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Zartoon

Junior Member
Jan 8, 2020
72
134
This is an interesting topic.
I appreciate the scientific method. Understand all the components and then you can derive conclusions on a blend based on your affinity, or lack there of, for its components.
But do we really do that for food, and does it work?
here is a perfect example.
Do you like yogurt? Yes.
do you like carbonated water? Yes
Great, then You will like the carbonated yogurt drink that is so prevalent in some countries, but absolutely repulses most Americans.

So while a great approach, it may not translate well to some nuanced subjects.

I try the main blend categories.
burleys
Virginias
English/balkans
VAPers
Cavendish aeromatics
Then try to draw some conclusion on the types of blends that you may lean toward.
 
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Casual

Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2019
1,975
6,872
NL, CA
I thought of doing this and then decided against it. Not because it’s a bad idea, but because I have little opportunity to smoke.

If there was one pack to buy that had half-ounce samples of eight different tobaccos and I could get through trying them all in a week, I would do it. But it’s too much effort to find representative tobacco, then the literal months to try them all at my rate of a bowl or two a week (more like one a month during this lockdown business). Seems more like work than fun.
 

Bob Kuehner

New member
Apr 8, 2020
11
24
To me, smoking a pipe is all about contemplating the experience...

Me, too, brother! Only difference is that I'm so new I don't even know the difference in the basic choices out there. My experience has been to look at "Top 10" lists published by someone independant and check 'em out. I haven't been disappointed, though! I'm sure I'll run across something I can't enjoy, but it hasn't happend so far.
 

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RedZeppelin

Junior Member
Mar 19, 2020
72
343
Thank you sir. I'll give that a whirl after I wake up from the latakia.
Me, too, brother! Only difference is that I'm so new I don't even know the difference in the basic choices out there. My experience has been to look at "Top 10" lists published by someone independant and check 'em out. I haven't been disappointed, though! I'm sure I'll run across something I can't enjoy, but it hasn't happend so far.
Same boat for me. When someone describes what tobacco's in a blend, it evokes no reaction in me.
I try the main blend categories.
burleys
Virginias
English/balkans
VAPers
Cavendish aeromatics
Then try to draw some conclusion on the types of blends that you may lean toward.
Yeppers!
 

Umberto

New member
Apr 11, 2020
29
29
To me, smoking a pipe is all about contemplating the experience. So, as a noob, I feel like I need to smoke a bit of each major type of tobacco type by itself. VA, burley, Latakia, perique, etc. My thinking is it may help me understand the flavors, and maybe some nuances of a blend. When I smoke now, it's a matter of like or no like. Not why.I realize in each type, there will be major differences in flavor and taste, even batch to batch, year to year.

This leads to a barrage of questions: Anyone else do this? What was your experience? Is such a thing available? Is it even worthwhile?
This a great attitude to hold. Taste each attribute and learn what you like as the blends are made. I am doing my own bulk leaf processing now. I didn't order any latakia because I simply don't like the taste. Like people who hate Cilantro. For me Latakia is Lays BBQ potato chips left in my mouth after the smoke.

Your approach is bringing a smile to my face. You should absolutely taste each component in small bowls to understand what they do, then blend them and see how they interact.

From there you have reference point to read the blend components and decide what you like. Keep this approach and go forward. It's totally awesome.
 
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oldred

Junior Member
Dec 1, 2019
73
127
I have seen this come up a few times in my short time here. It usually splits the group into two categories like I think it did here, either a great idea or, Why overcomplicate it? At the end of the day it is about what helps you enjoy your smoke more, so go for it!
 
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frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
2,511
1,170
OK, ordered Sutliff Red VA ribbon, Stokkebye 702 Burley, Stokkebye 310 black latakia. Also ordered navy flake and VA slice. I swear I'm gonna try the latakia straight, a little at a time, with wife (RN) standing by in case I turn green.
Ain't self quarantine a blast?


My experience smoking a bowl of Blending Lat was very straightforward and almost muted, mostly smell and not so much "taste".
That experience taught me that the flavors I appreciate most in a good Latakia blend are really the Orientals, and it's entirely possible that what I consider a top grade "English" blend doesn't necessarily need to have any Latakia at all.
Not all Latakia is created equal though, much of the final experience will still depend on the underlying leaf.
 
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saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
4,453
3,127
North Carolina
I think any systemization one uses such as segregated/single tobacco smoking or note taking is a good thing. Though there are other things to enjoy, especially manipulating the smoke on the draw and exhale,. taste is the preeminent enjoyment. Maybe technique is the first goal, followed closely by cultivating the palate.
 
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F4RM3R

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2019
413
1,716
35
Canada
My experience smoking a bowl of Blending Lat was very straightforward and almost muted, mostly smell and not so much "taste".
That experience taught me that the flavors I appreciate most in a good Latakia blend are really the Orientals, and it's entirely possible that what I consider a top grade "English" blend doesn't necessarily need to have any Latakia at all.
Not all Latakia is created equal though, much of the final experience will still depend on the underlying leaf.
Yep, latakia really needs other tobaccos. Even high percentage blends need the other tobaccos for complexity. It's a strange one that can make a blend so full, but on it's own it's actually that explosive.

This is is why I really encourage trying individual straight tobaccos. As long and boring of a process it may seem to smoke your way through individual tobaccos, it really will speed up the process of understanding. No one says you have to smoke all of it straight. Most likely 1 or 2 bowls or half bowls will really wake things up. Then just blend the rest together in whatever fashion you like.

It took me so long to understand orientals, had to smoke ounces of different blends. Presbyterian, old ironsides, Bill baileys balkan, Amphora full aroma...all very different blends, but all contain oriental. Compared with Robert mconnells Latakia Flake(no orientals)

Only after smoking all those did I start to learn what oriental was. I enjoyed the process, but I learned just as much, if not more, by smoking one small bowl of straight oriental.

Now, there are many types of orientals, and some not available straight, but still a worthwhile endeavour. But to each their own of course!
 
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chopper

Preferred Member
Aug 24, 2019
763
1,629
Me, too, brother! Only difference is that I'm so new I don't even know the difference in the basic choices out there. My experience has been to look at "Top 10" lists published by someone independant and check 'em out. I haven't been disappointed, though! I'm sure I'll run across something I can't enjoy, but it hasn't happend so far.
If and when you do find something not quite to your tastes, just jar it and forget.
Tastes change over time; what we don't like today we might enjoy down the road.

Like most smokers I started with aromatics. Once I found non-aro's I left the aromatics alone for a year or two.
Now I enjoy most genres depending on my mood. [Except for lat-bombs and goopy overly topped aro's - either can be 'fixed' by blending in some straight Virginia &/or Burley]
 

mrenglish

Preferred Member
Dec 25, 2010
2,220
67
Columbus, Ohio
Me, too, brother! Only difference is that I'm so new I don't even know the difference in the basic choices out there. My experience has been to look at "Top 10" lists published by someone independant and check 'em out. I haven't been disappointed, though! I'm sure I'll run across something I can't enjoy, but it hasn't happend so far.

When you do run across a blend you do not like, put it into a mason jar and let it sit. Revisit it after a few months and you might be surprised.

This obviously wont work if you detest a blend from the start, but, IMO, having a blend exposed to air for a few months tends to open up the flavors more.
 

RedZeppelin

Junior Member
Mar 19, 2020
72
343
Some good input here. I got a bag of Lane 1Q. Smoked it straight out of the bag the day I got it and it was a mess! A goopy, tongue burning mess. I let it sit a couple weeks, airing it here and there, and tried it again. Massive difference. Now it's enjoyable. Might have to take this approach with the straights I have coming in.
 

frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
2,511
1,170
Yep, latakia really needs other tobaccos. Even high percentage blends need the other tobaccos for complexity. It's a strange one that can make a blend so full, but on it's own it's actually that explosive.

This is is why I really encourage trying individual straight tobaccos. As long and boring of a process it may seem to smoke your way through individual tobaccos, it really will speed up the process of understanding. No one says you have to smoke all of it straight. Most likely 1 or 2 bowls or half bowls will really wake things up. Then just blend the rest together in whatever fashion you like.

It took me so long to understand orientals, had to smoke ounces of different blends. Presbyterian, old ironsides, Bill baileys balkan, Amphora full aroma...all very different blends, but all contain oriental. Compared with Robert mconnells Latakia Flake(no orientals)

Only after smoking all those did I start to learn what oriental was. I enjoyed the process, but I learned just as much, if not more, by smoking one small bowl of straight oriental.

Now, there are many types of orientals, and some not available straight, but still a worthwhile endeavour. But to each their own of course!

It's really a shame Mclelland shut down when they were the only one with a whole series of tobacco dedicated to learning the varieties of Orientals.

I wonder if the pipe tobacco companies could still ship some straight unprocessed leaf as a workaround for the deeming laws and re-ignite this sort of experiment in the future (let people buy a variety pack with a few different whole leaves).
 

F4RM3R

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2019
413
1,716
35
Canada
It's really a shame Mclelland shut down when they were the only one with a whole series of tobacco dedicated to learning the varieties of Orientals.

I wonder if the pipe tobacco companies could still ship some straight unprocessed leaf as a workaround for the deeming laws and re-ignite this sort of experiment in the future (let people buy a variety pack with a few different whole leaves).
There are a number of sites who have unprocessed leaf. I use wholeleaftobacco.com but there are others. Just Google "whole leaf tobacco". Some really amazing stuff available. I personally think the Virginia and burley available is better with some stoving, but the latakia, Kentucky, perique and oriental is amazing straight outta the bag.
 

virginialover

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2016
780
2,975
I have already tried Latakia, Perique, all kinds of Virginia, Burley, Cigar leaf and Kentucky by themselves. This Summer I'll try Oriental/Turkish.

I find that this is a good thing to do as it teaches your taste buds about what to expect from each tobacco.

I really like to smoke Perique, Kentucky by itself and of course Golden Virginia. Red Virginia is not so enjoyable alone for my taste and Latakia over saturates and numbs my taste buds very fast. Burley is bland and cigar leaf residue from freshly made Cuban cigars, what they call Picadura, is nasty stuff by itself but is a good mixer if granulated.

For a pure Kentucky pipe tobacco I like Cimette di Mastro Tornabuoni from Italy.
 

RedZeppelin

Junior Member
Mar 19, 2020
72
343
Cimette di Mastro Tornabuoni
I'll have to check that out.
OK, I tried the ones I got in the mail today: Sutliff Red Virginia, Stokkebye 702 Burley, Stokkebye 310 Black Latakia. I'm still reeling from the latakia! When smoking, all I could think of was shaving cream! I don't know how else to describe it. Couldn't find a whole bunch of words on the 'net to describe it either. I do like the tin note though. The VA is indeed grassy, sweet, and tangy. The burley is sort of toned down, woodsy, and mellow. I can smoke the VA or the burley just like they are. Did I say I'm still reeling from the latakia? And the nicotine hit! Been a fun smoking day, what with trying the navy flake, the bullseye, and these 3 straights. I'm very satisfied with this initial run.
 
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