How long does tobacco last? This is a common question among people who are new to the world of pipe smoking. Since you need to keep a supply of tobacco on hand in order to enjoy your pipe, it's a little bit different from buying pre-packaged, pre-processed cigarettes to smoke. You will have to consider how to store your tobacco, how to determine the freshness of the tobacco, and a few other factors to ensure that you always have the most enjoyable smoking experience possible. Here's an introduction to pipe tobacco freshness -- suited for new smokers and those who are new to pipes in general.
The big question that everyone asks is "how long does tobacco last?" The answer, though, varies. If you store your pipe tobacco correctly, it can last for up to ten years! However, to get such long lasting flavor out of your tobacco, you must be sure that it is kept under ideal conditions. This is where many people are unsure of what to do. Even the best tobacco tin will not allow you to maintain your tobacco for ten years -- in order to get this result, you'll need to store your tobacco in an air tight container, such as a mason jar.
Kept in a dry, cool environment in a traditional tobacco tin, the answer to "how long does tobacco last?" can range from a few weeks to about two months. If you store your tobacco tin in a freezer bag, you will generally get better results and may extend the life of your tobacco up to a full year. However, bear in mind that the life span of tobacco also depends on outside factors including the specific blend and how it was processed prior to shipping. When in doubt, aim to hermetically seal your tobacco to keep the flavor in for as long as possible.
Virginia tobacco blends are known to have the most impressive answer to "how long does tobacco last?" and some of them have been known to retain their flavor for as long as fifty years! However, this is unusual. How will you know if your pipe tobacco has gone bad? Smoking it to find out is usually a less than desirable option. If you are familiar with the type of tobacco, you will usually be able to tell based upon the aroma; it will become more sour or more sweet, depending on the blend. In some blends, discoloration and drying are possible. Also: The taste will be awful!