My Cherry Mix Jar - I just learned a very important lesson about tobacco

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ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
I have a few jars in my smoking area (a rocking chair in the basement next to an old armoire…) that I throw my "extras" into. By extras I mean the little bit of tobacco left over from packing a bowl.
I don't have a lot of mix jars, but I do have one for every category of tobacco. Maybe even a little bit more specific than that. I have a mix jar devoted to Virginia's, English, vanilla aromatics, cherry aromatics, etc.
The cherry mix jar is the first one I started, so it's the oldest I have.
I was going through my collection today and opened up each of my mix jars to take a whiff. The cherry mix smelled great. It's a nice rainbow of tobacco colors with all the different tobaccos that have been tossed in there.
I took a pinch to feel. I thought it was dry as a bone. I don’t mean "turn to powder" dry, but my in-expert opinion considered it ruined.
I figured screw it. I'm not throwing it out. I paid good money and I'm going to squeeze every penny of it out. The worst thing that could happen is that it was nasty and I dumped the half burned bowl into the trash.
Honestly, the taste was way less than awesome. I won't call it bad, but I really didn't enjoy it at all. It wasn't some magical "OMG - how did this random tobacco end up so good" experience.
What I did find out though was: I've been smoking my tobacco way to moist.
This stuff was this best burning bowl ever. I've packed five different bowls of it now just to make sure I didn't have some kind of unicorn moment when packing. Five times is enough that it's not an accident.
The moral of the story for newbies like me is that it may be a good thing to let your tobacco dry a little more than you think is "right".
I don't have the luxury of having anyone close to me that smokes a pipe. Everything I've learned has been through words on these forums and the internet. It's hard to capture how tobacco smells and feels. The feel here is what is particularly of concern.
The moisture content is what I'm talking about here, but feel really is a large part of the experience.
There are many different "methods" for packing a bowl. The difficult part to capture is how it feels when you are doing it. Even if you watch it; it's hard to get the feel of it (so to speak).
Some of the most helpful tips I've had go into comparisons of feel to things I can relate. An example would be: "Filling the bowl and compressing until it feels like day old sponge cake".
So please, for my own sake, share your experience with how moist/dry your tobacco is when you smoke it. Please don't describe it in terms of time. That's going to vary based on a lot of environmental factors. If you can, describe it by how it feels when it's pinched between your fingers. Does it immediately spring back to its original form, or does it take a second to rebound.
Well enough words about my newbie discovery that dry tobacco (but not to dry) smokes better than too moist tobacco.
…time to put a little special S&G Full Virginia Flake out for a little extra drying time. Yum.

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,742
3
The moral of the story for newbies like me is that it may be a good thing to let your tobacco dry a little more than you think is "right".
+11
Every tobacco has a moisture level that it smokes best at but drier is better than too moist, IMO.

 

clickklick

Preferred Member
May 5, 2014
1,659
14
Crispy for me. Don't mind if it breaks as long as it doesn't turn into dust.

 

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homeatsea

Preferred Member
Mar 6, 2013
510
0
To me, crispy is it's got a dry feel, but it's still a bit pliable, where crunchy is gonna snap in half
This is exactly the way I wanted to describe how I like my tobacco but phrased much more eloquently than what I was going to try and type.

 

ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
@sparks
Your description fits exactly how my cherry mix tobacco feels in the hand. I think it provides a good metaphor to translate the feel of it into words.
Thanks for putting it out there.

 

mcitinner1

Preferred Member
Apr 5, 2014
4,039
4
Missouri
I've been experimenting with a "Humi-Care Pillow" in a long time open tub of codger that got a little too dry and I'm really liking how it keeps the texture just barely fluffy and very smoke-able. 8)

 

nachman

Member
Jun 27, 2013
229
2
I smoke it however it is and just adjust the way I smoke to the condition of the tobacco.

 

bigvan

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2011
2,193
1
Drier tobacco will absolutely burn better, but you're sacrificing flavor. Personally I never dry tobacco; I've just never had the need.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,955
5,535
Outer Space
To me the best flavors come with crispy. Crispy, crispy, crispy, nom nom nom, mmmmm.... The steam from any moisture in the tobacco interferes with the flavors... for me. You can smoke your pipes however you want, but this cowboy wants dry tobaccos all the way.

Of course, I mostly smoke non-aros. I imagine aromatics need the moisture because that's where they get their flavors. I don't know. Just guessing.

 

brass

Preferred Member
Jun 4, 2014
1,840
0
United States
I like loading my pipes the night before I planning on smoking them. It does help the burn quality. I don't have the discipline to smoke from only one or two open tins. I usually have a half dozen to a dozen opened tins with contents stored in small, bail jars. I don't really want to dry them all out because some would get to dry by the time I rotated through them all.
I am compromising lately by smoking through one tin a week and dipping into the jars based on my momentary whim for variety.
Pax

 
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