Choosing The Right Jar

by | Cellaring Guides

Note: Throughout this article we will link to items that are mentioned. Cellar Labels is not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned and does not receive any commission on linked products. They are added purely for your benefit and reference.

Choosing the Right Jar to Cellar Tobacco

There are several different sizes of jars to choose from when cellaring your tobacco. When building up your cellar you should consider how you plan to store your jars and eventually how you will smoke through it. In this guide, we cover the best jars for long term storage, short term storage, and day-to-day use.

In our Getting Started article we mentioned a quick tip for knowing how much tobacco will fit in a jar. It’s handy enough that we think it’s worth mentioning again here. The size of a jar does not directly tell you how much tobacco you can store in it. In general you can take the number of ounces on the jar and divide it by four to determine how much tobacco you can actually put in it. For example, an 8 ounce (Half-Pint) jar will hold 2 ounces of tobacco.

8 oz Jar (Half-Pint) 16 oz Jar (Pint)
2 oz of Tobacco 4 oz of Tobacco

This is just a general rule of thumb though. Not all cuts of tobacco are created equaly or take up equal space. Two ounces of flake takes up less space than 2 ounces of ribbon cut. A 2 ounce plug takes up less space than 2 ounces of crumble cake. For starters, let’s look at the smallest jar size that all of those cuts will fit into. Usually, the smallest tin sizes are 2 oz and 50g (1.75oz), so that’s why we will be using those numbers for reference.

The Wide Mouth Half-Pint 8 oz Jar

In Image 1 you can see that there are 3 jars. The blends in these jars are Tsuge Fujin, Mac Baren HH Pure Virginia, and Samuel Gawith 1792 Flake. All 3 of these jars have the same amount of tobacco in them. In the jar on the top you can see there is some space around the edge. That tobacco is a flake. If you were to set the jar of Tsuge Fujin up you wouldn’t see any space. That’s because Fujin is a ribbon cut.

A ribbon cut has more surface area, so you need to pack it down in order to fit 2 ounces in. As you can see, this is a good jar and works across the board for different tobacco cuts. For more info on different cuts we recommend this awesome article by The Pipe Guys. A rope tobacco would look similar to the flake when coiled into this jar. A plug will usually fit, but you may need to make a couple cuts.

The best part about these jars is that they stack. Using this stye will help unify your cellar for better storage and a cleaner look.


Tobacco Cellaring Jars

Image 1

Image 2

The Regular Mouth Half-Pint 8oz Jar

This version of the Half-Pint jar (Image 2) holds the same amount as the above option. Despite this, there is a huge downside to using this style of jar. As you can imagine, the regular mouth size has a much smaller opening. So, even though you can store the same amount of tobacco, accessing it is a little more difficult.

The benefit of a wide mouth jar is that you can fit most pipes right into the opening and load your pipe without spilling any tobacco. You can try but will find it difficult to do this with a regular mouth. This style is also 1 1/4 in taller than the wide mouth style we first looked at. This means the more you smoke through the jar, the harder it will be to get to the tobacco at the bottom.

If you are going to use this style we recommend using a tobacco mat to place your tobacco on and load your bowl above. Then you can easily transfer the spilled tobacco back into the jar.

“Squat” or “Square” Wide Mouth Half-Pint 8 oz Jars

Despite how cool these look, they aren’t the best option for your cellar. Yes, it has a wide mouth, but the edges of jar actually extend out further than the opening. The big issue here is that tobacco gets packed against the walls and then gets stuck there. You’ll then have to use your finger to dig it out.

But wait, there’s more. These jars do not stack! If you want these for the aesthetic, then go for it. They do look cool. But in terms of functionality, we don’t recommend them. 

That being said, flake and rope cuts won’t have an issue in these jars. 


Image 3

Wide Mouth Pint 16 oz Jars

These jars (Image 3) are our second favorite jars for cellaring. As you can see, we have put a rope in this jar (specifically Samuel Gawith Brown No. 4). We like to keep bulk tobaccos like rope broken down as little as possible. What you see in this jar could probably fit into a half-pint jar. This order came as 2 long ropes and a few cut down pieces. Instead of packing them into miss-matched sizes we opted for all pint jars.

This size is also perfect for when you’ve opened a 3.5 ounces tin. All of that tobacco isn’t going to fit into a half-pint jar. Here you have two options. One, you could split them up into two half-pint jars. One with 2 ounces and one with 1.5 ounces. Then you could cellar one and smoke through the other. Two, you could put the whole 3.5 ounce tin in this jar. 

This is a good example of planning out how you want to use your cellar. Are you looking for long term storage or are you looking to smoke through your jars soon? Keep in mind that the larger your jar the more you will open it while smoking through it. Every time you open the jar you stop the aging process. If your long term goal is cellaring for years, breaking your tobacco down into smaller jars is a good idea. If you are going to smoke half of a pint jar and then let it sit some more, you will be leaving a lot of air in the jar. Again, this is where we would recommend using the first jar mentioned.


Jars Larger Than a Pint

So far we’ve covered 4 different jars. Three of which were just different shapes, but fit the same amount of tobacco. Searching the database of two of the biggest brands, Ball and Kerr, returns 57 different jars. That’s a bunch of jars to consider. Generally speaking though, anything over a pint is too big for cellaring tobacco. If you have had a good experience with cellaring in large jars we would love to hear about it in the comments.

It’s tempting to order tobacco in bulk and try and stuff it into the largest jar available. In the next article, we are going to recap the benefits of using smaller jars as well as look deeper into the art of this cellaring method.