Good Way to Prepare GH flakes?

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ParkitoATL

Can't Leave
Mar 11, 2023
378
1,419
Atlanta, GA
Title edited for caps and my belief that there's no best way.

I've bought samples of many of the Gawith Hoggarth flakes and quite like the Lakeland taste when I can get them properly lit. The first hit is always nice but I struggle to keep them going. Even when I rub them out they still seem too chunky to fully ignite, and I find myself lighting too often and losing the taste to bitterness.

How do you like to prep these flakes?

One thing I tried last week was to mix Ennerdale with a little Sutliff 79. I figured they were reasonably adjacent and it did seem to improve the burn by having the burley in there. Might even try a 50/50 mix as the Ennerdale is much more strongly topped than the 79.
 
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Everyone is going to have a different take on this, but for me, I like to dry them till they crumble easily, and then just wad them and stuff them. I don't do the fold and stuff, because I like to clench hands-free, and doing this always has me pushing the outside edges of the flakes down as I smoke with my tamper. I would just rather not have to fiddle with a tamper that much when I smoke. But, there is no wrong way to smoke a flake. Whatever works for you.

And, by no means do I always smoke a flake the same way. I may fold and stuff when watching something on TV, where using my hands doesn't mean that I am neglecting whatever it is I am doing while smoking.
 

Civil War

Lifer
Mar 6, 2018
1,554
400
I prefer to rub GH flakes out in a bowl and let them dry out for a couple of days. Just a very small amount of moisture left, but not crispy dry. Really helps reduce relights and maintains an even/consistent burn. I then put the semi-dried-out loose tobacco in a jar to use when I want it.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,542
I can't speak to the flakes, but I have a good way to prep the rope cuts that works with GH&Co. Black X, and other blends that need relights. I use a hand grater my wife gave me, just a simple little unit that grinds about two bowls without emptying, and grinds by twisting the top back and forth as the grindings fall into a small plastic jar.

This does not make Black X burn like a codger blend, but it burns evenly and requires fewer relights than just slicing it into coins and rubbing it out by hand. It also dries it out better if you leave it in the grater, or a mixing bowl, or in the pipe for a day before smoking it.

I also used this grater with McC's Dark Star, which was loose tobacco but of un-uniform size pieces, that really burnt poorly. Grating made the difference so it lived up to its rave reviews. Again, it didn't burn like Sir Walter Raleigh, but it burned well enough to appreciate its fine Virginia leaf.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
For the most part, I break up the flake, then rub it out pretty fine, and let it dry down, but not till crumbly or the topping will lose strength. If you prefer the toppings less present dry until almost crumbly. These are one of the few Virginia tobaccos that I prefer to leave with a little more moisture because I like the toppings. Rubbing out to fine will also allow them to burn more easily.

When I'm in a rush I may just stuff a flake and light it up, but it's not quite as good a smoke. I sometimes smoke Bosun cut plug that way since it's already partly broken down. But drying down the flake and thoroughly rubbing it out does provide me a better smoke.
 
Aug 11, 2022
2,493
19,498
Cedar Rapids, IA
I don't do the fold and stuff, because I like to clench hands-free, and doing this always has me pushing the outside edges of the flakes down as I smoke with my tamper. I would just rather not have to fiddle with a tamper that much when I smoke.
That's been one of my complaints about fold-and-stuff, needing to periodically loosen hardened chunks from the chamber walls to push back toward the center. Glad to know it happens to other people, and isn't just user error on my part!
 

BorealPiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 9, 2021
111
1,994
As with others here, rubbing GH flakes out and drying a bit - but not too much - seems to work best for me flavor and burn-wise. My opinion is that GH and S. Gawith flakes (even before they were made in the same factory) are generally cut too thick to fold and stuff. I only do that with pretty thin flakes like Mac Baren or Escudo coins.
 

stogie37

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 24, 2012
673
3,491
Southport, North Carolina
I like G&H Flakes best when they’re holding moisture - which is a nightmare to keep lit. For the past year I smoke them pretty much exclusively in cobs. I can get away with a tight pack and have to believe the rough bowl interior provides enough space for airflow. This has been a winning combination for me. Oh, and while a Country Gentleman bowl is fairly small (and the Riverboat Gambler smaller yet) these dense moist flakes smoke for a looong time!
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
16,181
30,340
46
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Title edited for caps and my belief that there's no best way.

I've bought samples of many of the Gawith Hoggarth flakes and quite like the Lakeland taste when I can get them properly lit. The first hit is always nice but I struggle to keep them going. Even when I rub them out they still seem too chunky to fully ignite, and I find myself lighting too often and losing the taste to bitterness.

How do you like to prep these flakes?

One thing I tried last week was to mix Ennerdale with a little Sutliff 79. I figured they were reasonably adjacent and it did seem to improve the burn by having the burley in there. Might even try a 50/50 mix as the Ennerdale is much more strongly topped than the 79.
I think the trick is realizing they used white phosphorus in matches when they started making flakes
 

kschatey

Lifer
Oct 16, 2019
1,118
2,276
Ohio
Cube cut the flake, rub out fully, let air dry for 12+ hours at 45-50% humidity. If FVF, let air dry for 3 days or more and you'll still need a torch.

I've also heard that nuking the rubbed out tobacco on a napkin for 7 seconds is a magic fix.
 
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Reactions: ak2000
Mar 13, 2020
2,752
26,769
missouri
I dry all my blends on a coffee warmer. With Gawith flakes, I just rub them out on a plate, then sit the plate on the coffee warmer for a few minutes. I try to be mindful because it's easy to overdo it and get it too dry, for my taste anyway.
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,691
15,007
I smoke a LOT of GH flake, and after 15 years of messing with different preps, finally settled on this:

--- cut the "bacon strips" into 3/8"--1/2" long pieces "against the grain" with a pair of sharp scissors

--- put the segments into the palm of one hand and scrub-smear-grind as hard as possible (not kidding) with the other over a paper plate

--- grab any larger pieces that fall and keep adding them back into the "palm grinder" until everything is soft and has a "fluffed" feeling to it.

--- release everything into a pile on the paper plate, and pull apart any tangle-y clumps or knots until the pile is beautifully even in density

--- taco the plate and slide the pile into a hand-sized wire strainer, and shake and tap the strainer until the dust and finer bits stop falling through

--- then gravity fill the bowl ONE SMALL PINCH at a time, tapping frequently as you go to settle and interlock the fuzzy-fluffy pieces of tobacco into a Magic Balanced Matrix of tobacco and airspace

--- Test the draw, add ONE pinch and press level, then test the draw again. Repeat until the draw is perfect.

--- Top with a pinch of the dust if desired to make the initial light easier

--- Result? It tastes great, draws perfectly, and burns like an underground coal seam fire. (Last night I had one bowl last over two hours without a relight.)


PS --- don't worry about the gravity pack falling out. Heat will quickly expand the tobacco against the sides of the chamber and lock everything in place.


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