math done before I realized I did that.

As far as how long it can remain affordable, that's very much a YMMV thing. But we all have our number.
Yeah, I think you're about right on that lot. Pretty much parallels my own thinking. I think it'll be more smokes in the summer sun, than during the colder months, but it'll all even out that way, or thereabouts. Also, the samples will overlap with the tins to some extent, so I might not finish them completely till later in the year. I think I might crack open the first one at New Year, just for the heck of it. :biggrin1:

Over the last week or so, I've maybe smoked two small (1.5g) bowls. I currently have the pipe I got on my birthday (Dr Plumb Bermuda Bulldog), loaded with Germain's Medium Flake. I either packed it yesterday or the day before, fired it up earlier this afternoon, and it's now sat to one side, barely 1/4" smoked. Great pipe, great tobacco, wrong moment. On a sunny day, I can smoke three bowls and still be tempted for more. :p I'll probably go up a gear or three when I get the last two pipes for Crimbo. (still not touched them yet)

Oh... I meant to make a note of what the mix of samples was, didn't I...

*opens drawer*

English 2
Virginia 3
Aromatic 2
Vaper 0
Lakeland 4
Other 2

Some are already part smoked, so it looks like there might be less than I thought. There's still whatever's in the "live blend" tins too. Bottom line, these samples plus the six tins/pouches that have moved up into the pipe drawer ready to go, should easily see me through next year. If not, my predictions were way off :lol:
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Oh wow, you're all set. Nothing to worry about for the foreseeable future.
Absolutely. I still might be tempted to get slightly ahead of any tax rises though. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the next budget date will be at the beginning of March, so I'll see which way the wind appears to be blowing in late February. If there's a good chance of feeling neenerneener.gif when it's called, I may add a little more.

Otherwise, the mission ahead, is simply to enjoy it all.:pipe:
I want to have days left at the end of my tobacco, not the other way around. ;)
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
My smoking seems to have stepped back up a gear over the last couple of days, and it seems to be from going back to my filtered pipes.

As it's gotten colder, and my smoking has moved indoors, I was spending less time with the pipes. Not just packing fewer, but putting them aside more often during the bowl. The last couple of bowls have been in filtered cobs though, and seemed more enjoyable for it. Maybe it’s a temperature thing, or maybe an unfiltered smoke is needed more in warmer times to compete with the environmental scents outside, which doesn't apply inside.

Gawith Hoggarth Brown House Roll Cut is keeping me company today. The non-Cavendish light aros really seem to work well for me at this time of year too.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
As Christmas eventually rolled around, I've been enjoying smokes with the last two pipes that were laid away for the event.

IMG_20201226_141028_edit_edit.jpg

The upper one is the Ben Wade Banjo, which is my new Lakeland pipe. That smokes flawlessly. A very nice pipe indeed. The longer, thinner pipe below, is the Ben Wade Lightweight Reader. This seems to go out quite easily, even with well dried tobacco. Very nice pipe to smoke, but I think it may require an evolution of technique to get the best from it. Maybe the thinner wall isn't holding in the heat, or maybe my draw needs increasing slightly for the additional stem length. Either way, it's still a very welcome addition to the array.

The Reader will be taking the role of small bowls of straight Virginia, but is currently being smoked with Gawith Hoggarth New Prince, a lightly maple topped VaBur, as my current Virginia samples taste too "fresh". As such, I'll be switching to some Germain's Virginia and Cavendish I have in a small jar. Not only does that give me a smoke-ready Va, but frees up a jar for amalgamating those other samples in, to soften up a little over time. The Virginia tobacco I have lined up for next year was tinned in 2017 (Dunill Ye Olde Signe), so hopefully that will be ready to enjoy straight away.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
A brief summary of my 2020 pipe travels.

Having already been an occasional pipe smoker for around 7 years, but with limited exposure to the market, 2020 was when I finally started to spread the wings and see what's really out there. It's been a mixture of learning new things, and also reinforcing what I what I already knew.

In the previous seven years, I hadn't strayed at all beyond Condor and tobaccos made by the Gawith companies in Kendal. So this year therefore saw my first exposure to Peterson, Rattray's, Germain's, and the rest. I was not disappointed. This year saw my first exposure to Perique too, which I really like, especially when used in moderation.

I spread my wings with pipes too, establishing a much better array, which is still very humble in budget, but suits my smoking preferences exceptionally well. I strayed beyond my usual (ridiculously low) upper price limit too, but not by much. I didn't need to stray far to become very happy. Many pipes left the array too, and parting with the old was as joyful as receiving the new. I really developed an appreciation for smaller bowls, and pipes that give me a clear line of sight to the rim for lighting. I also discovered that pearwood is a fun alternative to cobs, for similar money.

Other key revelations were how some Virginias taste bloody awful, while others are absolutely fantastic. Comparing Germain's Brown Flake with fresh Full Virginia Flake was like comparing single malt whisky with malt vinegar. My aim from here on in will be to never smoke a tin of plain Virginia, unless I (or the producer) aged it somewhat first.

So what did I already know which has been reinforced?

Pipes must sit. Getting rid of all the topplers, and expanding the sitters, has most definitely been a turning point in pipe enjoyment. Looking back, it was quite laughable how I was trying to like pipes that were simply not for me. Yes, I had to dig a little deeper in the pocket, but the freedom from frustration was absolutely worth it.

Latakia - or LaCACKia as I've started calling it - is not for me. I don't mind it in small quantities, and still have a soft spot for Squadron Leader, as that was the blend I had my first successful smoke with. However, the stars kind of need to be in alignment for me to enjoy it. The mood has to be right, along with weather, and time of day. For general smoking, I'll pretty much reach for anything else first, particularly if smoking indoors. Sadly, before this was all made absolute in my mind, I had laid seven tins of Lacackia laden English away in the new ageing drawer. Five promise to be mil enough to enjoy wen the win is blowing the right way, and the other two, even if not enjoyable on their own, may well make for great blending material.

What I do like, is Virginia Plus. That can be plus Perique, plus Burley, or plus a topping of sorts. Or a combination thereof. The non-Cavendish aromatics really seem to be a winner for me. I would include Lakelands in that, but also things like Gawith Red, and University Flake. Aromatics which let you taste the tobacco, instead of drowning it out. Same with the Burley and Perique additions, I like them as a supporting role better tan when they try to hog the limelight. However, some still need ageing, as that "raw" Virginia harshness can still be present on blends that would otherwise be fantastic. Cabbies Mixture springs to mind.

I also reinforced the fact, I don't actually need that much of it. Some people might smoke in a month, the 6 to 8 tins that will last me a year. Sometimes I will have three bowls a day, whereas other times it might be once or twice a week. Either way, it doesn't take much tobacco in the drawer to keep me happy for a long time. Also, there aren't really any particular blends that I can't be without, as "theme" seems to matter more to me than specific blends. Those themes being the evening fireside smoke, the busy man's smoke for dipping in and out of, and the anytime or beer garden smoke that I can enjoy a full bowl of in full sun.

The time and money thrown at those explorations this year, have left me very content. Firstly because I know what I want, and secondly because I have enough of it to keep grinning for several years. I ended up spending a bit more than I intended, but didn't go crazy, and will reap the benefits of being a few tins infront.

Lastly, I reinforced the fact that I really enjoy the loose Kendal tobaccos. This page of my tobacco notebook, lists tobaccos that are mostly only available weighed out from bulk. Tobaccos which I'll continue to buy on a whim, while the tins in the drawer keep stewing.

IMG_20201230_153048.jpg

While some are very tempting to "jar and cellar", I don't really need to. If the winds of time, or increasing prices, take these beyond my grasp, so be it. They will certainly be missed, but remembered fondly. I would rather have the freedom to pick from what's currently available, than the burden of trying to carry everything I might ever desire. I still prefer the ability to Aimlessly Wander, with all of its risks and unknows, than to hunker down with potentially tedious certainty.
 
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