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American Made Plugs Versus UK Made Plugs.

(128 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by mawnansmiff
  • Latest reply from hawky454
  1. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    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.

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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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.

    Michael
    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. northernneil

    northernneil

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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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. texmexpipe

    texmexpipe

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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.

    Procrastinate Later. - I'll say this one day!
    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Maybe, it all stems from Americans having forgotten how to sharpen their pocketknives.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. oldreddog

    oldreddog

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    Tex to me 3p definitely falls in the Irish rich dark plug tradition.

    Killing me won't bring back your apples.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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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...

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "Maybe it's a need to make the plug waterproof or indestructible that leads to Irish plugs being so bulletproof."

    Very good Michael

    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

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. papipeguy

    papipeguy

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    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.

    Blowin' smoke since 1970.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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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...

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. mikestanley

    mikestanley

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    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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. oldreddog

    oldreddog

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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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. fluffie666

    fluffie666

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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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    bigpond

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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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. papipeguy

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    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.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. oldreddog

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    Thanks for that papipeguy.

    Ah well.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. deathmetal

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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?

    "My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -- William Faulkner

    The Metal Mixtures
    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    This has been a very thought provoking thread. You know, when I cube cut some Warrior or Condor, I get nice little solid cubes, that smoke very differently from when I try to cut up a clug or Ameri-plug. Gas light and War Horse tend to just become ready rubbed, no matter what I do. I can even pinch off a corner instead of trying to use a knife, which is like cutting a through a toilet tissue roll. Jackknife, is about the same, except I can maybe kinda get a flake from it if I carve carefully, but then you bend it and it become ready rubbed.

    I never even thought about us not really having any real flakes, except for GLP's SixPence... (Am I missing any?)

    Maybe we just don't have the technology or know-how... which makes me sad.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "I never even thought about us not really having any real flakes, except for GLP's SixPence."

    Well Michael, I just popped my tin of Sunday Picnic and that is a flake, very brittle and crumbly but a flake all the same.

    Not quite in the same league of Mac Baren's Bold Kentucky, Dunghill's Flake or Rattray's Marlin Flake which have a certain 'solidity' to them I reckon SP would still suit the folders and stuffers of this world.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I think of Sunday Picnic as a broken flake, or maybe it just is after I get hold of a rattled tin of it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Clug? Clug, really? While descriptive, it is a horrible sounding word, almost as bad as POTUS or SCOTUS sound. Not good for marketing.

    Besides, we already have definitions: plug is made from whole leaf, and cake is from cut tobacco. Either one can be hard or soft, though cakes and cookies crumble differently. Cakes will seldom be as dense and unpick-able as plugs.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  25. papipeguy

    papipeguy

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    jpmcwjr, the other choice was plake.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  26. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Heh, yeah, I read that, too. Point is, don't use a made up word that will not enhance the marketing of your fine products.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Do we just not have the industrial technology to make plugs here in the US?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "I think of Sunday Picnic as a broken flake,..."

    Michael, I can assure you the contents of my tin of Sunday Picnic is largely made up of short whole flakes. They will easily fall apart if roughly handled mind.

    I agree John, 'clug' is a nasty sounding word and doesn't really describe what it is purported to mean.

    "plug is made from whole leaf, and cake is from cut tobacco. Either one can be hard or soft..."

    This however is where we would disagree. I believe a proper plug is a very solid block of tobacco that could not be pulled apart without the use of a knife or similar tool.

    Perhaps Oldreddog might supply the link that he sent me...I don't know how to insert links. That should give all a good grounding on plug tobaccos.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    One thing about those Sunday Picnic flakes you got, is that they held up on their voyage across the pond.

    I believe a proper plug is a very solid block of tobacco that could not be pulled apart without the use of a knife or similar tool.

    I don't know about "proper" but I still think that what we have is a plug. Maybe we can just call the dense plugs that you guys have, Irish plugs.

    However, what is the purpose of a plug? If you can't cut it into dense little cubes... if when you cut it at all it just becomes ribbon cut... if the pressing of the plug plays no impact on the smoking capacity... why is it in plug form?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. oldreddog

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    I hope it's ok to post this link as it is to another forum and the content may be familiar to some;
    http://christianpipesmokers.net/viewtopic.php?t=41002
    Cosmic I dare say the knowledge exists in the US to create rich dark hunks of love.Looks like orlik might have a few steam jacket presses going spare. Although I'd suggest a group buy, I doubt the fda would appreciate the efforts produced.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "..why is it in plug form?"

    Because the tobaccos I have smoked both as plug and flake, the plug version has a far more intense taste than the flake version ...t'is as simple as that.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    But, the taste comes from being compacted into tightly compressed cubes or slices. It's obvious from the Irish plugs why it is in plug form. But, as in War Horse, if the pieces all just fall apart when cut... Ahhh nevermind.
    I sure wish it would rain here. We're in a terrible drought.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    Apologies Michael, I didn't realise you were talking of that particular blend/brand.

    Plenty of rain here in Cornland, pretty damned chilly too

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  34. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I agree John, 'clug' is a nasty sounding word and doesn't really describe what it is purported to mean.

    "plug is made from whole leaf, and cake is from cut tobacco. Either one can be hard or soft..."

    This however is where we would disagree. I believe a proper plug is a very solid block of tobacco that could not be pulled apart without the use of a knife or similar tool.

    I should have said merely that there can be differences in "hardness" of both. But agree that the traditional plug is as you describe. The distinction comes from the tobacco used, whether it's whole leaf or not.

    Perhaps Oldreddog might supply the link that he sent me...I don't know how to insert links. That should give all a good grounding on plug tobaccos.

    You simply copy the link, (URL) and paste it in the URL box, right over the existing http// that's there when you open it. Then type in a descriptor, such as:

    HERE linketh to photos from the recent pipe show.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  35. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    Thanks for the tip John, I shall now attempt posting the very same link as an experiment...

    Irish Plugs...A Potted History.

    Fingers crossed...

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  36. prairiedruid

    prairiedruid

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    It works! Excellent information; thanks for linking it!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  37. jpmcwjr

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    Grade: A. Top percentile. A 4 or 1 depending on the outfits grading scale! You got it buster!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  38. cranseiron

    Cranse Iron

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    I've recently gotten into the plug form and obtained Mick McQuade, SG Best Brown Plug, SG Full Va. Plug, Salty Dog Plug, and Revor Plug through GQ Tobaccos in England. I received these plugs not six months ago and went to the site today and it looks like GQ is no longer selling ANY tobacco except what is left in inventory due to new EU legislation. Anybody know of other sites where one can purchase these "European plugs"?

    Yeah, it seems the English/euro plugs are steamed. Comparing Best Brown Plug to the BF flake the plug is much, much darker than the flake.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  39. oldreddog

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    Try foxes or Petersons of Dublin.
    While stocks last.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  40. mawnansmiff

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    Cranse, 'Best Brown Plug' is more properly known as Kendal Plug.

    Indeed a fine smoke and miles better than the flake counterpart.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  41. cranseiron

    Cranse Iron

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    Jay, thanks for the tip! I've seen some antique plug cutters on Ebay-- I may get one now, restore it and put it back in commission. Proper plugs are like little bricks, but I like messing with them.

    r/
    Eric

    Posted 2 years ago #
  42. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    Eric, I am hoping to fashion my own plug cutter though I too have seen some cracking cutters on Ebay, alas way too expensive for my shallow pockets

    First things first though I need to make a couple of reusable formers for my plug making experiments. My latest effort is still in the press after a whole week now!

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  43. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    The only American plugs I know of are Jackknife and Triple Play. Two things here: one, Cornell and Diehl doesn't have the same kind of press the big European manufacturers use; two, neither of the American plugs have the kind of casing that would provide the necessary "glue" to make solid, European-style plugs. I still count them as proper plugs (they use whole leaf and mature/meld like plugs generally do), but they're just different in style.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  44. mawnansmiff

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    "neither of the American plugs have the kind of casing that would provide the necessary "glue" to make solid European-style plugs."

    Pitchfork, with all due respect it is not any casing that 'glues' the plug together to make it solid. I think it has been established as per the link above that it is because it is steam pressed under enormous pressure that we get the really solid brick like plugs and that they originate in Ireland. Indeed Ireland is still the foremost producer of such plugs though for how much longer nobody is quite sure, but it ain't looking good

    I am tinkering with making my own plugs but though with my press I can exert huge pressure I am unable to utilise any form of steam jacket to my former and sadly I can think of no practical way of so doing on such a small scale. That said, my results thus far are promising.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  45. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Q: Is the steam injected through the tobacco, or is it jacketed to only heat it?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  46. hawky454

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    I prefer plugs made anywhere but the States. Don't understand why we can't get it right. Guess this is why we don't have a proper flake tobacco here either.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  47. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    Jay, the guy who wrote that post is just thinking out loud and speculating about the importance of a particular kind of press and about the possible Irish origins of the dense plug. Maybe I missed something, but would you mind explaining why you're ruling out the importance of casings here in terms of how certain plugs cohere? I could be wrong, but I'd be surprised if you could make a Condor-like plug without a certain amount of casing.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  48. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "Q: Is the steam injected through the tobacco, or is it jacketed to only heat it?"

    John, I've often pondered on this myself and really don't know the answer for certain but would wager that steam is injected through the tobacco.

    "..but I'd be surprised if you could make a Condor-like plug without a certain amount of casing."

    Pitchfork, I would say 99.9% of all tobaccos sold (in whatever form, flake, plug etc) is cased. The casings are added not to make better cohesion within the tobacco but to reduce the natural astringency that exists in raw leaf tobacco. To suggest that it is casings that makes some plugs more solid than others is I'm afraid pure moonshine.

    My own experiments in making rock solid plugs of tobacco have used nothing other than sheer brute pressure, no 'glue' to hold it together (though I did initially think I about adding a little sugar water (casing) to help bind it) was required. A solid plug of tobacco was my end result that was much more intense in flavour than the original mix I used to make my plug. Same flavours yes, but only much deeper.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  49. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    Pitchfork, I would say 99.9% of all tobaccos sold (in whatever form, flake, plug etc) is cased. The casings are added not to make better cohesion within the tobacco but to reduce the natural astringency that exists in raw leaf tobacco. To suggest that it is casings that makes some plugs more solid than others is I'm afraid pure moonshine.

    I'm genuinely curious -- how do you know? And was your own plug as hard and shiny as Warrior, e.g. ? (Asking here, not arguing.)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  50. mawnansmiff

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    Pitchfork, I don't have the data in front of me at the moment but I thought it was commonly understood the vast majority of tobacco blends were cased. I will try to get more info later.

    "was your own plug as hard and shiny as Warrior, e.g. ?"

    My first attempt gave me a pretty solid circular (due to the former I used at the time) plug of tobacco that was indeed shiny on the outside and which was very difficult to cut in half. If you search on the forum you will see pictures of the pressing and resultant plug. That all said, my first effort was only in the press for a measly two days! Also, my 'headpiece' (for wont of a better term) was not quite big enough resulting in a hard core but softer edges.

    My current effort has now been in the press for eight days, getting an extra turn of the handle every twelve hours or so. My intention is to leave it there (whilst still applying more pressure) for two weeks...or until my former bursts...whichever is the sooner! I expect this plug to be an improvement on my first effort, particularly regards its solidity.

    "Asking here, not arguing."

    I never for one moment thought you were arguing. If we don't ask we don't know!

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  51. jpmcwjr

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    Jay-

    I thought you had produced cake, not a plug! That presumes we agree that plugs are from whole leaf and cake is from cut tobacco. The source, which I cannot find right now, was, I believe, British, making his view unassailable. ....

    Now a Q: May slices and flakes be produced from either cake or plug? (or rope)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  52. mawnansmiff

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    "I thought you had produced cake, not a plug! That presumes we agree that plugs are from whole leaf and cake is from cut tobacco.!"

    No John, we do not agree, actually a 'plug' tobacco is purely and simply a very hard compressed block of tobacco (regardless of the cut prior to pressing) that requires some effort from the smoker to prepare it for smoking. Please consult your OED2!

    "The source, which I cannot find right now, was, I believe, British, making his view unassailable."

    John, you are referring to Glynn Quelch and as a seller (now ex seller) of tobaccos he was merely simplifying matters for the 'general consumer' when he mentioned whole leaf tobacco.

    "May slices and flakes be produced from either cake or plug? (or rope)."

    I doubt slices or flakes could me made from cake, or at least not very stable ones (hence many American flakes being so 'fragile') but from plug of course, given a sharp enough guillotine though they would still likely benefit from being rubbed out. I believe cube cutting to be the preferred method employed.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  53. woodsroad

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    Steam presses: From everything that I have read (and I've read a lot), the presses have always been steam jacketed. Steam was chosen because it was the most readily available form of heat. All industrial buildings used to be heated with steam, so there was usually a supply line nearby somewhere. Electric heat is much more controllable, but also more expensive to implement.

    Casing: Condor and it's ilk are all heavily cased. A quick perusal of the Danish Government's tobacco ingredient disclosure lists shows that a lot of plugs also use a glue. Gum Arabic is a common choice.

    War Horse: Has flavorings added, but not casing. And no glue.

    Why don't they make "real" plugs here?: The machinery used to produce the Euro-style plugs does not exist in the US. We tried like all hell to get it done here, but in light of the pending FDA regs effectively eliminating all new blends, the investment in new tobacco processing equipment that would never see full utilization would not be a very smart move.

    Plug vs Cake vs Clug: A rose by any other name...

    Posted 2 years ago #
  54. jpmcwjr

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    It wasn't Mr. Quelch I read on the subject. In the mean time, I found a reasonably definitive definition from an expert in the field, Bob Tate:

    In this article I am going to show how to prepare cake pipe tobacco in the included video. But first I am going to explain a little bit about what cake tobacco is.
    Cake is another form that tobacco blends sometimes come in. They are sometimes spelled with a ‘K’ such as Kake or Krumble Kake. Cakes are made similarly to plugs as they are both pressed to form the cake or plug. But unlike plug tobaccos that use large pieces of tobacco leaf which are layered and pressed together, cakes and crumble cakes use tobaccos that have already been cut and blended into a mixture. The mixture is then pressed into a cake.

    A lot of people consider cakes and crumble cakes as one and the same. But in my opinion they are two different forms of cake tobacco. Here is how I define between the two.
    Cake – Is pressed together to form a dense type of cake that closely resembles a plug. It is difficult to break apart and rub out by hand. I find that using a knife works much better.
    Crumble Cake – Is pressed together to form a loose type of cake that crumbles apart very easily by hand with little or no effort.

    I am not a subscriber to the OED, but if you'd post the relevant entries I'd appreciate it before I declare them not the definitive word on tobaccos!

    BTW, we do agree on the krappy "K" in "kake"!
    LINK to Bob Tate's article

    Posted 2 years ago #
  55. woodsroad

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    OK, John...I'll throw this into the mix: McClelland 5115 Old World Classic Cake. It's a broken flake made from whole leaf.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  56. jpmcwjr

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    Cool. Only five pounds??

    So, before it (the M5115OWCC!) was flaked, was it not in plug form? And was it caked after it was flaked? Maybe we should visit the McClellands!

    And, how 'bout those celebrated Bengal Slices?? Does it become a plug before the slicing?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  57. mawnansmiff

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    "Here is how I define between the two." [Bob Tate]

    Bob is just as entitled to his opinion on the definition as is anyone else. As for him being an expert in the field, in the field of what...tobacco or comparative/historical philology/linguistics? A Google search reveals nothing other than his membership of this forum!

    I don't have access to my OED2 right now but...

    From Collins: Plug; a cake of pressed or twisted tobacco, especially for chewing.

    "Casing: Condor and it's ilk are all heavily cased. A quick perusal of the Danish Government's tobacco ingredient disclosure lists shows that a lot of plugs also use a glue. Gum Arabic is a common choice."

    Thanks for that Woods, as I said above, the vast majority of tobaccos are 'cased', they wouldn't be smokeable otherwise. The use of Gum Arabic is very interesting and now you mention it I recall reading the same some while ago.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  58. mawnansmiff

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    "I want to impress upon the readers that you should read between the lines and take all information about pipe smoking with a grain of salt. This even includes anything that I have written. This includes the so called ‘Professionals’."

    John, these are words from your very own 'tobacco expert'.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  59. cosmicfolklore

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    The machinery used to produce the Euro-style plugs does not exist in the US. We tried like all hell to get it done here, but in light of the pending FDA regs effectively eliminating all new blends, the investment in new tobacco processing equipment that would never see full utilization would not be a very smart move.

    Plug vs Cake vs Clug: A rose by any other name...

    Thanks Woods, this answers many questions that were rattling around in my head.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  60. mawnansmiff

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    Michael, would you be kind enough to post a link or two so as I might familiarise myself with the negative aspects of the FDA regs?

    Though I have a basic understanding of what is planned it is only just that...a basic understanding. I really would like to know more about what plans are afoot as doubtless they will be appearing over here before long

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  61. mawnansmiff

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    Edit: Forget my request Michael, I've found heaps to read via good old Google.

    Back on topic though, I find it astonishing that America, the home of tobacco does not have the necessary equipment to make good solid plugs. Considering plugs were being made in the UK/Ireland way back in the 19th. century I would have thought some entrepreneurial American would have jumped on board!

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  62. jpmcwjr

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    I don't have access to my OED2 right now but...

    From Collins: Plug; a cake of pressed or twisted tobacco, especially for chewing.

    That doesn't do it for thee or me!

    I believe Tate's definition is a good one, and solid. Can't wait for the OED2 cite!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  63. cosmicfolklore

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    I think that someone could make a press to make real plugs (homemade), but spending the money to make plugs in any sort of production line capacity and with all "foodsafe quality" materials would be a waste of money, if the War Horse blend is scheduled to disappear with the FDA deeming date.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  64. jpmcwjr

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    Back on topic though, I find it astonishing that America, the home of tobacco does not have the necessary equipment to make good solid plugs. Considering plugs were being made in the UK/Ireland way back in the 19th. century I would have thought some entrepreneurial American would have jumped on board!

    Market demand drives such, I do believe. While some are bonkers for plugs, many are not. And don't forget that we Americans in general—none on this forum of course—are wont to go for convenience over additional taste, thus most pipe tobaccos here are ready rubbed or soft flake or cake.... Does that 'splain it??

    Posted 2 years ago #
  65. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    By far, aromatic smokers and codger blend smokers rule the markets. 1Q is the most sold blend in the world. It is just that the forum is made up of connoisseurs and hobby smokers, which seeks out the anomaly. The forum by no means shows a cross reference of all smokers.
    Like wine drinkers, we are the elites, whereas the rest of the world consumes mass amounts of box wines and Boone's Farm.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  66. mawnansmiff

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    "I believe Tate's definition is a good one, and solid."

    John, you believe it because you choose to. Apparently 48% of Americans believe humans coexisted with dinosaurs!

    "Can't wait for the OED2 cite!"

    Wait no longer. BTW, I don't subscribe either, I have both editions in hard copy.

    OED2 volume XI page 1069 gives us...

    4a.Tobacco pressed into a flat oblong cake or stick.

    4b. A piece of cake or twist tobacco cut off for chewing etc.

    1728 The dean threw me this tobacco plug: A longer ha'porth never did I see. [Swift]

    1844 Cutting a quid or plug from his cake of tobacco. [Dickens]

    You do seem to have a bee in your bonnet about this John which I find quite amusing

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  67. jpmcwjr

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    Only in the interest of truth and light!

    Love the Swift and Dickens quotes, but 4a doesn't speak to whole leaf or cut, but oddly does mention cake! 4b equates plug with cake. Other references bring in chewing tobacco in relation to the word plug, though not in what you cite.

    I am concluding the two terms are hopelessly conflated, and unless a blender chimes in and says there's a valuable distinction today, I will sadly demur. In my mind, however, you've created a great home made cake, a feat worthy in and of itself.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  68. pitchfork

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    Yer man added some more info to the post about plugs. It seems to suggest that the steaming and pressing alone are what gives the plug its hard, shiny texture, but it also suggests that the tobaccos are always cased in some kind of sugar water. It's possible that the steaming enables the natural sugars of the leaf to provide the necessary "glue" for the plug, but what's written here isn't dispositive on that point. Anyone know a manufacturer we could just ask?

    Also, regarding the Swift quote, it sounds like he's referring to a rope or twist -- otherwise, why would a plug (as we know it) be described as "long"?

    http://christianpipesmokers.net/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=41002#p1100129

    Posted 2 years ago #
  69. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

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    "but 4a doesn't speak to whole leaf or cut, but oddly does mention cake!"

    John, that is a very thin argument. 'Cake' in this instance suggests to me 'slab'.

    "It seems to suggest that the steaming and pressing alone are what gives the plug its hard, shiny texture."

    Cobguy, I would disagree based purely on my own experiments that involved no heat at all as what I produced was both hard and shiny (on the outside).

    "regarding the Swift quote, it sounds like he's referring to a rope or twist -- otherwise, why would a plug (as we know it) be described as "long"?"

    You have to take into consideration as to how folks wrote and spoke back then. Also, plug, twist and rope tobaccos then were largely chewed and not so much smoked and back then the terms were pretty much synonymous.

    Why repost the link I previously posted? Have you found something new?

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  70. mawnansmiff

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    "I am concluding the two terms are hopelessly conflated, and unless a blender chimes in..."

    John, the below is from Gawith & Hoggarth's description of one of their plug blends. Here again, 'cake' is used to describe the slab from which the plugs are cut.

    "As Dark Flake unscented but, from the cake, the tobacco is cut into bars."

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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