While we recommend trying various blends of pipe tobacco until you find a match, it does lead to one inevitable outcome; you’re going to end up with more tobacco than you can smoke.
Be it cigars, chewing or pipe, it’s essential to know how to store your collection properly. Otherwise, you could find yourself with deteriorated tobacco and a bank account that won’t thank you for it.
In this guide, we will be focusing on cellaring as a form of storing and ageing pipe tobacco.
What is Cellaring Pipe Tobacco?
Like wine in a cellar or cigars in a humidor, pipe tobacco needs to be stored in a carefully engineered and consistent environment to prevent it from degrading.
While there are various ways to store tobacco in the short term, cellaring is a process where tobacco can be stored for several years.
Much like pipe tobacco, cellaring is a highly personal process that depends highly on personal preferences. Almost every pipe tobacco enthusiast will have their own method of storing and cellaring their tobacco.
Why Cellar Pipe Tobacco?
It’s all well and good for us to tell you to store your pipe tobacco in a complex and niche way, but you’re probably asking, ‘What’s the point’?
Pipe tobacco is made up of a blend of different tobacco varieties and, much like with a fine cheese or wine, only gets better with age. Over time, the blends slowly begin to marry, and the flavours fuse creating a blend that’s richer, mellower and all the more harmonious.
Cellaring your tobacco is the perfect process for pipe smokers who value the complexity of the flavour over the intensity.
Do All Pipe Tobaccos Get Better With Age?
As we’ve said, pipe tobacco comes in a vast variety of blends and flavours, and as such, it’s hard to define them as a whole.
While some of them significantly improve with time, there are some cases where the opposite is true, and ageing may actually harm tobacco. This is particularly likely with cased aromatic tobaccos that include large doses of other ingredients as part of the flavouring.
If you plan to age your tobacco, make sure you test it now and again to make sure you’re achieving a desirable result.
What Are The Best Pipe Tobaccos To Age?
Thanks to its high sugar content, Virginia tobacco tends to improve the best with age.
This is because when properly preserved, the sugars undergo a chemical process, not unlike alcohol fermentation. You could store Virginia tobacco for pretty much an unlimited amount of time, and it’s just going to keep on getting better.
Tobaccos that are known for their pungent spices, like Latakia or Oriental varieties, can also improve greatly over time. As the tobacco ages, the flavours will become more refined and mellow, making for a more prestigious smoke.
How To Cellar Pipe Tobacco
To properly age your tobacco, you need to keep it in optimal storage conditions. Tobacco can begin to deteriorate if the storage environment is even slightly off, which is disastrous if you’ve been trying to preserve and age it for several years.
Pipe Tobacco Cellaring Conditions
As it’s sensitive to sunlight, tobacco should be stored in a dark place like a basement or cellar and ages best at consistent temperatures of 10°C (50°F) to 15°C (59°F).
As for humidity, this is more down to your individual tastes and the blend itself. Typically, it’s best to store your pipe tobacco somewhere between 55% RH to 75% RH.
Can You Store Pipe Tobacco in a Humidor?
When it comes to humidors, the consensus is that they’re designed to store tobacco at high humidity levels. While this is very much the case and the sole intention, that’s not to say they can’t be versatile.
Humidors can actually be calibrated to a relative humidity level of your choice, assuming you have the right tools.
So long are you’re not storing any cigars in there as well, humidors can make a perfectly suitable storage option for pipe tobacco.
The only issue is that ageing pipe tobacco is a process that tends to take a long time – years and years kind of long – and most humidors tend to require some maintenance. As such, this might not be the best choice, but it’ll do in a pinch.
Cellaring Tobacco in Jars
Most pipe tobacco is sold in a tin and sealed securely with plastic wrap to be airtight. If the seal is left unbroken, the tobacco can be stored as-is.
However, if the seal has been broken or your tobacco was sold in a pouch, you should transfer the tobacco to an airtight glass container.
Can You Age Tobacco in Tupperware?
If you’re familiar with tobacco storage, then chances are you’ve heard of a Tupperdor. This refers to using regular Tupperware as means of storing cigars when you don’t want to fork out for a humidor.
While a Tupperdor is an excellent option for holding tined or jarred tobacco in one place, it’s not recommended as a way to store loose tobacco – especially not for long periods.
Not only can the tobacco stain the Tupperware, but there can also be adverse chemical interactions when ageing plant matter in plastic.
Cellaring Tobacco in a Coolidor
If you need more space for cellaring your tobacco, then a better option may be a Coolidor. These are the same concepts as Tupperdors but on a larger scale.
Since they’re made from coolers, they also offer thermal insulations, which are particularly useful if your basement or chosen storage space suffers from temperature variations.
Coolidors are an exceptionally good choice because they offer your tobacco an extra level of protection against UV light and makes for an easier to maintain internal environment.
If you’re looking to expand your pipe tobacco collection, check out our extensive range available in our store now.