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Preparing SG Flakes

(41 posts)
  1. workman

    workman

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    A couple of weeks ago I received two tins of FVF. I jarred it and began smoking, taking out one bowls worth at a time, drying it and loading fold and stuff with some rubbed on top. It worked sometimes and sometimes not. I have been reading some of the discussions here on packing and have decided to try cubecutting. Very much thanks to Harris' constant going on about it.
    So I've cube cut, dried and rejarred the FVF and am smoking a bowl and it is good.
    Yesterday I received two tins of Best Brown Flake, two tins of BS Flake and one 1792 flake. Cube cut, dried and jarred all of it and am going to try all of it within the next week.
    Am excited ✌

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. chasingembers

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    Cube cutting has been my preferred way for years. Just seems to burn easier.

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. workman

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    Well if this works, it makes it possible to have several tobaccos ready to smoke instead of having to plan each bowl hours before.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. chasingembers

    Embers

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    Fully drying before jarring can cost flavor loss. I jar flakes, and cube cut them about 30 minutes before smoking.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. workman

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    Ok. I,m gonna have to try different ways to do this. With work and small kids I can't manage to much fuzz

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. chasingembers

    Embers

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    Me too.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. pianopuffer

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    workman - where did you find the tins? Seems everywhere I look they're out of stock.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. workman

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    I'm not in America. I buy from Danish Pipe Shop.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. hawky454

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    Each flake is so different. I have some older tins of St. James Flake that are really thick and hard to work with and very moist, then I have 4 boxes of SJF and the flakes are very thin cut and pliable with perfect moisture content. I uaually dry out the entire contents of the tin so I don’t have to plan each smoke a couple of hours in advance then I’ll fully rub out a flake when I’m ready for a pipe full. I almost always prefer the box to the tin for several reasons.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. mcitinner1

    mcitinner1

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    Workman, I use a dedicated medium sized food processor for all flakes. Chop the whole contents up and then dry it all a little, spread out flat for an hour or two, and then jar it up. Works great and it's fast and simple.

    Stan
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    The Plenipotent Key to Cope's Correct Card of the Peerless Pilgrimage to Saint Nicotine of the Holy Herb:
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    derekflint

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    This is one tough flake to get rite....OMG !!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. saltedplug

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    The plant is alive in the field. When the leaves are harvested, they are cured and the life is subtracted. Surely that is the biggest change from the points alive and growing the field and arriving as a tin of tobacco ready to be smoked. Meanwhile the tobacco is dried before sale to the blender. Moist, it will ferment, dry it is in stasis until the blending house is ready to prepare it for sale.

    It is my unsubstantiated, subjective opinion that blenders know a great deal more about the moisture level at which the tobacco smokes best than we. Yet in the end the smoker will do what he pleases. I practice restraint.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. workman

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    The foodprocessor trick is definitely something I might get into eventually. For now I'll stick to experimenting with fingers and knives, for educational purposes. I'm really not very good at this stuff. Yet.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. workman

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    @saltedplug: but do you think the level of moisture in the tin equals optimal moisture for smoking? I would think it is there for preserving flavors.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. leacha

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    Rubbed out or cube cut seems to be the only ways I get good flavor from flakes but each blend is different. McC 2015 I like cube cut. McC Beacon, rubbed out. You have to try all 3 ways and see what works for the blend, the pipe and your smoking style.

    Exception!! I like the coins (LBF, DNR, NM No 403) fold and stuffed or balled and crammed. There's always exceptions.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. fitzy

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    @saltedplug: but do you think the level of moisture in the tin equals optimal moisture for smoking? I would think it is there for preserving flavors.

    I think some manufacturers sell their product that moist so they have to put less tobacco in the tin = more profit.

    If you ever open any Hearth & Home tins you will see that Russ sells his products ready to smoke right out of the tin. It is incredibly dryer than any SG product.

    "These are ghosts that are more at home in a girdle-filled drawer than one of my pipes." Quote by Neil Archer Roan on lakeland ghosts
    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. thomasw

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    With a flake that is still slightly too moist to smoke well, my quick smoke 'cheat' method is to zap the flake in my microwave for 10s or so, and then prepare it and smoke it. Here's my experience: quite contrary to what I have read others claim, the tobacco doesn't lose lots of flavour (if any) as compared to the much slower air-drying method. If you want to prepare an ad hoc smoke and you live in a wet high humidity climate like I do, give it a whirl. Oh, I do prefer my tobacco dry and crispy; it smokes deliciously for me in that state. YMMV

    After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. lazar

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    I like the "firewood" technique. Basically separate the flake into "sticks" and arrange them in the bowl lengthwise with a point at the top. Sounds like it would be a terrible method but works great.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. theloniousmonkfish

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    Oh, I do prefer my tobacco dry and crispy; it smokes deliciously for me in that state.

    Same here, the flavors appear to jump out when tobacco is about bone dry. Gave a friend some SG stuff and he thought it was okay, then packed a bowl the next morning from the plate left out overnight and was sold on it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. workman

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    I gravitate towards the 'bone dry' camp. Before I got my lazy self out to buy jars, I had several open tins that dried out. Smoked terriffic.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. cigrmaster

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    As I type this message I have some St James flake drying to be smoked in another 1/2 hour or so. I cube cut it first then let it dry some. SG flakes are one of the few that I feel need some drying. They come very wet as compared to almost all of my other flakes. I don't cube cut a whole tin as that can dry it too quickly and I don't like my flakes too dry. In my experienced a bit of moisture makes for a tastier flake.

    Danish flakes such as F&T Cut Virginia Plug and Capstan Blue Flake come perfect humidity and I smoke them right out of the tin with no drying. Also thinner more pliable flakes such as those I will either fold and stuff or cube cut. When I cube cut that type of flake I use a much larger cube than I do with an SG flake. The SG flakes are usually much more dense which makes a smaller cube burn better for me.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. workman

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    Am I correct in my suspicion that tamping can wreck these dense SG flakes much more than others?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. cigrmaster

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    I have not noticed any SG specific tamping issues. I tamp lightly no matter what is in my bowl.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. workman

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    'Tamp lightly' duly noted.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. thesmokindragon

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    I have some SG Bracken Flake, which is one of my favs - been aging a stack of tins now for almost 5+ years, all this talk of SG flake has me walking by the tins and thinking about pop'in one open. I loved this stuff in the AM with strong cup of coffee, mmm...good stuff. As already mentioned, can not rush the SG flake; dry time, prep, smoking, etc. it makes the all the difference IMHO and for me, I can go from a WOW smoke to a BLAH smoke from bowl to bowl if I miss or rush things with SG flake.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. hawky454

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    I have some SG Bracken Flake, which is one of my favs - been aging a stack of tins now for almost 5+ years, all this talk of SG flake has me walking by the tins and thinking about pop'in one open. I loved this stuff in the AM with strong cup of coffee, mmm...good stuff. As already mentioned, can not rush the SG flake; dry time, prep, smoking, etc. it makes the all the difference IMHO and for me, I can go from a WOW smoke to a BLAH smoke from bowl to bowl if I miss or rush things with SG flake.

    Oh man oh man, Bracken Flake was one of the best ever made! I was lucky enough to come across 5 tins for sale not too long ago and they were all purchased in March of 2011. With almost 7 years of age on them the smoke is just heavenly. Enjoy that stuff while you can, I currently have a tin open as well, so cheers to that! Oh and yeah, goes amazing for a "wake me up" smoke in the a.m. with a cup of joe!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. saltedplug

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    I smoked Bracken Flake everyday about 2007, but then they started making throwback versions without a by your leave, and I haven't pursued it since.

    Hard to say why blending houses release tobacco at different levels of moisture. You would think it would be because they feel they have an informed opinion of how it smokes best, but in the case of SG SJF it's not hard to conclude that given that perique is more expensive, it is to protect their profit margin. Great blend at a great price. When I order it in bulk I airdrop it en masse on cookie sheets and then jar it.

    Russ Ouellette serves tobacco while GLP serves his at ~12%.

    Could be that the dry tobacco camp iOS right as moisture masks flavor. Could be that dry tobacco burns faster and hotter and that particles so incinerated issue smoke with more "flavor particles" per iota.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. workman

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    I'm giving 1792 a go later today. Feel like I am going for an adventure. The smell certainly is unique and powerful. I am not afraid of some nicotine. That can be mellowed with alcohol, like a porter or some scotch. But the smell...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. hawky454

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    1792 Flake is my second favorite Flake just behind Bracken from SG. If you are a new pipe smoker it might be a little too much too early but if ya have some experience you should be fine. I prefer to smoke it in smaller bowls like a squat bulldog otherwise it tends to get bitter near the end. It’s basically my replacement for Bracken but they are very different blends.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. cigrmaster

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    I have a theory on why Samuel Gawith ships their bulk flakes so wet. They are sent in wax paper surrounded by a paper box. I believe they think if it sits on their tobacconists shelves for a while, there is enough moisture that it does not dry out by the time the customer buys it. Now as to why it is so wet in tins, I have no idea.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. workman

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    I haven't a large collection of briars. I have a few, maybe ten or so, and one cob and that is where I am putting my 1792. I have no idea what this tonquin stuff is going to be like, so cob it is.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. cigrmaster

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    workman, also make sure you don't smoke 1792 on an empty stomach, you will regret it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. cosmicfolklore

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    I don't have the video, but someone had posted their giant rotary flake cutter, with the flakes just splashing off the machine. It was sopping wet. Why?:" I have no idea.

    But, to those that think that drying tobacco loses flavor... what flavor does water and steam add to the blend that you miss? I mean smoke 'em like you like 'em, but my taste buds pick up much more flavor from bone dry tobacco. You just have to self-regulate your cadence down to a trickle of smoke. But, who is to say what is the best way to smoke? It just sounds strange to my ears to hear that water adds flavor.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. hawky454

    hawky454

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    I have a theory on why Samuel Gawith ships their bulk flakes so wet. They are sent in wax paper surrounded by a paper box. I believe they think if it sits on their tobacconists shelves for a while, there is enough moisture that it does not dry out by the time the customer buys it. Now as to why it is so wet in tins, I have no idea.

    In my experience, every box I've purchased from them have been close to perfect smoking moisture level even those that Smoking Pipes had just gotten in stock. I have found that I much prefer the box to the tins. Yes, it could be that all of the boxes I've purchased have sat around for a long time and therefor lost some water weight but I've bought a lot of boxes over the years and they have all been much drier than their tinned counterparts. I've also noticed that the flakes are cut thinner in the box. I don't know if this is because they've changed their machinery over the years as all of my tins are at least two years old or older but those have much thicker, wetter flakes that are much, much harder to use the fold and stuff method and they can be a pain in the arse just to rub them out. Has anyone else noticed a difference in cut and moisture level between the boxes and the tins? The box of St. James Flake that I purchased on Christmas of 2016 are cut almost as thin as Stonehaven and they are much easier to work with.

    But, to those that think that drying tobacco loses flavor... what flavor does water and steam add to the blend that you miss? I mean smoke 'em like you like 'em, but my taste buds pick up much more flavor from bone dry tobacco. You just have to self-regulate your cadence down to a trickle of smoke. But, who is to say what is the best way to smoke? It just sounds strange to my ears to hear that water adds flavor.

    I totally agree with you. It's not like you are losing the oils and aromas when the water evaporates and the tobacco becomes drier, the opposite is true, the oils and aromas get concentrated as it dries, giving the smoker a more flavorful smoke, water just dilutes those flavors.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    Hawky, all of my bulk SG flakes came wet and as thick and tough as beef jerky. All of my tinned versions had flakes much thinner and more pliable. I bought all of my bulk in the summer of 2012 and tins from back then till today. I just bought a bunch of 2011 and 2012 tins from pipesutd. I opened a 2012 St James flake and the flakes were thin and pliable.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. hawky454

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    Hmmmm... we appear to be living in the bizarro world where everything I experience has been the exact opposite from your experiences. lol.

    My tins date back to 2010 to 2016 but the boxes I've been purchasing are mainly from 2016 to 2017. I went a little crazy with purchasing baccies these past two years. I'm smoking Kendal Cream Flake now from the box and it's perfect moisture and very thinly sliced. I guess all this proves is there are always going to be inconsistencies in this field of business but that is all part of the fun... I guess, it can be very frustrating too, like the post I made about the Erinmore Flake being a golden light color every now and again, luckily it's the exception and not the rule because I much prefer the flavors when my EF is dark brown, almost black.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. cigrmaster

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    hawky, It is pretty weird how the thickness of the flakes is so different. I would much rather have the thinner more pliable than the thick dense stuff. It is much easier to work with and it dries out much faster. Do you think that since SG and GH merged they may be using different machines? Have you noticed any hints of Lakeland flavors on your new SG blends? I am honestly very glad that all of my SG flakes are 2012 or older as any hint of Lakeland would bum me out.

    I cracked a tin of 2004 FVF earlier today and the flakes were the thin pliable ones. It only took less than an hour to dry out like I enjoy smoking it. Those thicker flakes can take over 2 hours to dry enough for my taste.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. hawky454

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    hawky, It is pretty weird how the thickness of the flakes is so different. I would much rather have the thinner more pliable than the thick dense stuff. It is much easier to work with and it dries out much faster. Do you think that since SG and GH merged they may be using different machines? Have you noticed any hints of Lakeland flavors on your new SG blends? I am honestly very glad that all of my SG flakes are 2012 or older as any hint of Lakeland would bum me out.

    I cracked a tin of 2004 FVF earlier today and the flakes were the thin pliable ones. It only took less than an hour to dry out like I enjoy smoking it. Those thicker flakes can take over 2 hours to dry enough for my taste.

    I know that is odd, maybe it has something to do with inconsistencies of the old style cutter? I don't know but I am currently drying out a St. James Flake from the tin that is the thick beef jerky style cut and you're right, they take forever to dry out and they are very hard to work with but I love this one so much it's worth the extra effort.

    Every now and again I do get a hint of Lakeland on some of the Samuel Gawith tobaccos and I can't stand tasting the Lakeland sauce where it does not belong. I had a whole box of Full Virginia Flake that was tainted, it was faint but it was most definitely there. Also, about 1 out 5 tins of Cabbies Mixture seems to be tainted with the Lakeland sauce as well and Brian actually brought that up on his latest tobacco review on the Pipes Mag Radio Show. I've never tasted it on St. James Flake however and I hope it stays that way.

    I bet that tin of 2004 FVF is tasting pretty damn good!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. cigrmaster

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    hawky, that 2004 is sublime, one of the best smokes I have in my cellar.

    That sucks you are getting some tainted product, I would be livid. I had a feeling that was going to happen as GH machines have to be coated with that Lakeland essence.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. mawnansmiff

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    I've often wondered if the tinned versions of FVF and SJF is pressed and cut from different slabs as that which goes into bulk boxes.

    I think this as the tinned version of both blends have more solid flakes whereas the boxes have very 'soft' flakes.....they have not got the same consistency.

    Just a thought.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. hawky454

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    Good to see you back in the fold, Jay!

    Posted 1 year ago #

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