What Degree of Leaf Strength?

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
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Strength in individual leaf and blends is often rated in online tobacco listings and other places. It is imprecise, but certainly differences are detectable, going from nicotine that gives some a buzz and makes others sick, and some throw up, down to tobaccos so mild, they not only don't impart any sense of nicotine but impart little flavor. I have tried some stronger tobaccos, Tambolaka (sp?) and black rope among them, and more widely used stronger blends like Nightcap, C&D Bayou Night, Billy Budd and others. I've come back around to including a number of milder tobaccos in the rotation both aros and non-, and I still like Tabac-Manil Semois in thick and medium cut, which is a sturdy burley variant. What do you look for, and what do you avoid, and how do you alternate between what you consider stronger and milder blends, if you do? Tobacco and blend strength, what moves you?

 

jeff540

Member
Jan 25, 2016
257
75
Milder blends in the morning or on emptier stomach. Stronger only after dinner, if at all. For the most part, the stronger blends I've experienced don't taste very good to me either.
A few exceptions are the recent Wessex and Sam Gawith flakes I bought. They still taste decent, but seem to be stronger than I recall. For instance, I bought a few tins of FVF flake last year for the first time since 2009, and I noticed that the "new" FVF is darker, cut thicker, and not nearly as sweet. Stuff from 2009 and prior you could open the tin and be greeted with sparkly sugar coated flakes of goodness. New stuff, not so much.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
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I think the challenge of strong blends is tempting, kind of an adventure, to see how you do with them. If you tolerate some of them, then I think you become critical, like some and dislike others, and are then in a position to reconsider milder blends and their separate virtues. Just bearing up under a lot of nicotine, unless you really need that, isn't a continuing draw after a while, in my experience.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
2,954
7
The pipesmagazine tobacco reviewer before Mr. Weiss called high nicotine folk thrill seekers. Within 3 or 4 years of starting with the pipe I began smoking these blends most of the time. Blends like Escudo remained in rotation, but I sought out the strong regularly. Flavor and strength are are the main characteristics sensed by the palate, and it makes no sense to say that they need cooccur for a satisfying smoke. But I felt this way and I can't say why.
As nicotine has the major physiological impact, I have to wonder if my mania for Dark Flake, sometimes smoking it for weeks exclusively, was at least partly responsible for me needing to take tobacco early retirement.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,725
68
I only smoke the stronger blends in the evening, and I prefer them with an alcoholic drink. So I don't smoke them everyday.

If I get the time to smoke 2-3 bowls in one day, medium nic blends provide more than enough nicotine to keep me satisfied. Some days I don't get to smoke a pipe at all, so I turn to cigarettes, which I'm not very happy about, but they are difficult to let go completely. Some day I will.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
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1,672
About a third of the blends I smoke have no discernible nic, and another third have low nic, and only about a third are strong. I enjoy a buzz now and then, but I sometimes avoid it as a distraction and go for little or none. I've never smoked cigarettes, except as a child, and later as a teenager, just on occasion with friends. So far, I haven't been particularly susceptible to nicotine. I'm happy with a bowl or two a day, and sometimes none if I get busy. Having the choice is good.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,688
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I do prefer to smoke the heavy hitters at night just before bed, so that when that "feeling" comes on, I can just close my eyes and go to sleep. The nausea comes mainly from forcing yourself to stay awake, which is fighting what the tobacco is trying to do to you.

If I do not want to go to sleep in the afternoon, I avoid smoking the heavy hitters in the afternoon. Simple, simple.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,985
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Yes, with a full-strength blend, bedtime is the best time. My first tin of Nightcap, I loaded up a big bowled pipe and smoked it on the porch after a long day. This tin was full strength. I didn't feel poorly, but I definitely got the buzz and shuffled off to bed. Good timing.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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I first tried a rope while setting on the back deck, and soon after was awakened by my wife asking me, "You gonna sleep out here in the rain all night?" :puffy:

 

lotharen

Member
Jul 26, 2016
177
0
I can't smoke the heavy hitters....heck, I can't even attempt medium strength. I get really sick from the nicotine hit. I just bought some new tobacco blends hoping they are low nic, turns out most are aromatic's. I'm trying Molto Dolce, H&H Classic Burley Kake and Mac Baren 7 Sea's Royal.
This is my first real attempt since I had surgery roughly 2 years ago. Fear of that nicotine sickness has kept me from them. It's so weird it affects me like that.
@mso489 wouldn't mind a list of your no hit to light tobaccos so I can try them at some point.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,985
1,672
Some of the ones that I enjoy that might be too light for many would be Stillmans Mixture from Iwan Ries, Sir Walter Raleigh Aromatic the old time codger blend, Nat Sherman 536 one of the refined English blends, and C'est La Vie from PC, a pouch vanilla aromatic. But there are many, many of these. Just look for extra mild strength ratings, and these are available in many different genres from Va/Per, to English, to burley, Cavendish, aromatic and non. Prospect around in the tobacco pages of our sponsors and you'll find scores of 'em.

 

recluse

Member
Sep 11, 2011
146
0
What do you look for, and what do you avoid, and how do you alternate between what you consider stronger and milder blends, if you do? Tobacco and blend strength, what moves you?
My big thing is strong flavor. It doesn't have to be nicotine-charged, but I want a lot of flavor above all else.
I've consistently avoided aromatics for years. I've just not be interested in returning to them, though like most things in pipe smoking I suspect I'll return to them at some point.

 

mityahicks

Member
Nov 18, 2018
285
304
Burley forward blends are still largely uncharted territory for me so I take the stronger stuff as a challenge. I am a former cigarette smoker so Vit N is never really an issue with me, even with frequent days between smokes.
I also tend to avoid the stronger stuff early in the day because it will diminish my tasting ability for other blends.

 

mrmachado

Senior Member
Oct 17, 2018
468
1
Brazil
I like anything that doesn't make me nauseous, and I don't really like to be knocked out either.
When a tobacco knocks me out to the bed, I start to experiment blending it with milder tobaccos to see how it goes.
It usually works out great since I still enjoy the stronger punch from the stronger tobacco without getting overwhelmed, while enjoying the more subtle flavors from the milder one(s).
I can't pick apart the flavors so well since I'm still a beginner though, so I mostly appreciate the combo of flavors overall.
It's also nice because home blending is interesting.

 

pipestud

Preferred Member
Dec 6, 2012
1,742
114
Robinson, TX.
A kind of side note to this thread. It was only a few years ago that I learned from master blender Rus Ouellette that nicotine from pipe tobacco doesn't actually come from the leaves. Lady N is produced and stored in the stems. That's why a lot of "birdseye" blends like 5-Brothers, etc, are so strong.