Whole Leaf Tobacco

2016 Carotte Tobacco a success!

squeezyjohn

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Because I grow and cure my tobacco off grid (no heating in the shed and only rudimentary ventilation arrangements) I often get to the end of the curing season with colour cured leaf that still hasn't dried in the midrib and could easily mould if left out. My situation also doesn't give me enough space in the house to hang the leaf up indoors to finish off (well not without causing un-necessary domestic strife shall we say?)

So based on a few documents, a little advice here, and the infamous YouTube video of some old British sailors (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sqhu11WjC4) - I have been perfecting the art of making what they called a perique (or a prick) of tobacco using canvas and rope. This is the same thing as described by the french term 'carotte' of tobacco. And as you can see it does look a bit like a carrot when it's finished!

Photo on 05-01-2017 at 12.23.jpg

Bear in mind that this is so compressed that it contains at least 2 of my strings of hanging tobacco leaf that would take up a load of space. The general advice is to keep it bound up to really develop the taste for about 6 months ... this one is just 3 months old, but I don't like an overly fermented taste in mine and so I have taken it out of it's rope and canvas binding to test.

It is tough to cut, but not too hard with a good sharp blade. The centre of the carotte is slightly moist and much darker than the original leaf it's made from. The smell is fruity and malty and definitely fermented.

Photo on 05-01-2017 at 12.23 #2.jpg

Because of it's slightly moist texture (it looks and feels a bit like slicing jerky or billtong) it is possible to shave incredibly fine slices off, much finer than you could hand cut leaf tobacco. When rubbed out and left to dry slightly this gives a very fine shag cut of tobacco and I imagine it would be great in a pipe.

Photo on 05-01-2017 at 12.27.jpgPhoto on 05-01-2017 at 12.51.jpg

I'm planning on using all mine in recipes for smokeless and snus. My initial tasting was done by simply chewing on the slice you see in the pictures above - it is full of flavour and character and also has a quite a nicotine punch (presumably caused by being mainly upper leaves and also alkalinity due to the fermenting process)

The main things I take away from this are that it is a wonderful solution to curing late in the season with minimal space. Although I know the name 'perique' should only apply to real perique pressing, there is an awful lot of similarity in the aromatic compounds made by this method and by real barrel fermented perique. And if you think about it - there's a load of pressure generated by the rope binding and tightening in this method, the leaf was in high case when it was made in to the 'carotte' - so the high pressure was on moist material (at least in the centre). It certainly isn't as pungent as full-on perique but it tastes much more like that than regular air-dried leaf does.

I would definitely recommend people try this!
 

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DistillingJim

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What sort of tobacco did you use in the carotte? I'll have to try this next year for the pipe.
 

squeezyjohn

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It was Bolivian Criollo Black this year - but in previous years I've used other varieties and it doesn't seem to make an awful lot of difference to the end result as far as I can tell.

I couldn't resist - and although I haven't smoked properly in 10 years I do still have a pipe and just smoked a bowl of it to see what it was like. It was still a little moist so took a few attempts to light it, but it smoked right to the bottom of the bowl, was a nice cool smoke with a lot of sweetness. The aroma and character from the fermentation I imagined would be there was only faint in the smoke, so I think if you want to smoke it you should probably keep it in the carotte binding for the whole 6 months. It reminded me of Capstan Flake Blue tobacco.
 

Smokin Harley

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Because I grow and cure my tobacco off grid (no heating in the shed and only rudimentary ventilation arrangements) I often get to the end of the curing season with colour cured leaf that still hasn't dried in the midrib and could easily mould if left out. My situation also doesn't give me enough space in the house to hang the leaf up indoors to finish off (well not without causing un-necessary domestic strife shall we say?)

So based on a few documents, a little advice here, and the infamous YouTube video of some old British sailors (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sqhu11WjC4) - I have been perfecting the art of making what they called a perique (or a prick) of tobacco using canvas and rope. This is the same thing as described by the french term 'carotte' of tobacco. And as you can see it does look a bit like a carrot when it's finished!

View attachment 19813

Bear in mind that this is so compressed that it contains at least 2 of my strings of hanging tobacco leaf that would take up a load of space. The general advice is to keep it bound up to really develop the taste for about 6 months ... this one is just 3 months old, but I don't like an overly fermented taste in mine and so I have taken it out of it's rope and canvas binding to test.

It is tough to cut, but not too hard with a good sharp blade. The centre of the carotte is slightly moist and much darker than the original leaf it's made from. The smell is fruity and malty and definitely fermented.

View attachment 19814

Because of it's slightly moist texture (it looks and feels a bit like slicing jerky or billtong) it is possible to shave incredibly fine slices off, much finer than you could hand cut leaf tobacco. When rubbed out and left to dry slightly this gives a very fine shag cut of tobacco and I imagine it would be great in a pipe.

View attachment 19815View attachment 19817

I'm planning on using all mine in recipes for smokeless and snus. My initial tasting was done by simply chewing on the slice you see in the pictures above - it is full of flavour and character and also has a quite a nicotine punch (presumably caused by being mainly upper leaves and also alkalinity due to the fermenting process)

The main things I take away from this are that it is a wonderful solution to curing late in the season with minimal space. Although I know the name 'perique' should only apply to real perique pressing, there is an awful lot of similarity in the aromatic compounds made by this method and by real barrel fermented perique. And if you think about it - there's a load of pressure generated by the rope binding and tightening in this method, the leaf was in high case when it was made in to the 'carotte' - so the high pressure was on moist material (at least in the centre). It certainly isn't as pungent as full-on perique but it tastes much more like that than regular air-dried leaf does.

I would definitely recommend people try this!
Great looking carotte ,Squeezy. I still have my Perique carrotte hanging (http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/6974-The-Periqueining?p=128695&viewfull=1#post128695) Its from the first priming,so I don't anticipate a strong nicotine level . I think mine will be 3 months on the 25th of this month (January 2017). Tell me please where did you hang yours , and what was the average temperature of its storage place?
How long before you try it in a pipe?? I'm curious and a bit excited to know ...anxious even.
 

squeezyjohn

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By the way - after many attempts at the old men's convoluted method using an extra rope suspended from 2 trees ... I simply ended up standing on the rope and pulling the carotte up towards myself on every turn and it seemed to give plenty of pressure to get the job done.

I used plain canvas as the wrapper and jute sash-window cord as the binding rope.
 

squeezyjohn

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Smokin Harley - I just left it in a regular room indoors. Not the main living room so not heated too much - around 15ºC?

Mine is 3 months old ... if you want to smoke it and want a good ripe taste I'd leave it longer ... but it would be nice now too. I don't know how much pressure the rope still puts on the tobacco this far in to the process. It's so solid that I imagine it would carry on fermenting in the middle if you unwrapped it now and tried some.
 

squeezyjohn

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Because this can be cut so thinly by shaving the end of the carotte it makes an amazing long-cut "tobacco only" dip au naturel!
 

Smokin Harley

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I have the entire harvest from my Little Sweet Orinoco still hanging in the barn. Thought I might try a priming of it with the carrotte method and see what I get.
 

SmokesAhoy

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It's worth a shot, I've only had them turn out good Harley.
 

squeezyjohn

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Sorry to keep banging on about this thread but I've discovered another awesome thing that makes carotte tobacco so amazing. You can shred it using a good quality vegetable mandolin slicer ... I have one which has a screw which can alter the width of cut very easily and after that it's like actually grating a carrot!

Once the flakes of the carotte are separated this gets a really thin shred (less than 1mm) which is really close to the copenhagen long cut type of cut. This may also be of interest to people looking to get that really fine Japanese tobacco cut for pipes, or hand rolling cigarette tobacco.
 

squeezyjohn

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Really? I'm sorry to hear that! Did you make them with quite wet leaf? The only time my experiments in this area have rotted was when the leaf was actually green rather than colour cured.
 

Brown Thumb

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Really? I'm sorry to hear that! Did you make them with quite wet leaf? The only time my experiments in this area have rotted was when the leaf was actually green rather than colour cured.
Green leaf. I guess I screwed up.
 

JLP

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Thanks SqueezyJohn for posting this and everyone else who contributed and added to it,

Living in the UK too, this is something I may find myself doing more out of necessity, although I do love a bowlful of a good VaPer....SG St James flake or plug being my go to VaPer

I agree with SqueezyJohn on the climate here, the weather being what it is, by the time my plants are ready for picking it's not always conducive to curing through lower than desirable temperatures. Even in the garage I've employed the use of a grow tent and small heat source (crock-pot) for curing to make sure the leaf doesn't dry green.

Does it have to be canvas used to roll it in?...it's probably porous enough to allow it to breath some yet stiff enough to spread the pressure of the rope?...of course, the original practitioners of this technique were surrounded by yards of canvas so use what you have right?

Thanks for an interesting & informative read,
Andy
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I've seen videos, but I don't really understand how so much pressure/tension is applied to these carrottes, and how I would attempt it, myself.
 

Gavroche

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The experience of Squeezyjohn is with green tobacco... I BELIEVE. I made the experience green tobacco also but in jar and in compression. Interesting but not of the perique as that of cornell and dhiel ...The taste is different. Smell of fruits and vinegar
 

ChinaVoodoo

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The experience of Squeezyjohn is with green tobacco... I BELIEVE. I made the experience green tobacco also but in jar and in compression. Interesting but not of the perique as that of cornell and dhiel ...The taste is different. Smell of fruits and vinegar
Funny you should say that. This Italian fermentation method on Beneventano tobacco results in aromas of acetic acid.
https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=2&nv=1&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&sp=nmt4&tl=en&u=http://canalife.altervista.org/Benev.htm&usg=ALkJrhiIjYw2Jy9YYdMv9cHSxRvk8sUijA
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I made this yesterday. It was much easier to do than I imagined. I'm worried though, that it's going to be impossible to cut.
IMG_20171125_154033531~2.jpg
 

SmokesAhoy

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Just shave bits off with a sharp knife, be careful it's not too dry though or it crumbles
 
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