Going To Start Budget Blending

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mtwaller

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Nov 21, 2018
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Atlanta, GA
I’ve wanted to try my hand at home blending for a while, and I’ve decided to give it a go. I bought a handheld noodle press off Amazon for $15. Just ordered 2 oz. each of C&D Latakia, Red VA Ribbon, Izmir, and Black Cavendish. Also snagged 1 oz. of Sutliff Perique. I’m super excited to give it a try! I have to force myself to smoke anything other than English blends, so that’s what I want to start crafting.

I’d love to hear/see other folks’ results with this budget setup, I know these cheap noodle presses have gotten popular with people who dabble.
 

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mtwaller

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Nov 21, 2018
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I'll add, to name a few, Sutliff 515 Red Virginia, C&D Bright Virginia Ribbon, Sutliff Victoria (Elizabethan) Match and Sutliff Stoved Virginia. Depends on what you are going for.
Sutliff 515 is on my list for sure! I’m planning to try some fresh red VA in a blend or two, then stove some myself and make the same blend again to compare.
 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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A basic recipe is equal parts (you can adjust this as you go along) of Virginia and burley, then add a hefty pinch of unflavored black Cavendish. Tune the proportions of this until you get something you enjoy. Then gradually dust in variable quantities of cigar leaf, Turkish, perique, and Lat, and keep track of what works best. I've had best luck with three tobaccos. I'd just mix a pipe bowl or two in a crockery bowl for many months before making a quantity, to explore what different blends and proportions work. Dark fired is another good condiment. Just don't get too many in there at once, or it can get muddy tasting or harsh. Even the pros can't always get big mixes right. I've had a few professional blends with too many constituents that were real gag triggers. Then try just using Virginia or burley, not both, as a base, etc. Send word on how you do.
 

dmcmtk

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Aug 23, 2013
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Another inexspensive tobacco to give a go for blending, or just to smoke by itself is Grand Cropier Double Down.

Double Down - Grand Croupier Pipe Tobacco | Smokingpipes.com - https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipe-tobacco/Grand-Croupier/Double-Down/product_id/150303/bulk/

Also the Low Country tobaccos, I usually have the Natural Virginia and Natural Virginia & Burley on hand.

Low Country Pipe Tobacco | Buy Low Country Pipe Tobacco at Smokingpipes - https://www.smokingpipes.com/tobacco/by-maker/low-country/bulk/

I'll throw in Sutliff J4 Burley, and Ready Rubbed Match
 

mtwaller

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Nov 21, 2018
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Thanks for the recommendations, friends! I’m definitely planning on doing amounts that come to 3-4 bowls, basically one thick cake-like flake, and dialing in something I like. Once I get something good, I’ll do a roughly 50 gram version.
 
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Ahi Ka

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Feb 25, 2020
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If you’re heading down the English tradition to start with, this latakia blending matrix might help as a rough guide for experimenting with ratios - obviously it is written with whole leaf in mind but you could use commercial blending components.

in fact this whole thread is worth reading through for ideas.


Edit: from the next page in the thread it says “Smyrna Bright is fashioned after Dunhill Early Morning Pipe. Master's Mate is a "medium" English blend, and Siege of Acre is very close to Nitecap”
 

macaroni

Member
Oct 28, 2020
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Northeast Texas
I’ve wanted to try my hand at home blending. . . , and I’ve decided to give it a go.. . . .I have to force myself to smoke anything other than English blends, so that’s what I want to start crafting.
1. Good for you (first phrase, excerpted above)
2. Hide the Lat (see third phrase, excerpted above)

Observation--redux, "good for you"

I think this is a great idea. I've done it recently. And I STILL do it. I also have found that I appreciate the more expensive C&D and Watch City blends I have on hand. My efforts are worthwhile, passable at the least; however, so far I've not been as successful in pleasing my smoking and smelling palate as these other, "professionals." (IMO--I've got a long way to go! LOL)

kindly
mike
 

mtwaller

Preferred Member
Nov 21, 2018
838
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31
Atlanta, GA
1. Good for you (first phrase, excerpted above)
2. Hide the Lat (see third phrase, excerpted above)

Observation--redux, "good for you"

I think this is a great idea. I've done it recently. And I STILL do it. I also have found that I appreciate the more expensive C&D and Watch City blends I have on hand. My efforts are worthwhile, passable at the least; however, so far I've not been as successful in pleasing my smoking and smelling palate as these other, "professionals." (IMO--I've got a long way to go! LOL)

kindly
mike
Haha thanks, Mike. I have no doubt that it will give me a massive newfound respect for the professionals as well. Even after blending for some years, I guarantee I'll be no Russ Oulette. It seems damn fun to try, though.
 

mtwaller

Preferred Member
Nov 21, 2018
838
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Atlanta, GA
Try making natural black cav with the VA red.

40g water, 50g tobacco in a half pint jar, pressure cook for 3-4hrs at 15lbs.
Thanks for the suggestion! Homemade Red VA Cavendish sounds most appealing.

With perique going bye bye, eventually I would like to make a batch of that at home as well. Labor and time intensive? Check. Total pain in the ass? Probably. Worth It? ...no idea.
 

newbroom

Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
5,837
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I keep a variety of burley based, Virginia based, perique and one particular perique blend in stock as well as some Turkish Izmir and a couple of good quality flavored cavendish blends. I also have some straight Latakia and one or two Lat blends on the shelf. I buy bulk 99% of the time.
 

Jaylotw

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2020
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NE Ohio
With perique going bye bye, eventually I would like to make a batch of that at home as well. Labor and time intensive? Check. Total pain in the ass? Probably. Worth It? ...no idea.
I don’t think Perique is going bye bye yet. It’d be one royal PITA to make it yourself, you’d need unprocessed air-cured, a whiskey barrel, a big jack press, and a year and a half...

Also, C&D Yorktown makes a great blending base! I do half/half with it and D&R Ramback.
 
Jul 10, 2020
124
539
The Hague
I’ve wanted to try my hand at home blending for a while, and I’ve decided to give it a go. I bought a handheld noodle press off Amazon for $15. Just ordered 2 oz. each of C&D Latakia, Red VA Ribbon, Izmir, and Black Cavendish. Also snagged 1 oz. of Sutliff Perique. I’m super excited to give it a try! I have to force myself to smoke anything other than English blends, so that’s what I want to start crafting.

I’d love to hear/see other folks’ results with this budget setup, I know these cheap noodle presses have gotten popular with people who dabble.

Here's a picture of a Balkan style puck that I made with one of those noodle presses. I used whole leaves for this one. But it gives you an idea of what to expect. This was pressed for 2 weeks.

Blend8_3.jpg
***What Are You Smoking, December 2020?*** :: Pipe Tobacco Discussion - https://pipesmagazine.com/forums/threads/what-are-you-smoking-december-2020.80684/post-36253219
 

macaroni

Member
Oct 28, 2020
268
774
Northeast Texas
. . . . noodle presses. I used whole leaves for this one. But it gives you an idea of what to expect. This was pressed for 2 weeks.
@DangerStranger How did you prep the leaves before inserting them into the press? Make a roll? Or just shove them all in a few at a time? Did you spray some water on them as they went in to keep the dryer whole leaves from crumbling and sort of as a way to bind them together (or was there enough moisture already in your leaves?)? Looks great!!
thnks for the photo
kindly
mike
 
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Jul 10, 2020
124
539
The Hague
@DangerStranger How did you prep the leaves before inserting them into the press? Make a roll? Or just shove them all in a few at a time? Did you spray some water on them as they went in to keep the dryer whole leaves from crumbling and sort of as a way to bind them together (or was there enough moisture already in your leaves?)? Looks great!!
thnks for the photo
kindly
mike
Thanks Mike!

It really all depends on my mood and what I'm trying to accomplish. Stacking them works really well and is easy if you want layers like in the plug pictured above. For a more uniform plug you can shred and blend them together before going into the press. I've experimented with rolls and twists and my failures ended up in the press. These resulted in some really good bricks. So just cramming everything together or a shoving a few at a time can work pretty well.

Regarding moisture. I've almost always had to bring whole leaves up to case. To do so just warm the leaves and spray with your casing of choice. Distilled water will rehydrate burley fine. However, a little acidity really helps Virginias as does some sugar. I have a lemon tree and my buddy raises bees. So, I'll frequently dilute some fresh lemon juice and raw honey in water as a generic casing. Things like powdered citric acid or vinegar can work for the acid. While dixie crystals or molasses work as the sugar.

I'm not crazy about topping but do like a little whisky or rum on my leaf from time to time. A little goes along way here. Think drops.

An huge advantage of the blending tobaccos available from the online retailers is that they are already shredded and most are already cased. So one can just blend and press.

I'm hardly and expert and just find it interesting to experiment. The biggest take away is that one shouldn't be afraid to explore blending. You can make some really awesome blends. Be careful though. In a very short time I went from pressing a few ounces of blending tobaccos in a noodle press to buying pounds of whole leaf for pressing into 1lb bricks.

Also, definitely check out the link that u/Ahi Ka posted. It is an excellent resource and helped me quite a bit when I first started blending.
 

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