Why Tobacco Changes Flavor Through the Bowl ?

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mindglue

Junior Member
Apr 24, 2016
56
0
Practically every tobacco review will mention some changes in tobacco taste through the bowl progression. I have rather average ability to pick up all these subtle nuances, but even for my taste, they are real and present.

Why do we have it? Is it because of tobacco layers below the embers area serve as filter/cushion that will provide different amount of components, depending how tall or big this intact tobacco layer, and how its diminishing in a process of smoking? I am not talking about complex blends, when every puff can bring a slightly different taste, but rather this changes through the bowl,even when we have a one type of tobacco. Any thoughts?

 

shermnatman

Member
Jan 25, 2019
257
0
One thing's sure, as you work your way through a bowl, the tabak which lay lower in the chamber is being subjected to the smoke of the burning tabak in the upper chamber - sort of how they smoke tobacco with aromatic woods to create Latakia.
Also, the lower tabak becomes resinated as a by-product of the burning, unresinated, tabak in the upper part of the chamber.
Therefore, the lower chamber tabak ends up decidedly different in composition than the upper chamber tabak by the time you are actually subjecting it to combustion; hence, the perceived change in taste. - Sherm Natman

 

davek

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2014
307
0
I don't have time to look for it now, but I remember seeing an analysis of the cherry/coal/burning tobacco in a pipe which was interesting. I seem to remember the coal being much larger in the pipe than you might guess, and consisting of areas of burning and also large areas of tobacco *vaporizing* (and releasing nicotine, flavors, etc.), areas being heated only, etc.
This would be distinct from the way a cherry behaves in a cigar or cigarette, where it is much more distinct and smaller. IMO, that is why cigar tobacco is different if put in a pipe. I smoked cigar leaf in a pipe exclusively for a long time. I found that it does not actually taste much different in a pipe, but it is *quite* a bit stronger in taste (etc). I have many times smoked a certain cigar, and cut it up and put it in a pipe. I've smoked diced up whole leaf cigar leaf, and then I've rolled cigars out of that leaf. Always quite a bit stronger diced in a pipe. Not as much true of a cigar just stuck in a pipe till it starts to burn down into the pipe. My opinion is that the difference in how it is burning, the cherry, is what makes the difference.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
3,959
72
Interesting Dave. You are probably on to something with the cherry. If it changes size depending on the size of pipe you are using, that might explain why some folks can taste a blend differently in one pipe over the next.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,914
98
Great question for a thread!!!

And, I agree with all of the above. There are many variables that can change the flavor of a bowl from first puff to midway to the last few puffs. Cherry size and surrounding tobaccos, and yes, changes in flavor from one pipe to another, as the size and shape of the cherry is affected by the geometry of the bowl.
But, cigarettes also change flavors from the initial light to midway to the last few puffs in front of the filter, and cigars... If you smoke more than one of the same cigar you'll know this pretty quickly. After the first, if you don't notice the changes in flavors, you will on the second, where you will be expecting that same (whatever; cedary, nutty, leathery, etc...) flavors as the last, but when you light it up, your brain goes, "wait a minute; what's up?" Then about midway you'll start getting closer to what your brain was expecting.
I notice the latakia is the most different in some blends, starting off piquant and sharp, and then rounding out as the bowl progresses, but I also LOVE the way Virginias stove in a tall narrow pipe, cooking the tobaccos around and under the cherry as it progresses, getting sweeter as I smoke. Now mix latakia with Virginia... different/ different.

 

chilllucky

Member
Jul 15, 2018
260
1
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
I'll try to remember to take and post a picture of it later today, but there is a chart in The Pipe Smoker's Tobacco Book by Robert Winan of temperature in a bowl vs puffs over time. It follows that, along with everything else stated above, different flavor-producing compounds behave differently at different temperatures.

 

davek

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2014
307
0
This was hard to try to pick out of the PDF. Best to read the PDF in the link itself.
It's not the analysis I was thinking of. That was on a pipe smoking site. This is interesting, however.
"In principle, three main zones are distinguish

able in burning tobacco (cigarette and pipe) : (a)

the actual glowing point, where oxidation takes place, called in the following the "combustion

zone," (b) the "distillation zone," where no actual

glowing occurs but where the temperature is high

and dry distillation quite strong, and (c) the zone

farthest from the glow point, where the temperature is low and where, for that reason, condensation

of dry distilled material can take place, and which is hence called the "condensation zone." It is

naturally not possible to set any exact limits between the several zones. The ratios that these bear

to one another, although varying greatly and

typically from one product to another, can, how ever, be ascertained retrogradely from the

temperature curve. Chart 1 shows, in percentages of the quantity of tobacco in cigarette or pipe, the ratios that the zones bear to one another, the following being the delimiting temperatures: below 100C°., 100°-300C. 300°-500°C. and higher

than 500C°.

When a pipe is smoked, the temperature does 
not rise very high; the heat, on the other hand,

spreads rapidly outside the area which is actually

glowing and burning in the closed bowl. Temperature of the combustion zone was about 500C°.

(variability, 380°-620C.°). The distillation zone

was very large. Experiments show that, of the tobacco below that still unburnt, about 25 per cent reached a temperature exceeding 300C°. during

the suction, and at least 60 per cent a temperature exceeding 100C°. The corresponding fractions of

the substances in the tobacco leaf were thus distilled into the smoke without being burned and without attaining the higher temperatures at all.
With cigarettes the situation was quite different. No essential differences could be noted

among the various brands of cigarette studied (Groups a-/). The highest temperature recorded, 812C°.,was in a Turkish cigarette.The maximal

temperature at the tip was always somewhat lower. In a thin cigarette with a paper mouthpiece, the highest temperature,786C°.,was recorded at

the base. Temperature in the combustion zone was, on the average, 650°C. (variability, 470°-

812C°.). Combustion and distillation zones were

very small : with the glow at the tip, less than 15

per cent of the total quantity of tobacco attained a temperature of more than 300C and less than

25 per cent a temperature above 100C°., while the condensation zone (below 100C°.) comprised

more than 75 per cent of the tobacco.



The burning process in a cigar forms a kind of

intermediate stage between that of a cigarette and

a pipe. The variability, however, depending partly

on the quality of the cigar and partly on the manner of smoking, was so great that measurements

performed in accordance with the methods used

in this study did not give an adequate picture of

the division into zones. For this reason, only individual temperature measurements were taken

when the thermocouple was inserted through the

holder. The maximal temperature varied between

380 and 630C°.The burn or glow at the tip of a

cigar most nearly resembled the conditions observed in the burning of a cigarette, while the mouth end or head of the cigar came closer to a pipe in this respect."
http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/16/6/490.full.pdf

 

shermnatman

Member
Jan 25, 2019
257
0
This makes a lot of sense regarding my ability to more easily taste the advertised nuances of a mixture when I just have one little ember causing the combustion in the camber; versus, incinerating the mixture in a literal furnace - which, for me, kills most of the advertised secondary and tertiary taste experiences - Sherm Natman

 

mindglue

Junior Member
Apr 24, 2016
56
0
Thank you guys,

Its so interesting, and also it gives more sense why tobacco taste could be slightly different when we are using different pipes, not just explains changes through a single smoke.

In a Summary of this research article that Dave found: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/16/6/490.full.pdf,

briefly mentioned, in regard of tobacco burned in a pipe: "... Because of this, strong dry distillation took place, and the corresponding fractions from the evaporating substances escaped into the smoke without being pyrolyzed." More or less it means, that chance of developing cancerogenic chemicals, potentially could be lower in case of smoking tobacco through the pipe :D.

It was mentioned multiple times on a Forum, how its important to develop a good smoking technique. So this mechanic of combusting process tells you: if you want to get more flavor- smoke slowly.. Ehh, no short cut for beginners.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,921
86
I felt myself lurching off into my explanation of the variables that occur to me, but having read the other posts, I'd rather study those and learn a little something. I've lost interest in my hypotheses. However, the gremlins sound likely.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,914
98
There is also the dynamics of the shape of the chamber, and the way the shape affects the amount of heated tobacco in certain heat zones. There was a diagram of this on the now-non-existent pipe (tobacco days?) website. Someone had posted the diagram recently showing tall cones verses the straight sided chambers and their affects.

Tall chamber, short fat chambers, cone, straight... lots of variables.
Notice that I was saying "chambers" and not "bowl shapes."

 

5star

Senior Member
Nov 17, 2017
404
0
There are so many variables in pipe smoking, and that's one factor I find so fascinating and enjoyable about it. After reading here awhile ago, I decided to change my lighting routine. I held my butane lighter a little further away from the bowl than is my usual habit and focused on drawing the heat down into the bowl. The change in distance involved was very slight, but it greatly improved the flavor and intensity of the smoke. There are likely numerous factors coming into play as a bowl is smoked.