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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Comparing Tobacco Varieties for Pipe Blending

alPol05

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#42
Thanks, Bob for all the work. I actually had some question to my self if this discussion belongs to the previous thread, but also didn't anticipate that it will take so much back&forth. In any case, thanks for moving and making it a separate thread.

Wiktor
 

alPol05

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#43
Re: Pure Tobacco Pipe Blends You Can Make

Personally I believe and maybe Bob can clarify it has everything to do with the quality of the leaf in my opinion. I mean you could get the same leaf that is mass produced and It tastes okay but not great. I believe if you take the same seed same soil and look after that leaf I would be of the opinion tha that leaf will taste better. It all in how the leaf is prepared. .
I agree that quality leaf is the most important attribute to all who want to experience the best in tobacco. It is the same as having veggies from your own garden instead of industrially-grown veggies from groceries store.

However, to avoid any misunderstanding - this discussion is about an effect of Orientals on your palate and any other sensors during and after test-smoking. Anybody who conducted tests like that is invited to share their experience in as many details as possible.

Wiktor

"Although I know what the tongue bite is, and I had experience with it in the past, I don't have it anymore. I smoke dry tobaccos, and all tobacco I shred is quite a wide cut. it resembles cube cut. I smoke slow and sometimes take a deep puff. I also do not smoke aromatics. My pipes are always freshly cleaned before smoking."
 

burge

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#44
I can only speak for Virginia tobaccos. However on experience tobacco is like wine mass produced wine will taste mass produced. I know its about oriental tobacco but the question is have you tried the same tobacco name from other suppliers? ie Bursa if leaf only had bursa? I have had the Canadian from there and there is no comparison between Dons lemon. The Canadian while cosmetically perfect tastes mass produced and there is no complexity in the flavor. Then you begin to get the real tastes for sampling.
 

alPol05

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#45
... but the question is have you tried the same tobacco name from other suppliers? ie Bursa if leaf only had bursa? I have had the Canadian from there and there is no comparison between Dons lemon. The Canadian while cosmetically perfect tastes mass produced and there is no complexity in the flavor. Then you begin to get the real tastes for sampling.
I haven't tried anything else for LeafOnly except the Krumovgrad. The only reason I purchased a sample bag of that Oriental was that I wanted to see how this specific leaf tastes. I am a bit of a nut when it comes to Orientals, and I want to try as many as possible.

I am actually in the process of shrinking number of blending tobaccos. When I started smoking a pipe (only six months ago), I purchased some blending tobaccos from commercial vendors. Since February I am transitioning to the leaf from WLT, and my goal is to explore the tobaccos from Don so that I can understand these better. After that, I would concentrate on blending from these leaves and come up with a few (3-4 blends) that I can use on a daily basis.

I am not into comparing different leaves from different vendors, at least not at this point and I don’t see me doing it in the future. I simply want to have a good leaf and come up with a few good blends for myself. My guide in this process is two charts that Bob posted some time ago – the Latakia Blends and Perique blends. I tried several of these blends, and I like them. These charts provide consistency in the blend that I am looking for. The only issue for me is to lower the impact of nicotine – I am not into a very strong blend. I am too old for that.

Wiktor

"I smoke dry tobaccos, and all tobacco I shred is quite a wide cut. It resembles cube cut. I smoke slow and sometimes take a deep puff. My pipes are always freshly cleaned before smoking."
 

deluxestogie

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#46
Noble goal. But there's a catch. The specific varieties of Orientals that are available change from time to time. And as enough time passes, the same variety may have to come from a new batch (a new tobacco bale), and may be noticeably different in character.

It pays to be flexible.

In my Latakia blending matrix, just leaving out that tiny quantity of Dark Air significantly reduces the nicotine load. Also, the Red Virginia not only increases the depth and breadth of the flavor and aroma, it also increases the nicotine. The Oriental component contributes much less nicotine to the blends.

With the Perique matrix, the trick in reducing nicotine absorption is to perfectly balance the alkalinity of Perique with the acidity of Bright leaf. Since every shipment of each of those from the grower or wholesaler varies somewhat in character (both the St. James Parish Perique and the various Bright leaf offerings vary), what the retailers can offer varies from year to year, sometimes month to month. You may need to adjust the ratio of your blending.

After I have prepared a new batch, if the first bowl seems to have too much nicotine, I simply add a bit more Bright leaf, and mix it in. If I sense tongue bite in that first bowl, I add a bit more Perique. There is no shame in cheating on the blending numbers. The matrix is just a ballpark guide.

Bob
 

burge

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#47
Here is something to take not that you can have the same tobacco leaf vary the cut and moisture and that leaf can taste completely different. To Bob of course the leaf changes and for the better. I can show your pictures of Dons lemon in which every year it varies in colour some is a little darker or lighter. I had one leaf that turned to a med brown and the new leaf ieaf is yellow. The new leaf I did not like at first and emailed Don as it was bitter and acidic it was just new leaf. I said I will give it a month. Glad I did however my apartment seems to be a natural curing chamber. I find it now to be really good as it ages
 

alPol05

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#48
burge, this is an important point, I am sure. I wonder how my leaves will react to upcoming summer here. For next 4-5 months, we will have 100-105 degrees here and inside will be 85 at best. I wonder what kind of changes will occur in my leaves and mixes I have.

On the Orientals, I am preparing myself for a bit better test. I have a tendency to jam too many things into a short period of time and this creates a problem. I need to slow down and spread my test over a longer period. I also need to figure out the way to have my mouth mush fresher and not test anything after I had a few bowls during the day. It's a matter of logistics that I need to work out. I probably need to do my tests in the morning, before having my "normal" pipe. I also need to smoke much less.

With all that said, I am a bit surprised that some Orientals can have such a strong impact on my taste buds. When I first smoked that Krunovgrad I thought that it was sprayed with something really bad.
 

burge

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#51
For me its coca cola. If the tobacco is stored in the vapor proof bags that are airtight then the tobacco should age nicely. The new Virginia I kickstarted it by putting it on my heat register for a day per side. In Celcius today in my apartment in the morning was 17 degrees when I got home this evening it was 26/ In the heat of the summer it can reach 20 and in the morning 17 or 18. Tobacco is tobacco and it lasts a long time. You can smoke 50 year old tobacco if you wanted too and it would still be good. The Canadian Virginia from the other guys looks good but isn't exceptional. I am smoking some lemon from a year and a half ago and saying wow. Every time I open a bag its like a different tobacco and it gets better and better with age. I am quite sure it would be the same with the orientals. I feel only exceptional tobacco can do that. I noticed you had mentioned Peter Stocklbye tobacco I used to smoke the Danish. That is aged by moistening drying and repeat and the tobacco is 6 years old. Another process to aging is sweating the tobacco Extreme heat for a certain period of time and another method I found out is by freezing the tobacco. When you do that it brings the moisture out and when it thaws that moisture is reabsorbed into the leaf. That is best accomplished in the vapor proof bags.
 

alPol05

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#52
... another method I found out is by freezing the tobacco. When you do that it brings the moisture out and when it thaws that moisture is reabsorbed into the leaf. That is best accomplished in the vapor proof bags.
I never heard about freezing. Is it done on a commercial scale and by who?
 

Kos

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#53
Dear Wiktor,
What you describe is a typical Burley burn to me.
I don’t have experience with the leaf leafonly is selling, but I can speak about Krumovgrad.
Krumovgrad Basma is representative of Yaki Basmas and should be treated like that.
Technically all oriental are Burleys, grown in restrained conditions. If the leaf length exceeds two times the width, the conditions are considered inappropriate.
Yaki Basmas are grown in the lowlands, Djebels - in the mountain with even poorer (sandy) soil. Djebel Basmas received their reputation as "the best" hundreds of years ago, when tobaccos were smoked straight. Yes, Djebels have the best smokeability - no bite and no bitterness, at the price of loosing lot of the aromas. However for blending purposes Yakis are the right tobaccos to use. Anyone using words like "better" and "best" should define the context. Djebels (Yenidje) are best for smoking straight, Yakis (Krumovgrad, Xanthi, Mahala) for blending. With Yakis you can lower the amount of Oriental, while preserving the amount of flavor; while upping the Virginia content, thus increasing the fullness (the interplay between taste and aroma).
Orientals in general lack taste, they are being grown for aroma.
Ignore the fact that many blends contain "Yenidje". This is a marketing term. The only true Yenidje, the one that received world recognition hundreds of year ago , is grown in Bulgaria, renamed for political purposes to Djebel Basma, thus increasing confusion in an already confusing matter. Although many modern day blenders use this tobacco, this is wrong. I would use Krumovgrad or Xanthi for blending.

For testing purposes I would approach Yaki Basma as Burley. Filtered cob, filled to the top, smoking only the first 1/3-1/2. For blending I wouldn't exceed 20%, even with my love and addiction to Orientals. 12.5% is a classic percent. You had mentioned 4 Orientals in your blend, any chance for another Yaki in there? Does your blend also contain Burley? Yaki Basma should be used with light hand and counter balanced with lots of Virginia. It's full packed with aroma, so this is not a problem. Did you let the blend sit for a month before trying?

Krumovgrad is the right tobacco to use if you have some Syrian lying around for some “taste of old”. The cumin like spiciness further opens and enhances the pineness and wet-forestness of Syrian (what words ... ).

I wouldn't blame leafonly for not understanding Orientals, very few people do. Yes, it came from the same seed as Yenidje (350 years ago) but no, not the same tobacco.
 

deluxestogie

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#54
Welcome to the forum, Kos. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself section.

Your post reflects experience and passion about Orientals. I would enjoy seeing some references to many of your assertions, since they contradict the extensive material from numerous sources that I have explored over the years.

I would disagree with many of your statements. For one example, your characterization of Orientals as "burley" seems wrong on the face of it. From a genetics standpoint, Orientals in general are quite distant from burleys. Having grown a number of different burley varieties, as well as over 20 different Oriental varieties under various conditions, I can say without hesitation that even "overgrown" Orientals bear little resemblance to any burley, in appearance, sugar content, nicotine level or smoking qualities.

Below are two studies that clearly indicate the genetic distance between Orientals and burleys. The first is from Macedonia, so it includes Prilep. The second explores scores of varieties. Both map their findings as genetic trees, or dendrograms.

Diversity 2010, 2, 439-449; doi:10.3390/d2040439
Genetic Variability of Macedonian Tobacco Varieties Determined by Microsatellite Marker Analysis
Davalieva K, Maleva I, Filiposki K, et al.



A cluster analysis for the selected 10 tobacco varieties showed that there
are three distinct clusters (Figure 1). The first cluster is represented by broad-leaf varieties—Virginia
MB1 and Burley-2/93. The second cluster is represented by Yaka and Djebel varieties (Djebel 1, Yaka
Jb-125/3, Yaka Jk-48, NS-72), while the third cluster is represented by Prilep varieties (Prilep P12-2/1,
Prilep P-23, Prilep P66-9/7, Prilep P-80pt). These three clusters of tobacco are clearly genetically distinct.



Genome 44: 559–571 (2001) DOI: 10.1139/gen-44-4-559
AFLP analysis of genetic polymorphism and evolutionary relationships among cultivated and wild Nicotiana species
Ren N and Timko MP.



As another example, "yaka" indicates the collar or slope, whereas djebel indicates the upper part of a mountain. Xanthi-yaka was grown on the slopes around and below the town of Xanthi, while Xanthi-djebel came from a higher altitude, above Xanthi. Both tobacco varieties (Basma types) likely derived from the same variety in the past.

I do agree that "Yenidje" is mostly marketing hype today. It originated far down-valley from Xanthi, in the town of Yenidje (today, Genisee or Yenice), which was destroyed in the mid 19th century by catastrophic flooding. Tobacco production then moved upslope to the Xanthi region.

Bob
 

Kos

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#55
I hope you don't object my testing and blending methods. Our brother has a problem. I propose him a practical approach.

I have no knowledge neither interest in Botany. I'm blending tobaccos for mine and my friends enjoyment. I still stand by my claims, even if I can't back them up with science papers. Would you agree that all tobaccos stem from Burley? Not the Burley of today, of course.

Although not botanist I will disagree with the generic trees posted. Modern day Orientals have been crossed with varieties from many parts of the world; many times in the history. I find no logic in tracing genetic markers in modern day strains. The first diagram says Djebel 1, this is a modern day variety.
Page 85 of this book describes hybridization of Bulgarian Orientals with US and Australian varieties for blue mold resistance:
https://books.google.bg/books?id=3mwOAQAAIAAJ

It originated far down-valley from Xanthi, in the town of Yenidje (today, Genisee or Yenice), which was destroyed in the mid 19th century by catastrophic flooding. Tobacco production then moved upslope to the Xanthi region
Yes and no. The name was given by the people in the Rhodope mountains. This was the first seed (Burley of old :) :) :) ) that had arrived in the Empire from Spain. Later it found a better home at higher altitudes (smokeability). The people at first called it "Mjumjun's seed" by the name of the farmer who first planted it in the mountain. Later they started to call it "Enidzhe", meaning "a seed from the village of Enidzhe". Pretty typical naming schemata.

I didn’t want to bloat my first post, however the Xanthi from Xanthi of today (technically a Yaka) is perfectly smokeable on its own (if you don't mind a blast of savory spiciness). This is what 100 more years in selection and hybridization in different direction gives.

As always an interesting read from you, Bob.
This was my first post, but I was around for quite some time. Posts made by you or Istanbulin had always caught my attention.
Where is Istanbulin?
 

alPol05

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#56
Dear Wiktor,
Djebels (Yenidje) are best for smoking straight, Yakis (Krumovgrad, Xanthi, Mahala) for blending. With Yakis you can lower the amount of Oriental, while preserving the amount of flavor; while upping the Virginia content, thus increasing the fullness (the interplay between taste and aroma). Orientals in general lack taste, they are being grown for aroma.
Ignore the fact that many blends contain "Yenidje". This is a marketing term. The only true Yenidje, the one that received world recognition hundreds of year ago , is grown in Bulgaria, renamed for political purposes to Djebel Basma, thus increasing confusion in an already confusing matter. Although many modern day blenders use this tobacco, this is wrong. I would use Krumovgrad or Xanthi for blending.

For testing purposes I would approach Yaki Basma as Burley. Filtered cob, filled to the top, smoking only the first 1/3-1/2. For blending I wouldn't exceed 20%, even with my love and addiction to Orientals. 12.5% is a classic percent. You had mentioned 4 Orientals in your blend, any chance for another Yaki in there? Does your blend also contain Burley? Yaki Basma should be used with light hand and counter balanced with lots of Virginia. It's full packed with aroma, so this is not a problem. Did you let the blend sit for a month before trying?

Krumovgrad is the right tobacco to use if you have some Syrian lying around for some “taste of old”. The cumin like spiciness further opens and enhances the pineness and wet-forestness of Syrian (what words ... ).

I wouldn't blame leafonly for not understanding Orientals, very few people do. Yes, it came from the same seed as Yenidje (350 years ago) but no, not the same tobacco.
Kos,

Thanks for your comments. Several clarifications are in order.

1. I am very new to pipe smoking and even newer to blending my own tobacco. I am very interested in Orientals, but as you pointed out, there is so much misinformation that it is difficult for me to sort it out.

2. I have the following Orientals:

a. Krumovgrad-LeafOnly - 10
b. Turkish (commercial) - 4
c. Smyrna (commercial) – 5
d. Izmir (commercial) – 6
e. Stokkebye No. 313 Macedonian Mix (commercial) - 5
f. Samsun-WLT - 1
g. Basma-WLT – 2
h. Izmir-WLT - 3
(The numbers next to the tobacco name is my grade of bitterness I experienced when test-smoking these varietals.)

Where do they fall in your classification of Djebels vs. Yakis?

3. Can you expand on your procedure for testing: "
Filtered cob, filled to the top, smoking only the first 1/3-1/2." Why smoke only 1/3-1/2"?
4. My blend in question contains some White Burley (commercial purchase)
5. The four Orientals in the blend in question are:

Turkish Ribbon 6%
Izmir 8%
Smyrna 8%
Krumovgrad 8%

Since I started this thread I put a bit of thinking into the situation and I know I made several cardinal mistakes. One of them is mixing several Orientals in the same blend. This is what happens when there is not enough knowledge and too much excitement. In the next few days, I will be posting a whole new thread under my Wiktor's PipingNotes that will analyze this specific situation and list mistakes that I made and how I plan to correct these.

6. No, I didn't give that blend a month to meld. Maybe 5-7 days. I know now that I need much longer time.
7. When you say Syrian, I assume you are thinking about Syrian Latakia. No, don't have that.

In any event, please comment and give me your thoughts.
 

Kos

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#57
This is a great journey and one can never be experienced enough. The best thing you will find down the road are the people.

The Djebel/Yaki is our Balkan thing but can be applied to other tobaccos as well, say Samsun/Trabzon/Sokhum.
I have no experience with the tobaccos you have. Izmir from Izmir is very different from Izmir from Greece or from USA (I guess). Still the best categorization is the one that you gave - the numbers on the right. They reflect the tobaccos you own and your body chemistry as well.

For leafs that I suspect will be bitey or too strong in nicotine I use a corn pipe. I can even put a filter on in. Corn suppresses some of the aromas but also some of the harshness. Don't go crazy about it, use whatever pipes you have. By the first 1/3 or the first 1/2 I mean - I will smoke it until it gets bitey and discard it.

So you have paired some tobaccos with high Wiktor Index with some Burley. Use your index as a reference. Weight the numbers by the percentages you use, if you like.
Make a test batch with 50% sweet Virginia and 50% of your blend to see how it goes.

You didn't mention the Flue Cured you use. Is there a chance that is too fresh and bitey? Also blend's final moisture plays with the bite. Try drying it a little. Edit: Sorry, just noticed your signature.

What is "Turkish Leaf" some sort of Samsun?
I wouldn't blend leafs that come from Izmir with Xanthi derivatives but this is just me. I would rather make a blend that showcases the particular leaf, maybe amplify some of its characteristics or take me to a journey.

Since you already smoked them you already know what they taste like. I associate Izmir/Smyrna with sweet spices, Xanthi with savory spices and earth, Samsun with wood and nut shells. I'm oversimplifying again, hope you get the point.

Say sweet smelling Izmir with sweet tasting Virginia. If your body chemistry can handle it you may add some dark chocolaty Burley.

20% Izmir/ 65% Indian Virginia/ 15% Burley, but the numbers are for the tobaccos I own. Think hot chocolate with sweet spices.

If your Izmir/Smyrna has sweet vanilla like flavors you may try it with some Cyprian Latakia.

Samsun with some Dark Fired Kentucky and African Virginias.

Regarding Syrian - yes Latakia. It's not worth to go crazy about tobaccos you don’t own. You can make some pretty nice blends with the tobaccos you have.

Bobs's thread is a gem:
http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/3926-Pure-Tobacco-Pipe-Blends-You-Can-Make
Try Krumovgrad instead of Xanthi, just half the quantity.
 

alPol05

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#58
I noticed you had mentioned Peter Stocklbye tobacco I used to smoke the Danish. That is aged by moistening drying and repeat and the tobacco is 6 years old.
Also, I would like to know how do you know about "tobacco is 6 years old" this?
 

alPol05

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#59
So you have paired some tobaccos with high Wiktor Index with some Burley. Use your index as a reference.
Kos,

From your comments, it looks like you are in agreement with a point I was making a while back. I suggested that Oriental tobaccos can't be exchanged 1:1 in the recipe because of their different characteristics and the impact. In our example, 5 g of Samsun can't be exchanged with 5 g of Krumovgrad because Krumovgrad is much "stronger" than Samsun (according to a scale from Wiktor Index).
 
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