American Made Plugs Versus UK Made Plugs.

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mawnansmiff

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Oct 14, 2015
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Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I started a thread a while ago asking whether plug tobaccos were cut from the very same block that the flake versions were cut from and most folks said yes they were but I remained unconvinced.
Today it occurred to me why so many folks told me that a plug tobacco is merely a flake tobacco uncut. I reckon they are basing that statement on American made plugs and not British or European plugs.
Though my experience of American made plugs is limited to Temple Bar and Jack Knife Plug, both of which I smoked today (lovely they are too), it became clear to me the vast difference twixt American and UK plugs is in the pressing.
Whereas American plugs seem to be very softly pressed (they actually want to delaminate as soon as you touch them), UK plugs such as Full Virginia Plug, St. James Plug, Kendal Plug, Condor and Erinmore Plugs are much more heavily pressed therefore much more dense (no delamination here). The American plugs seemed to me to be just somewhat harder than crumble cake albeit made with whole leaf tobacco.
Perhaps that might also explain why many American flakes are sold as 'broken flake' due to a lack of cohesion from a 'light' pressing.
So perhaps in the US the same 'block' is indeed used to make both plug and flake versions of a blend, I really do think the opposite applies to those listed above. I have just cut some St. James Plug for smoking later and I swear if you had enough of these plugs you could build a house with them they are that rock solid!
Also I have noticed that the colour of UK plugs compared to the flake version of the same blend is that much darker suggesting a longer pressing under more pressure.
Does any American manufacturer make really solid plug tobaccos?
Regards,
Jay.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Does any American manufacturer make really solid plug tobaccos?
Not that I know of.
Perhaps that might also explain why many American flakes are sold as 'broken flake' due to a lack of cohesion from a 'light' pressing.
There are several EU tobaccos that spring to mind that sell a broken flake as a flake. But, yeh, I can only think of a few US flakes that are actual flakes. But, maybe if I did a little more thinking of blends it might be more balanced between the two regions.
My first experiences with plugs were in chewing tobaccos. No, not that I chewed, but I remember watching men bite off a corner of a plug and stick it back into their shirt pocket. If the plug was like Condor, it probably would have involved getting teeth stuck into the plug.

 

northernneil

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Jun 1, 2013
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Whereas American plugs seem to be very softly pressed (they actually want to delaminate as soon as you touch them), UK plugs such as Full Virginia Plug, St. James Plug, Kendal Plug, Condor and Erinmore Plugs are much more heavily pressed therefore much more dense (no delamination here). The American plugs seemed to me to be just somewhat harder than crumble cake albeit made with whole leaf tobacco.
I found Jackknife Plug to be very dense, so I am surprised to hear you say they want to de-laminate at a slight touch.
These UK Plugs you mention; Full Virginia, St. James, etc, are they not steam pressed? Would that not aid in the compression / adhesion of the tobaccos. Also, when you look at the Full Virginia Flake, those flakes are very dense, as I would assume the plug is as well, telling me the plug is just an un-sliced flake.

 

texmexpipe

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Oct 20, 2014
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Peterson's 3p seams to me to be a very hard plug of full leaf. Jay, where would place this in terms of American or EU. Certainly I know where it is produced but where does it sit in your thinking.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Maybe, it all stems from Americans having forgotten how to sharpen their pocketknives. :puffy:

 

mawnansmiff

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Oct 14, 2015
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Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"There are several EU tobaccos that spring to mind that sell a broken flake as a flake."
Michael, I would say those come from either Sam Gawith or Gawith & Hoggarth and bearing in mind the age of their equipment I think they can be forgiven for that.
Neil makes a good point in suggesting steam pressing of certain plugs, perhaps that is the method employed to make a solid plug.
Tex, I believe PPP is made in Scandinavia and to my mind would fit in with UK & Euro plugs, ie good and solid.
Regards,
Jay.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Maybe it's a need to make the plug waterproof or indestructible that leads to Irish plugs being so bulletproof. Sometimes a plug might get left in your jeans through the wash. Or, wading through a creek, or falling overboard...

 

mawnansmiff

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Oct 14, 2015
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Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"Maybe it's a need to make the plug waterproof or indestructible that leads to Irish plugs being so bulletproof."
Very good Michael :clap:
Seriously though, I would love to know of (and smoke) a good solid American plug and its flake counterpart just to compare the two together and see if (as is the case with UK plugs) there is any difference in intensity of flavour.
Anyone who has smoked say Erinmore, Condor or St. James Plug and their relative flake versions would surely testify to the enormous difference in flavour in the plug versions.
The more I think about it I reckon Neil's suggestion of them being pressed with heat applied really is the answer.
Regards me saying my Jack Knife Plug delaminating, I reckon with a decent thumbnail one could quite effortlessly pick apart every single layer of the plug. Try doing that with Condor Plug!
More research to be done methinks :puffy:
Regards,
Jay.

 

papipeguy

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Jul 31, 2010
15,800
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Bethlehem, Pa.
Warrior, Velvan and Mick McQuaid are great but are soon to disappear. Yachtsman will survive, though I don't know why. As far as I know 3P is safe. Revor is a wonderful smoke but somewhat different in construction from the others. Salty Dogs from Dan Tobacco is also a plug I enjoy quite a bit.

American plugs are not as dense as those I mentioned above. Our War Horse Bar and Green are dense but we've started to refer to them as clugs, a hybrid of plug and cake.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Why did you guys not go with an actual dense as hockey puck type of plug?.. like Warrior, Condor, Velvan, etc...

 

mikestanley

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May 10, 2009
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Akron area of Ohio
I don't have a great deal of experience with plug tobaccos. Had some Kendal Plug a number of years ago. I admittedly prefer the broken flakes of McClelland. I did recently open my first can of Gaslight. Seems dense enough. Cuts well with a sharp knife then crumbles for easy packing. Just my 2 cents on the matter.

Mike S.

 

mawnansmiff

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Oct 14, 2015
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Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"Warrior, Velvan and Mick McQuaid are great but are soon to disappear."
Papipeguy, from what I read today Mick McQuaid Plug is already obsolete...but of course I read that on the web so bear that in mind.
"Cuts well with a sharp knife then crumbles for easy packing."
Mike, therein lies the difference to my mind. Yes, it is likely more convenient but also it likely tastes just the same as the flake version assuming such is made of that particular 'plug'.
An article that member Oldreddog sent me today pretty much confirms that truly 'solid' plugs originate in Ireland and that they were/are treated with heat/steam during the pressing process, hence their intensity of flavour.
Regards,
Jay.

 

oldreddog

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Sep 4, 2014
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There is a lot of speculation as too these plugs being discontinued/delisted. From what I understand Warrior and Mick are gone from the UK,but will continue to be sold in Ireland. The last time I was in Petersons they had plenty of both and Erinmore plug.

Papipeguy I'm surprised that yachtman's will be kept in production as I would have thought it to be the least popular.

The only certainty is that Gallaghers will close it's doors next May,so the future of my favourite plug, Condor looks bleak indeed.

I tried Salty Dog and found it a little insipid but I'd say with a bit of age it could develop into a decent smoke.

I am hoping that at least 3P will soldier on.

 

fluffie666

Senior Member
Apr 4, 2014
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This has been on my mind ever since I had a few plugs under my belt. American plugs like Jack Knife Plug and Gaslight, once sliced, do not act at all like Warrior Plug or Condor Plug. This is not to say that JKP and GL are unsatisfying by any means. They are two of my favorite tobaccos but I always though of them as an American plug. As for comparing American plugs with their rubbed versions, I can only speak about JKP and JK Ready Rubbed. The difference is clear. The plug version, imo, has the better flavor and a stronger nic kick. I've also tried War Horse RR but have yet to compare it to it's "clug" (great name BTW) version.

My experience with EU plugs is only Warrior and Condor and they are solid as the day is long. Condor plug seems more flavorful and rich in nicotine strength than its ready rubbed counterpart.

The verdict is that European plugs are plugs and there are no American made plugs that I know of. America makes only clugs.

 

mawnansmiff

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Oct 14, 2015
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Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Fluffie, according to Tobaccoreviews.com 'Gaslight' is a crumble cake (I can't bring myself to spelling it with a 'k').
"Condor plug seems more flavorful and rich in nicotine strength than its ready rubbed counterpart."
I couldn't agree more!
"The verdict is that European plugs are plugs and there are no American made plugs that I know of. America makes only clugs."
That sounds about right too.
Regards,
Jay.

 

bigpond

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Oct 14, 2014
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I think Neil is spot on and it's the steam jacketed press and the will to use it which divides pluggers from the wannabe's. I think the benefits of the format apply to all plugs steam pressed or not, to a varying degree. You know Jay, you boys do have a 200 year advantage on this front. I believe you also have the moral authority now, but that's for another thread. On the other hand, American tobaccos have been streamlined compared to their Brit counterparts and we are the master's of the ribbon. Well, except C&D, which to their credit have equal animosity toward any cut.

 

papipeguy

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Jul 31, 2010
15,800
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Bethlehem, Pa.
oldreddog, I received an email from James Fox in Dublin informing me about the plug situation. I agree that the retention of Yachtsman is very perplexing. Fox's website still shows Warrior and Mick McQuaid being available but it may only be a large inventory situation.

 

deathmetal

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Jul 21, 2015
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An article that member Oldreddog sent me today pretty much confirms that truly 'solid' plugs originate in Ireland and that they were/are treated with heat/steam during the pressing process, hence their intensity of flavour.
America needs one of these. Wonder if we have anything similar in our industry that could be adapted?