How dry should the tobacco be?

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Captain Eight, Jan 22, 2012.

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  1. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Maybe this should go in the "ask an old fart" section, but it struck me that maybe people like their tobacco with different moisture content and maybe everyone has a different opinion.

    I'm a very new pipe smoker, but personally, I have been noticing that I prefer my tobacco much drier than what it comes out of the tin. In fact, it's been quite an epiphany to me: I've been doing it wrong all this time, the tobacco has been too moist. If I let it sit in front of my laptop fan, or spread out on some paper in the sun for ten minutes, that usually does the trick.

    I find that the burn is much better and requires no - or very few - relights, and the tongue-bite is significantly less, even with sweet aromatics. I also think the flavour is much improved. Much less of that dank, musty taste that reminds me of an old-folks home.

    So all in all, I prefer my tobacco to be pretty dry. Not crackling, crisp bone dry so that it turns into powder in your fingers, but nowhere near as moist as it is straight out of the tin.
     
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  2. dhintonca

    dhintonca Member

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    That's quite a common finding, Captain -- and in my experience the time needed (if any) varies with both the tobacco and the pipe! It sounds to me as though you're getting the right texture!
     
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  3. user1975

    user1975 Active Member

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    +1!
     
  4. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    Quite right, Cap'n. Rare is the tobacco that comes straight out of the tin at the right smoking humidity, and that's good, because I think it keeps better when it's a little moist. Depending on the tobacco, I generally let them sit and air out for at least 15 minutes and as long as an hour or two if it's a particulary wet flake that I haven't rubbed out. In the latter case, I'm more likely to put said flake into my tobacco interrogation room (an aluminum ashtray under a gooseneck-style incandescent desk lamp) for ten minutes or so, as my patience and planning aren't that good.
     
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  5. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    With the exception of a couple McClelland and Sam Gawith blends, I prefer all tinned blends as is, as packed by the manufacturer. The important thing, though, is what do you like? It's a subjective thing...
     
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  6. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    I smoke most tobaccos fresh from the pouch, tin or tub and on occasion I may let a tobacco breathe for 10-15 minutes if overly moist, but I never purposely dry out a tobacco before I smoke it, why would I want to smoke stale, dry tobacco?
     
  7. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Thanks for the opinions guys. Sounds like we've got a few from either side of the fence. I guess it depends a lot on what you're smoking too.

    I tired my new trick (drying out the tobacco before packing) last night with an aromatic blend I never liked before (W.O.Larsen Simply Unique) and that's the first time I smoked the stuff without it going out constantly and biting the hell out of my tongue. So it was all good. Definitely the way I like it.
     
  8. IrishRover

    IrishRover Active Member

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    That's the way I like it too. When the tobacco isn't necessarily sticking together, nor crumbling but, just falling apart after squeezing it between fingers.
     
  9. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    There is only one correct answer to your title question and that is, As Dry As It Needs To Be.

    It's sort of counter-intuitive to dry tobacco. Dry tobacco should burn hot and fast. Most of us have smoked a stale cigarette or cigar in our day. Well, a lot of pipe tobacco is different. Virginias, in particular.

    I experiment with each new blend until I get it to its optimal moisture content for my taste. Tobacco should be as dry as it needs to be to smoke well for you! :th1:
     
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  10. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Well I just had another bowl of that W.O.Larsen Simply Unique - dried.

    I've gotta say this completely changes the game. It's gone from one of my most disliked to one of my faves. The whole dank taste has gone, it doesn't give me tongue bite any more (understandable I guess: I can imagine that moist tobacco burns a lot hotter, if for no other reason than you have to puff like a dragon just to keep the stuff lit up), and it doesn't keep going out. I'm pretty sure this is how it's supposed to be. It's still a bit sweet for my personal tastes, but I'm sure that's just the style of the tobby.

    Can't wait to try some of the others in my collection that I'd put away and poo-pooed after just one or two bowls, thinking they weren't any good.
     
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  11. TRAVIS

    TRAVIS Member

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    If you think it's dry enough leave it out a bit longer. It can completely change a tobacco. Mac B vanilla creme for example, shocking damp but dry it out and wow it's like a whole new tobacco. :)
     
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  12. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    That's one of the ones I actually have, that I thought was woeful. Just bad tongue bite and dank, sweet ugh. I'd like to try it again, more dried out. I'm sure it will be very different. It was almost soggy out of the tin after all!
     
  13. TRAVIS

    TRAVIS Member

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    Yes dry some out i'm sure you'll think differently after the first puff or two.
     
  14. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    How much salt/spices do you add to your entre'?

    Experiment!

    Drier does seem to have a less fussier burn and smoke but if too dry, it can burn too quick and less flavors than less dry leaf. Bottom line, experiment! Pipe smoking is very pragmatic. If it works, do it! If it works real well, do it often! If it feels good,.......oh wait this comment exceeds the "PG" rating of this forum, sorry ;)

    Ed
    Puff
     
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  15. zwolanek

    zwolanek Member

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    This is my first post. GREAT forum. I'm delighted I found it.

    I just lit up some GLPease Haddo's Delight that would be dry by anyone's standards. I had about a half ounce that sat in a zippered pouch in the back of a drawer for at least a year. It's February in Wisconsin, so it is DRY.

    AND I LOVED IT.

    I like my cigars at about 60% humidity, or less. I dry all my pipe tobaccos at least a day. Some I've had to put in a sunny window for three days before they would smoke for me. And I prefer meers.

    So, as others have commented, it is personal taste and your smoking habits. I am a very slow smoker. Most robustos last me more than an hour and fifteen minutes, and most medium bowls last me close to an hour. I'm amazed to watch others finish a bowl in fifteen minutes - it hurts my mouth just to watch it.

    So my conclusion is that if you smoke fast, the humidity will work for you. Conversely, slow folks like me probably need things dry. Come to think of it, I stop smoking altogether in July and August. It's humid here then, so all my pipes gurgle and my cigars explode.
     
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