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Jarring Flake Tobacco, Rub or No

(37 posts)
  1. shanez

    shanez

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    When you jar flake tobacco, do you rub out the flake first or not?

    Does it really matter?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  2. johnbarleycorn

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    Oh FFS. No.

    And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last
    Posted 8 months ago #
  3. cortezattic

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    While the flake form is about twice as compact, if I smoke it rubbed out, then that's the way I store it to avoid a prep each and every time I go to smoke it. It's just less of a PITA when it comes to prepping a bowlful. It does defeat the inherent versatility of the flake presentation, though. (Genuine flake aesthetes will fold, cube cut, or rub out to varying degrees depending on the pipe they use, or whether they'll be smoking outdoors, etc.)

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 8 months ago #
  4. seacaptain

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    I've done both. I suspect most here will say the flakes will age better if you don't rub them out.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    64alex

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    Cellar only as a full flake, no rub. First of all as I believe it ages better and second because I keep the option open to fold, rub or cube later on, if I rub to start I give away the options.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    ukbob

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    I usually rub out or cube cut,.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  7. mikethompson

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    Bang on 64Alex, it gives you the option later on if you should choose.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  8. npod

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    Please don't rub out the flakes. They are happy little flakes and want to stay that way as long as possible.

    Rub before cellaring?

    Neal
    Posted 8 months ago #
  9. npod

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    O.K., now that I got that out of the way. There is one notable exception. Samuel Gawith flakes (especially St. James Flake and Full Virginia Flake). In my active rotation mason jars I will dry the flakes first, then cube cut about 3/4 of the flakes and store them that way. It's rubbing out per se, but similar. I especially like St. James cube cut style. But this is an active rotation and not in the cellar taking a nap.

    And I do rub out some Curly Block before jarring, but again that is an active rotation jar.

    @64alex makes a good point above. Leave those options open!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  10. timt

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    I cellar them as is. I usually rub everything out but with Full Virginia Flake, I really like to cube cut. I keep a jar of that cubed up, dried and ready to go.

    Tim
    Posted 8 months ago #
  11. cortezattic

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    Can somebody explain why they believe tobacco ages better in flake form? Granted, it may facilitate the melding of flavors, but are the sugars and other metabolites more accessible to the microbes responsible for aging?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  12. timt

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    Always assumed it was the melding thing but what the hell do I know. I'm more of a keep my options open kind of guy. You know, fear of commitment.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  13. bryguysc

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    I try to keep mine as close to the in-the-tin condition as possible. Minimal disturbance.
    Also, I feel like rubbing the tobacco out will increase the likelihood of transferring contaminants, even with freshly-washed hands.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Genuine flake aesthetes will fold, cube cut, or rub out to varying degrees depending on the pipe they use, or whether they'll be smoking outdoors, etc.

    Oh! I thought the flake enthusiasts would insist on smoking the full, unmolested, flake. Perhaps folded and stuffed, but no more.

    I doubt there's any scientific evidence that flake ages better as is, or rubbed out. But perception counts for a lot.

    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 8 months ago #
  15. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    I personally jar it as a flake and smoke it as a flake.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  16. cosmicfolklore

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    I don't think it matters at all. But, lately I have started to despise smoking flakes, but I generally rub them out just before I smoke them. But, mostly that is just because I initially stored them in flake form. It would probably be a pain in the ass to rub out an entire pound or so at a time. Plus, if a wild hair hits and you want to smoke a flake, you can. It's easier to undo a flake than to undo a rub.
    I never say never.

    Michael
    Posted 8 months ago #
  17. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    Time is time whether you take it before canning or you take it before you put it in the pipe. You also have the space issue to consider. I've stored over 50 pound of flake in the past 7 months. Had I taken the time to rub it out, I'd still be canning. Not to mention I rarely rub out a perfectly good flake. I have no way to know which would age better but I suspect there's not a great deal of difference. I've been fortunate enough to buy a fair amount of aged flake to smoke and it sure has aged nicely.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  18. crashthegrey

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    I've never tried undoing a rub. I'll give that a whirl sometime. Ha. Cosmic, why the flake hate now?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  19. jpmcwjr

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    It's like doing a 500 piece puzzle, only you get to smoke it at the end....

    Posted 8 months ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

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    Not hate, but I just prefer a more even smoke without having to fiddle with it. Folded flakes just tend to require me to keep pushing down the sides of the bowl to keep it going, or some other such maintenance. I would much rather cube cut over rubbing it out, but that requires time either before hand or on the go. The cube cut is the best of both worlds, maintenance free and slow burn. But, every now and then, I will fold and stuff. I am a never say never kind of guy.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  21. sparroa

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    I would never rub them out before jarring because, in my opinion, flakes are far better for cellaring. I suspect that there could be a slightly different fermentation process going on within those dense slices.

    Either way, you could always rub out the jar in full when you are ready to smoke it after a few years of aging.

    I simply rub out my flakes before every bowl, but I don't smoke as often as some of you gents.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  22. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I would never rub them out before jarring because, in my opinion, flakes are far better for cellaring.

    Please, on what is your opinion based? Experience? Physics? Other?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  23. sparroa

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    It is based on my experience and personal preference. I don't have the scientific background to conclusively prove what is going on behind the scenes but I sense a difference and I like the results better with aged flakes.

    They also are much neater and easier to quantify and they fit nicely in vertical jars so there is an additional practical preference that goes along with it.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  24. sablebrush52

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    I don't rub out flake that I'm jarring to age. I just pack it as tight as I can, while retaining the ability to pull a flake or two as needed. For stock I'm going to be smoking now, I don't see why rubbing out and drying before jarring should be a problem.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 8 months ago #
  25. jpmcwjr

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    It is based on my experience and personal preference. I don't have the scientific background to conclusively prove what is going on behind the scenes but I sense a difference and I like the results better with aged flakes.

    OK, but does that mean you've jarred the same blend in both flake and rubbed state for several years and then did side-by-side testing?

    BTW, I don't have a dog in this discussion. I jar everything in the state in which it comes, drying down a bit where needed. So I age my flakes whole, it's just I don't see any physical reason why they'd taste "better".

    Posted 8 months ago #
  26. weezell

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    I've done both. I suspect most here will say the flakes will age better if you don't rub them out.
    Absolutely YES...

    "the weez"...
    Posted 8 months ago #
  27. jpmcwjr

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    I am sure that's what most will say. But inquiring minds want to know why! (And I see the benefit in having the flakes whole at smoking time, as you then have a choice to rub out or smoke whole.)

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    panamacharlie

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    I jar mine as they come. Also, I once got a couple of the boxes of PS flakes when I was out of jars. I just sealed the unopened boxes in mylar bags.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  29. sparroa

    simenon

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    I did not run full studies or anything but I have aged similar flake and ready rubbed tobaccos for the same duration of time and observed that I prefer the flakes.

    I also prefer Samuel Gawith's thicker tinned flakes over the thinner sliced bulk because it seems to age better IMO.

    Of course, there can be other causes I think the reduced amount of exposed surface area counts for something. I think flakes retain moisture and oils a little better and it likely allows for a slightly different fermentation dynamic than loose tobacco.

    Notice that I did not say that whole aged flakes necessarily tasted better. I think they taste and perform differently in a way that I prefer, but it probably isn't universal.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  30. shanez

    shanez

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    Thank you for all of the responses. Very informative so far.

    So far, what I have been doing is ordering tins or 2oz loose bags of various tobaccos to try. Upon receipt, I split the tobacco into 2 4oz jars. 1 for aging, and 1 for smoking. Since I don't smoke but a bowl or 2 per week, the jars allow me to have a dozen or so different tobaccos on hand for enjoyment. If I particularly like a tobacco, I order more and repeat the process of jarring. At second order, I now have 2 jars aging but only 1 open for enjoyment. And so on and so on. I haven't rubbed any flake until I'm ready to smoke it so far.

    What I'm learning is:

    1) I like my jarring process and will stick with it for now.
    2) I've got a lot to learn about ways to enjoy various flakes, IE: rubbing, cubing, folding, etc.
    3) If I prefer a flake rubbed, I'll probably rub it and then jar it for convenience but only for my enjoyment jar and not aging jars. I might decide I want it another way other than rubbed in the future so having the option will be nice.
    4) If I start smoking more often or really enjoy a particular tobacco, I might order in greater quantities and age in bigger jars in the future but I'm having fun learning and enjoying for now.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  31. timt

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    Sounds like you have a good grasp of things. Sampling small batches at a time is a smart thing to do. Some of us can get a little carried away with trying to fill a cellar too soon. I bought a little too much latakia in the beginning before I had a chance to really discover what I liked. I'll hang on to it to sample from time to time but doing what you're doing is the way to go.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  32. exbenedict

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    Being a novice to this hobby still, I have mixed feelings when it comes to flakes. Some days I like them, some days I hate them, some days I wish everything was ribbon cut. That being said, I wouldn't rub it out when storing for the simple fact that the flakes and coins I do have are smoked both ways depending on my mood. Just my $0.02 worth.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  33. cortezattic

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    I might order in greater quantities and age in bigger jars in the future ...
    It sounds like you've come up with a sensible strategy, but bigger jars are probably not the best way to go. Many small jars, opened one at a time, allow for the uninterrupted aging of the remaining stock. Also, as large jars are emptied over time, the moisture in the remaining tobacco will equilibrate with the ever-increasing volume of air in the jar, and the tobacco will become progressively drier. (If you'll forgive a bit of exaggeration, keeping a few flakes in the bottom of a large jar is scarcely better than no jar at all.)

    Posted 8 months ago #
  34. mso489

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    I rub out about as much as I'll smoke in the next few days or week. If any of the flake will be around longer than that, I will leave it in flake form to keep better and perhaps age a little, depending on how soon it's smoked. Don't lose the benefit of the residual moisture and compacted flavor by rubbing flake out too early.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  35. carolinachurchwarden

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    If it were me, in my limited experience with flakes, I would personally store them as they come. I go through moods where I like it one way, then I might want to change it up, or try it differently in a different pipe. Maybe one pipe smokes it cube cut better, but another pipe smokes it folded and stuffed better. So for me, I would jar mine intact and then worry about the prep on it later on, just because I don't get to it often enough to keep it in three different jars for the three different variations. Just my preference.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 8 months ago #
  36. unkleyoda

    unkleyoda

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    I store them as they come. When I more some to my usage jars, I will pre-rub them. I use 1/2 pint jars for usage jars. I may have 2 jars of the same thing for usage, one pre-rubbed, the other not rubbed.

    But long term storage is always in flake form.


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  37. captpat

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    I store them as they come, rub them out to smoke. No particular reason. Same practice applied for ropes and plugs

    Posted 8 months ago #

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