I've been playing with blending tobaccos a little, and have picked up some straight bright VA ribbon, among other tobaccos, and quite frankly, because of my experience with other VA blends biting me so bad when I rush just a little, I've been about half afraid of it. Still, you have to know what your tools in your toolbag are like, so a few weeks ago when I first got it, I smoked a small bowl of it straight (in a tiny leetle dublin I have, bowl the size of your fingernail) and was surprised because it didn't bite at all. But, I figured it was because of the small bowl, short smoke, and dry tobacco.
So this evening when I got home, I figured I needed to "do the deed" in a bigger pipe. Loaded up a cob and away I went. NO BITE. So I smoked faster. STILL NO BITE. So I start huffing like a choo-choo, and finally started to get a bit of a burn (by this time my pipe is hot enough it's uncomfortable to touch it and it's cob) so I backed off a minute, then finished the bowl. Ten minutes later, I load up a slightly bigger bowl, STILL NO BITE, and I'm sitting here puffing away, enjoying the hell out of it at this very moment (if you haven't smoked pure, un-adultered bright VA, you should, it's an amazingly pleasant smoke) and trying to decide which pipe I'm loading up with it next, 'cause this is some fantastic shit, if a little mild to suit me. Tomorrow I'm going to take a few ounces of this VA and press it with an equal amount of perique and see what I end up with. And really, I don't even care what I end up with because it can only get better than it is, adding perique to the mix (which I love just by itself), and it's great just as it is.
So here is the problem: Everybody talks about how a "Straight VA will bite", and I'm included in that list of everybody. Not only that, I've experienced it repeatedly. When I smoke a blend I buy that has alot of VA in it, it bites the crap out of me if I'm not careful. About the only one that doesn't is Escudo, and even that will get me if I get a bit carried away.
Can anyone explain this to me? Is it the casing, topping, other tobaccos in the blend that bit, or what? Seriously, this borders on the magnitude of a frigging religious experience, finding that PURE BRIGHT VA isn't biting like I expected it to. Why the hell didn't I do this 20 years ago?