Whole Leaf Tobacco

Making Latakia at Home

docpierce

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If you start with green leaf, be sure to keep the temperature below 104°F, until the leaf has yellowed (4 days to about 2 weeks).

How much time in each "day" is the firing active?

Bob
On the weekend- pretty much 24 hours a day. During the work week twice a day - from 5am till the fire goes out ( the wife says around 10) and from 5 till 12am
 

deluxestogie

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Some years ago, I read a curious article that presented a concept that stuck with me. But I was unable to locate the article again, until just now.

Here is the abstract:
Weiss T et al: Perceptual convergence of multi-component mixtures in olfaction implies an olfactory white. said:
In vision, two mixtures, each containing an independent set of many different wavelengths, may produce a common color percept termed “white.” In audition, two mixtures, each containing an independent set of many different frequencies, may produce a common perceptual hum termed “white noise.” Visual and auditory whites emerge upon two conditions: when the mixture components span stimulus space, and when they are of equal intensity. We hypothesized that if we apply these same conditions to odorant mixtures, “whiteness” may emerge in olfaction as well. We selected 86 molecules that span olfactory stimulus space and individually diluted them to a point of about equal intensity. We then prepared various odorant mixtures, each containing various numbers of molecular components, and asked human participants to rate the perceptual similarity of such mixture pairs. We found that as we increased the number of nonoverlapping, equal-intensity components in odorant mixtures, the mixtures became more similar to each other, despite not having a single component in common. With ∼30 components, most mixtures smelled alike. After participants were acquainted with a novel, arbitrarily named mixture of ∼30 equal-intensity components, they later applied this name more readily to other novel mixtures of ∼30 equal-intensity components spanning stimulus space, but not to mixtures containing fewer components or to mixtures that did not span stimulus space. We conclude that a common olfactory percept, “olfactory white,” is associated with mixtures of ∼30 or more equal-intensity components that span stimulus space, implying that olfactory representations are of features of molecules rather than of molecular identity.

Weiss T et al: Perceptual convergence of multi-component mixtures in olfaction implies an olfactory white - PNAS December 4, 2012 109 (49) 19959-19964
Emphasis is my own. Each of us is making Latakia with different firing materials, each one of which contributes easily a dozen aroma components. I'm suspecting that so long as the collection of firing materials excludes certain strong, recognizable, incorrect components and includes certain strong, recognizable, essential components, that all the other odor variants tossed in there simply serve to "generalize" the overall aroma to a Latakia-ish aroma. I can just about guarantee that in Cyprus, the exact materials and exact quantities of each differ from year to year, and even batch to batch.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Forced indoors by nasty, blowing rain yesterday, I spent the last half of the day working in my study. I smoked:
  • Pearl of Shibam (25.0% Latakia)
  • Angry Alligator (43.5% Latakia)
  • Big & Bold (62.6% Latakia)
in succession, prior to going to bed. When I awakened in the middle of the night, I noticed the distinct taste of eugenol (clove) on my lips.

Bob
 

docpierce

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Brief inspection inside the smoke barrel: Bob is right when he said the blacking would speed up toward the end of the 6 week run. The leaves are really blackening on day 36.
 

GreenDragon

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Whelp, I’m pulling mine now. Some are starting to get really black. Going to let it sit for a month and give it a try. If not up to snuff I’ll still have time to run another batch.

PS - had to put the bag in quarantine. Made my garage smell like a forest fire when casing enough to handle!

5BBE07A9-92E2-4AE8-943D-F8330FB15EA2.jpeg
 

deluxestogie

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Oh say can you see...


In the dawns early light.

As the sun set last night, the winds were picking up. During the night, they were gusting up to about 50 mph. I could hear small and medium size tree branches cracking and falling to the ground, or rattling off the metal roof of the house. Unfortunately, there was no red glare from British rockets, or bombs bursting in air. So I couldn't see what was happening to my tall fire-curing rig.

But, there it stood, still upright in the morning light. Yay!

I seem to recall the very same scenario the last time I attempted to make Latakia. During early fall in southwest Virginia, a six week stretch of fire-curing is bound to experience a good wind storm. That's the reason for my two hefty bungee cords.

It was raining yesterday morning, from before I woke up, until mid-afternoon. So I couldn't do a firing. Today, it's too windy to even consider an open flame anywhere. I'll build the fire this afternoon, but not light it until just before the sun sets, by which time the winds will have died down.

Bob
 

docpierce

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Okay, My Latakia effort is as complete. Or more accurately, I'm done. I now understand why Bob's generous guidance seemingly sometimes tempered with a world weary edge. This was a big commitment. No doubt about it. Seven weeks of loading the smoker,building fires everyday. And checking the smoke a dozen times a day. Could I have kept going? Well yes... I'm feeling pretty good that it's done.

Now I'll bag it up and age it. I'll try it in a month of so.
 

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deluxestogie

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It's been 7 weeks of firing. I'll repeat today, then I'll have two days straight of heavy rain. [I purchased only 6 mini-Mounds candy bars for Halloween, just in case some parents are crazy.]

I may or may not continue the firing after the rain. It takes a couple of days for the firewood to dry down again (even kept out of the rain--from just the humidity.) We'll see. It's a pity that the leaf has colored far less than the can, which has a heavy, pitch black coating of crud.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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After pondering the color of my leaf, and the likelihood that it would become significantly darker with a few more firings, or even a couple of weeks more, I concluded that it would take a miracle.

So I had no choice other than to call upon the big gun.



I misted the leaf heavily, then fired up the smoker. At the very least, I'll end up with very wet leaf that's not very black.

In actuality, fogging the fire-cure barn with water vapor is suggested by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service, for the last few firings of Kentucky dark fire-cured tobacco, to "improve the finish"--meaning "get more particulate combustion products to adhere to the leaf surface".

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Uncle! Uncle!

It's almost as painful as my 8 year old cousin pinching my nipple when I was 7. I just can't take it any more, after nearly 8 weeks of doing this. I have now ended my Latakia firing, and filled a large paper bag with the leaf. Some is quite black, while some is unimpressively, still brown. Oh well. My hands are now sore from using a bristle brush to clean them, after touching the leaf.

Once it's dried down, I'll possibly double-bag it, and toss it into my kiln. The aroma is better than with my previous attempt, but I believe it's still not quite right. I guess that's not too surprising. All of you participants in this endeavor will get to be the judges next June.

Bob
 

GreenDragon

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Uncle! Uncle!

It's almost as painful as my 8 year old cousin pinching my nipple when I was 7. I just can't take it any more, after nearly 8 weeks of doing this. I have now ended my Latakia firing, and filled a large paper bag with the leaf. Some is quite black, while some is unimpressively, still brown. Oh well. My hands are now sore from using a bristle brush to clean them, after touching the leaf.

Once it's dried down, I'll possibly double-bag it, and toss it into my kiln. The aroma is better than with my previous attempt, but I believe it's still not quite right. I guess that's not too surprising. All of you participants in this endeavor will get to be the judges next June.

Bob
I was not expecting the comedic mental image this post conjured as I started to read. Thank you Bob, I am now in pain from shooting Rum & Coke out my nose due to the sudden laughter I experienced imagining present day you getting pinched. :ROFLMAO:
 

deluxestogie

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After ending my firing of Trabzon leaf, I piled it all into a large paper bag, to dry down a bit. It was more leaf than I thought I had loaded into the smoker. About 1/3 of it was totally black, another 1/3 mostly medium brown, and the rest in between.



Once it reached low to medium case, I stuffed it all into heavy (5 mil) poly-nylon leaf bag, and sealed it well with weather-resistant Tyvek tape. I had started a kiln run some days earlier, and it needed to be opened to add more water to the Crockpot. So I placed the sealed bag of fired Trabzon into the kiln (along with the current, full load).

By the second day of the Trabzon in the kiln, I began to notice a faint campfire aroma coming out into the porch (home of the kiln). I can't tell if that aroma is still in my house. It seems like it's gone--after 3 or 4 days, but our noses accommodate to constant aromas.



The bag contains about a pound of leaf. Since the bag is pretty well sealed, its minimal moisture has condensed on the bag interior, from exposure to a cooler environment. It went right back into the kiln, where it will stay for about another month.

This kilning process may cook away all the lovely herbal scents, or may concentrate them. I don't know.

Bob
 
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