There really is nothing quite like enjoying a bowl of delectable, properly kept, perfectly aged tobacco. It truly is among life’s simplest pleasures.
And, despite the old-time airs, quality tobaccos are still readily available if you know where to look. Companies like Lane are producing classics like Dark Red and RLP-6, whereas Sutliff Pipe Tobacco is still available in blends such as Natural Cavendish and Whiskey Galore.
But there is one thing that really ruins quality tobacco, and it’s improper handling and care. Here’s what you need to know if you want that ounce you bought last week to offer you the same experience as it did the first time you packed a bowl.
Humidity: What You Need to Know
The cardinal sin committed by pipe smokers is letting their pipe tobacco dry out. Tobacco is a sensitive perishable good, and it needs to be handled in much the same manner as an exquisite, rare, culinary delight.
Just in its own ways.
Case in point: letting tobacco dry out completely ruins the leaf, destroys the flavor, makes it burn poorly, and much worse. The worst part is that, while you can partially resuscitate dried-out tobacco, you can never bring it back to its full original quality.
Dried out pipe tobacco is brittle. It burns too hot, too fast, and the flavors are bitter, sour, and stale. The best thing you can do is simply not to let it dry out at all.
Materials like glass and aluminum are good for storing tobacco because they are basically non-porous and don’t allow moisture to escape easily.
But you can’t just drop tobacco in a tin and leave it. Humidity needs to be maintained at about 70%. To keep it there you should either store your tobacco in a humidor or use those little hydration disks they sell at tobacco shops.
Trust us, it will keep your tobacco fresh and preserve the flavor; it’s worth it.
Protecting it From Light
Another note: light can also damage precious pipe tobaccos, so if you do keep your tobacco in a glass jar, keep it somewhere out of direct sunlight.
If you keep it in a sealed humidor, however, you should be fine. You just don’t want to go through all that effort to keep it moisturized only to find out that you allowed sunlight to sour it!
Can You Age Pipe Tobacco?
In a word, yes you can age pipe tobacco. Much like cigars, pipe tobacco continues to evolve in complexity and flavor as it ages.
When applied to pipe tobacco, however, the process is typically known as cellaring, and it can substantially impact the qualitative characteristics of high-quality tobacco.
Intense tobaccos mellow out; rich tobaccos increase in the richness of their complexions. Dry, smoky tobaccos develop lighter, sweeter notes, and the sharp sweetness of blends like cavendish will become rounded and more balanced.
In a word, cellaring has the potential to increase the complexity of a blend while rounding out its sharp corners, delivering a more unique experience that some smokers find more enjoyable.
Just make sure that you age that tobacco in the right conditions – away from light, at about 70% humidity, and preferably in bulk. You can’t age a half-ounce effectively, you need more.
Where Can You Find High-Quality Tobacco Blends like Sutliff Pipe Tobacco?
If your last tin of Sutliff pipe tobacco was, well, not properly kept, get yourself a new one, and this time do it right.
Visit Rocky’s Cigars online at RockysCigars.com. Don’t let the name fool you, either. Rocky’s Cigars sells a wide range of pipe tobacco blends, including bulk tobacco, on top of its catalog of premium cigars.
In addition to gems of Mac Baren’s Sutliff Tobacco Company, Rocky’s Cigars also carries Lane, Stokkebye, Peterson, Captain Black, and countless others. Visit their website today to learn more.