THE FUTURE OF PIPE TOBACCO
So many questions and so few answers. As I have already witnessed in my lifetime, many great old pipe tobacco blends that I loved are no longer with us. I’ve lived long enough to witness the passing of legendary classics such as, Bell’s Three Nuns, Scotland made Rattray’s, Balkan Sobranie, Ardath’s State Express, Cope’s Escudo, virtually all of the grand old original Dunhill London made blends, etc, etc, etc. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been a tobacco hoarder extraordinaire!
I think all of us can think of a blend or two that we once smoked a lot of but have since gone out of production. But, I think we’ve also seen great new blends hitting the market that may, one day, also be classics of the past. Some already are, like McClelland’s 40th Anniversary. I’ve mentioned several times to friends that 40th Anniversary is the finest Red Virginia that I’ve ever smoked. And, it is made to age, so, it should be spectacular in 3-5 years and otherworldly in 10 years. There are certainly other fine blends that have hit the market over the last decade that may one day be legendary in their own right. Let’s face it, great pipe tobaccos are going to continue to come and go. History dictates that posit, and it is just something that we pipe smokers are going to have to continue to live with.
I go to a lot of pipe shows and talk tobacco with many of our wonderful blenders at those shows, and I read just about everything that I can get my hands on regarding pipe tobacco. I also frequent several Internet P&T forums to pick up on the pulse of pipe smokers around the globe. It seems that everyone has a differing opinion regarding whether or not “the sky is falling.” It’s like taking a single tobacco blend and giving a sample of it to ten people. After smoking a bowl, you will get almost as many differing opinions of the blend as you have in the group smoking it.
The latest heavy hitting speculation revolves around the FDA’s (Food & Drug Administration), potential crackdown on pipe tobaccos and smoking in general. At this point, the only thing certain is uncertainty. Opinions don’t cost anything to have, so, every Tom, Dick & Harry out there (including me), has his/her own opinion regarding what the future holds. In truth, no one knows. It is all just speculation and pontification and there are even individuals who will spout flat out untruths just to prove to friends or members of the particular Internet forum they are a member of, that they have the poop. And yes, “poop” is exactly what they have.
As I gaze into my own crystal ball, here is what I see for at least the next 50 years: pipe smokers are going to continue to be able to enjoy their hobby. There may be a few more restrictions on where we can “legally” smoke and the cost of pipe tobacco is going to continue to rise, but generally speaking, we are all going to be okay. And while this may sound a little self serving since I run a website that sells collectible pipe tobacco tins, it really is probably wise to stash away some of your favorites because they may not be available on down the road. But, I am holding to my theory that at least for the next 50 years, we’ll be okay. And at the end of 50 years, if it turns out that I was wrong, well, you can’t tell me “I told you so,” because at my age, unless a miracle anti-aging drug comes along before then, I’ll be dead!
And happy puffing to all!