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.

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