Smoking Tobacco (More) Dry?

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beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
So, I unfortunately had a bit of Sam Gawith Brown No. 4 Kendal Twist in a bag, and forgot to jar it. Fortunately, it was a small amount, and I opened the bag to find it was quite dry--crunchy, but not crumbly. I was going to rehydrate it and thought--what the heck, why don't I give it a smoke and see how it is?
To my surprise, it still had the same rich, full flavor I'm accustomed to, and burned quite nicely due to its dryness.
Now, Brown Twist is not your average tobacco, and I'm guessing that if I'd let a latakia or aromatic dry out this much, it would lose a LOT of taste. That said, do any of you smoke your tobacco a bit drier than what might typically be thought of as optimal? There is, of course, a bit of difficulty quantifying how dry something is, since it's a relative term, but the "crunchy" dryness I describe above should give an idea.

 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
22,570
22,065
Carmel Valley, CA
There's a huge range of what folks seem to think is "optimum dryness". I dry most tobaccos down to about 65% relative humidity, and use a hygrometer to check it. I don't have such a great touch for judging dryness just by feel, though that is developing. A number of seasoned smokers say that dry tobacco has more taste, and there are a couple who like to smoke it wet.
Just know that most tobaccos are packed at optimum moisture for shipping and storing, not for smoking. OTOH, if you like whatever straight out of the tin or bag, go for it!
Enjoy!

 

downinit

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 18, 2016
165
3
If the tobacco isn't aromatic you can probably smoke it very dry without harm, IMO.

 

jndyer

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 1, 2012
890
536
Central Oregon
I keep finding that I like most my tobacco a bit on the dry side. Once in awhile I will leave tobacco drying a bit to long and think will that will be a wasted smoke; however, it is even better than before and therefore adopt a new standard for how dry I like my blends. At least that is true for most blends. For example, I find that Kajun Kake is one that I think comes perfect for smoking.

 

stickframer

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2015
875
6
Like jndyer I've found (accidently of course) that tobacco I thought of as too dry smokes and tastes awesome.
If the tin moisture seems perfect for smoking- tobacco is slightly springy and doesn't clump together at all, it's good to smoke. If I let the stuff sit out for a bit, I've found it's great to smoke.
I had the same experience with most flakes. They can be a lot dryer than I used to think.

 

theloniousmonkfish

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 1, 2017
924
449
I like mine a shade shy of bone dry, some more so than others. Seem to get more taste and better burn, could be related.

 

wlrountree

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 4, 2015
139
3
Almost all of my tobacco is just above crumbly. It helps most blends, though I have noticed it allows the perique to really over take a blend with it's spiciness. Have to make myself sip it a little more as it does tend to smoke hotter

 

jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
4,582
3,777
Baku, Azerbaijan
When I started reading the forums, I was seeing "I like my tobacco bone dry" sentences a lot and those sentences were written by the members who at least had 1000 posts. I was like "bone dry? no way". Well, today I like my tobacco bone dry and it is not related to my post count :)

 

perdurabo

Lifer
Jun 3, 2015
3,305
1,571
"Why Dry! The only way to try!

(Codger lifts his leg, farts, smells, and resumes his pipe in comforts)

 

fitzy

Lifer
Nov 13, 2012
2,937
22
NY
I never realized how dry to go until I accidentally way over dried one of McClellands bulk flake and it was amazing.
Now I dry all of my flakes way drier than I ever thought possible. Like the OP said "crunchy" but not to the point it turns to dust.
Also I notice that Russ makes his H&H blends very nicely dry out of the can so they are ready to smoke without drying.

 

colorduke

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 5, 2011
775
1
My taste have changed recently and I've been going through a lot of C&D blends which are pretty dry and dam tasty.

 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,055
8,881
Austin, TX
I do prefer my tobacco to be dry. I don't like it to be dry in the tin though as I think it ages much better with some moisture in it, but I find that if I smoke it while it's moist that it dilutes the flavors. Dry tobacco in my experience tends to be a more concentrated smoke with deeper, richer flavors. I typical dry my tobacco one bowl at a time.

 

toobfreak

Lifer
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
3
I dry most tobaccos down to about 65% relative humidity, and use a hygrometer to check it.
That is a good dryness, JP. About in the middle to lower range of where a cigar should be kept.

 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
22,570
22,065
Carmel Valley, CA
My experience too. I was used to re-hydrating tobacco when I started in 1965, and so when I re-started a few years ago, I was Mr. Hydrator. Big mistake; over did it. And I even had the temerity to suggest to one of pipedoms greats (who runs a shop in my general area) that his shelf tobaccos needed more moisture. Since apologized profusely!
Hope you gents continues to spread the word, as the most frequent newbie question seems to hinge on too moist tobacco (being the single biggest cause of a bad smoke, right up there with awful tobacco!)

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
I'm quite interested to see all these responses! I will keep my jarred tobacco nice and moist, but when it comes time to smoke, I won't fear drying as much as I used to in the old days!

 

mawnansmiff

Lifer
Oct 14, 2015
6,672
4,996
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I too learned that drying my tobacco a little more than usual gives me a better smoke. Some months ago I sliced and cube cut some plug tobacco and let it air for a while in a small pot afore lidding it. As it happens I forgot to lid it afore I went to bed so it aired for several hours longer than I intended.
The next day I realised my mistake but still loaded a bowl...what a revelation that was...it was one of the finest smokes I ever had!
I now regularly air my rubbed flakes and plugs to the point where there is just enough moisture in there to make it pliable.
It must be remembered that though the tobacco might feel 'dry' there is actually a fair bit of moisture inside that one cannot 'feel'. This nugget I picked up from John above.
Regards,
Jay.

 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
22,570
22,065
Carmel Valley, CA
Thanks, Jay, I haven't dropped many nuggets, and it's nice to have one recognized.
The bigger or thicker the slice/piece/agglomeration of tobacco, the truer that is.

 

alexnorth

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 7, 2015
603
1
Agreed! It feels like keeping it a bit moist in the jar would help and then drying a fair bit before smoking. Otherwise the top layer will burn but the rest will be a soggy mess. I tried that too...

 
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