Exploring N. Rustica: Sacred Cornplanter & 3 kinds of Mapacho

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beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
As a means of introduction, I recently became interesting in the Nicotiana rustica leaf. Apparently, the various strains of tobacco we generally smoke (cigar leaf, VA, Burley, etc.) all come from the Nicotiana tabacum species. Nicotiana rustica is remarkable in that its "leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%."
I recently received several samples from generous members mcitinner and jitterbugdude. Many thanks to them!
Here are the long-winded reviews.
Peruvian Mapacho – Roll
Prep:

The first Mapacho leaf I sampled was a sample from Randy. It was a section from a thick roll—at least twice the diameter of the thickest Gawith twist. It appeared to be actually a huge twist and not a roll cake. This deep brown twist had a strong, earthy aroma in the bag. It actually smelled a bit similar to a G&H Brown Twist—earthy, leathery, etc.—but with a whiff of something quite different. I’ll talk about that more in the smoke section. I prepared it by slicing with a cigar cutter and filling a bowl. The consistency off the leaf was somewhat strange—a bit crumbly despite not being very dry.
Smoke:

As I gave the tobacco a char and began to puff, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected Mapacho to be a novelty smoke, and had prepared myself for something so harsh that it wasn’t enjoyable. Quite the opposite was true. Again, the closest comparison I can make is to a Gawith Brown Twist—robust, leathery, earthy, almost cigar-like at times—but there is something different here.
After a while, I decided the “something else” of the Rustica leaf was a sort of vegetative scent. We call Virginias “grassy” or “fruity” and Burleys “nutty” or “woodsy”. This wasn’t quite either of those: it’s an earthy, leafy smell. I don’t mean leaves like tea leaves, or dry leaves, but rather like when you’re out in a dense wooded area in the summer, and there’s a subtle but permeating aroma of vegetation. It’s hard to put into words, but I think that’s the best I can do.
The leaf burned quite well, very quickly, despite not being overly dry.
Sacred Cornplanter
Prep:

This was another sample from Randy, a strain of Rustica that he had grown himself. It was more of a ribbon/shag cut and smelled a bit closer to Burley in the bag.
Smoke:

This smoked delightfully well. Overall, this was a bit less “earthy” and “leathery” than the twist, and seemed a bit like a very strong Burley—no sweetness, but a nutty flavor. Yet I could still sense it had some of the same qualities as the twist Mapacho: there was that vegetative smell that I described earlier. This leaf also burned very quickly and cleanly. Actually, I tried my first bowl of Semois the other day, and the Cornplanter reminded me of it. Even though the two aren’t that similar in taste, both have that feeling of, “This is like a Burley, but there’s something quite different about it that I can’t put my finger on.”
Peruvian Mapacho – Sticks
Prep:

This was a sample from mcitinner. He had already broken up some of the sticks and bagged it, which was convenient to me. The remaining sticks looked a bit like a cheroot, and though the draw was a bit tight upon inspection, could probably be smoked as such.
Smoke:

Despite the difference in appearance, this smoke very much like the larger twist/roll. Everything I said about the flavor earlier could be duplicated here. Again, the hallmark leafy/vegetation aroma was here.
Peruvian Mapacho – Sticks Flavored with Cloves and Cinnamon
Prep:

Ennerdale, you mighty king of the tin note—you have been dethroned. The clove note from this leaf is overwhelming, even inside a plastic bag. While identical to the “Mapacho puro” sticks in appearance, I had a feeling this was going to be a very different smoke.
Smoke:

I love cloves and cinnamon, so I actually enjoyed this. If you’re looking for a manly aromatic, this is it. Another if: *if* you like cloves and cinnamon—and I know that conditional eliminates most people here—it actually works pretty well with this stout leaf, as it doesn’t add any sweetness like many toppings do. That said, these spices do produce something most people would probably call tongue bite, but I think it’s a little different, as it’s a sort of numbness in the tongue that’s identical to the kind I get when I eat hot cinnamon candies and the like. Generally, I get tongue bite when an aromatic burns too hot, and there seems to be a lot of moisture. This wasn’t quite the same, but that said, the cloves are intense. Even I wouldn’t smoke two bowls in a row.
Final Comments – And *drumroll* Nicotine Content.

All of these variants of N. rustica were strong—no question! The question is, how strong? I’d say these blends are equal to the strongest I’ve smoked, but I’m not quite sure they exceed them. I'm hesitant to attempt to quantify nicotine content exactly, since there are so many variables, but I would say heavy hitters like G&H Dark Flake, Dark Birdseye, Happy Brown Bogie, Rum Twist, and SG 1792 are similar in nicotine content. The lip numbing effect of the Rustica is very pronounced—I can feel the nicotine in-mouth almost more than any other blends. Conversely, with something like a GH Twist or Dark Birdseye, I hardly get hiccups or the numb mouth feeling, but I get stuck to my chair.
I think this may be due to the speed of the leaf burning. I was hesitant to mention this, because I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but even a decently packed bowl of the Mapacho burns very quickly! The same is true for the Cornplanter, but not quite as much so. In fact, I timed a bowl of the Mapacho sticks and found I smoked it to the bottom in five minutes—and I had tried to pack it more tightly. It has more of a flash in the pan effect, similar to Five Brothers.
I don't think this has to be a novelty blend--it has a robust flavor that I like. If you're like me (my go-to blends are Gawith twists and strong shags), then you can probably handle these smokes as a nice nightcap.
Again, much gratitude toward the generous members of the forum for sending me these samples.

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Cobguy's post regarding his experience with Mapacho can be found here.

The straight Mapacho is my favorite and I can see stocking some of this away. It is most close in flavor to a dark air cured burley crossed with a cigar leaf. Actually, it reminded me quite a bit of Fronto / Grabba leaf. There are deep, earthy tones but with ever-present natural floral notes. The sample from JBD was slightly more floral and almost reminded me of Semois. If they make a version of Mapacho that's been fire cured and has a smoky flavor, that would be great also.
The clove and cinnamon version is a much different story. Strong, almost astringent, flavors bordering on soapy and perfumed dominate this smoke. My tongue was left feeling "coated" with clove oil and reminded me of those Indian clove cigarettes that people used to smoke. I'm going to turn this one into snuff and see how that goes.
Overall, the nicotine hit is definitely there but not the monster I was expecting. If you are used to full, strong blends then this will sit right at home in the rotation.
Interesting that he also mentions Semois. I think what I referred to as the "vegetative" aroma is what he has called "ever-present natural floral notes," which is probably a better description.

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
4,582
3,777
Baku, Azerbaijan
We were actually discussing this with Cosmic and I also find it very interesting. I have to read more and then comment. All other opinions are also welcomed.

 

cobguy

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
3,742
11
Thanks for the link! I smoked the last of JBD's sample this morning and was sad to see it go. I'm glad you tried some of the Semois along with these because I can't think of anything else that comes closer to sharing that natural essence. When my friend from work returns to Peru in December, I'll be sending them with some extra cash! :puffy:

 

hextor

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 20, 2015
642
4
You mean, it doea not kill you, wow i feel better, i will try some mapacho.

 

dottiewarden

Lifer
Mar 25, 2014
3,053
53
Toronto
Great reviews on an unusual product. It truly sounds as if those ancient blends are worthy smokes, however I was quite surprised that the nicotine levels were not as high as one would have expected. Nonetheless, you won't likely see me adding this blend genre to my "must try" list any time soon.
If traveling in Peru though I might just give it a try for strictly cultural reasons.

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
The nic is pretty high when I consider how quickly I get through a bowl. Certainly strong, and I may even dare to smoke on of the sticks like a cigar. We'll see.

 

cobguy

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
3,742
11
I may even dare to smoke one of the sticks like a cigar. We'll see.
I tried this with the Clove/Cinnamon version and the draw wasn't adequate. Maybe try clipping both ends first?

 

texmexpipe

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 20, 2014
998
245
Where can I get some of the clove cinnamon stuff? Are there other blends that have clove and cinnamon?

 

deathmetal

Lifer
Jul 21, 2015
7,715
27
Nicotiana rustica is remarkable in that its "leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%."
You have my full attention.

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Yes, cobguy, I tried the same over the weekend (didn't see your comment) and had the same experience. I did manage to smoke the entire thing, but the draw was way too tight. Smoking it in the pipe is certainly the superior option.
Deathmetal, for you, I'd suggest the N. Rustica premium cigars:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/mapacho-cigar-from-Tarapoto-Peru-Corona-N-4-Senor-de-Sipan-1-BOX-of-5-items-/122125114685?hash=item1c6f395d3d:g:PVQAAOSwgApXBpnY
Where can I get some of the clove cinnamon stuff? Are there other blends that have clove and cinnamon?

I've heard Iwan Ries King's Oriental contains cloves. There are quite a few cinnamon blends--Russ's Cinnamon Roll and Peter Stokkebye 46 Cinnamon come to mind.
As for the Mapacho, I've only seen the clove and cinnamon on eBay. You'll see a lot of products there:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=clove+cinnamon+mapacho&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xmapacho.TRS0&_nkw=mapacho&_sacat=0

 

kanse

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 9, 2016
548
5
Just for him has a full Clove aromatic, if that's what you are looking for.

 
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