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FWIW, I started smoking pipes in 1969, under the tutelage of Ed Kolpin (RIP), whose personal, pet Tinder Box store was just a few blocks from my union hall at the time. It was a nice introduction to pipes and pipe tobacco, for sure; but it was not until I discovered Tobacco Reviews, in 2012, that I went totally nuts over pipe tobacco while learning and sharing information with other pipers from around the world. Who knew there are so many great pipe tobaccos still out there? What an age we live in! I had to try some new blends! Now, as we close out 2020, with 200 blends reviewed here at TR (finally!) and cupboards full of pipe tobacco, I am more grateful than ever for this board. Though I’ve tried all along to describe tobacco blends for others here, just as others have done for me, it’s nice indeed, as my cellar has grown unwieldy, to revisit my old reviews, to be reminded how I got the most from a given blend I enjoyed, also to avoid buying more of something I forgot I already tried, especially blends I tried and disliked!
As for reviewing, I still aim to try only blends I think will be among the best, categorically or overall, and I am willing to put in some effort to get the most out of a given blend. When I give 4 stars, it’s because I think a given blend ranks among the best, whether or not it’s a personal favorite. 3 stars from me means it’s still plenty good, but it’s down a notch, IMO, categorically or overall. 2 stars from me means I can see where someone else might like it, but I likely won’t smoke more of it. 1 star from me means either I just don’t get it, or I think something is significantly wrong with it, or both.