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Is it me or the Flake?

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Redone, May 3, 2011.

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  1. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Ok, Yes, I'm a nooby to the pipe a couple of months but I feel like most things I learn pretty quick and read up on everything I do and stay informed.
    I had some issues when I started smoking, asked here and got great advice. Those issues, dry mouth etc, are long gone:) Here is the deal, I really like English toby and feel it is my #1 smoke. Latakia just adds so much flavor over other tobacco's I have tried.
    I have cleared away from allot of aero's but still smoke them since I have allot from when I first started smoking and do still enjoy them time to time. I can taste the rum,maple, vanilla, type casings pretty well in these blends.

    The issue now is flake.... I LOVE flake. I like the look and smell. The tins are cool as is the way it has the folded neat looking paper's. McB Navy's gold raised lettering is real cool. I like rubbing it out and the smoke. The issue? Taste! The ones I have tried so far Erinmore flake, tastes like a weaker McB Navy, OGS..is Ok kind of bland, not huge flavor. I like the McB dark twist roll cake which tastes allot like it IMO. Escudo, is the better of them so far but again tastes allot like McB Navy. Since they all have Virginia and burley tobys..how diffrent can they really taste? OGS is mostly if not all Virginia I thought and Escudo has Perique (Spell) but I cant taste what that is.

    Is it me or me not knowing enough? I kind of doubt it. If its anything like the cigar world I learned then that 15 different cigars can taste pretty much the same with way diffrent prices. The trick was finding a cigar that tasted diffrent than all the rest and still affordable. It's a known fact many cigars are rebanded and labled under different companies. Is this the same in flake or pipe Tobacco's?

    I can't say I'm not somewhat disapointed. I dont have the money these days to keep dumping into tins etc trying to find a great one. For now nothing has topped McB Navy flake. It has the most flavor and stands up to me as a great smoke. I know I have not tried many flakes and thats my point...I dont want to go broke finding out if 85% taste all the same or slightly different. Any ideas on what flake is out there that truly is different and tastes like it? Thanks for listening to my rant.
     
  2. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    Do you exhale smoke through your nose (snork)? Perique and orientals only shine, for me, when done this way. The subtleties inherent in VA and VA/pers makes snorking an added dimension you may need to appreciate them fully. MacB Navy has enough burley to give you a mouth full of smoke...something many VA's are weak on. Might be why you like it best, so far.

    May be you should try some VA/Kentucky blends. Solani Silver Flake, GL Pease's Jack Knife Plug, and Peterson's Irish Flake. All are worth the admission price. All are VA/burs of a sort.

    Straight VA? SG FVF, G&H Brown Flake, C&D's Opening Night. All of these could qualify as full tasting Virginias.

    If you think Escudo is meh, I am loathe to suggest other Perique blends.

    Maybe Lakelands would be your bag...
     
  3. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Thanks for the reply and Ideas. Escudo..i do like. I would rate it #2 to McB Navy right now. The othere leave me flat and unimpressed. BTW, I am a big Snorker and agree that is really the only way I can get taste out of allot of Tobacco's. I do get some taste out of the flakes as I said, but it's too much like navy flake and not as full.

    I am willing to try a few more but like I said don't want to be chasin tin's only to find the same flavor's and spending too much money on what I already had and liked in the first place.
     
  4. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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    The flake will be the flake you dry a bit more, rub out a little more thoroughly, fill with a little looser compression, light fully and evenly across the top, tamp a little more precisely and puff on a little slower. When you get the fill, light, tamp and sip things all going right then a tiny sip'n'puff will make a thick cloud of smoke with more flavor than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs... no - that's wrong. More flavor than a one-armed paper hanger at a fancy dance? Something like that. A lot of flavor is what I'm trying to say. Flakes do not often reveal all with the first blush.
     
    jmit likes this.
  5. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Ahhh... spoken like a someone who has been there /done that. Thanks! This is what I love about this board. I continue to learn all the time. Don't be afraid all you experienced piper's to kick some of us noobies in the ass time to time.:booty:
     
  6. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    Moo brings up the 'gooch' in pipe tobaccos...they can act totally different depending on age, moisture, your mood, yada yada. Most guys appear to agree that a certain level of dryness is ideal. I personally like my blends...there are exceptions... rather wet. But that is the fun of it, finding the right blend with the right conditions...for your own enjoyment. Good luck, wether with what you have, or what you buy next!
     
  7. Bassem

    Bassem Member

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    Pipe smoking in my opinion is an art. Choosing tobacco totally depends on the mood I am in. For example after a heavy meal I enjoy an English blend, early morning with my morning coffee I like to smoke pure Virginia in flake form. before going to bed and as my last pipe, I choose lightly sweet tobacco. I do appreciate the fact that this is an expensive hobby however as a dedicated pipe smoker for over 30 years I have at least 6 to 7 cans of tobacco opened and I do change according to moods. From what I can understand, you like medium strength tobacco specially if you rate Escudo and McBaren Navy as your top 2 tobaccos. Try Medium flake Brown tobacco Wessex or GLP Union Square. Both are very interesting pure Virginia with no additives. BTW I do have few Virginia cans opened and I would be more than happy to mail you couple of pipe fulls of each brand in a small Ziploc bag for you try. Maybe then you will be able to decide if you like the tobacco or not.
     
  8. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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    No no no.... thank YOU! :D

    I find flakes, like many pipe tobaccos, sometimes have some codes that need cracking. Not that you can't smoke and enjoy most flakes without any drama but, over time, you find the right pipe(s), moisture levels, air-out time after opening a new tin, rubbing out vs. smooshing and so on for each of your favored weeds. There are bigger things than nuances waiting to be revealed.

    Pace yourself. It's just like the young bull who said, "Yo! Moo! I'm gonna run down to the pipe shop and smoke a tobacco!" Then the old bull said, "Yo yourself. How's about we walk down there and smoke 'em all?" That's not exactly right, but you know what I mean, right? Work with a tin or two of Escudo for a couple of weeks; try it lots of ways in a couple of pipes. You gotta go slow to find the best of it, though.
     
  9. GlassSculptor

    GlassSculptor Active Member

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    There's also the matter of the strength of the flakes too. Aren't McBaren blends on the mild side? Escudo has a bit more kick to it to me. Not a great deal more but noticeable.

    I've been exploring a couple G&H flakes and so far I like them quite a bit. Brown Flake (unscented) and Best Brown #2 and actually pretty darn tasty. They have a little of the Lakeland floral/incense thing going on but nothing too over the top.....to me anyways. If you're looking for lots of flavor, give them a try.
     
  10. Marc

    Marc Active Member

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    I would recommend you developed your palate first with a pure Virginia tobacco like McClelland's #5100 Red Cake; it's a great tobacco for someone new to Virginia's. Navy Flake, OGS etc. are all Burley/Virginia blends that are topped with a flavoring or sweetener of some kind, pure Virginia tobaccos are naturally sweet and once you learn how to smoke and enjoy them, you'll be hooked!
     
  11. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Great advice by all. Thanks for the help. I am confused over if a flake is wet or not. I am smoking a bowel of OGS as I type this and out of the tin it was pretty dry IMO. It split or fell apart when rubbed out and didnt clump or stick together. After a few minutes in my meer it started to gurgle..the first toby to ever do so in this pipe.
    Overall the taste is good thou, better than my first smoke of OGS. I will try a little air time next time before I pack it.
     
  12. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    If you aren't hung up on flakes, I'd recommend Rattray's Hal O' The Wynd. It comes ready-rubbed, but it's really a good, sweet, relatively strong VA, much different than some that have a mild hay flavor. A little expensive, as I think it's only sold in 100g tins, but worth it, to me anyway. PM me and I'll mail you a couple of bowls.

    McClelland does make some good VA's, too, and Marc knows them well.
     
  13. Marc

    Marc Active Member

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    Rattray's was an excellent recommendation too! Although I have not smoked any of them in a long time.
     
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  14. Mike Pomery

    Mike Pomery Active Member

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    Yeah, these guys are on the money. To put it simply: pack light, leave room for expanding tobacco (at the top or botton of the bowl, prefferably bottom) and smoke way slower than you think you need to.

    Flakes are the cat's whiskers.
     
  15. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Yeah the packing thing is still an issue. I have gone to cutting the size of flakes down since many are too big IMO. I am getting the reason of not packing tightly and not allowing them to get into the bottom of the bowel. this stuff expands allot.
     
  16. Marc

    Marc Active Member

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    Expansion when it burns = flavor! Welcome to the world of Virginia tobaccos! A learning curve for sure but well worth the end result. IMO
     
  17. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    .....sounds painfull!...:oops:....:byg:
     
  18. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Oh it is...my aching mouth:haha:
     
  19. Duke

    Duke Member

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    If you like Mac Baren Navy Flake then embrace the fact that you have found a tobacco you can smoke day in and day out. Smoke it straight out of the tin or consider drying it further prior to smoking it. Try smoking it at varying degrees of rubbing. Personally, I rub out flakes completely unless I’m planning to hike to the summit of Mt. Washington. I prefer flakes because the flake stays fresher longer than ready-rubbed, but my daily reserve is rubbed and dry. Dry because my mouth doesn’t tolerate steam very well, so the drier the tobacco the better- for me. Also, I find that drier tobacco, particularly Virginians and the variations labeled as Virginians, disclose a larger spectrum of flavors and nuances when closer to dry than wet. I discovered this personal breakthrough one day when reaching under the seat of my car for a tin of tobacco(circa 1980). I forgot the tobacco I intended to take on this long car ride at home and I wasn’t about to turn around. I found several partial tins of Dunhill Light Flake, my regular smoke then, in varying states of mummification. Well you can imagine, at first I could have kicked myself in the ass, but what happened was an epiphany, once lit and with slow smoking I found flavors and tastes once hidden. Anyhow, another time I discovered that checking a tobacco’s moisture content with the pads of your fingers are useless compared to the back of your hand. If you ever fed your child a baby bottle you’ll get the idea. You check the formula’s temperature on the back of your hand. I’ve read posts here and elsewhere of folks crazed by dry tobacco- not me. I bet our original poster with dryer tobacco will sure as hell taste the difference between Orlik Golden Slices and Escudo. Just because a tobacco arrives in the tin moist doesn'tmeans that is how it is to be smoked.
     
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  20. Redone

    Redone Member

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    Great stuff..thanks for the info.
     
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