Re-hydrate? eh, not so fast.

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by WrightwoodJohn, Apr 21, 2013.

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  1. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    Last night after a nice dinner I was thinking a bowl of NC. Much to my disapointment the sub-standard jar which held the last few bowls of that tabac let me down, the NC was dry, I'm talking dead creosote bush from the Mojave desert dry. Ya, what the hell I loaded a bowl anyway...blah! Sure it stayed lit well but who cares? Once the essential oils are dried up that's it.
    Yes there is a jug of distilled water next to my cabinet, but it's used to maintain the tobacco. Rehydrate? I just don't buy it.
     
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  2. David Emond

    David Emond Active Member

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    Some say that if you put the toby in a bowl and cover the bowl with a moist scott towel or a cloth for a few hours the toby will take some of the moisture but it wont be like when you got it.
     
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  3. DanielMelange

    DanielMelange Member

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    I dunno, I've had a few mighty fine smokes of tobacco which was essentially dry as a tinderbox by loading up a bowl and exhaling a few times through it (while cupping my hand above the top so none blows out) letting my breath do the rehydration.

    Rehydrate, I do buy it! ;)
     
  4. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    Out of curiosity, are you going to rehydrate the rest of that tobacco to see what it's like?
     
  5. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    ya, well, eh... here's where it gets ugly. Said tabac & container are already out at the curb.. it was only about 3 bowls, honest OC !
     
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  6. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    I guess you are too far away from The Waugh to be under it's influence.
     
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  7. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    I agree, once the essentials oils have dried up rehydration will not bring back the flavor profile of any tobacco to what it once was, better to maintain moisture level from the beginning... I find this to be especially true of McClelland Virginias, the drier they get the less flavor they deliver...
     
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  8. Taco

    Taco Member

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    I think it is worth remembering that the volatile essential oils from the tobacco leaf are pretty much gone after the curing process (especially if the curing process involves flue curing and/or stoving). The oils that remain are typically non-volatile, such as nicotine. Over the course of weeks and months at room temperature, these oils aren't going to dissipate at an appreciable rate even in a tin with a poor seal. This leads me to believe that low water content and the concomitant hotter burning characteristics are a more likely cause of poor flavor than the absence of essential oils. Therefore I would endorse a re-hydration protocol.
     
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  9. MarkinCA

    MarkinCA Member

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    Question (and up for anyone to answer): What type(s) of curing process would then allow tobacco leaves to retain their volatile essential oils following the conclusion of the curing process? And, what brands use these particular tobacco leaves in their blends? Hope the questions are clear...
     
  10. Buckshot

    Buckshot Member

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    Interesting topic. The absence of essential oils concept is a hard concept to argue. It makes perfect sense to me that if the essential oils are gone then some or most of the original flavors would be gone too. Having said that, my experience has been to the contrary. As far as I can tell anyway.

    I bought some tins of C&D Byzantium and Pirate Kake in the late 1990's. I kept them hydrated as I saw fit for a year or two and then I gave up pipe smoking. When I gave up smoking I also gave up taking care of those tins. I use mason jars now but back then I kept my blends in their original opened tins. They sat unattended to in those opened tins for right around a decade. Last Fall I decided to re-hydrate them because I got back into pipe smoking. The Pirate Kake didn't really dry out all that much but the Byzantium was toast.

    After re-hydration they both seem to taste the same as I remember them tasting but perhaps that decade has fogged my memory to some extent.
     
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  11. Glenn

    Glenn Active Member

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    I have never had an issue with rehydrating tobacco. I have never had to pitch any. I have done nearly full tins and also small amounts with no issues.
     
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  12. Jeebs

    Jeebs Active Member

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    Another advantage fot living in the deep south....lots of humidity...I can sit dried out tobacco outside and get as much moisture back in as I want.
     
  13. Buckshot

    Buckshot Member

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    Does it taste the same afterward?
     
  14. Jeebs

    Jeebs Active Member

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    Yes..... I go far far north everyweek...if I don't have a good seal on my jars, baccy will dry out ....when back home, I take lid ofg and let moisture return to baccy as needed.
     
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  15. Trauma

    Trauma Active Member

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    I think the effectiveness really depends on the tobacco itself, how it's topping was applied (if any) and how long it's been dry. I've never really had any issues with the paper towel bowl trick.
     
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  16. Jeebs

    Jeebs Active Member

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    Your way will work well...
     
  17. Taco

    Taco Member

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    Regardless of the curing process used, all tobacco undergoes drying to remove most of the water. During this process the most volatile chemicals in the leaves will also evaporate. The only way to capture these components would be to directly extract or steam distill the fresh plant material. I suppose one could take the essential oil collected in this manner and add it back to a finished tobacco product, but I have never heard of this being done.

    Oils of slightly lower volatility would be driven off by heating the leaf during curing. Therefore, my guess would be that flue curing and sun-drying would cause greater evaporation of these volatiles than would air-drying. So perhaps air-dried burley would retain higher amounts of these chemicals. This would make sense to me, however it is mostly speculation as I am very far removed from first-hand knowledge of tobacco processing protocols.
     
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  18. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    I am somewhat suspect about the quality of tobacco that has dried out, although I have rehydrated some stuff and thought it was OK. I suppose it's not a quantitative test, but I can take a few tobacco blends (maybe 4), dry out 4 samples and keep 4 hydrated. Then re-hydrate them and send the hydrated and the re-hydrated randomly marked to 4 people to see if people can tell the difference. I guess I need 4 volunteers.
     
  19. DanielMelange

    DanielMelange Member

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    The consummate scientist. I like this idea!
     
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  20. DMWyatt

    DMWyatt Member

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    With some specific criteria for judging, I would have no problems subjecting my tongue to such an exercise. I have to wonder though, if the likely result wouldn't be that we simply get an idea of the different manners in which each test subject tastes tobacco to begin with.
     
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