The Mystery of Flavors

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blendtobac

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,219
55
As I looked at some reviews of some of my blends, I've come to realize that some combinations bring forth flavors that many people insist are toppings, but they aren't. A few examples are that people taste chocolate or cocoa in Chatham Manor. The only top-dressings in that blend are Bourbon and vanilla. Some claim that there's a vanilla top-note in Viprati. Nope. There's no top-dressing at all. I've seen many mentions of cinnamon in Fire Storm, but, once again, no top-dressing. The interplay of the natural flavors often invoke flavors that haven't been added to the blend. Are there any other examples you can think of?
Russ

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,190
576
If you think about it, Russ, you did put that flavor there, by combining those tobaccos. Like when an artist doesn't put any paint in the background leaving primed canvas showing through, the artist made it that way; therefore, he did put it there by not covering it up.
But, yeh, like when licorice is used as a case in a straight Virginia, it doesn't taste exactly like licorice, so someone who may hate licorice may love the blend because it melds with the tobacco flavors.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,587
883
Chicago, IL
Oh, in McClelland 2025 I pick-up a gamey taste of stewed mutton from, I think, the Oriental component (Xanthi).
Also, the aroma of incense is often reported in reviews for a variety of English blends.

 

pipeman7

Member
Jan 21, 2017
291
0
Russ, are you blending with Sutliff or Lane bulk tobacco? Couldn't the flavor be from the casings

 

blendtobac

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,219
55
I use what I select. Generally the casings are just invert sugars, although molasses my be used for some Burleys.
Russ

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,190
576
Hmmm, so there's a middleman tobacconist? So you don't buy direct from the farmers? I was curious about that. I wouldn't think that the farmers would pre-case the tobacco. Is there a middleman tobacconist that adds casings for the pipe tobacconist?

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,190
576
Oooops, I may have stepped into the secret world of pipe tobacco that I am not allowed to know about. :oops:
It also kind of explains why, I had a hard time finding a pipe tobacconist that could help me turn my Virginia crop into red Virginias.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,674
729
United States
In many of the VA and Vapers flakes I smoke, I get flavors of stewed fruit and raisins which obviously are not there.
For those who don't know what stewed fruit is, let me explain. It is a desert made from peaches, figs, apricots, prunes, and probably one more thing, but I can't remember. You take all those fruits and cook them down in a thick sweet syrup. It is a really tasty desert that my grandmother made for all of the holidays. I taste those flavors a lot in most of the Va and Vaper flakes that I smoke, especially when they are aged.

 

anthony416

Member
Sep 30, 2016
239
1
Interesting subject indeed. It seems that some tobaccos have a wide range of natural flavors in them. The example below from GQ tobaccos relates to cigars but I guess it is the same principle....
Number 1 Cigar of the Year 2016
Cigar Aficionado Rated 96%
"First impressions are bold and savoury with strong notes of hickory and leather but it continues to take on a complex spiciness of saffron and cumin as well as a slight tangy note that brings the strength and spice together - and it only gets better with every puff. "

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,741
427
Oooops, I may have stepped into the secret world of pipe tobacco that I am not allowed to know about. :oops:
Yep. And if you persist in this matter you may disappear in the dead of night in a puff of fragrant smoke!
Blenders buy from different suppliers. This may shock some, but even McClelland didn't make its own Syrian Latakia.
Very interesting topic!

 

blendtobac

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,219
55
I choose what is available from the manufacturers I work with. They usually have a number of options in casings, and a large amount of top-dressings.
Russ

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,190
576
Well, I figured fire cures (Kentucky, latakias, and even the other leaf that was cured with smoke) wasn’t done by the blenders. Sweats and fermination of goldens Virginias to reds, all of the curing, maybe even the toasting if burleys. But, casing surprises me. I wouldn’t think that the farmers would do that.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,046
187
While not like funding a automotive assembly plant, there has to be a fair amount of investment at the manufacturer's. Building for the preparation, warehouse for raw materials and warehouse for shipments. Also, the presses and whatever they use for the heating. More money than most boutique or smaller blenders would want to shell out. Not to mention trying to compete with the big guys when buying from the tobacco farmers. So the boutique guy can concentrate on his craft while keeping his overhead under control. Also, less employees to have to hassle with.

 

brightleaf

Preferred Member
Sep 4, 2017
555
0
Viprati was one of the first tinned tobaccos I bought. I didn't realize until I tried many others brands that it is one of the best. Thanks for sharing some of your topping secrets with us.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,190
576
Thanks Russ, that makes sense.

BTW, Chathom Manner is top notch stuff. Very interesting that the chocolate notes are a part of the natural leaf. I get them also from some of the Empire Dark Virginia blends of GH&co.
I guess I just always think of you out walking the fields and barns with the farmers, pointing to what you want, and don't want.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
One of these days I'm going to break down and order some of Russ' great tobaccos, despite their provenance:
2 BlackHouse

2 WhiteKnight

2 Viprati

2 Regional VA/Perique

2 Pressure-fermeted VA/Perique