Whole Leaf Tobacco

Review of Turkish Bitlis from Whole Leaf Tobacco

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deluxestogie

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If you're looking for an authentic "Turkish" aroma, like you find in Camel cigarettes, then FmGrowit's Bitlis, available on the www.wholeleaftobacco.com site, is the ticket. When I open the vapor-proof bag, it shouts, "Turkish Tobacco!"

The name, Bitlis, is both a town and its surrounding province in eastern Turkey, about 150 miles from the border with Armenia.

Bitlis is a basma type Oriental, with a light to medium body, and moderately low nicotine. This well-aged (4 years) leaf runs about 10"x6", and has a light brown to golden brown color. The central vein is thin, though it needs to be removed, or at least frog-legged by removing the thickest 3/4 of the stem, and leaving the ends still attached. Secondary veins are quite tiny. Its Turkish aroma offers no hint of the floral scent that is present in a number of other Turkish varieties.

For cigarettes or pipe blending, the Bitlis has a nice acidic edge to the taste. Burn is average. This leaf, which I understand was baled, is slightly tattered, but since it's not at its best for cigar use, you'll likely be shredding it. (As I write this review, I'm smoking a delightful petite corona size cigar with a filler of 1/2 Bitlis and 1/2 BigBonner's 15 year old burley. It's wrapped in FmGrowit's VBN shade leaf. Damnations, it is smooth, mild and delicious!)

I've grown a number of Oriental varieties, and tried them unkilned as well as kilned, in cigars and pipe blends. This Bitlis has the most distinctively recognizable Turkish aroma of them all. That's not surprising, since it is imported from Turkey.

I recommend this Bitlis for cigarette and pipe blending. If you've never had access to authentic, Turkish-grown Turkish tobacco for blending, you will be happy with this investment. A pound of it will match-up well with 3 to 4 pounds of other pipe ingredients (1/3 Virginia, 1/3 Perique, 1/3 fire-cured, for example), or 4 to 8 pounds of other cigarette blend (consisting of 1/2 Virginia, 1/2 Burley, as an example).

Bob

NOTE: If you want to grow this, it is available from www.nicotianaproject.net, though it is mis-classified as "Hungarian." ARS-GRIN lists it (PI 481859, PI 494149 and PI 537051 ), but, alas, ARS-GRIN is in hiatus. Incidentally, ARS-GRIN has also mis-classified it as "Hungarian." It is Turkish, not Hungarian. Yayladag, for which seed is available from FTT, comes from the town of Yayladag, which is only about 20 miles south of Bitlis. I'm growing Yayladag this season, but I don't yet know if it is a similar leaf.
 

Chicken

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i was brousing the store last night,,,,

thanks for the insight info.
 

BigBonner

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Yes Its the best turkish I have seen or used . I stole some of it while he was at my houe a while back .
You will not find better anywhere that I know of .
Don has the only supply of turkish that I know of .
Some tobacco baled has to be baled dry for keeping . It may be crushed a little ( I mean Very Little ) but to keep a large amount of tobacco and to keep it from fermenting in the bale or rotting .
It has to be stored dry .
 

deluxestogie

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John,
Perhaps I should point out that I am not paid to review any tobacco, and I do not receive any income from anyone if a particular tobacco sells. My reason for reviewing various tobaccos is simply the satisfaction of providing my considered opinion to forum members. Sorry if it sounds like a sales pitch. It's just a disinterested opinion. I do my best to fairly cite both the strengths and weaknesses of what I review.

As for the Bitlis in particular, it's really good Turkish.

Bob
 

johnlee1933

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John,
Perhaps I should point out that I am not paid to review any tobacco, and I do not receive any income from anyone if a particular tobacco sells. My reason for reviewing various tobaccos is simply the satisfaction of providing my considered opinion to forum members. Sorry if it sounds like a sales pitch. It's just a disinterested opinion. I do my best to fairly cite both the strengths and weaknesses of what I review.

As for the Bitlis in particular, it's really good Turkish.

Bob
No offense intended. I personally have gotten a lot from your various posts. Most recently your post mentioning rolling with dryer filler was a godsend. As an aside I have acquired a sling psychrometer and will soon post my observations on case vs. RH with some accuracy. I have figured out a way to control and monitor the RH in my enclosed sunporch. The inexpensive temp/hygrometer units I bought don't agree with each other so i had to go one step further.

I used to smoke a pipe and enjoyed it except for the tongue bite. I have forgotten the name of my favorite tobacco but it was Scottish, light in color and the round flat tin was filled with thin round slices cut off a plug about 3/4" in diameter. The slices had to be hand rubbed before you stoked up.

I wonder if just a thread or two of Bitlis would improve my cigars? Could I make a cigar that smelled and tasted like that pipe tobacco?

John
 

deluxestogie

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A traditional factory cigar is made entirely from fully aged leaf, which means the pH is relatively high. By contrast, many pipe blends contain Virginia (low pH), Oriental (low pH), together with burley (~neutral pH) and Perique (high pH). Aromatic blends contain toasted, roasted, poached, steamed and sauced tobacco, often of a irrelevant variety--since the process overwhelms the varietal characteristics. To make a cigar that tastes exactly like a particular pipe blend, you simply forget to shred the leaf. The tongue taste will be dominated by the leaf chosen for the wrapper, so you have to experiment with that.

Bob
 

leverhead

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They're not selling, they're just telling it like it is. I bought a pound to try and have 2 more coming. Cut for cigarettes at 1/32 wide it's a little hard to work with, it keep settling out of the blend. I ended up sifting it and working from 2 bowls.
 

FmGrowit

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I've been trying to get domestic grown Turkish for a few years and it just doesn't exist. Cigarette blends almost always include Turkish tobacco, so to be a full service supplier, I bought some imported Turkish.

When the tobacco is baled, it's already fairly dry. As it ages in the compressed bale, it dries even more. The Turkish I have now was baled in 2007. If I sold the leaf as-is, it would just crumble into tiny pieces when anyone tried to work with it. I spend many hours humidifying the tobacco so it can be shipped in a condition that allows it to be handled without shattering.

One pretty cool thing that comes from breaking down the bale and bringing the leaf into case is the little baby hands of tobacco that are found in the bale. From a 400 lb. bale, I got about 30 lbs. of hands. The hands will be included in the orders over the next few weeks. I don't know what will be in the next bale.

I do send Bob samples of different tobacco as I get it in. I respect Bob's opinion and he publishes his thoughts completely unsolicited. Bob also does quite a bit of work on the boards and behind the scenes. The least I can do is send him some tobacco on occasion. By rights, Bob should be paid for what he does here and if this site ever gets to a point where advertizing would generate income, he will be the first to benefit from it.

Don
 

Tom_in_TN

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Keep sending Bob the samples because when Bob speaks/writes we LISTEN and LEARN.
Thanks for the review, Bob. Very insightful and interesting.
 

johnlee1933

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One pretty cool thing that comes from breaking down the bale and bringing the leaf into case is the little baby hands of tobacco that are found in the bale. From a 400 lb. bale, I got about 30 lbs. of hands.

Don
If you only get 30# of hands that seems to be an awful lot of loss. What do you do with the rest? (Dust? Flakes?)

John
 

FmGrowit

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The rest of it looks like this...

Bitlis2.jpg

I guess I should place a disclaimer somewhere on my site to inform people "Whole Leaf Tobacco" does not imply 100% perfect leaves, but it is an industry term that means "unmanufactured tobacco"
 
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