I raise a good point! Why would you buy a tin of tobacco that costs 2 to 5 times more than loose tobacco? Is it better? Is it stuff that's so good that I'll never see it again? Is it better just because it's in a can? The answer to ALL of these questions, 90% of the time, is no.
You heard me right. No. You can find the equivalent, if not the exact same tobacco much cheaper buying it "loose". Of course there are exceptions. G.L Pease simply doesn't do bulk tobacco. Dunhill doesn't either (any more!), and there are certain blends that you just won't find elsewhere. Are they really that much better? Some will tell you yes, some will say no. But that's still not the reason to buy tinned tobacco. Do you want to know now?
Patience. Patience is the answer. Patience is why you should buy a tin of your favorite tobacco, and buy it now. Get the tin, then hide it. Hide it so well, that you forget you ever bought it in the first place. If it's lost for a year, you've done yourself a great service. Two years: you'll wonder why you only bought one tin. It's called cellaring, and it's nothing new. Tobacco matures as it ages. It ferments, it sweetens, it mellows, and it does it all at the same time. It just get better. It only matures in the right conditions. New air is the enemy. Light is the enemy. Sudden changes in temperature are the enemy to cellaring tobacco. Sounds tough, doesn't it? Keeping all those enemies at bay while maintaining perfect aging conditions? Luckily, there's a place ready made for you to age you tobacco! The inside of a tin!
Not every tin is for aging. Aromatic tobaccos, on the whole, won't really get much better. The casing (or flavor sauce) sees to that. The wide, flat tins that have screw on lids that will fit in your pocket don't have enough air to let the tobacco "breathe". They're designed to be opened right away......assuming you have a screwdriver or something. Those lids are REALLY on there. Any tin from Peterson, CAO, Villager, and the like are just too small, the good stuff packed in too tight for it to happen. McClelland, G.L. Pease, and Hearth and Home are companies that pride themselves on the right amount of tobacco in the right amount of air tight space to facilitate the air exchange necessary for good aging.
I like having a small tin or two on hand for traveling. You know your tobacco is good and safe from the elements. It won't dry out like can happen in a pouch, it won't be ruined in the rain or from a sweaty pocket, and the kids can't get into it. It's good and safe from anything that's not carrying a wrench. Christ, they can be hard to open.
Once you get hooked on a certain blend, it may not be worth your time to find it's equal out-of-box, but I guess that depends on your budget. and just how much of the stuff you plan on smoking!
Now that you're done reading this diatribe, one of those tins should be nicely aged. God knows, it took me long enough to getting around to writing it. Once you smoke something that you already like, and then compare it to the EXACT same thing, but fresh and shiny from a brand new tin, you'll understand the point. Let it age. Be patient. Let the tin do it's job, then you'll get your money's worth.
Of course, there are ways to cellar your own loose tobacco, too. Maybe I'll get around to talking about that in another two years.........