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Pure Tobacco Pipe Blends You Can Make

piping_presbyter

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Thanks for giving it a try, and for the feedback. You'll have to wade through the earlier half of this thread for fundamentally kinder, gentler blends. I've found that sometimes, quite subtle changes in the specific crop year or shipment of some of the ingredients (e.g. WLT Dark Air-Cured, vs @BigBonner Dark Air-Cured) can make a big difference.

When chilly weather drove me from my front porch (away from cigars), and back into my study (pipes only), I ended up making 8 generous batches of Exmoor in a row. Each was a variation, and each expressed a slightly different character. I admit that every version was stout.

Bob

I actually have to correct myself. The blend I thought was harsh was from Dan Tobacco:
  • Blend
    • 40% Bright Virginia
    • 40% Latakia
    • 10% Kanterini
    • 10% Kentucky
Exmoor was actually best thing I have yet made.
 

deluxestogie

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Harsh is such a relative thing. That Dan Tobacco recipe would be a medium-full, tasty Balkan-style blend, if I were to create it. It is fairly close to Cajun Muse and Burley River. At one point in the ever-changing Balkan Sobranie White saga, their Latakia approached that level as well.

If it was a commercial blend, then we know the cause of the harshness.

Garden20211115_6119_cabinetBlendTags_500.jpg


With Exmoor, my Exmoor #7 (according to the little blend tags taped to my kitchen cabinet doors) was Sharpie-marked with my coveted Red Star, which means I liked that one the best of all my Exmoor trials.

Garden20211115_6119_cabinetBlendTags_closeup_256.jpg


Bob
 

deluxestogie

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TakinABreak_blendLabel_500_72dpi.jpg

Golden Takin. Photo credit: public domain.

The Himalayan takin is in the same sub-family as sheep and goats (though closer to sheep than goats). But, unlike most familiar caprines, the takin can exceed 850 pounds.

Don't let its golden fleece trick you into thinking this pipe blend is a cuddly pushover. The Katerini provides a vibrancy, but all the muscle lies in the other three components. It's a smooth smoke, with medium to full nicotine. I suspect that you will be surprised at how a mere 9.38% Perique influences the pouch aroma as well as the tongue feel and pH. Little Yellow and Long Red, both cooked into Cavendish, might be considered hefty ingredients riding on touring-grade, shock absorbers.

Garden20210905_6043_TakinABreak_pipeBlend_500_72dpi.jpg


Little Yellow is a dark air-cured variety, though a shaver milder and more flavorful than most. Long Red is in the same grouping as Little Dutch, Dutch Ohio and Pennsylvania Red, though any broadleaf or seedleaf cigar type would do as a substitute. Katerini is a petiolate Oriental, in the same family as Samsun, Bafra and Trabzon. In a pinch, any other Oriental can serve here. With alternative ingredients, I would suggest leaving the WLT Perique the same, and adjusting the dark air-cured to the Oriental, in order to balance the pH. (That pH balance is what determines tongue bite or lack thereof. I don't use a pH meter; just my tongue.)

Takin A Break:
  • Little Yellow Cavendish 37.50% (6 parts per 16)
  • Long Red Cavendish 31.25% (5 parts per 16)
  • WLT Katerini C2 21.87% (3½ parts per 16)
  • WLT Perique 9.38% (1½ parts per 16)
Takin A Break Sheepishly:
  • Dark Air-Cured Cavendish 37.50% (6 parts per 16)
  • Cigar leaf Cavendish 31.25% (5 parts per 16)
  • Oriental 21.87% (3½ parts per 16)
  • Perique 9.38% (1½ parts per 16)
Download 3½" hi-res label for Takin A Break as pdf.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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1. I have never smoked it.
2. From tobacco reviews and marketeers:

"Full Virginia Flake from Samuel Gawith is a dark-brown, sumptuous flake entirely comprising Virginia tobaccos. Hot-pressed and bold-flavored..."

"Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake (Aged Limited Edition)
This is the Aged Limited Edition, the cakes have been aged for 2 years. The ageing process has enhanced the tobacco by mellowing the Virginias which brings out more of the natural sugars. This in turn has created a change to the flavour producing now a rich dark pudding with meadow notes."


From what I can determine, it is pure "Virginia", with no added flavorings. The key here is that it is pressed. What exactly "Hot-pressed" means is anybody's guess. Is the heat high enough and prolonged enough to cook the tobacco?

I would suggest you begin with Flue-cured Virginia Red. From the one photo I find, it appears to have been pressed into a plug from whole leaf, rather than pre-shredded. Press it for 2 to 3 weeks, then see what you have. Pressing alone will darken the plug, and lend it a mild, fruity aroma. If it seems too "bright" in its taste, compared to the commercial product, then you can consider heating the plug to 128°F for maybe 2 weeks. Then slice the plug into flake, and dry.

I know that Virginia Red that is cooked into Cavendish can be smoked alone.

I'm just guessing.

Bob
 
Last edited:

Davo

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Hot pressed is steaming and pressing at the same time - whereas some of the other older factory’s only had the ability to steam or press, otherwise the pressure would get too much. I don’t have the link but if you search around for the history of Irish tobacco factories, it is mentioned in there.

I can’t find the post, but somewhere on this forum someone mentioned that putting leaf in jars in an oven at 300f for 3hours would be similar to FVF. I prefer to use a slow cooker, and would go on high for 10hours. Either way, as bob mentioned, the pressing is the key part.

Also, on page 4 of this thread there are a few examples of DIY heat presses
 

deluxestogie

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Hot pressed is...
Yes. All sorts of folks in all sorts of places offer all sorts of "authoritative" guesses about this. The reality is that these tobacco pressing processes were considered proprietary secrets, and were (and still are) described in vague terms. The pressure (psi) is almost never revealed, though the press "weight" may be. Some presses also heated. Some of the heated presses were heated with steam sealed within a metal jacket. Some of the heated presses exposed the tobacco directly to the steam. Some tobacco was pressed in a Lieberman-like device, into a tight rope (similar to a 15-inch long cigar), then removed to a baking rack.

With regard to heating itself, if the leaf, at any point during its journey from field to pipe, is taken above 191°F, then both of its intrinsic, oxidizing (aging) enzymes will be destroyed. Tobacco will subsequently alter its character only by a combination of the evaporation of volatile compounds and the action of random microbes.

Bob
 

piping_presbyter

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You are all so helpful. Wish me luck, I’m about to embark on a two-year experiment:

Blend name: Perseid Shower

Goal:
  • A full Virginia flake, hot-pressed in the British fashion from mature red and dark leaves and aged for at least two years. Worthy of those grand nights when meteors fall by the minute.

Components
  • 10 red flue cured - 100g / or by count
  • 2 bright - 20g
  • 4 dark va - 40g

Sequence (to ensure lamination and color consistency)
  1. Red
  2. Red
  3. Red
  4. Red
  5. Red
  6. Dark
  7. Bright
  8. Dark
Process
  • Add 20% water by weight
  • Stack in sequence
  • Press for 3 hours at high pressure (200psi)
  • Remove plug and clamp between oak blocks with metal c-clamp
  • Place in kiln at 123F for two weeks
  • Slice into thin flakes
  • Dry to low case (just pliable)
  • Put in two jars to age
    • Test trimmings immediately
    • Test jar 1 at 1 years
    • Test jar 2 at 2 years
 

piping_presbyter

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Just for baseline data, you may want to make up some of that blend, and smoke it prior to any of the processing.

Bob
Will do!

By the way, I’ve been really enjoying this other blend which I press into a cake and jar for a week:

Dark Matter (strong English mixture)
  • Blend
    • 2 Perique
    • .5 dark air cured
    • 7 Latakia
    • 2 basma
    • 1 bright sweet cavendish
    • 1 red sweet cavendish
    • 1.5 red
    • 1 bright
It is good as-is, very balanced to my tongue (no bite), and also with glycerin added. Not identical to Nightcap, but in the same family of spicy, semi-sweet, medium-full blends.
 

Davo

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Been smoking a blend from WLT leaf this week and it has surprised me as a satisfying work smoke.

Half and half Maryland cavendish and orientals.

For the cavendish I did equal weight leaf and water and then put on high in a slow cooker for 12 hours. Then vacuum sealed in high case and left for 6months. Upon opening it smelled horrific, and it has taken about a month since drying out to ‘off gas’ I guess.

The orientals were everything that WLT stock mixed together, slightly more heavy handed with the Izmir.
 

deluxestogie

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Christmas2021_blendLabel_500_72dpi.jpg

Photo credit: British Museum of Natural History

Like a gift from a relative or friend or co-worker, your "frozen sucker" Cavendish could end up being anything. Maybe a fidgit toy. Maybe an ugly sweater. "Thank you, Nana. I love the sweater you made for me. That must have taken a long time." [Notice that the sweater sleeves are the perfect length for dinosaur arms.]

If you don't have "frozen sucker" leaf to make into Cavendish, then soothe your disappointment by making up for it with more dark air-cured Cavendish (or Cavendish made from any random or mystery leaf). My specific formula used WLT stacked Basma, mixed "frozen sucker" leaf Cavendish and One Sucker ligero Cavendish.

Garden20211221_6154_Christmas2021_pipeBlend_a_700_72dpi.jpg


After shredding and blending, the tobacco was placed into a Ziploc freezer bag which was then folded, but not closed, and simply pressed between two boards in a screw clamp. (The weight of Santa's sleigh was insufficient, so I estimated the bite force of a T-Rex.) The blend was pressed for about 2 weeks, then rubbed out.

Christmas 2021
  • Oriental 62.5% (10 parts per 16)
  • Frozen Sucker Cavendish 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
  • Dark Air-Cured Cavendish 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
Ugly Sweater 2021
  • Merry and Bright 62.5% (10 parts per 16)
  • Random and Mild 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
  • Any Cavendish Visible in Twinkling, Multi-colored Lights 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
Download 3½" hi-res label for as pdf.
.
.
...and, just for the holidays...a tufer. This is a rerun of my first blend, with an updated label.

All I Want for Christmas is the Same Old Thing

Reprise of Pearl of Shibam
PearlOfShibam_blendLabel_2ndEd_500_72dpi.jpg


This is a prototypical English-Latakia pipe blend, with modest Latakia (25%). Nicotine is also modest. And there is no tongue bite. I've mixed up countless batches of Pearl of Shibam over the years. It is my all-time favorite pipe blend.

Pearl of Shibam was my very first pipe blend. That was nearly 20 years ago. The required ingredients were not easily available, unless you purchased boutique tins of "blending components" in tiny quantities from commercial pipe blenders. I decided on this blend in consultation with Craig Tarler of Cornell & Diehl--back when their tobacco was humectant-free. For a number of years, I would simply call C&D on the phone, and order another pound or two of my Pearl of Shibam. They kept my personal recipe on a blend card in a file box. No extra charge for the custom blending.

Once I began doing the actual blending myself at home, I discovered the endless variations that can be made with the exact same recipe. The Virginia component began as Lemon, but can be replaced with any stalk-priming level of flue-cured tobacco. The Oriental component, originally Izmir, which was the only Oriental available at C&D, can be switched to any of the dozens of different Oriental varieties, as well as different priming levels.

The "label" was my first blend illustration, and was intended to be printed as an 8" circle, for applying to my large, glass tobacco jar (like many tobacconists use for loose tobacco). I decided it was time to "upgrade" the label. So this is my 2nd Edition label of the same Pearl of Shibam. Once again, the Arabic at the bottom of the label is "al Sharq", which translates to "the East".

Garden20211128_6126_PearlOfShibam_pipeBlend_400_72dpi.jpg


New label; same blend.

Pearl of Shibam
  • Flue-cured Virginia 31.25% (5 parts per 16)
  • Oriental 25% (4 parts per 16)
  • Latakia 25% (4 parts per 16)
  • Perique 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
Download 3½" hi-res label for Pearl of Shibam 2nd Edition as pdf.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Christmas2021_blendLabel_500_72dpi.jpg

Photo credit: British Museum of Natural History

Like a gift from a relative or friend or co-worker, your "frozen sucker" Cavendish could end up being anything. Maybe a fidgit toy. Maybe an ugly sweater. "Thank you, Nana. I love the sweater you made for me. That must have taken a long time." [Notice that the sweater sleeves are the perfect length for dinosaur arms.]

If you don't have "frozen sucker" leaf to make into Cavendish, then soothe your disappointment by making up for it with more dark air-cured Cavendish (or Cavendish made from any random or mystery leaf). My specific formula used WLT stacked Basma, mixed "frozen sucker" leaf Cavendish and One Sucker ligero Cavendish.

Garden20211221_6154_Christmas2021_pipeBlend_a_700_72dpi.jpg


After shredding and blending, the tobacco was placed into a Ziploc freezer bag which was then folded, but not closed, and simply pressed between two boards in a screw clamp. (The weight of Santa's sleigh was insufficient, so I estimated the bite force of a T-Rex.) The blend was pressed for about 2 weeks, then rubbed out.

Christmas 2021
  • Oriental 62.5% (10 parts per 16)
  • Frozen Sucker Cavendish 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
  • Dark Air-Cured Cavendish 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
Ugly Sweater 2021
  • Merry and Bright 62.5% (10 parts per 16)
  • Random and Mild 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
  • Any Cavendish Visible in Twinkling, Multi-colored Lights 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
Download 3½" hi-res label for as pdf.
.
.
...and, just for the holidays...a tufer. This is a rerun of my first blend, with an updated label.

All I Want for Christmas is the Same Old Thing

Reprise of Pearl of Shibam
PearlOfShibam_blendLabel_2ndEd_500_72dpi.jpg


This is a prototypical English-Latakia pipe blend, with modest Latakia (25%). Nicotine is also modest. And there is no tongue bite. I've mixed up countless batches of Pearl of Shibam over the years. It is my all-time favorite pipe blend.

Pearl of Shibam was my very first pipe blend. That was nearly 20 years ago. The required ingredients were not easily available, unless you purchased boutique tins of "blending components" in tiny quantities from commercial pipe blenders. I decided on this blend in consultation with Craig Tarler of Cornell & Diehl--back when their tobacco was humectant-free. For a number of years, I would simply call C&D on the phone, and order another pound or two of my Pearl of Shibam. They kept my personal recipe on a blend card in a file box. No extra charge for the custom blending.

Once I began doing the actual blending myself at home, I discovered the endless variations that can be made with the exact same recipe. The Virginia component began as Lemon, but can be replaced with any stalk-priming level of flue-cured tobacco. The Oriental component, originally Izmir, which was the only Oriental available at C&D, can be switched to any of the dozens of different Oriental varieties, as well as different priming levels.

The "label" was my first blend illustration, and was intended to be printed as an 8" circle, for applying to my large, glass tobacco jar (like many tobacconists use for loose tobacco). I decided it was time to "upgrade" the label. So this is my 2nd Edition label of the same Pearl of Shibam. Once again, the Arabic at the bottom of the label is "al Sharq", which translates to "the East".

Garden20211128_6126_PearlOfShibam_pipeBlend_400_72dpi.jpg


New label; same blend.

Pearl of Shibam
  • Flue-cured Virginia 31.25% (5 parts per 16)
  • Oriental 25% (4 parts per 16)
  • Latakia 25% (4 parts per 16)
  • Perique 18.75% (3 parts per 16)
Download 3½" hi-res label for Pearl of Shibam 2nd Edition as pdf.

Bob
The Pearl of Shibam label blends nicely with your avatar. East and West?
 

Radagast

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This one is a tangy blend of roughly 50% flue cured goose creek red, 25-30% air cured goose creek red and 20-25% wlt perique.
Let's call it Christmas Goose.
Merry Christmas everybody!
 

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