Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Smoking Flake Tobacco - What You Need To Know




Whether you’ve been smoking for years or just starting out, it’s important to have knowledge under your belt, or should I say behind the pipe. Flake tobacco is popular by taste, but often one that smokers are less aware of. One of the most interesting types of tobacco, Flake tobacco is full of zest, delicious flavor and lightly sweetened to perfection. Want to know more? We’re sharing everything you need to know, before diving deep into the world of Flake tobacco.

How it’s made

Regardless of what type of tobacco you’re interested in, it’s always best to understand how it’s made. This will give you better insight as to what actually goes into the tobacco, and might also help you make a more knowledgeable decision about what you like. Flake tobacco is made by pressing the tobacco under intense pressure, which allows it to form into a cube. The cube is then sliced into strips called flakes, hence the name. One reason flake tobaccos are left in slices is due to fact that the strips ultimately retain freshness longer. And who doesn’t want fresh tobacco?

Before you smoke, you must prepare

When it comes to smoking the tobacco, there are variety of ways to do it. Each technique offers something completely different for the smoker. However, before you can smoke you must prepare.

1.     Rub Method - Using the palm of your hands, rub out the Flake so the tobacco slowly breaks apart. Depending upon how you big or small you want your pieces to be, you can completely rub the entirely flake out or you can go for a lighter approach. You can then load the tobacco into the pipe, and smoke happy!
2.     Fold Method - Grab a Flake of tobacco and fold it against the grain, right down the middle. Repeat this fold, only this time fold it with the grain. In front of you will should be a square shaped piece of tobacco. Put the entire thing inside the pipe and gently push down with your fingers. Warning! There may be excess tobacco. Trim accordingly and your pipe is ready to go.
3.     Roll Method - Lay your flake down on a flat surface, and roll lengthwise, with the grain. Once again, place your rolled tobacco into the pipe and gently push down with your fingers. Helpful tip: there should be some space between the tobacco and the rim. If it’s sticking out trim some of it off and insert the tobacco back inside.

Unlike a loose mixture, Flake tobacco will often expand when lit on fire. When packing your pipe, it’s important to keep this mind. Make sure to pack it lightly, leaving room for the flakes to swell. All that’s left is to find a flavor you enjoy, a brand that suits your tastes. Happy smoking!
        

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What To Look For When Purchasing Your First Estate Pipe


Although purchasing a tobacco pipe might seem like a simple task, this process is actually a bit more complex than you might think. Regardless of which type of pipe you’re interested in, there are variety of factors that go into finding the perfect one. Walk into any pipe shop, and you’ll immediately be faced with an abundance of questions. Feeling overwhelmed? Not to worry, we have all the answers you need.

When it comes down to it, estate pipes are great for beginners and will provide you with exactly what you’re looking for. These pipes are pre-owned, and most likely have been broken in. Choosing the best one for you ultimately comes down to three categories: Aesthetics, Mechanical and Price. Your first pipe might be the pipe you stick with for the rest of your life, so it’s important you’re knowledgeable when making a selection. We’re breaking down all three categories in order to make this a simple and exciting process for you!

Aesthetics

More likely than not, you won’t know what you like until you walk into the store. Purchasing a pipe is a personal experience, one that I don’t recommend doing for someone other than yourself. Think about what kind of person you are, what kind of look your sport and then pick your pipe accordingly. If you’re into being over the top then a larger, more extravagant pipe might be the perfect choice for you. And if you’re a more subtle person, something a bit more sophisticated would work for you. The best way to know for sure is to head on into the store, stand in the mirror and check yourself out. It may seem silly, but it’s no different than trying on a really sleek coat. If you look good, chances are you’ll feel good and who can argue with that.

Mechanical

Making sure you’re pipe is in great shape is key. Before making a final decision, it’s important to inspect your pipe. When inspecting your pipe there are many factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, the weight. You want to be comfortable smoking your pipe so it’s best to find one that won’t weigh you down. Next, be aware of fillers that may have been used to fix holes or pits in the pipe. Although the putty used is not harmful and will not impact the ability to smoke, over time it may change the shape of the pipe. It’s also crucial that you’re aware of where the draft hole is located. It should be as close as possible to the center of the bowl and should align perfectly with the airhole, creating a smooth airway for the smoke stream. Once you have the perfect pipe, you’re free to buy the tobacco of your choice, and the accessories that best suit your needs.

Price

The truth is, when it comes to the price of your pipe it’s all about personal preference. Although pipes can range in price, there is really no such thing as a cheap pipe or an expensive pipe. Whether you pay $20 or $75, it’s all about how well the pipe smokes. Find the right pipe for you, and smoke happy! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Aromatics vs. Non-Aromatic Tobaccos - Which Should You Choose?


When it comes to tobacco, the flavors and aromas are endless. However, types of tobacco typically fall into two distinct categories: aromatic and non-aromatic. In order to decide which tobacco is best for you, it’s important to you first understand the difference between the two. While one person might consider a specific tobacco aromatic, another would not agree. Opinions often vary and differences are not always distinct. Looking for more specific information on these two types of tobacco? Not sure which one to choose? We’re breaking down those blurred lines, and sharing all the specifics you need to make an informed decision.

Aromatic Tobacco

One of the key characteristics of aromatic tobacco is flavor, and of course aroma. If you’re looking for a sweet taste, or a floral scent this is the perfect choice for you. During the manufacturing process, casings are added to the tobacco, or otherwise known as flavor. Most often flavors include vanilla, honey, liqueur and cherry. You might be saying to yourself,  “I don’t want the sweetness to be overpowering.” Not to worry, the amount of flavor varies. Depending on the amount of flavor added, the tobacco may be deemed slightly-aromatic or semi-aromatic, giving off a much less potent taste. At the end of the day regardless of what flavor or scent best suits you, it’s always important to choose a high quality brand.

Non-Aromatic Tobacco

This type of tobacco is made with the purpose of keeping the natural flavors and aroma a priority. Manufacturers focus on producing the tobacco with flavors such as wood, grass and other natural spices while still offering something for that sweet tooth. Depending on the plant, the amount of sugar varies, which automatically impacts the sweetness of the tobacco. The earthy tones, and clean taste provide a more subtle choice for those who aren’t interested in added flavor. Whether you’re looking for something strong or more mild, the wide range of tobacco options are endless.


Equipped with all the information you need, making this choice comes down to personal preference. When comparing aromatic and non-aromatic tobaccos, one is not better than the other. While some people prefer the sweet flavors of aromatic tobacco, others prefer natural aromas of non-aromatic tobacco. Choose one or try them both. When it comes down to it, the best way to know for sure is to test them out and then decide which brand embodies what you love about the taste.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What to Expect With Aging Tobacco


Aging tobacco is one of the more rewarding parts of a tobacco hobby. Patience is rewarded with a more interesting product, allowing smokers to enjoy different profiles from the same tobacco. Aging tobacco brings open-ended results, and as such, it can be challenging to know what to expect. Newcomers in particular might not know what to expect when aging tobacco, and that’s why it’s important to age it properly and discover what you enjoy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when aging your tobacco.

1.     It Depends On The Tobacco

To start with, it’s important to note that different tobaccos age with varying speed and intensity. Some tobaccos are can improve relatively quickly. They mellow out, they’re less harsh, and they can take on sweeter and more pleasant flavor. Virginia tobacco in particular develops nicely as time passes, but don’t be afraid to try different tobaccos and blends. Take note of what you enjoy and what you don’t love, and it’ll be much easier to know what you want to age and what you want to smoke. Just remember that not all tobaccos will age in a way that you enjoy. Some benefit greatly from time, but if you enjoy the way a certain tobacco is smoking, enjoy it!

2.     Different Storage Ages It Differently

When aging tobacco, it’s important to know exactly what causes it to develop. Oxygen is the catalyst for change with tobacco, so keep this in mind when you age tobacco. A sealed container is the way to go. However, many people age tobacco in tobacco tins, which slows the process quite a bit. Because it’s vacuum sealed, a lack of oxygen slows the development. That’s why a mason jar is commonly recommended. Immerse the jar in hot water (roughly 140 degrees) with the lid on for about up to 15 minutes and the lid will eventually seal. Quickly remove the lid, add the tobacco, and reseal it. It will allow just enough oxygen to let it properly develop, but you won’t run the risk of any outside influences that cause unwanted flavors or appearance.

3.     Check The Same Tobacco At Regular Intervals


Finally, because aging tobacco can bring forth unique characteristics and amplify others, it’s important to check up on it every now and then to see how it’s developing. Every few months, try smoking some of it and take notes of how it has developed. You might find that it needs more time. On the other hand, you might prefer it with, say, six months of age instead of a year of age. Regardless, it’s beneficial to smoke it on occasion not only because it’s enjoyable, but because you might find that one blend has developed a completely unique profile, while another is going downhill. No one wants to waste their tobacco, so if it has developed into the product you want, you don’t have to risk losing quality with further aging.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What to Keep in Mind When Blending Different Tobaccos


There are countless variations of pipe tobacco. Depending on a multitude of factors, tobacco can offer countless flavors, aromas, and more, making it an outstanding hobby. On its own, it’s varied and interesting, but there’s one way to create even more options - blending your own tobacco. Tobacco companies sell blends of pipe tobacco, which is a great option, but many smokers can create unique and flavorful blends on their own. The great thing about blending your own tobacco? You can balance it to your exact specifications, creating a one-of-a-kind smoking experience each time. Here’s what you should keep in mind when blending different pipe tobaccos. 

Learn Different Tobacco Characteristics 

To start with, an understanding of different tobacco characteristics is important. Take the time to try different tobaccos and note their differences. Some will be mellow; others will be harsh. Aromas will vary. No two tobaccos are exactly the same, and refining your palate is both interesting and entertaining. When blending tobacco, knowing exactly what you’re interested in creating is made much easier with experience. Going in blind can be entertaining, but think of your new blends as unique creations - they take a bit of dedication and creativity, and the perfect homemade blend starts with a knowledge of what to look for in different tobaccos.

Start With Established Recipes 

Creating your own blend is exciting, but it takes practice. When venturing into the world of blended tobacco, start with some established recipes. There are countless recommendations online, many of which are tried-and-true. Use these as a baseline for learning which blends you enjoy. Furthermore, because blending is a tricky art, it provides the knowledge you need to appreciate the intricacies of various blends. Think of it like cooking - you don’t start by making a complex meal from scratch. You start with simpler recipes, follow a specific set of instructions, and tweak it to your preference from there. With enough practice, you can begin to make your own blends that are entirely unique to you.

Keep A Journal


Finally, when it comes to blending tobacco, there is quite a bit to keep in mind. From the moment you start blending, keep a journal of some sort and take notes of your experiences. What blends have you tried? What characteristics do you want to enjoy? What recipes do you want to create? Chronicling your experiences is the best way to get the most out of your blending experience, and learning what works and what doesn’t is made much easier. Furthermore, revisiting past experiences is a great way to see growth. Much like wine and beer connoisseurs, forming a strong tobacco palate is an ongoing experience. Taking notes is excellent for seeing how much you’ve learned.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How The Size of a Cigar Determines it's Profile



Cigars come in all different sizes. From Coronas to Churchills and Robustos to Diademas, cigars are available in a number of sizes, and each is unique. They offer different smoking experiences, enhancing certain parts of the process more than others. However, the questions stands - how much does the size of a cigar affect the overall experience? It obviously makes a difference; that’s why producers make cigars of all different sizes. Those differences, though, can make all the difference. Here are a few ways the size of a cigar can affect your smoking experience.

The Speed At Which It Smokes


To start with, the size of your cigar affects the speed at which it smokes. It’s simple logic - a smaller cigar will burn faster, and a larger one will burn slower. Regardless of the size of cigar you choose, your smoking technique will determine how enjoyable your experience will be. A smaller ring cigar burns hotter and more quickly, thus requiring a slower technique otherwise you’re likely to experience sour smoke and a bad burn. On the other hand, a larger ring cigar has more surface area, allowing smoke to cool and create an experience that lasts longer. It’s why many long cigars smoker for quite a bit longer. It’s not just because they’re long; it’s because of the temperature differences. For example, a Presidente which is about 8”-10” will smoke for roughly an hour to one and a half hours. A Corona Grandes or Robusto, which are roughly 5”-7”, will smoke for 30-45 minutes. In general, the bigger your cigar is the longer they are going to take to smoke.

Different Wrapper Sizes Make A Difference

Because the size of a cigar has a direct impact on the amount of space taken up by the wrapper, the flavor composition of the wrapper itself will affect the overall experience. As such, cigars of different sizes will be impacted by the wrapper in different ways. Thinner gauge rings will have a much higher flavor concentration and complexity than a larger ring cigar, but that’s not to suggest large cigars lack flavor. A wrapper is typically the most flavorful leaf in the blend and an increase in flavor is largely due to the ratio of the wrapper to the rest of the tobacco. Of course, the tobacco used for the wrapper is the ultimate measure of flavor, but various sizes will most definitely impact the overall profile.

How You Personally Smoke Them Matters


Finally, your personal smoking habits will affect the way you smoke cigars of different sizes. For example, if you tend to smoke Double Coronas, chance are you’ll get through a Panatela quickly. Taking bigger pulls from smaller cigars can cause them to overheat, which negatively impacts their flavor profile. Great tasting cigars, regardless of size, can taste bitter and smell unpleasant if you are power-puffing too quickly. As such, take note of your own smoking habits when trying a new size. A great cigar can quickly be marred by overheated tobacco, so pay attention and figure out what works well for you.