Those of you who read our pipe smoking FAQ may have found your curiosity piqued; you may even have experimented with this strong psychoactive chemical and its benefits, especially if you absorb it through your mouth and not your lungs. At that point, you may wish for some top-notch leaf to explore.
Part of the journey into appreciation of the pipe as an activity — the familiarity, the rituals, the marking of time, the enjoyment — is to mix your own tobacco from pre-existing components. This can be great fun and a huge challenge. As part of that journey, I uncovered a number of homebrew blends which are both pleasant to smoke and economical.
Thus, it is time to introduce The Metal Mixtures:
Owing to the recent FDA deeming rules, pipe tobacco is an endangered species except for the really big players in the market who can afford a half million dollars per blend to introduce it, get it approved and market it. But there is a loophole.
Raw ingredients — Virginias, Burley, Orientals, Perique, Dark Fired Kentucky, Rustica — can still be sold and we can mix them on our own. The resulting blends and mixtures cannot be sold, but they can be traded, and with that, a new type of underground economy was born: people who make their own blends, and trade them for other things, not limited to tobacco.
Need that computer fixed? Many of us will do it for a pound of Dark Burley or Bright Virginia. And when we need something, like a bushel of fresh garden vegetables or some of that elusive .223 ammunition, we will swap our blends for it. Or for other tobacco. Or even just as a gesture of friendship.
See also the discussion thread at Pipes Magazine forums.
If this interests you, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us work out a trade.