Hint of Ammonia?

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Jan 21, 2022
27
69
42
Newquay, Cornwall, UK
I'm openly new to pipe smoking, having only started a few months ago. In that time I've been mostly smoking English and Balkan blends, and enjoying them very much.
Recently been dabbling in some light aromatics and Virginias though for variation.

Very recently I've purchased some peterson's Connoisseur's choice and some macbaren navy flake. Both of which (moreso in the peterson's, which has ammonia ghosted a cob ) have displayed an ammonia scent/flavour in the last 1/4 of the bowl. I've not had the same with some peterson's Flake (for context).

Am I doing something wrong or have I accidentally stumbled on two consecutive 'dodgy' tobaccos?

Its not a pleasant scent at all.
 
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woodsroad

Lifer
Oct 10, 2013
12,125
17,817
SE PA USA
Curing tobacco will of-gas ammonia. It is unlikely, though, that either of those blends are still green. Maybe you aren't smelling ammonia, or maybe it is originating from a different source.

(I had this problem back when I used to dip my pipes in Windex to clean them, but since I switched to Mr. Clean, the problem has dissipated. ;) )
 

jaytex1969

Lifer
Jun 6, 2017
9,573
51,274
Here
I have had ammonia like notes occur before.

It's usually, as you have noted, late in the bowl. It seems to occur when the smoke is going well and is maybe just a bit moist.

I don't believe it's a huge concern, no more than sucking in the smoke of burning leaves.

Nice looking ride in your avatar. Is that an old GS?



1646443390285.jpeg
 
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Jan 21, 2022
27
69
42
Newquay, Cornwall, UK
I have had ammonia like notes occur before.

It's usually, as you have noted, late in the bowl. It seems to occur when the smoke is going well and is maybe just a bit moist.

I don't believe it's a huge concern, no more than sucking in the smoke of burning leaves.

Nice looking ride in your avatar. Is that an old GS?



View attachment 132438
OK, good to know.
Thanks, its an 03 xjr1300
 
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jaytex1969

Lifer
Jun 6, 2017
9,573
51,274
Here
I've not tasted ammonia in a pipe yet...

For me, it's more of a nose thing than a taste. For some odd reason, I have a habit of hovering my nostrils just above the bowl once or twice during the smoke.

It;s usually while doing this during the 2nd half of the bowl that I get the ammonia hints from the bowl contents.

I noticed it yesterday during a bowl full of Redburn.



1646493897779.jpeg
 

workman

Lifer
Jan 5, 2018
2,794
4,228
The Faroe Islands
For me, it's more of a nose thing than a taste. For some odd reason, I have a habit of hovering my nostrils just above the bowl once or twice during the smoke.

It;s usually while doing this during the 2nd half of the bowl that I get the ammonia hints from the bowl contents.

I noticed it yesterday during a bowl full of Redburn.



View attachment 132566
Finally a bad habit that I don't have!
 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,338
10,226
Austin, TX
I went through a 2 or 3 month phase when I first started where all my pipe tobacco had a strong ammonia odor and taste. Once it passed, I’ve never had that happen again. It was quite weird and I couldn’t blame it on green tobacco, some of the tins had a few years of age on them.
 
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dctune

Part of the Furniture Now
Not sure if this helps, but I’ve noticed that sometimes a very Latakia blend could be described as having an ammonia-like odor. For example, when I open my jar of Nightcap, I know that the smell is definitely a strong presence of Latakia because I’m very familiar with that smell. But I can certainly see how you could consider it to perhaps be ammonia-like if you’re not familiar with it.

Just my two cents.
 
Jan 21, 2022
27
69
42
Newquay, Cornwall, UK
Sound like it's a bit of a mystery generally!
I've never got it with an English or balkan blends. It's only been with the aforementioned 2.
The navy flake I basically smoked straight out of the tin, but I dried the petersons for some time as I've heard it can be a bit wet. But it would make sense if it was wet and the ammonia in the leaves built up in the last bit of the bowl.
I may leave them for a while and see if anything changes in time.
 
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Lucro

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 27, 2024
125
1,837
Pittsburgh, PA
I have been dealing with this issue too. It’s happened with different pipes and different tobaccos. It’s just the smell for me luckily a sour ammonia scent. It usually starts halfway through the bowl and then will start and stop through the second half. I’m glad to know it isn’t just me.
 
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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
3,164
15,606
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
For me, it's more of a nose thing than a taste. For some odd reason, I have a habit of hovering my nostrils just above the bowl once or twice during the smoke.

It;s usually while doing this during the 2nd half of the bowl that I get the ammonia hints from the bowl contents.

I noticed it yesterday during a bowl full of Redburn.



View attachment 132566
Exactly. I just noticed the same thing this week, twice, with Newminster400 ... ammonia smell coming from top of pipe but not through the smoke. I was wondering if it is something recently added to the topping. ??? Never noticed for 37 yrs. before.
 
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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
3,164
15,606
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
I just skimmed a few articles online about this. The gist is that the ammonia is a natural byproduct of the curing process and most noticeable when the tobacco is not sufficiently aged and the heat from smoking brings it out. The recommendations were to air out the tobacco in a humidor or open the bag and to dry and age it longer. Maybe the rush to fulfill market demand caused some not sufficiently aged tobaccos to hit the market. Just 2 cents adjusted by inflation.
 

Lucro

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 27, 2024
125
1,837
Pittsburgh, PA
I wonder if young tobacco plus high heat might have something to do with it, I feel like I used to get an ammonia smell when I used to smoke too hot.
I was wondering if I was smoking too hot. I’m still a new smoker trying to find the right cadence to get that sweet spot. I believe there is a correlation between the heat and off-putting smell