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Home Blends

Discuss or ask questions about pipe tobacco, pipe tobacco storage and aging, blending, etc.

Home Blends

Postby Nomad » Sat May 20, 2017 3:51 pm

Anyone into making their own mixtures from the blending tobaccos that can be purchased? I got a selection of 25g bags ages ago, and never did anything with them.

I have: Latakia, Burley, Perique, Turkish and Bright Virginia. The first two were from jars in the local B&M, and the other three are Samuel Gawith (from Smoke King in the UK). I also have some Revor Plug that I'm unlikely to smoke on its own.

I'd be interested in something similar to a house blend that Smoke King used to do, called Steeplechase. This seemed to be an English, but not as lively as Nightcap, which I find can be a bit too tangy when exhaled through the nose. Steeplechase had some Black Cavendish in it, which I don't have, but perhaps the Revor Plug could work as a substitute.

Any suggestions for components and proportions to use as a starting point for this, and for other blends?
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Re: Home Blends

Postby FightnHampsters » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:48 pm

I have been interested in this as well. I assume that the mixing components would be available past the FDA deadlines and figured the only way to get something new would be to blend my own.
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Re: Home Blends

Postby Nomad » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:41 pm

I'm in the UK and not very clued up on the FDA thing, but I seem to remember something about blends after a certain date being disallowed. Since these are de-facto not blends, I'm tempted to agree that they would still be available.

My Latakia and Burley were pretty dried out when I had a look at them around the time of my previous post, so I wetted some of those hydrator things and left them in the jars. Just had a look, and the moisture seems about right now, but I found some bits of mould on the Burley. I suspect that this is best avoided, so it'll probably go in the bin. The Latakia looks fine, however.

Anyway, I made up a blend of the following percentages...

Code: Select all
Component    %   grams
Bright Va   50   5
Revor       20   2
Latakia     15   1.5
Turkish     10   1
Perique      5   0.5

10 grams in total, which should be fine for a few bowls.

Probably supposed to let it meld for a while, but I had a bowl anyway. Here are my somewhat uninformed impressions...

The component tobaccos mostly seem to have a rough ribbon cut, aside from the Revor Plug, which was rubbed out quite finely. The tin note surprised me a little in that the Va seemed to dominate, with a hint of the Latakia - nowhere near as strong smelling as Nightcap. Moisture seemed about right with a pinch test. I filled a small-to-medium straight apple (a Parker basket pipe which smokes quite well), and lit it with a match. The charring light went out almost immediately, and it took 2 or 3 more lights with the lighter to get it going. After that, it seemed to settle and only needed a couple more relights for the rest of the bowl.

I would say the flavour was a tad sharp - leaning towards the spicy end of things, and with a lack of mellowness or body that I was hoping the Revor might add. I found some notes made ages ago, where I had tried the Va on its own, and I had written "somewhat uneventful other than a sharpish taste in the mouth between puffs". That sharpish taste was still there, but evident during the puffs as well - not so much at the start, but becoming more noticeable as the bowl progressed. Interestingly, exhaling through the nose was okay - a passable snork compared to Nightcap.

The smoke was quite light but reasonably plentiful. The burn was pretty cool, especially considering I'm a puffer more than a sipper. I got a little bit of gurgle about a third of the way through, which a quick poke with a pipe cleaner sorted out. After that, it puffed away good style until the end of the bowl and left no dottle. Ash was light grey.

Vitamin N was evident. I smoke roll-ups (Golden Virginia), and perhaps don't experience a nic hit from a pipe as much as others might. Even so, there was a definite whack from the velvet hammer.

In conclusion, if this was a sample from a shop, I wouldn't buy a tin. The balance of flavours doesn't suit me - too much spiciness and not enough mellowness. To be fair, it was smoked moments after blending, so maybe things will improve with time. On the plus side, it burned well, and the nic hit was stronger than expected. Given my notes from the Va on its own, perhaps I should try a different Virginia. Similarly, maybe the Revor should be supplanted with Black Cavendish.

Not a bad start. I'll leave it for a while to see what happens with the addition of time.
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