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Do You Review What's In Blends?

(24 posts)
  1. mso489

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    It's not unusual, from what I read, for Forums members to have twenty or thirty or far more blends on hand as well as many opened and in rotation. When you get back to a blend you haven't smoked in a while, do you go back to the specifications to see what the constituent leaf is in that particular blend to refresh your memory? For example, I just packed a pipe with my longtime favorite C&D's Old Joe Krantz, but I went to the PC tobacco pages to remind myself what the constituent tobaccos are. In this case, they are cubed burley, dark burley, red Virginia and Perique. I admit the Perique had slipped my mind, it is in so many different blends. Do you review what tobaccos are in a blend, from time to time?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. anthonyrosenthal74

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    I only do this when I'm smoking a straight virginia.....

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
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    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. jpmcwjr

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    Yes, I do. About, roughly, 68.54% of the time when it's something I wonder about.

    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 3 months ago #
  4. madox07

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    I do ... if not on specific sites, I at least consult my notes. I don't keep notes on all blends I smoke though, but those that I don't keep notes are unlikely a repeat experience.

    Sea Wolf Pipers

    "Like the mariners of old, a loner is acceptable but a pipe is best enjoyed in a pack"
    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. papawhisky

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    When I open a new tin, I immediately make a label for it's new Ball jar that includes the ingredients and a short description. I keep a running file so I don't have to keep looking the same info up - I just print another label. So when I select a blend I want to smoke, the ingredients are right there. It also works well in reverse; say I'm in the mood for a nice burley, I just peruse the labels for a blend that features that leaf.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

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    First, there is no law that I have ever heard of, where the company is required to divulge what the exact strain is of making up a blend. Second, what makes everyone so sure that what is written on the tin is an exact list of all different types of varieties in it? And, it amazes me that everyone takes the tin lists and the tobacco reviews as gospel.
    I don't mean to say that they all lie. Or, that every blend is wrong, or that they all include a little something from another variety... but, I am surprised at how many people will tap the tin when discussing blends or the reviews page, as if they are referring to the LAW or gospel.

    Michael
    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. jpmcwjr

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    I am pretty sure there's no requirement to list ingredients in order by volume, as there is in some food packaging requirements. And there's no requirement to list anything, or is there?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. papawhisky

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    First, there is no law that I have ever heard of, where the company is required to divulge what the exact strain is of making up a blend. Second, what makes everyone so sure that what is written on the tin is an exact list of all different types of varieties in it? And, it amazes me that everyone takes the tin lists and the tobacco reviews as gospel.
    I don't mean to say that they all lie. Or, that every blend is wrong, or that they all include a little something from another variety... but, I am surprised at how many people will tap the tin when discussing blends or the reviews page, as if they are referring to the LAW or gospel.

    Very true. I don't consider them gospel, just a good generalization. The description will usually talk up the main ingredient(s), which is what I'm after. VaPer, VaBur, cavendish, etc.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. cosmicfolklore

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    When you see that list of ingredients, it is different from tobaccos varietals. If there was a law to list ingredients on tobacco tins, it would read somewhat like... tobacco, water, sugar, added flavorings, and PG. They never tell you anything exact on the labels of food. Which sugar types, granulated, powdered, crystals, is it even a cane sugar? or what about oregano; Spanish, italian, greek, which one?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  10. madox07

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    Well .. tobacco blend manufacturers sure have a specific purpose in mind, likely commercial in nature, and this raises the question: why would they lie? Why say a blend has perique in it, while it does not, for example? There are various tobacco smokers and reviewers among us that have a very sharp pallet. How long would it take before one of these people would scream "bloody murder" and the reputation of a specific blender is compromised? I guess that in order to sell, you need to be honest with your buyers - especially with pipe smokers that know what they want and are quite exigent in that regard. I am not saying that Cosmic is wrong, I myself found myself in situations where I was asking myself "so ... where's the latakia" or the so and so ingredient ... I am just asking something what seems quite a legitimate common sens fact. Why be misleading - and I am talking about this particular market sector and the circumstance of our typology of consumerism , as for other market sectors I can come up with various reasons.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  11. sigbullet

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    I am gonna tap into this one just to sit and eat popcorn while I read. I think there will be some good info here to tap into. I'm currently keeping a journal instead of mental notes on each blend I have acquired. Although I don't have a large enough collection to require it, but I figure it's a good habit to establish early on that will be easier to refer to later.

    Two engine power control levers to fly, CDU’s/PDU’s- normal indications, Avionics-set, Crew, passengers, mission equipment.
    Posted 3 months ago #
  12. cosmicfolklore

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    Why say a blend has perique in it, while it does not, for example?

    No, I am not saying that they are misleading us. No one would say that a blend has something in it that it does not have. That would be obviously wrong. But, lets take OGS for example. It does have an almost undetectable amount of perique to help with the aging process and to get a balance in flavor. But, it is not enough to really taste, therefore it is not a VaPer. It has no characteristics of a VaPer.
    And, some blends worded as "straight Virginias" could have some neutral burleys to cut the bite some. But, there isn't enough burley flavor to call it a VaBur at all. But, some C&Ds seem to have a little more burley than it should to be un-noteworthy.

    First off the names of varietals that we use in the pipe world, do not exist anywhere else. Ask a tobacco farmer or even a manufacturer what the hell a Red Virginia is... they will have never heard of it. The guys who run the big flu cures... never heard of a red Virginia. Seed banks for tobacco, never heard of red Virginias.
    The way we divide up varietals only exists in this world. If you guys went to talk to tobacco growers, you'd find that they would look at you very strange. They probably wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about.
    Sykes in another post has said that many in the industry don't think of Virginias as being any different than burley. In fact, in the tobacco seed world, they have no Virginias. There is a whole other language, brightleafs, etc...

    So, what is meant by the categories that we pipesmokers use that no one else uses? It is merely some ways we can communicate what to expect when you smoke Escudo verses Quiet Nights. But, it does NOT to mean that there is ONLY Virginia and perique in Escudo when we say it is a VaPer.

    Does that make sense?

    And, when someone calls OGS a VaPer it is like fingernails going down a chalkboard for me. There is nothing about smoking OGS that is like smoking a VaPer. If OGS is your favorite VaPer, then what the hell else do you smoke, because any real VaPer is going to be face-melting-ly stronger than that straight Virginia OGS.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  13. madox07

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    That .. makes sense, point well taken. But that gives way to another question. Let me explain a bit, before laying down the actual question. As a wine guy I am quite accustomed to European legislation in as far as regulating various aspects. For example, whenever one reads on a bottle DOC, which in english I guess it translates "controlled appellation of origin" one automatically thinks of a certain delimited geographical area, thus the consumer knows not only the grape variety but also the terroir it comes from and what possibly can be expected from that wine. It also preserves grape quality within that region, etc etc. Furthermore, European legislations points out that a monosepaje DOC must contain at least 85% of that grape variety. So a bottle of cabernet sauvignon must have at least 85% cabernet sauvignon leaving a 15% of the content to the oenolog's discretion, without requiring a disclosure. Heck, regulation also requires that wine be made entirely out of fermented grapes, whatever other lean fermented beverage with a content as low as for say 10% merlot for example, cannot be sold under the label wine. This has proven very useful for the consumer, both in as far as expectation and preserving a superior quality for wine. The list of such regulated or unregulated laws, written or unwritten, in the wine world can go on ... In many cases the need for regulation came from the private sector, from the wine yards themselves, and was enforced by the government though acts of legislation in order to protect the precious drink and its implicit market.

    So here is the question:

    Why was this not replicated with pipe tobacco? Wouldn't it be useful for the end consumer? I am not saying we should get the government involved, as the case with wine, I would not be an advocate of that at all as tobaccos is much more sensitive of a matter. But in order to preserve pipe tobacco blending tradition, the leading experts in pipe blending - be that professional blenders and/or experts as recognized by the pipe smoking community, should get together and lay the foundation for a common language. That way, when we say Va/per we would have a ballpark idea of what minimum quantity of virginia would go in there, how much perique and how much other stuff, other stuff that should not be disclosed for obvious reasons of keeping a recipe secret. Also, a nameless OTC blend that contains more chemicals than tobacco would not be called va/per, or even tobacco blend but rather a tobacco based product, for example, even if it truly did contain virginias and perique. I am asking you guys wouldn't that benefit us all? It would force manufacturers to a quality standard, it would eliminate confusion among consumers, and would preserver pipe blending tradition in the long run. How many of us complained that Dunhill blend quality has changed, for the better or the worst, as the blends repeatedly changed owners. Maybe some unwritten law of pipe blending would diminish such transitions. This may even bridge the language gap between the blenders and the farmers. I don't know ... I am just throwing various ideas out there, but you get my meaning. And the million dollar question would be, is this feasible in the first place? Obviously if this were feasible some great minds of the past would have taken such an initiative ... What's your take on this?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  14. papawhisky

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    If anyone is interested in viewing a seed list from a distributor: http://nwtseeds.com/seed_list.htm

    Tobacco's are named as much for how they are processed as the strains they are derived from.

    "Virginia" is a nickname for a sub-group of Brightleaf tobaccos. These are able to be flue cured (fast and hot) to retain their sugars without becoming bitter, and are generally more acidic due to this process. The come out of the curing process with lighter shades of brown, yellow and red. Also, colors of Virginia's are used for naming the leaf position, not the strain, similar to cigar tobacco. Lemons and yellow are lower stalk positions, while orange and red are mid to top stalk.

    Burley's cannot be flue cured, but must be slowly air cured to allow the proteins and photosynthetic pigments to break down. This uses up the sugars in the leaf, and produces a more alkaline product (allowing more nicotine absorption). Maryland and Dark Leaf are processed in the same way. These varieties wind up medium to darker brown when cured.

    Orientals strains are characterized by smaller leaves that are sun cured.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  15. cosmicfolklore

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    Why was this not replicated with pipe tobacco?

    Because wine has had many more centuries of aficionado-ism. And, I am not 100% convinced of terrior in tobaccos... at least not in the same line of argument that cigar guys like to say it is. And, even among cigar guys they don't all agree. The ones who agree most are usually the ones who have the most at stake financially in other people believing it.
    And, the cigar world by comparison to Big Tobacco, meaning the cigarette industry... cigarettes call all of the shots. And, they don't give a shit. Marlboro is mostly a red Virginia, but the cigarette smoker could care less. In fact, with the way they process their tobacco, they could now start with all cigar leaf and process it to whatever flavor they wanted.

    Papawhisky, that is one of many websites for the hobby homegrower. Corporate tobacco farmers would go through their coop. And, then there is only ever one strain of Virginias (brightleafs), VAGold and it's two subsets of hybrids. You may have said this, but for clarification...

    Sykes of Laudsi, C&D, mentioned that there is a book written about there being no difference between the brightleafs and burleys. I have flu cured burley to make it sweeter, just as my own experiment. And, it works. Remember at the discovery of flu curing, it was an inferior sand grown leaf that gave us the first brightleaf. And, the acidity level between Virginias and burley are mere fractions of a decimal point. Sooooo... What the hell is a burley? if you ask someone in the manufacturing side of this, they'd tell you that there is no such thing as a burley, because they are all burleys. It's just that some think that they are different enough to be called something else, when they aren't really.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  16. hoosierpipeguy

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    I may look when I'm deciding to try a blend but after that, I don't care. I'm pretty digital. I either like it or I don't. I pretty much have 4 category types. VA, VaPer, Burley and Latakia based for the purpose of dedicating pipes. I like to keep it simple.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  17. chasingembers

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    No here. I just smell the jar.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 3 months ago #
  18. ray47

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    I have this habit of going to Tobacco Reviews and reading the ingredients and reviews of the blend I'm smoking at the time. It's a daily thing with me.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  19. rmpeeps

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    I usually remember what is in a given blend, though I’ll occasionally look back at the suspected ingredients over on TR.
    Cuban Oregano is quite interesting. I’m always reading about it.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  20. redglow

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    I like reading the tobacco reviews on TR.com while I'm smoking a mixture. Kind of entertaining to compare what you're currently experiencing with what's written in the reviews.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  21. jaytex969

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    If I can't recall the contents, I always look them up.

    If it's a newish to me blend, I'll look for a review or two as I smoke it to compare, especially if our good friend Bradley has reviewed it.

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 3 months ago #
  22. cosmicfolklore

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    I think that ultimately, we I cannot just look for whatever is listed while smoking. It is something that crosses my mind, but I try to just focus on how the blend tastes over all. I just try to appreciate it for what it is. But try as I might, i inevitably get hung up on a hint of burley or maybe licorice in the casing.
    And, skimming the reviews triggers my OCD. I end up wasting hours of research on components, cuts, etc... Then the car behind me starts honking and shaking their fists in the air.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  23. jaytex969

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    ...and then the pipe cops get involved. Now, we get "the rest of the story", as Paul Harvey would say!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  24. mso489

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    Cosmic, absolutely, the proof is in the smoking. I'll believe my taste and smell before the small print, but I like to know what the blender is representing, and some are more stringent than others, and some are attempting to write the sacred text on their blend to the letter. On the other hand, if blender and brand get too fanciful, people will just be unhappy with the incongruity and like the tobacco less because they can't taste all or any of the ingredients. So I think there is some financial pressure to 'fess up and get it right, up to a point. Telling me that it's two burleys, red Virginia, and Perique isn't very specific (and that's an understatement).

    Posted 2 months ago #

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