Buy Tobacco Leaf Online | Whole Leaf Tobacco

Using flue cured whole leaf for pipe tobacco blends

Status
Not open for further replies.

SmokeStack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
368
Points
0
Location
Detroit area
I have been experimenting with flue cured tobaccos lately to come up with a straight Virginia blend (or even mixed with Latakia and Orientals). I have been successful processing flue cured tobaccos by either steaming or toasting. However, smoking flue cured leaf without any processing is pretty harsh and I have failed to produce any flue cured blends using unprocessed whole leaf - even using up to four different varieties of flue cured whole leaf together. I have read posts that suggest adding Perique to refine the smoke; but I am trying to figure out how commercial Virginia blends that contain no Perique are relatively much smoother. For a long time I was under the impression that premium commercial flue cured Virgina blends were not processed in any way other than aging perhaps. But now I am beginning to suspect that flue cured whole leaf tobacco has to be processed (steaming or toasting). Has anyone had success with Virginia blends using unprocessed flue cured whole leaf (minus the Perique)? Or am I under the false impression that the flue cured leaf in "premium" pipe mixtures has not been processed?
 

DonH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2012
Messages
1,609
Points
0
Location
Massachusetts
Toasting the flue cured will really help with the tongue bite. Adding Perique helps a lot, too.
 

Jitterbugdude

Moderator
Founding Member
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
4,266
Points
113
Location
Northeast Maryland
All commercial tobacco has chemicals added to it. The way to reduce tongue bite in your flue cured is to add either periique or some burley. Air cured Turkish will also help
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
21,630
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
The trick to smoking straight Virginia flue-cured in a pipe is to keep the burning temp low. This is often accomplished (not very successfully) in commercial blends by adding humectants, which add their own tongue bite. When I smoke a straight Virginia in a pipe, I have to consciously "sip" it, rather than puff it like I otherwise am inclined to do, keeping it just barely going. My impression is that every straight flue-cured commercial pipe tobacco that I have smoked over the decades delivers tongue bite. Perique is the specific cure.

Some commercial Virginias are stoved (dry heating in a metal press that is heated by steam pipes). Steamed leaf will always darken, so if it is a lighter color, it's not steamed.

As far as blending alone, one or more of these ingredients (aside from Perique) can help:
  • mild Havana leaf
  • mild black Cavendish
  • any one of the available Turkish varieties
  • any leaf with a slow burn (Xanthi Yaka, any leaf from the top of a plant, or Latakia)
You can also just lightly mist the shred with water, then smoke it before it is fully dried.

Bob
 

istanbulin

Moderator
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
1,290
Points
66
Location
Stockton, CA
Although being a real sipper (regardless of the blend type) I got tongue bite by some flue-cured pipe blends. As Bob stated misting the blend with water really helps.
 

SmokeStack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
368
Points
0
Location
Detroit area
I know added sugar can reek havoc on your tongue. The addition of honey is a signature of Danish blends (such as Mac Baren). Although I enjoy some Danish blends, they give me tongue bite regardless of my smoking cadence. Some of this is attributed to the humectant as well. For pipe smoking, I de-stem the flue cured bright leaf and place it in a mesh sieve. I place it above a large pot of boiling water and steam it for an hour or two (whenever the leaf reaches a dark brown color). Then I put the leaf on a tray and let it air dry. After shredding it with a hand crank shredder (gives a wider ribbon size that a cigarette shredder), I store it in large snap-lock jars with a rubber gasket. After a month in a jar, it is good for smoking. This results in a much smoother smoke. The only problem is that the smoke is somewhat one-dimensional - a bit sweet with a slight raisin flavor. It is not what I would call full-flavored, like Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake or the original Rattray's Marlin Flake. But I think that part of the problem is that the condensation from steaming rinses away some of the flavor and other constituents into to the pot of boiling water (the water is brown). I will steam it again, but this time I will put the leaf in a small press. This will avoid water coming in contact with the tobacco thereby locking in the flavor constituents.

I know that toasting makes a big difference also. I toast my flue cured very lightly for cigarette smoking.

I began to research the Web this evening and found that many of my favorite Virginia blends are processed (by heat in some fashion). Also, many of these blends contain a small amount of Perique and I was not even aware of it. Marlin Flake (produced by Charles Rattray, not for Charles Rattray - there is a big difference) is one example. I do not pick up on the peppery Perique in Marlin Flake as I do with Escudo. I have a small one ounce jar of Jewel of St. James - the Perique from Louisiana. I have not opened it yet. I think I will give it a try and add it to some flue cured and see if it makes a difference. I always thought that Perique was more of a condiment tobacco like Latakia, but I have been reading a few posts and it seems as if Perique has a dual purpose: one is for its black peppery taste and two as a way of balancing the acidity generated by the combustion of sugars - one of the likely causes of tongue bite. I think the trick is finding the correct ratio of Perique to Virginia. I want to add enough to serve its purpose, but not so much that it would significantly alter the flavor of the blend. I enjoy VaPers, but that's not what I am aiming for. The old Marlin Flake (that is, before the new proprietors ruined it) was among my favorites. That's where I am headed.
 

smokinghole

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
46
Points
0
Location
Central PA
I've made a straight virginia plug about a month ago. When I smoked it I did not perceive tongue bite. So I think the action of just pressing and leaving it sit in my hot garage for a week helped out. I sent some to Bob when I sent him a sample of the Warspur blend that I tweaked a bit and pressed into flake. I don't know if his experience with the VA blended flake mirrors mine at all, but it was pretty bite free to me. It was light and easy to smoke, not super full bodied or anything.

I have a desire to make a mold that I can compress the tobaccos in a plug form, and then hang in a boiling pot or something like that. I was thinking of using HDPE material and stainless hardware. So I could press it in my SS tube that I use for making the flake like now, and then transfer it to the HDPE mold for heat treatment.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
21,630
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
I thought your straight Virginia was quite tasty, but it bit my tongue. One of these days, I will purchase some Hydrion paper to use as a predictive tongue-bite-ometer.

Bob
 

Grumpa

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Messages
39
Points
0
This thread holds great interest for me as I am new to this whole leaf stuff and aim to make pipe tobaccos. I have some flakes in process now so we shall see what happens.

SH, you may want to do a test run with non tobacco materials because boiling water temperatures are near HDPE's maximum operational temperature and, depending upon the exact grade used, may even be above it.

i have been thinking about the aging of flakes too. All of my shop stuff is in WI (I am in TX now) so I have been taking the simple approach. I was thinking of trying the "boil in bag" angle using some sous vide vacuum bags. These are food grade, high temperature bags that the plug could be placed in, evacuated to maintain compression then aged at whatever temperature either in a water bath or dry oven. Lot of questions to be answered here so it will take some time. I have used the Ziploc vacuum bags for making some composite materials and they worked quite well. Whether tobacco will cooperate is one of the big questions. Bags under consideration:

http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/Shop...art_size/Product.aspx?ProductID=132&DeptID=38

Deluxestogie, I do have some very good pH paper (back in WI of course) and was planning on doing some measurements on the condensate of various tobaccos. I apparently do not get tongue bite so I cannot evaluate tobaccos that way but I certainly can bring some test experience to the forum. Also, you stated in one post that matured red Virginia was made with aged air cured Virginia. So far, all I have found for matured red Virginia either did not state the cure type or said specifically flue cured. So, can the Forum Google expand on this if you get a chance?


I have a desire to make a mold that I can compress the tobaccos in a plug form, and then hang in a boiling pot or something like that. I was thinking of using HDPE material and stainless hardware. So I could press it in my SS tube that I use for making the flake like now, and then transfer it to the HDPE mold for heat treatment.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
21,630
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
A yummy reddish tobacco can be created with air-cured Virginia that is kilned, then lightly toasted. It resembles Dunhill's 3 Year Mature Virginia from 45 years ago--not the vile, black blend sold under that name today. But theirs may have been flue-cured first. I'm just guessing here.

  • Cherry Red is a flue-cure variety name.
  • Robert McConnel markets a pipe tobacco called Red Virginia, but it's a blend.
  • Rattray's Hal O' The Wind is stated on the label to be a pure red Virginia, but is also a blend. (Maybe when Rattray's actually made it, it was a pure Virginia.)
  • WLT sells a flue-cured Virginia that is called Red Virginia Flue-Cured. It's delicious, but isn't the uniform, bronzy red of mature Virginia pipe tobaccos.
  • Any flue-cured leaf that is stoved develops a redder color.
  • When I kilned some WLT flue-cured Lemon Virginia for a month, it became redder.
  • Most Internet commentary on pipe tobacco is mostly-informed fiction. (For an example, see JR's "Pipe Tobacco 101": http://www.jrcigars.com/jr/index.cfm/hurl/evt=jrcu_pipe-tobacco.)

So...I don't know. I may be completely wrong about the commercial "Mature" Virginia pipe tobacco. Flue-cured leaf is almost always sweeter than air-cured. Toasting any leaf may caramelize some of the carbohydrates, and lend it a "sweeter" character.

Bob
 

SmokeStack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
368
Points
0
Location
Detroit area
Bob. I agree. It's all fictional. I don't know what happened to the pipe tobacco industry. All of the legendary pipe tobacco blends that are on the market today have gone to hell. It is really sad. The Scandinavian Tobacco Group (among others) has bought out the names of these great blends but are not producing these tobaccos as they once were. There are still some good blends out there, but many of the classics are gone - only the name remains. Back in the day, Dunhill (as an example) would use specific varieties of Orientals in a particular blend giving it a unique and well balanced mixture. Nowadays these big tobacco conglomerates buy up all of the Orientals and mix them together. The "new" Dunhill English blends all taste very similar. They all use the same source of Orientals. Mass production has brought pipe smokers down on their knees - at least for those who have witnessed this transformation. With the thanks of this forum, we may not be able to revive these legendary blends, but we certainly will be able to produce pipe tobacco of great quality and with respectful pride.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
21,630
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
The percentage of smokers who smoke a pipe is now minuscule. Probably every single one of them is on some forum or other.

The stats on pipe tobacco consumption are no longer reliable, since the RYO industry started marketing cigarette tobacco as "pipe tobacco", for nefarious reasons.

Cornell & Deihl used to be truly authentic (I'm no longer sure, since they were taken over by a tobacco marketing firm in the past year or two). McClelland is legitimate, though I'm not fond of the acetic acid taste of all of there blends.

Bob
 

Jitterbugdude

Moderator
Founding Member
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
4,266
Points
113
Location
Northeast Maryland
I thought your straight Virginia was quite tasty, but it bit my tongue. One of these days, I will purchase some Hydrion paper to use as a predictive tongue-bite-ometer.

Bob

Not sure if this would work. The pH of flue cured is lowered as the sugars burn. It is the smoke that becomes acidic, not the leaf. Years ago I started measuring the pH of all the leaf I grew, figuring I could come up with a pH neutral blend. This all went out the window when I realized it is the pH of the smoke that matters, not the leaf.
 

smokinghole

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
46
Points
0
Location
Central PA
This thread holds great interest for me as I am new to this whole leaf stuff and aim to make pipe tobaccos. I have some flakes in process now so we shall see what happens.

SH, you may want to do a test run with non tobacco materials because boiling water temperatures are near HDPE's maximum operational temperature and, depending upon the exact grade used, may even be above it.

Thanks for mentioning it for others mostly. I've been searching for a low cost material that can withstand boiling and some manufacturer's HDPE or other thick plastic materials can withstand but its hit or miss and usually not cost effective. If they are cost effective they don't come in dimensions or shapes that lend themselves to what I'm trying to do. I might just have to scour the recycling bin at work more and ask one of the mechanics to weld up a mold out of stainess because it might end up being mostly free and well it'll be better than any plastic I could come across.

Based on Bob's experience I cannot really get tongue bite either. I tried getting tongue bite on my VA plug and I was puffing hard and fast, got nothing. Good for me I guess.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top