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 Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash

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smoker13



Age : 62
Location : Western Mass
Registration date : 2016-01-12

PostSubject: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:52 pm

Yep, you read right, and I can't believe it myself.  I'm a HUGE McClelland fan...Hell, I'm a HUGE Dark Star fan, and in my prior pipe days I cellared 3 100g tins of Dark Star with a stamped date of 12/31/03.

I broke one open last week, and have since tried it in 3 pipes.  One disappointment after another. The final straw was I used some to break in a brand new Ser Jacopo Picta series pipe this morning. After about 10 puffs I knew I was just kidding myself and I thought, "why spoil a nice new pipe any further?" and dumped it.

The problem?  After 13 years the tobacco flakes had soured beyond the point of no return. And when I say sour I mean SOUR.  Every single puff was nothing but a cloud of sour gas. Complexity of flavor? Forget it!!  Is it just this one can?  I suppose I should open up the other two before just assuming the same thing happened, but McClelland is so tight with their quality control and consistency of flake for each offering that I imagine that if it happened to one can of Dark Star it would happen to the others.

So if there's a lesson to be learned from this, I assume it's that it is detrimental to certain tobaccos to let them age beyond a point where their flavor is maximized.

I've got plenty other cans from that general era,  maybe add a year or two.  Mostly G L Pease offerings like Haddo's Delight, Barbary Coast, Samarra, Odyssey, Blackpoint, and the long gone Renaissance and Mephisto.  Maybe an odd can of Cairo or something of the sort.

Also a couple of S Gawaith tins of Perfection and Squadron Leader.  Also more McClelland; Christmas Cheer from 2003 (3 cans) and I think 2 cans from 2004.  A few other odd ones that slip my mind at the moment.

So, I'll stop the rant and ask my questions:  Has anyone had a similar experience with "overaging", either with Dark Star or any other Virginia Flake?

Also, I'd love to hear some opinions on my G L Pease brands and what to expect after the long hibernation.  I hope I'm not in for as foul an experience as the disappointing Dark Star one.

Your help garnered from experience is, as always, greatly appreciated - S13
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KevinM



Age : 74
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:35 am

I have stuff that old, but never had an experience that bad. Is it dried out? Any chance of the tin being in a hot spot while aging? One thing I usually do is give aged tins a transition in a Mason jar with a little spritz if needed. A couple weeks oughta do it if it's gonna do it. Good luck.
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fsu92john

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:46 am

Never had that experience with aged Virginia flakes. A couple of years ago I opened a tin of Blackwoods Flake from 2000 and it was outstanding. Ditto a tin of Escudo from the same period.
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Puff Daddy
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Location : South of heaven
Registration date : 2007-12-09

PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:45 am

The only negative effect with an old Mcclelland tin I ever experienced was flatness/loss of flavor. Smoked some 20 year old navy cavendish that was like smoking air, and some 15 year old oriental #14 that tasted like a ghost of it's normal self. I've smoked some fairly old Dark Star, never experienced anything like what you mention. Wonder what happened to the tin to make this happen.

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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:48 am

I haven't tried it, so if your looking to rid yourself of it let me know. Smile
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juanmedusa

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Location : Falls Church, Virginia
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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:57 pm

Dark Star is one of those blends that I know is good and I enjoy but not in any kind of way to begin hoarding 100 gram tins. I tend to appreciate other styles of flakes in the manner necessary to warrant that. It's kind of a pain to prep and must be patiently savored in my most humble opinion. So not really being a stockist of it, I can't guarantee or verify much of the vintages I've received as trades or samples and the such. I would expect that I've had fresh to the 5 year mark mostly. I've not experienced a "turned" bit of it. After all the special processing it's already gone through I would have expected it to be relatively stable. I am thrilled with this thread. I'll be keeping track. Juan.
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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:11 pm

I'm not very seasoned with McClelland blends. But I know that, contrary to C & D and GL Pease tobaccos, for example, which use rather young leaf for their production, McClelland uses already fairly aged leaf when they are tinning their blends. Maybe this explains that?
But then, again, accidents happen. I opened a tin of a less than 2 years C & D Burley Flake # 2 and, man, it was moldy. Stinking bad...So I threw the damn thing out. Once in over 10 years, I really can't complain, can I. Maybe something similar happened to your tin of Dark Star, it was overly moist when they tinned it.
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Carlos
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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:53 pm

Dark Star is very very picky. If you get it right, it is wonderful. Too easy to get wrong, and then it's kind of like smoking a cigarette. Kind of ashy tasting.

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DrumsAndBeer

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:49 pm

Dark Star is one of my favorites, but I agree with Carlos, it's a finicky sucker.

I like to dry it for a couple hours, cube cut it and gravity fill it into a thick walled pipe with a narrower chamber. Light it, smoke it, light it, smoke it, repeat that until it won't take a match anymore, and then stir and tamp it.

Dark Star doesn't take to tamping well and it's way more moist than you think it would be even after ample dry time. A great stoved VA flake though.
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Brewdude

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Age : 64
Location : Near the Emerald city
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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:33 pm

DrumsAndBeer wrote:
Dark Star is one of my favorites, but I agree with Carlos, it's a finicky sucker.

I like to dry it for a couple hours, cube cut it and gravity fill it into a thick walled pipe with a narrower chamber. Light it, smoke it, light it, smoke it, repeat that until it won't take a match anymore, and then stir and tamp it.

Dark Star doesn't take to tamping well and it's way more moist than you think it would be even after ample dry time. A great stoved VA flake though.


Thanks for the tip Chris. Always found DS to be very fiddly, and can't say I've ever gotten it right. I'll try this.



Cheers,

RR
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DrumsAndBeer

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:31 pm

You bet.

Dark Star - Dry, Pack loosely, tamp very little and use the aerator pick on your pipe tool periodically and you'll start to have better results. In my best George Zimmer voice ("I guarantee it!")  What a Face  Similar methods apply well to other dark tobaccos like high percentage cavendish blends, latakia mixes and black stoved Va's.

As far as the OP's question regarding running into troublesome aged tobacco, I haven't had any problems with aged McClelland blends, but I too have heard of folks running into mold issues with C&D products, which I also heard that they gladly replace, btw.

I have however, popped tins of some of my favorites, only to find that they have mellowed way past my level of preference. Similar to what Puffy Daddy experienced with that tin of Oriental 14. When this happens, I usually take that tobacco and blend it with a more youthful vintage of the blend. Of course this works wonders with blends that are still made by the same manufacturers. However, it gets dicey if it's hypothetically say Murray era London Mixture being mixed with STG's version.. In cases like this, you're better off selling the aged tins off or donating them to science. Wink
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GCook

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:22 am

Ah: found it... way back there, a 100g tin from 2005, probably open since 2006, 3/4 gone. Smells awesome in the tin, dry as old shingles and rather resembles them. Tastes ok but yes, muted and yes, sourish although that's how many aged VAs taste to me, sort of sweet/sour. PITA to prep and keep lit and I see why I ignored this for so long.

As to sour: Many years ago I bought a tin of MacB's Dark Twist Roll Cake in a state line cigarette store that was old stock closeout. It felt and tasted like smoking citric acid. Fast forward a year, open and ignored in my car, it vastly improved.

I recommend letting it breathe a while.
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:31 pm

I agree with GCook, I've found many tobaccos after letting them breath awhile will change for the better. Wink
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tarheel7734

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:50 pm

I also would take the time off your hands. I love Dark Star and would love to see if breathing will fix your sour notes.
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smoker13



Age : 62
Location : Western Mass
Registration date : 2016-01-12

PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:17 pm

I'm happy to report that the Dark Star mystery has been solved and the problem resolved. Also happy to report that I'm back online after my old 486 died and I finally got a new pc an am back up and running. Going without the electronics is almost as bad as going without the pipe!

First off, I believe Mr Cook hit a goodpart of the nail on the head. It makes sense. You can't just rip the lid off a can that's been sleeping in the dark for 13 years and expect it to perform IMMEDIATELY, right? Some time to get used to life again, sometime to BREATHE a bit is definitely called for.

At any rate, I'm just glad to be able to enjoy this great tobak again.
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Ozark Wizard

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Location : Mark Twain National Forest, MO
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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:27 pm

Great intel in this thread.......

Glad to hear that decanting the tin helped the profile.. I was staring at tins in the cellar and getting concerned!
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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:50 pm

Back on track eh? That's a good thing.

rabbit



Cheers,

RR
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ZeroContent

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PostSubject: Re: Cellared Dark Star Headed For the Trash   Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:13 pm

Yeah, whenever I open a tin I immediately transfer it into a jar which basically re-exposes it all to oxygen. Then you're ready to give it a go the next day. Huge difference between the note right out of the tin and a day later after oxygen exposure takes hold. You gotta let the aerobic worker farts air out and put the anaerobic workers go back to sleep after enjoying living in fart land for the past X years.
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