'Mixing' - Not 'Blending'

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badbriar

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2012
455
829
Central Florida
So, have you ever done any mixing of your on-hand blends? I'm about to give it a go after reading a suggestion on SG Brown No. 4. They say it is likely too strong for those not accustomed to rope tobaccos and further recommend adding to your regular blend. 'You will know it's there!' I'm game for this. May also try adding Dark Fragrant to some nice English blends to get a bit of sweetness in there - Scottish it up a bit! Any other good 'Mixing' ideas out there?
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
38,067
47,364
I call it mixing too; blending involves starting with single leaf tobaccos for base and condiments, generally, and often some oven and/or pressure, etc. That's what the pros do, and I'm not that. One basic mix recipe is a Virginia, burley, and maybe Cavendish, with Virginia or burley as a base. Experiment with proportions as a learning experience, and likewise try different size pinches of Cavendish, if you choose, for a little smoke volume. You can experiment with any leftover remnant of tobacco, deciding which other blend or condiment leaf to mix it with. Mixing often results in really good smokes, with an occasional dud to give me humility.
 
Aug 27, 2016
3,299
12,274
39
Louisville
There’s a couple mixes I implement for flavors sake and/or to stretch certain tobaccos.
I’ve found I really like to do a 50/50 mix of Gawith Best Brown with Sams Flake. It tones down the tonka essence of Sams while simultaneously bolstering the Virginia flavors.

Similarly I do a near 50/50 mix woth Motzek Strang and Mcclelland 5100. In this mixes case both constitutes are out of production. It allows me to enjoy the Strang flavor in a larger bowl, and I always like what 5100 brings to a smoke.
 

augiebd

Lifer
Jul 6, 2019
1,006
1,612
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I am working on reducing the number of open tins I have going. I am sticking to smoking the ones I enjoy as they are. I do mix when I get to the end of a tin and it isn’t a full bowl; that’s some small scale mixing. As I get to finishing the open tins that are a little less to my taste I will experiment with some mixing to smooth out some I find a bit rough or spice up some that are a bit flat. I do from time to time retry the ones that weren’t an immediate hit to see if my taste has changed. Just recently I was pleased to discover that Dunhill MM 965 has moved from okay to very enjoyable for me.
 

greeneyes

Lifer
Jun 5, 2018
1,672
10,662
Minnesota
"Mixing, not blending." I like the distinction. There are plenty of amateur and novice aspiring blenders and pipemakers in the world nowadays, however in deference to the hardworking individuals who have dedicated their lives to arduous apprenticeships in learning the craft and trade, I shy from referring to any of my experiments as bona fide blending.

With the boredom from isolation it won't be long before I hack into a hobby block of briar and earn my "master pipemaker" patch. ;)
 
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rushx9

Lifer
Jul 10, 2019
2,299
17,220
40
Shelby, NC
A lot of my favorite brand-name blends refer to themselves as "Mixtures", and a lot of famous shop "blends" are just mixtures of existing tobaccos or "blending tobaccos" from other manufacturers, so I think the distinction is just semantics.
That said, my favorite home blend is 1/4th Firedance Flake with 3/4ths Balkan Supreme. Very similar to Pembroke but more berry. I've had success keeping it "in house" by using G&H Balkan Mixture instead of Supreme. I imagine Squadron Leader would keep it even more SG but I can't bring myself to adulterate Squaddy.
I've also approximated Pembroke by mixing Cognac with BSOSM Match. I have also experimented with pressing, stoving and toasting.
There are levels to how "from scratch" a recipe is, but master blenders like Greg Pease use C&D blending components and processes instead of stripping the raw leaf with his bare hands. Same with Russ O and Sutliff, Hans Wiederman (HU) and K&K, Peter Heinrich and MacBaren, Mike Butera and Germain's, etc.. Same story with KBV, Watch City, etc..
Some "Master Blenders" are out there hand stripping and pressing raw leaf and others are at a desk mixing existing components, processes, and sauces to make the blends we love.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
38,067
47,364
The professional blenders can spend years tweaking a blend until they get what they want, changing it every month or two, and sometimes they won't ever try to market a blend. There are probably some pretty good blends that get abandoned on the blender's work table.
 

verporchting

Lifer
Dec 30, 2018
2,022
5,859
I just posted in another thread that I often mix in Stokkebye Amsterdam or Norwegian if I’m smoking a strong rope tobacco. Helps get the ropes to burn initially and adds a nice sweetness.

Sometimes D&R tobaccos also make nice parfaits or mixes, or can be smoked straight.

Perique and Latakia make great condiments to jazz up a blend you find lacking.

There are some nice G&H flakes that I will sometimes do a 50/50 mix with too.

As long as you’re enjoying it I say go for it.
 

Smoking In The Fast Lane

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 12, 2019
107
157
California
I'm smoking a bowl of WhiteKnight with a bit of Wilke Rumcake at this very moment. I also like to throw a pinch of 507-s into various English and VA blends on a regular basis. Recently I find myself experimenting with many of the aromatic and English blends that have been hiding in my cellar.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
34,837
67,080
50/50 Old Dark Fired and Black Twist XX

50/50 1Q and Penzance

50/50 Exotic Orange and Mac B Vanilla Flake

50/50 McClelland 40th Anniversary and Yenidje ribbon.
 
Jun 9, 2018
2,956
9,684
121
England
The only time I've done this was recently, when I mixed JF Germain's Rich Dark Flake and Brown Flake 50/50. I thought it might be interesting but the result was a waste of time and I didn't really enjoy it.

Not mixing per se but I have been giving some thought to soaking some Germain's RDF, Brown Flake, Full Virginia Plug and St James Plug in rum. I can't drink anymore so I'd just buy a miniature and use that.
The only problem I have is I'm not sure how to go about it. I'd probably soak it for a day or so to make sure the rum has penetrated the plug fully then let it air dry for a bit.
The supermarket that delivers my groceries doesn't have any rum miniatures so next time I'm in town I'll pick one up and give it a go.
 
Mar 13, 2020
2,201
22,117
30
missouri
The only time I've done this was recently, when I mixed JF Germain's Rich Dark Flake and Brown Flake 50/50. I thought it might be interesting but the result was a waste of time and I didn't really enjoy it.

Not mixing per se but I have been giving some thought to soaking some Germain's RDF, Brown Flake, Full Virginia Plug and St James Plug in rum. I can't drink anymore so I'd just buy a miniature and use that.
The only problem I have is I'm not sure how to go about it. I'd probably soak it for a day or so to make sure the rum has penetrated the plug fully then let it air dry for a bit.
The supermarket that delivers my groceries doesn't have any rum miniatures so next time I'm in town I'll pick one up and give it a go.
That sounds interesting. I'd be curious as to how it turns out.
 
Jun 9, 2018
2,956
9,684
121
England
That sounds interesting. I'd be curious as to how it turns out.

When I get round to it I'll post the results. I'll probably just cut the plugs into small cubes, maybe a couple of bowls worth and then experiment with different soaking times and drying methods etc.
To be honest I haven't got a clue what I'm doing but hopefully it won't be that difficult. The sailors back in the day used to do this I believe, to help keep their tobaccos moist on long voyages.
I really love rum toppings on tobacco and it was Salty Dogs that got me thinking about it. Salty Dogs isn't available in England so I thought soaking some St James Plug in rum might be an interesting idea. To the tobaccos I've already mentioned I'll add Kendal Plug and Samuel Gawith Brown No.4 Twist to the list. I'm a big fan of No. 4 Twist and I think a rum topping would go well with its deep, earthy cigar flavour.

If anyone has already done this I'd appreciate any info or tips you might have.
 

alaskanpiper

Lifer
May 23, 2019
7,910
25,201
Alaska
I mixed an english blend. Only mix/blend I’ve made.

2.5 parts GH Latakia, two parts CD Izmir, one part MConnell rich Dark VA, one part Sutliff 515 Red VA, and 1/2 part McConnell Perique.

And by part I mean handful. Tossed it in a gallon ziploc then jarred it for 6 months. Its pretty decent, not the worst english-ish ive had.
 

rushx9

Lifer
Jul 10, 2019
2,299
17,220
40
Shelby, NC
When I get round to it I'll post the results. I'll probably just cut the plugs into small cubes, maybe a couple of bowls worth and then experiment with different soaking times and drying methods etc.
To be honest I haven't got a clue what I'm doing but hopefully it won't be that difficult. The sailors back in the day used to do this I believe, to help keep their tobaccos moist on long voyages.
I really love rum toppings on tobacco and it was Salty Dogs that got me thinking about it. Salty Dogs isn't available in England so I thought soaking some St James Plug in rum might be an interesting idea. To the tobaccos I've already mentioned I'll add Kendal Plug and Samuel Gawith Brown No.4 Twist to the list. I'm a big fan of No. 4 Twist and I think a rum topping would go well with its deep, earthy cigar flavour.

If anyone has already done this I'd appreciate any info or tips you might have.
I've played around a little with adding rum and cognac to blends. My only tips are; less is more, go for a dark flavorful rum (I had the best results with spiced rum), and be sure to let the alcohol evaporate before smoking or you'll experience a whole new level of tongue bite! You might want to experiment with some plug shavings in a jelly jar before soaking a whole precious SJ cake! @hauntedmyst has experience with infusing ropes and plugs with booze, maybe he'll share some insights on the subject.
 

canucklehead

Lifer
Aug 1, 2018
1,697
7,543
Alberta
I've played around a little with adding rum and cognac to blends. My only tips are; less is more, go for a dark flavorful rum (I had the best results with spiced rum), and be sure to let the alcohol evaporate before smoking or you'll experience a whole new level of tongue bite! You might want to experiment with some plug shavings in a jelly jar before soaking a whole precious SJ cake! @hauntedmyst has experience with infusing ropes and plugs with booze, maybe he'll share some insights on the subject.
Yes 100% agree. Think gentle misting, not soaking in liquid, and most definitely make sure the alcohol is fully gone before attempting to smoke it. I have experienced the wet homeblend alcohol tongue bite myself lol.