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Dunhill & Rattray's blends no longer available

tullius

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Gents, and the rest of us:

I am new here but not to pipe tobacco. Many ready made favorites are now or fast becoming no longer readily available either in original or re-released form, including Dunhill EMP, 965, London Mixture, BB1938, Durbar, Nightcap, Balkan Sobranie 759, and Rattray's Red Rapparee, among others. I'd like to start a conversation here about formulating these famous blends from whole leaf tobaccos.

Thanks to Bob (deluxestogie) for generously responding to messages from an unknown and encouraging me to post here, and to Don at WLT for letting me stop by his warehouse sight unseen to buy supplies, and to all of you on this forum whose vast knowledge has helped me and many others.

My beginning contribution: dunhill's London Mixture, based on the UK made red painted lid version, 50g batch, no stoving or pressing or casings or other sneaky stuff, all tobaccos from WLT

7g red VA​
7g bright VA​
7g lemon VA​
7g thin VA​
7g stacked basma​
15g latakia​

Smokes close, to my taste. Comments, critiques and suggestions welcomed.
 

Alpine

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I’ll leave the comments about pipe tobacco to other more knowledgeable members (cigarette smoker here, I only indulge in pipe smoking a few times a year) but I’m happy to welcome you to FTT

pier
 

deluxestogie

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tullius' Dunhill's London Mixture Duplicate: Bob's standardized format
  • Red VA: 14% (~2-1/4 parts per 16)
  • Bright VA: 14% (~2-1/4 parts per 16)
  • Lemon VA: 14% (~2-1/4 parts per 16)
  • Thin VA: 14% (~2-1/4 parts per 16)
  • Stacked Basma: 14% (~2-1/4 parts per 16)
  • Latakia: 30% (~4-3/4 parts per 16)
Some pipe blenders use a delicate scale for measuring. Many (including me) use cruder methods. My take is that the scale is way more precise than the constancy of the source leaf (all leaf grading is along a continuum), so the difference between the two methods may be significant with a single leaf supply, but fades with the seasons.

Actually duplicating a commercial recipe is always a daunting challenge, since their actual recipes were a moving target during production, and since many were a long time ago, and all cellared pipe tobacco changes over time. My goal has generally been to capture the notion or the sense of it--the gestalt of breaking the seal on the tin, smelling it, then smoking a bowl. The nose knows.

I have not tried this yet, but it feels correct. (I'll resume pipe blending when the snows come.) Since every bale and crop year varies, you will likely need to tweak the recipe from time to time.

Thank you for posting the recipe. I look forward to more.

Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself forum as well.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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I think it was nearly a decade ago that the actual manufacturing of Rattrays went to the lowest bidder in the EU--Denmark, I believe. Their recipe "innovations" allowed them to sell Mac Baren's in Rattray's clothing.

"Our factory in Assens, Denmark, produces pipe tobacco for 75 countries around the world."


[Grand Canyon souvenirs: made in China
Navajo rugs: made in India]

So Rattrays that tastes like non-Rattrays results in no Rattrays.

Honestly, I think the biggest change that doomed Dunhill's and Rattrays was not alterations of the tobacco ingredients so much as the addition of glycerin and PPG, which had been banned during their British manufacture. The great revelation of blending with whole leaf is that pipe blends are always better without that stuff. The humectants/anti-fungals are (like tomatoes bred for durability during shipping) the answer to distribution chain challenges of commercial pipe blends.

Bob
 

tullius

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JBD, no official announcement as far as I know, but RRR is and has been out of stock at all online merchants for a while now. A good b&m I've done business with for over 20 years told me they can't get it. Found two cans in another b&m, but they wanted the dear family jewels for them.

For the record, all of my Rattrays (various blends, all at least a decade old, all smoke as I remember) are marked made in Germany, with one exception, an old 50g Black Mallory marked made in EEC.
 

Jitterbugdude

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Samual Gawith is always out of stock too but I don't think that means they are going out of business. MarsCigars has some Rattrays available. I think the extreme hording that has overtaken American Pipe smokers is partly to blame for a lot of the major blends always being out of stock. When Smoking Pipes get a supply of Samual Gawith in it is always sold out within hours.
 

tullius

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Back to the recipes! This is a failure as far as any of the blends I listed go, but it's very good and fast becoming my first smoke of the day, so I share it here. I've labelled it Blend No. 1:

10g Va Red
10g Va Bright
10g Va Lemon
10g Va Thin
10g Stacked Basma

(edited to merge two posts)
 
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deluxestogie

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tullius,
If you could enter your tantalizing recipes with not only grams, but also percent and parts per 16 (a la Craig Tarler), that would make them easier to track for us old timers.

Your No. 1 looks like a lightly seasoned, pure Virginia.

Bob
 

tullius

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tullius,
If you could enter your tantalizing recipes with not only grams, but also percent and parts per 16 (a la Craig Tarler), that would make them easier to track for us old timers.

Your No. 1 looks like a lightly seasoned, pure Virginia.

Bob
Bob,
Blending techniques: a bit far afield from the thread? I think no! A discussion of blending techniques is valuable. Maybe we should start another thread on just that, because there's a lot there to discuss!

By volume or by weight or by mass?​
Shred width and uniformity?​
Moisture content/case uniformity?​
Analyse before blending, while blending, after blended but before smoking, during smoking, after smoking or all of the above?​

I went around on this for a while in my head before settling on format by weight. You did too I'm sure, before settling on your technique. De gustibus non disputandum, and all respect intended.

Weight format indicates to the reader the blend was originally blended by weight. Volume format indicates to the reader the blend was originally blended by volume. The format is record of recipe and technique.

My technique is biased by time in pro kitchens here and in Europe. Simplicity is concise, uncluttered and quick. Baker's percentages are simpler, easier, more consistent, and flat out faster: to do a 75% hydration dough it's much quicker and more accurate to pour out 18.75 lbs of water to a 25 lbs. bag of flour than it is to measure out 92 cups of flour and 36 cups of water. Scoops of flour are heavy cups. Is each scoop consistent? The downfall of course, doing things by weight, is that if the ingredients are not consistent in moisture content or otherwise, the results will vary: I try to equalize the case of all the components before blending to minimize this. Water is heavy, nothing's perfect, we just get close, and the nose knows.

As a compromise, I'll post the percentages after the weights. The parts per sixteen can be easily calculated if desired.

Again, all respect intended. If this post is better deleted or moved to another thread, I'm for it. These are helpful discussions!
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I think this discussion of accuracy and measurement is relevant to the discussion of duplicating blends.

I don't believe it is relevant to the discussion of all blending because to a certain extent, its like talking in thousandths of inches while using hammers and wood saws. Batches of tobacco vary greatly between each other and that generally amounts to more variance than a few %points.

Units of measure / percentage by weight seems to be semantics to me. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we all have the ability to translate other people's numbers into our own.

Shred width, uniformity, and things like cube cut, press cake, rope cut, and flake definitely are relevant.

As far as I know, nobody uses volume when formulating tobacco blends.

Water content is mostly irrelevant because we should be assuming that all of the constituents are stored with the same conditions except for Perique. When duplicating blends, it may be important to note the relative moisture level of the Perique one is using.

And one last thing. I fear that overanalysis can take the joy out of the experience. Analysis and excitement about it appears to be some people's jam, so while I get cold sweats from this discussion, I don't want to ruin the fun.
 

deluxestogie

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Forgive me, and allow an old codger to ruminate.
As far as I know, nobody uses volume when formulating tobacco blends.
Actually, I do all the time. I use a tablespoon measure, with precisely calibrated heapingness. My shreds and degree of rub-out at the time of blending are consistent, as is the humidity--pretty much-ish. My Perique is sliced, rubbed and desiccated down to smokable state prior to blending. Latakia at the proper case is crumbly, so I do the best I can with estimating that. If I were to use a microgram laboratory balance instead, your blend following my recipe still won't be just like mine. It just won't.

[I'm not allergic to precise measurements. In the ancient past, I was engaged in physical chemistry research into the photolysis of low molecular weight hydrocarbons. (e.g. What happens to ethane molecules in the upper atmosphere?) My boss in that endeavor--Prof. Marcel Halberstadt--had previously held a position in the National Bureau of Standards, and was...how can I say it?...picky about the little things. BUT...our reagents and instruments and even our gas chormatograph chart paper were standardized, ultra-consistent, ultra-repeatable--and ultra-expensive. Back then, in the late 1960s, my typewriter-size HP digital desktop, programmable calculator was years ahead of what NASA was currently launching into space--think Apollo XI.]

Tobacco ingredients for a new commercial blend of pipe tobacco or a new cigar line must be purchased in a huge batch (some say 3 years of production minimum) all at once, so as to assure consistency in the blend over at least that period of time. Latakia changed, so Balkan Sobranie altered its blending ratio--several times.

To a home blender or roller, the concept of Don's having "entire bales" of the same tobacco seems adequate for consistency. But many forum members painfully recall the ends of a number of beloved leaf ingredients. That's just what happens everywhere, only at different scales. With home-grown leaf, that window of discovery and extinction of wonderful ingredients is agonizingly brief.

About the "parts per 16" that the late Craig Tarler used to write on all of his pipe blending cards for Cornell & Diehl: He used those numbers as "ounces per pound" of final blend. Weight. He of course used fractions of a part per 16 in many blends. By industrial standards, his blend batches were of modest size, but way larger than you or I would ever make up at home. His machines did the shredding, so that was predictable. And of course he could closely control the humidity in all his tobacco ingredients.

So trust this old fart when he says that you should measure your blends in whatever way makes you comfortable about their repeatability. And expect to engage in at least minor re-blending as the ingredients inevitably change with time. Su Virginia Bright no es mi Virginia Bright.

I deeply appreciate tullius' efforts and enthusiasm with replicating iconic blends of the past. They will surely be closer to the mark than the Danish (sorry) factories will ever produce. (My Latakia Blending Matrices involved literally hundreds of "failed" bowls of tobacco. So I know, coming up with a winning blend is a heap--or many kilograms, if you will--of work.) Whether he states recipes in grams or moles or bushel baskets, I will know what he means. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Bob
 

tullius

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Good discussions all round, let's continue them. Meanwhile, back to the tobaccos!

Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe, a favorite of many. Hopefully available again, but not available now. Bought the Sutliff Match Early Morning/Match Sunrise copy of this from P&C and it's abominable: heavily cased and flavored, and not in the same county much less the same neighborhood. The blender should be politely relieved of his duties. P&C also shamefully refused to post a respectful & honest review to that effect. Nuts to them.

Here's my third go at dunhill EMP, much closer, all tobaccos WLT, no stoving or pressing or casing, rolled into a carotte and sliced with a knife deluxestogie style:

9g red Va (18%)​
9g bright Va (18%)​
9g lemon Va (18%)​
9g basma (18%)​
7g thin Va (14%)​
7g latakia (14%)​

It's not quite it, but it's getting close. Lacks a touch of the sweetness and softness of the original. The first two iterations I stoved everything except the latakia (90 min. 185 deg F mason jar water bath method), but they didn't turn out as good as this version. Will try panning or stoving for less time and just the virginias. Will then try some light pressing after testing.
 
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tullius

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A whole leaf pipe tobacco blend for each part of the day: 50g batches, all tobaccos WLT


Matins

Red VA/Turkish blend, cased with white distilled vinegar and pressed

35g Red Virginia (70%)
15g Prilep (30%)

  • Destem and cut tobaccos into 1/8” ribbon (I use an Italian pasta cutter) and mix well
  • Spray down with white distilled vinegar to achieve heavy case, but not dripping wet
  • Jar in half pint jar and vacuum seal so that it doesn’t float in the water bath and simmer jar @ 212 deg F for an hour
  • Rest for 3 days, sealed
  • Press for 1 week
  • Rub out mixture and smoke
This mixture is not based off any commercial blend


Lauds

Light VA/Oriental/Latakia blend, stoved and pressed

9g Red virginia (18%)
9g Bright virginia (18%)
9g Lemon virginia (18%)
9g Prilep (18%)
7g Thin Virginia (14%)
7g Latakia (14%)

  • Destem and cut tobaccos into 1/8” ribbon (I use an Italian pasta cutter) and mix well
  • Jar in half pint jar and vacuum seal so that it doesn’t float in the water bath and simmer jar @ 212 deg F for an hour
  • Rest for 3 days, sealed
  • Press for 36 hours
  • Rub out mixture and smoke
This mixture is based on the UK version of Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe


Sext

Robust VA/Turkish/Latakia blend for the afternoon

7g Red virginia (14%)
7g Bright virginia (14%)
7g Lemon virginia (14%)
7g Thin Virginia (14%)
7g Prilep (14%)
15g Latakia (30%)

  • Destem and cut tobaccos into 1/8” ribbon (I use an Italian pasta cutter)
  • Mix well and smoke
This mixture is based on the UK version of Dunhill’s London Standard Mixture


Vespers

Medium VA/Oriental/Cavendish/Latakia blend, stoved and pressed

9g Red virginia (18%)
9g Bright virginia (18%)
9g Lemon virginia (18%)
9g Prilep (18%)
7g Black cavendish (14%)
7g Latakia (14%)

  • Destem and cut tobaccos into 1/8” ribbon (I use an Italian pasta cutter) and mix well
  • Jar in half pint jar and vacuum seal so that it doesn’t float in the water bath and simmer jar @ 212 deg F for an hour
  • Rest for 3 days, sealed
  • Press for 1 week
  • Rub out mixture and smoke
This mixture is based on the UK version of Dunhill’s MyMixture 965


Compline


Red VA/Oriental/Cavendish/Latakia/Cigar leaf blend

9g Red virginia (18%)
9g Bright virginia (18%)
9g Prilep (18%)
9g Latakia (18%)
9g Black cavendish (18%)
5g Corojo 99 wrapper scraps (10%)

  • Destem and cut tobaccos into 1/8” ribbon (I use an Italian pasta cutter)
  • Mix well and smoke
This mixture is based on the made in Germany version of Rattray’s Red Rapparee
 
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