Old Dark Fired

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robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
Since I like Latakia so much, a few people suggested that I try Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired as a different approach to a smoked tobacco, and wow, I'm liking this.
It's not as "newbie-friendly" as some of the Latakia blends I've tried. It arrived very moist in the tin, so my first few attempts yielded only a hot, steamy, tasteless mess. I started letting it dry for different amounts of time, and started having some success.
This is only my second flake, third, if you count Escudo coins. The flakes are only around half an inch wide. I can comfortably fit two flakes in a MM Country Gentleman, or one in my smaller pipes.
Thus far, folding and stuffing has not worked at all for me, though it works fine with Escudo coins. Rubbing it out is better for me, but this yielded some very long strands that still didn't want to pack comfortably. I find it very easy to pack too tight OR too loose. Remember, though, that I'm still quite new! I have not, yet, tried to cube-cut it.
When I do get it packed and burning correctly, it really is nice. It has a rich, smoky flavor that reminds me of Latakia, though it's really completely different. I detect a sweet undertone, and just find it a smoky, tasty, comforting "real tobacco" taste. Yum!
I find that it heats up quickly if I smoke the least bit fast. That's another reason I didn't find it newbie-friendly but, if I pay attention, I get no burn or bite and the flavor stays fresh all the way down.
All in all, I plan to keep this in my rotation, right beside the similar-but-totally-different Pirate Kake.

 

stanlaurel

Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2015
701
0
I am also new at this. I have had ok success rubbing out ODF but I have also tried cube cutting and it did not work that great. I want to try again. Can someone tell me the dimensions of these cubes? I may have had them too big. Do I dry the cubes?

 

robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
I've used surgical scissors (my wife was a nurse) and they work well, too. Like stanlaurel, though, I'm not really sure sure about the best size of the cubes. Do you have any advice?

 

oldredbeard

Preferred Member
Jul 20, 2012
629
0
I love Old Dark Fired, and another really good one to try is Bold Kentucky. I certainly haven't mastered smoking flake tobacco yet, for me it always requires several relights, however with these tobacco's the reward is worth the effort.

 

jiminks

Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
32,917
546
I'm lazy. I just use my finger nails to cube cut them and sometimes, I wrap a few thin strips around the inner bowl. I make the bits smaller at the top and bottom to facilitate a better burn rate.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,537
135
United States
I cut my cubes fairly large, probably about 1/3 to 1/2 inch and I pack them very firmly. I want the resistance to feel like sipping a milk shake through a straw. If you pack too loosely, it can lead to a hot smoke and a lot of relights. I smoke my flakes fairly moist and don't dry this blend at all. For a beginner, I would suggest drying ODF for half an hour after cubing and see how it does for you. My technique is such that a moist flake burns fine for me as I smoke very slowly.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,413
3
For Orlik Dark Strong Ky and OGS I scissor cut 1/4" cubes across the grain and then rub them out onto a plate to dry for a few minutes. The strands come out pretty fine (and very burnable!), so I bed the bottom of the bowl with just a pinch of Carter Hall, gravity fill to the rim, pack lightly, and puff away.

 

conlejm

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2014
1,432
1
You can buy it ready-rubbed, or you could use a coffee grinder. I've tried both approaches with great results.

 

wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,040
0
Thanks Harris! I didn't know cube cut was that big. Do you use the 1/3 - 1/2 cubes for most flakes or just this one?

 

robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
OK, Harris.
I've cut two flakes lengthwise, so they're about 1/3 inch. turned it and cut it about the same. Squares instead of actual cubes, of course. I've packed it quite a bit tighter than I usually do (I usually pack with almost no resistance.)
I'm gonna say it's like drinking milk through a straw, not milkshake, but I was afraid to change too much, too fast.
I put the broken up bits on top to help with the lighting. I'll smoke it after dinner and report back.
I'm counting on you!

 

robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
Well, Harris,
I'm going to call this a partial success. I was able to keep it lit fairly well. I got a little bit of tongue burn, and the flavor was a little muted. Altogether, tonight's smoke was better than some of my worst experiences with Old Dark Fired, but not as good as my best.
Obviously I still need to work on my technique, but I will alternate between cube-cutting and rubbing out, and see what works best for me.
Thanks!

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,024
0
Thus far, folding and stuffing has not worked at all for me, though it works fine with Escudo coins. Rubbing it out is better for me, but this yielded some very long strands that still didn't want to pack comfortably. I find it very easy to pack too tight OR too loose.
Do you tamp?
re:long strands- just hold your thumb gently over the bowls rim and pull out any strands that don't want to stay down. If the strands are an issue after lighting, (as in you have a bowl full of angry flaming worms trying to escape) use your tamper to nudge them back where they belong and lightly press them down. I tamp those with a finger. Don't worry, you'll be fine.
I smoke odf frequently and have never dried it prior to smoking. In fact, ready to smoke right from the tin is one of the most remarkable aspects of odf. Ime it's so willing to burn that it's one of the very few tobaccos I smoke that rarely requires a "true light; the false light is good enough.
I have a pipe the same dimensions as your mm CG and usually pack it with a single flake with the results above. I'll use 1.5 to 2 flakes when packing my sav 320 with a .95x1.35" bowl to give you a point of comparison.
I rub it out gently. If the strands are too long I'll tear them to about 1/2" long. Gravity fill, tamp and refill. Smooth the surface with the tamper and bring on the flame. It's a very easy flake to work with. However, if your technique is off you will burn your tongue. If you find this happening it's a sign that something is causing the tobacco to burn too hot.
Very likely this is caused by overpulling, referred to by some as "smoking too fast". Speed isn't the greatest descriptor though because it's so general that it loses it's value. Sure, if you smoke really fast, you will consume the tobacco more quickly than someone else puffing the same volume of smoke at a slower speed.
It's the temperature at the ember that counts. I take rapid puffs but I consume tobacco slowly. For example, last night I was smoking golden cake in a new pipe with a chamber of .72x1.62. I decided to cube cut because the tobacco was a little moist and I wouldn't have adequate time to dry it in flake form. I don't often cube cut so I took Harris' advice of packing it more firmly. Well, the bowl lasted 3.5 hours!!!!!!!!!!!! No bite, no burn, just one happy camper really really late to bed.
Once the tobacco is burning I take the smallest puff I can. I don't pull or draw or exert any force on the smoke stream. The pipe is doing the smoking, I'm just tasting the byproduct. Essentially, what I'm really trying to do is maintain the minimal ember temperature required to burn tobacco. When things get too hot (flavor is off or bowl feels hot)

I'll set the bowl down, run a pipe cleaner through and gently use my tamper to crush any ash or create a level surface for the next match.
Good luck!

 

ericusrex

Preferred Member
Feb 27, 2015
1,177
0
As touched on before, if you buy in bulk it comes ready rubbed. Cheaper and less hassle!

 

robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
Bigpond,
That's a great description, and I love the term "overpulling." that is certainly what I do, particularly with blends I really like. I'm training myself to slow down, but it does not come naturally.
Even accepting that most of the problem is with me, I have noticed that certain packing methods are more forgiving than others, so I'm still experimenting.
ericusrex - I bought two tins of flake ODF, but I like the taste enough that, assuming I can get the hang of smoking it, I'll certainly buy bulk next time!

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,024
0
That's a great description, and I love the term "overpulling." that is certainly what I do, particularly with blends I really like. I'm training myself to slow down, but it does not come naturally.
Even accepting that most of the problem is with me, I have noticed that certain packing methods are more forgiving than others, so I'm still experimenting.
Almost every iconic pipe smoking scene in a movie depicts an epic cloud of smoke. Huge room filling plumes of fog like smoke, setting the scene for a sinister atmosphere. Or hobbits blowing smoke rings...whatever....what we've come to expect is smoke....lots of it! It's ingrained in our subconscious so don't beat yourself up.
I've found the frank method to be a very nearly foolproof method for packing. Give it a try if you haven't.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,537
135
United States
wyfbane, I cube cut all of my flakes that size except for SG Full Virginia Flake, that one I cube into very small pieces.
rob, try packing more firmly and getting some real good resistance, and smoke slowly, that is very important so you don't get any bite.

 

stanlaurel

Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2015
701
0
Well...I'm still struggling a bit with ODF. I've had some good smokes with Latakia blends this week so I decided to try ODF again tonight. I have done ok sometimes with rubbing it out. I tried cube cut again for the second time with one flake. I just can't seem to keep it lit AND keep the bowl cool. If I want to keep it going I need to use a lot of matches and the bowl stays hot or it goes out. I had a nice 90 minute smoke out in the garage during a really nice thunderstorm but since the bowl was hot, the taste was not too good. I managed not to burn my tongue but I want the taste. What am I still doing wrong? I may try rubbing it out and smoking it dry next time. It just does not light so easily for me. Why?

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,024
0
Try drying it out. If the tobacco holds it's shape when you pinch it, it's too moist for an easy smoke. If it crumbles, it's too dry.

 

robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
stanlaurel,
Yeah, dry it. Harris (cigrmaster) says he smokes it straight from the tin, but he is MUCH more skilled than I. My best smokes with ODF have been after drying the whole flakes for around two hours, or at least half an hour if I rub it out beforehand.
Even then it seems to want to burn hot if I don't really force myself to SLOW DOWN.
I know every smoker is different but, for me, Old Dark Flake tastes great, but it really needs my full attention, while my other favorite, Pirate Kake is just a light it and forget it kind of blend.