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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tin, jar, baggie?

Here is your latest delivery, a stack of tins ye tall. Now what? How does one "age" this tobacco?

Easy, leave the tin alone, in a cool and dark place. Visit as often as you like, but do NOT open the tin (until you are ready to ignite its contents). Easy.

Ah, but what about bulk blends? The kind that comes in giant ziplock baggies. Or the tins that you just HAD to open and sniff thereupon.
For that we need the "mason jar". Or a whole bunch of them, depending on the quantity of tobacco you have. The Ball and Kerr brands are generally recognized as premium canning jars, so I would recommend these two names. Select jar size based on the volume of baccy you intend to store. The half pint jar holds about 2oz to 4oz of baccy, depending on its cut and consistency. Flakes, for example, are compressed, and with some tetris-dexterity one can cram quite a bit of the good leaf into a jar.

Select wide-mouth jars. They are just easier to scoop out from, and cost about the same as regular mouth jars. While I'm all for recycling and reusing, do NOT use a jar that has ever held any kind of foodstuff. Yes you can wash it, disinfect it, sterilize it, but just don't. Danged jars are dirt cheap, spring the nickel.

You can reuse jars that were used for baccy storage, sure. Just rinse with water, don't need no soap. But replace the lids, the rubber gasket gets squished after use and may fail in the future. Lids are dirt cheap, you cheapskate!

The best way to prepare jars is to simply run them through a dishwasher, just the jars (not lids, not bands, not your dinner plate either). Hot water, NO DETERGENT. Set the dishwasher to use the heated dry cycle. When the heater shuts off, you're ready. Do the filling quickly, you want the jars to be hot. Measure in your tobacco, leave like a quarter inch on the top for air space. Add lid, make sure no baccy is on the lip of the jar to compromise the seal area. Tighten band. As the jar cools, the air within also cools and contracts. The lid "nipple" will pop down (may take a day or a month, depending on how much air you left in there), ensuring a secured seal. And done! Easy! Don't forget the labels, with content and date clearly marked. Open after several years, enjoy.

Escudo tin date codes

From my Escudo tin date thread on Puff:

Escudo date code left of barcode
On the left of the barcode on the backside of the tin, the series of number is:
YEAR DATE MONTH (and four digits of gibberish) this fine tin appears have been born on July 9th 2008.

The "old" Escudo tins were made by Copes, they have a white painted lid (not a sticker). Some still live on fleabay, so if you hit the lottery, pick one up. There are reports of date codes since 2001 versions. But if its a painted lid then you got something really old, regardless!

From my other Escudo thread on puff:
The "oldest" Escudo tin I have seen is the A&C Petersen made batches, apparently from 2006 onward.


Newer tin labels changed the wording from "Fine Tobacco" to "Pipe Tobacco" around 2009. By my guess, July 11th 2009 was among the last batches of ACP made Escudo tins. New production has a red dragon like logo and is made by Scandinavian Tobacco Group (also in Denmark). All bear the same date code formats.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How long should I wait before popping a tin?

The big brown truck pulls up, a muscular stud flings your latest TAD (Tobacco Acquisition Disorder) package across your lawn with reckless abandon. The fiend! Dosth thou not know how hard it so to get those tins of [insert name of rare/discontinued baccy here]?

So how long do you wait before popping the lids of all those ninety odd tins in your order? Personally, I like to give all blends, especially Virginia heavy blends, at least 6 months to "awaken". After 18 months, they start to "age". Purely aromatic blends, usually, do not benefit from aging, they simply go "flat". Latakia blends, also usually, may not benefit from aging in excess of 5 years.

There used to be a very good aging FAQ out on the Internet, but it seems to have disappeared. I'll try to post salient details and links to references on this blog as I find them.

Welcome to the Blog

A blog; on cellaring, aging, and consuming premium pipe tobacco. I keep coming up with things I want to write about or add to the Tobacco Cellar site, but what with life and work and other things, it never gets done.

The blog. A perfect solution! Type it when I think of it, and bada-bing-bada-boom, its done. Subscribe to the feed so you can stay abreast of pipe baccy developments!

Over time I'll add some ways to link specific blends/items to related blog postings which will make things more interesting.
 
 
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