The Pipe Tobacco Aging, Storage and Cellaring FAQ

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A Pipe Tobacco Glossary

aging - Biological processes which occur only in properly sealed air-tight containers containing natural tobaccos. Mr. Pease notes that such containers are "little ecosystems" in their processes and complexity.

airing out - The technique of exposing a quantity of tobacco to open air in order to decrease the amount of moisture in the leaf. Many people believe that this process results in a loss of crucial flavor-bearing molecules ("anything you can smell is flavor not contributing to the smoke"), but some people maintain that airing out tobacco produces desirable flavor changes. Controversial.

ASP - The Usenet newsgroup alt.smokers.pipes.

Balkan Sobranie - The long-lost blend which has attained a status as one of the legendary pipe tobaccos, prior to the change of its recipe. If you listen to ASP for any length of time, you will come upon threads where people who smoked the original Sobranie shall be enticed to hold forth on its unique majesty, now all but lost to the ages.

B&M - Brick and Mortar, indicating a physical tobacco shop.

bail-top jar - A glass jar with a glass lid attached with a wire hinge. Such jars often have rubber gaskets. There is some concern that the rubber will impart a flavor over time, or at any rate that it will decay and destroy the air-tight seal. Sometimes called "French hermetic jars".

blend - A tobacco product whose constituents come from more than one source (and type) of leaf. For example, an all-Virginia product whose constituents include red Virginias sourced from two farms is still a blend. The term generally refers to ingredients, not the final form.

bulk - Tobacco stored in loose bins, and sold by weight. Transferring the tobacco into a container for purposes of preservation or aging becomes a primary concern for the buyer.

C&D - Refers to Cornell and Diehl Tobacco, Inc.

cellar - A perhaps grandiose term referring to a place where tobacco containers are stored while aging and awaiting use. Cellars should not experience high temperature variation, if at all possible. And cellars with tins should absolutely not experience high levels of humidity, lest plagues of rust be visited upon it.

dottle - Residual, unburned tobacco left at the bottom of a pipe.

GH - Refers to Gawith, Hoggarth, and Company.

GLP - Refers to American blender Gregory L. Pease, a long-time ASP contributor, or his company G.L. Pease Tobaccos, International.

long-term storage - The storage of tobacco for more than a couple years -- up through many decades.

Mason jar - Once a brand name, the term is often synonymous with canning jars: a glass jar, and a two-pice lid consisting of a wax-treated lid and screw-top ring. A very inexpensive and popular method of storage for tobacco bought in bulk.

medium-term storage - The storage of tobacco a few years.

melding - The natural homogenization of tobacco over time, which causes a blend of many flavors to meld together and mellow. Requires sufficient time that a moisture-tight container is required to maintain proper humidity and keep the aromatic (airborn, flavor-bearing) molecules contained.

mellowing - What happens to a tobacco leaf's youthful character of time. In particular, Latakia leaf's unique flavors are said said to mellow over time.

mixture - A somewhat ambiguous term which seems to refer to both a tobacco product's ingredients and its final form. Like a blend, a mixture is made from at least two distinguishable types of leaf. But a mixture is also typically of a loose presentation, and not pressed.

preservation - A tobacco is said to be well-preserved if it has retained enough moisture to still be suitable for smoking without any re-hydration techniques being required.

properly sealed container - A container used to storing tobacco is considered a "properly sealed container" if it is both moisture-tight and air-tight. The presence of at least some oxygen is required as well, so aggressive vacuum sealing actually serves to inhibit aging -- although it's perfectly adequate for preservation.

re-hydration - Any number of techniques designed to increase the amount of moisture in a quantity of tobacco to a more desirable level.

SG - Refers to Samuel Gawith Tobacco Company.

short-term storage - The storage of tobacco for a few months.

stoving - Applying heat to tobacco with the intent of darkening the appearance and flavor profile, and accelerating the melding of the tobacco. If attempted at home, it must be done carefully.

TAD - Tobacco Acquisition Disorder. A condition in which one purchases tobacco at what might be called an alarming rate.

tin - A sealed metallic container used by manufacturers. Compare with bulk tobacco. Tins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including cylindrical and rectangular.

tobacconist - A professional proprietor of a tobacco shop. Ideally, someone who is helpful, knows of what he or she speaks, and can make excellent recommendations.

VA - An abbreviation for the Virginia tobacco leaf. Often also refers to that type of blend called "straight Virginias", indicating that the blend contains nothing but Virginia leaf.

VAPER - Also called "VA/Per", this is an abbreviation for a style of tobacco involving primarily Virginia and Perique burley.

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Russian Translation | Home | Fundamentals | Aging | Tin Storage | Bulk Storage | Jarring Guide | Cellaring
Cellar Gallery | Categorization | Flakes | Touchstones | Moisture | Related Topics | Glossary | Appendices