I Don't Like Too Dry

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jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
24,715
27,315
Carmel Valley, CA
Sums it up perfectly in 3 words. Bone dry but don't store it that way too long.
Yeppers. Too long, too wet, too dry are all to be avoided, but your too dry/wet may be perfect for another.

As to how long to store it that way, when I dry down a tin and jar it, it remains just fine for quite a while- over a month, while I smoke it and similarly dried tins or bulk.
 

brian64

Lifer
Jan 31, 2011
9,634
14,737
As to how long to store it that way, when I dry down a tin and jar it, it remains just fine for quite a while- over a month, while I smoke it and similarly dried tins or bulk.

Yes, depends on the blend and cut...but Embers' comment is a good general rule of thumb IMO.

If you need more detail, @sablebrush52 summed it up well with this comment:

Since I smoke mostly Virginias, that means just shy of bone dry. For Aros I’ll leave a little more moisture. English blends are generally good straight from the tin.

I don't have enough experience with aros to speak to that, but I have found that English blends being overly dry does diminish the flavor.

VA/burley/perique I dry thoroughly...but I have seemed to notice the flavors becoming somewhat muted after just a few days of sitting dry...so I typically will only dry out about 1 day's worth at a time. But this too varies depending on the blend and cut.

I currently have a tin of Dreams of Kadath open (plug) which I used a grinder on, and I've found it very difficult to dry. It's been open for about a month and I even left the lid off the tin for a few days at a time, and it's still not what I would call bone dry...and I haven't noticed any diminishing of flavor at all.

On the other hand, I also have had some Black XX open for a while which is also extremely difficult to dry...but I definitely do notice a diminishing of flavor with it when bone dry...but if even just slightly moist it's next to impossible to burn.

So...as with everything, the devil is in the details.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,782
29,601
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I'd say the opposite is true. Usually if a blend is too wet it's going to tend to smoke hotter, but cadence, and packing method, etc. etc. are going to have a lot to do with how a blend smokes. White Knight and Magnum Opus are all-time favourites of mine. I like the fact that they're fairly dry straight out of the tin. That being said, I can take something like Full Virginia Flake right out of the tin and if I thoroughly rub it out and pack it loosely enough it will burn just fine. I find it tastes better and burns cooler if I dry it out though.

A lot of us here on the forum talk about how we like our tobacco close to bone-dry, but there are many ways to skin a cat and your preferences are totally valid. I'm sure it's true that G.L. Pease blends (and others) are packed at the perfect moisture for smoking. I normally don't dry out GLP, or Dunhill/Peterson blends and they smoke great right out of the tin. I find Daughter's and Ryan, Cornell and Diehl, Hearth and Home, easy to deal with though. It's those GH&Co. ropes that need 24 hours in a food dehydrator to get them to burn. YMMV. puffy
I find that dry can smoke hot if you don't slow down with them. Mainly just because of the fact it burns easier. Also have found that for me the hardest thing to learn about different moisture levels is how to pack the pipe. Dryer equals pack in more and compress it more. If I under pack it as dry as I like it then I find it burns much faster and hotter.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,782
29,601
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Most of the time, the bone dry tobacco is mentioned for the benefit of the new pipe smokers. Then there are those that enjoy freshly bone dry tobacco. But that all depends on the individual and what blend they are smoking. That doesn't mean everyone has to smoke them dried till crisp. For me, VA and VA heavy blends seem to tolerate being dried as much as possible. Codger blends just out of pouch is wonderful. Latakia blends, dry to touch, but still trace of moisture. Everyone's different.
I strongly recommend to the curious to open a tin and let it dry out naturally while smoking a pipeful of it once or twice a day. Gives a good idea of what is the ideal moisture level for a certain blend. And yes Va and VaOrs seem to tolerate and benefit the most from drying.
 

Winnipeger

Lifer
Sep 9, 2022
1,288
9,670
Winnipeg
I find that dry can smoke hot if you don't slow down with them. Mainly just because of the fact it burns easier. Also have found that for me the hardest thing to learn about different moisture levels is how to pack the pipe. Dryer equals pack in more and compress it more. If I under pack it as dry as I like it then I find it burns much faster and hotter.
Agreed. I pack Five Brothers, Semois, all D&R blends, most C&D blends, GH&Co. shags etc. really tight, which gives me a nice, slow, cool, voluminous smoke. Of course the GH&Co. shags need oodles of dry time to begin with.
 
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krizzose

Lifer
Feb 13, 2013
3,126
18,184
Michigan
When I have the time and have thought ahead to get it there, a little crispy around the edges with the barest hint of lingering springiness.

That being said, packing a bit lighter works just fine if I want to smoke a particular blend without waiting for my preferred dryness.
 

multitool

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 19, 2023
139
105
Hawaii
I still bounce back and forth with dryness levels. I still don't have it perfect yet. But I would think that dryer is better, just to avoid any steam being produced by tobacco that's too moist.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
19,762
45,313
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
I recall hearing Russ Oulette mention this on a podcast. His position was that customers should buy tobacco, not water. So I understand the sentiment. But with a little more moisture, as is the case with the blenders previously mentioned, the customer gets flexibility and choice; to dry a blend to suit individual preferences.
I think that was Mark Ryan, whose tobaccos were delivered at what he considered the optimal moisture for getting the best flavors. Russ also tins at what he considers the optimal moisture for getting the best flavors. So does Greg, as I recall.

Almost all I smoke are Virginia, Va/Per and variants of that genre, so I prefer them dry to get the best flavors. I don't further dry D&R or most H&H blends, as they're ready to go. With every blend that I add to the pile I will have tried them at a variety of moisture levels to see what gives me the most flavor.

Bottom line is to smoke them the way you like them best.
 
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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,782
29,601
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I think that was Mark Ryan, whose tobaccos were delivered at what he considered the optimal moisture for getting the best flavors. Russ also tins at what he considers the optimal moisture for getting the best flavors. So does Greg, as I recall.

Almost all I smoke are Virginia, Va/Per and variants of that genre, so I prefer them dry to get the best flavors. I don't further dry D&R or most H&H blends, as they're ready to go. With every blend that I add to the pile I will have tried them at a variety of moisture levels to see what gives me the most flavor.

Bottom line is to smoke them the way you like them best.
yeah that was Mark. And I found that Mark Ryan agrees with me about what the best moisture level is. Greg has said he also does the optimal level but seems to think disagree with me about proper driness levels.
I also think that the proper level also depends on how one smokes what the cadence they use.
 
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boston

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 27, 2018
542
1,240
Boston
Not bone dry for me. Pinch the tobacco...if it breaks it's too dry for me. If it sticks and unravels, we're close. Too moist is no good. To dry, same. Goldilocks just right. Lol. U know it when you have it.
 
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Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,474
12,512
France
My current method is to get it where it is dry to the touch but is still flexible. Sometimes I grab right from the tin but this seems to be working. Some days I make it more dry than others. Just as long as its not soggy Im happy.
 
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