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Amateur Blending?

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Amateur Blending?

Post  kilted1 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:38 pm

What could I mean by that?

Well I think most pipe smokers have tried it at one time or another to varying degrees. Admit it, you've fussed with your tobaccos, adding a pinch of this or that to a mixture to see how it suited your fancy. Maybe you took it a step or two beyond that and blended several blends together and let them stew for a couple of weeks eagerly awaiting the results. Perhaps you went even further and ordered or purchased 'blending tobaccos' in hopes of producing a reliable substitute for Balkan Sobranie's 759.

We'd love to hear about your successes and failures.

My own experience:

I began by mixing other mixtures together, I don't recall exactly what I started with or any specific results. I recall with fondness that some were a moderate success and others resembled something my enthusiast dog had rolled in whilst out in the woods.

As my interest in blending grew, I began seeking the advice of others, understanding of course that this was a somewhat dubious exorcise as blending for profit often necessitates carefully guarded secrets, ceremonies and handshakes. There are some great things to read on the subject, and careful and creative reading of publicly available resources can bring one to a more collective and comprehensive 'knowledge' of the subject. Greg Pease is actually quite candid in a very general way about the art of blending, though when questioned more directly on the subject he retreats into his private laboratory (ok not really) There are many other resources out there, some helpful some not for the finding.

I was approached by a business owner (B&M tobacconist) and asked if he were to supply me with blending tobaccos would I be interested in developing some mixtures for his shop! Wow! What an opportunity I thought at the time. He had been blending some on his own and welcomed my input on samples he'd sent me for critiques. He suggested that I purchase a precise digital scale and begin blending small controlled batches, keeping specific notes as to what went in the mix by weight, what other things I might have done during preparation (stoving etc) how long it had been aged and under what conditions.

I must say, it was a real education into the finer art of tobacco blending, and I've only explored the very basics. I know next to nothing about casing, topping, or pressing of tobaccos and have only worked with "pre-cured" blending tobaccos from C&D, Lane, McClelland etc. I've had modest success and had the good fortune to have had some samplings tested by enthusiastic persons whom I will not disclose.

The tobacconist I mention has since sold the B&M to someone else and moved on to other things. At some point in the future, I intend to share some of those blending efforts with this community, I'll share the recipes and other 'blending notes' so that those curious can try it for themselves.

All that would really be required would be jars for storing your blends, a good scale in grams (I recall paying about $70 US for mine) a mixing bowl (probably NOT one your wife wants to use for cooking) and a dark cool place to store your wares.

I promise you, you will have some good results and some bad ones, but the knowledge you will gain in the process will enrich your appreciation of our hobby greatly. It does not have to consume a huge amount of your time, and like 'home brewing' of beer or coffee can yield you results you'll be proud to share with friends.



Number of posts : 42
Age : 57
Location : North Georgia Mountains
Registration date : 2008-08-09

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