Thanks Darrel! Regarding the No9, it depends on how your palate is now. Some people want the LP9 smooth, like Aroma. Others, including Steve Saka, for whom the blend was developed, prefer it relatively fresh, as the flavors are bolder and hit a little harder initially.
If you're like me, you may not notice a big difference between a relatively fresh one and a year old one. Smoke it now, so you can decide if you like it. If you do, buy a few to rest for a year or so and see how you like them then!