Do I need to press this?

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Alan Dye

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#1
I've come up with a recipe that I want to try that includes:

3# McClelland 5100 (Red Cake Virginia)
1# McClelland 5101 (Dark Stoved Virginia)
1# Altadis Blending Smyrna (Oriental/Turkish)
1# C&D Blending Izmir (Oriental/Turkish)
1/2# McClelland Blending Latakia

I'm looking to create a musty/incense Oriental forward blend with a sweet/smooth Virginia base and just enough Latakia to make it interesting without turning it into a bomb.

I've ordered the tobaccos and they'll be here next week.

I need some advice on blending. Mixing the tobaccos together won't be a problem, but the question centers around pressing and aging.

Is pressing necessary to marry the flavors or will simply bottling and aging be enough?

I'm perfectly willing to bottle it and store it for year before smoking, should the blend need it once completed... In fact, given the quantities involved (6.5lbs) this really is a cellaring project.
 

dmkerr

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#3
Is it necessary? No. But it does seem to marry the flavors better over time. If I blend something for short term smoking, I just jar it and then mix it up again from time to time. But if I were looking to store long term, I sure wouldn't mind pressing it. But is it required? No.
 

Kiowapipe

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#4
I would sample that Altadis Smyrna before dumping it in to make sure it meets muster. Maybe it's fine, but I'm a little apprehensive when it comes to Altadis stuff.
Another source for really good, legit orientals is D&R tobacco. They don't get much glory because they were (are) sort of a cigarette/pipe crossover producer. Some of their turkish stuff is the real deal, though. I'll vouch for their Ramback in particular.
As far as pressing, I don't really know. Pressing will probably change it a little, but I wouldn't think it's necessary. If you mix everything up pretty well and jar it for a year it should be amply married, if not necessarily amply aged.
 

Alan Dye

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#5
Good to know on the Altadis. I've generally avoided their blends, and didn't know it was Altadis until it shipped, I ordered the blending Smyrna from P&C that they use and it ended up being this. Any other sources of blending orientals besides the one Kiowa mentions, or paying for tiny cans from McClelland?

I do have a large copy press built in the 1800's that will serve for pressing. I'll probably vacuum seal it into a large package and put it in that press. How long should I press it for?

(press looks like this):
 

ruffinogold

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#6
I would sample that Altadis Smyrna before dumping it in to make sure it meets muster. Maybe it's fine, but I'm a little apprehensive when it comes to Altadis stuff.
Another source for really good, legit orientals is D&R tobacco. They don't get much glory because they were (are) sort of a cigarette/pipe crossover producer. Some of their turkish stuff is the real deal, though. I'll vouch for their Ramback in particular.
As far as pressing, I don't really know. Pressing will probably change it a little, but I wouldn't think it's necessary. If you mix everything up pretty well and jar it for a year it should be amply married, if not necessarily amply aged.
H&H uses Altadis stuff and his stuff is pretty good .
 

Kiowapipe

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#7

Alan Dye

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#10
Could be fine, I've just had mixed results. Better to be safe than sorry, might as well give it a try before making six pounds of something ;)
Agreed. I'll be tasting the components before they go in. Altadis has a respectable Bulk Balkan 1 and 2, but better safe than sorry is sage advice.
 

Alan Dye

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#12
If I remember right, Smyrna is Izmir.... just an older name.
I think you're right. Both Turkish. I'm guessing that different companies will source from different estates, hopefully getting me some depth. If they are nearly identical during the tasting, I'll probably pause the blending and see if I can find some other orientals rather than just loading up on a single taste...
 

Alan Dye

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#13
Well, UPS dropped off the component tobaccos today. The 5100 and 5105 are sweet, pleasant virginias. I see the 5105 doing exactly what I hoped in muting the 5100 just a touch.

The three turkish/orientals are indeed different.

The Altadis Smyrna is musty, like burlap. Reminds me a bit of camel cigarettes that I smoked many decades ago.

The McClelland Oriental is sweet, pleasant, but with a muted turkish flavor.

The C&D Izmir is dry, a bit hard to keep lit, but has a nice dry note.

I've decided to use all three turkish blends as the flavors are indeed different.

The latakia, well it is Cyprian and it is, um, well, Latakia.

I'm blending today, will press, then jar/store/age and report back in a few months.
 

Alan Dye

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#14
I just finished a bowl of the new blend. Additional ingredient to the ones above is 3# of McClelland Blending Oriental.

The initial pipe was quite good. Lightly sweet, muted, comfortable, a good all day smoke. It will definitely age well. The Latakia is pretty muted, doesn't rear its head up much past the initial incense note in the charring light, but that may change slightly as it starts to permeate the other tobaccos as it ages. It would definitely appeal more to a Virginia smoker at this point. I get some molasses cookie notes in the pipe (subtle spices, dark, sweet -- doubtlessly from the orientals/turkish), and the room note and aftertaste are good. I was smoking it in a well broken in tinsky blasted bulldog.

Initial thoughts are that this is a promising all day blend. Too early to tell where this is headed, but I can tell already that this experiment did not fail...

Were I to do it over again, I might up the Latakia to 1#, but then again maybe not. I have plenty of Lat bombs in the stable.
 

Slow Tri

Is it Friday yet?
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#15
Is it necessary? No. But it does seem to marry the flavors better over time. If I blend something for short term smoking, I just jar it and then mix it up again from time to time. But if I were looking to store long term, I sure wouldn't mind pressing it. But is it required? No.
Exactly what I was going to say.
 

Goat

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#16
Ok, silly question here, but just how are you pressing this? Do you have some kinda form that your putting the tobacco in then putting it in the press? Are you sealing the stuff in bags before pressing to keep it from drying out? I know these questions sound silly but I have no idea just how to press tobacco.

I'm thinking about growing a half dozen plants in my garden in the spring and info on pressing might come in handy.
 

GlassEye

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#19
I saw a tobacco press on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago, also a lot of other tobacco farm equipment; I see so many fewer tobacco farms these days.
 

Alan Dye

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#20
I have a heavy vacuum pump used for refrigeration repairs, something like this one: http://www.thelashop.com/ac-refrige..._medium=cpc&gclid=CJWgxfOpo7QCFcaDQgodUhcAvQ#

I bought it to vac seal mason jars of tobacco for cellaring. I built a vacuum chamber out of 6" heavy PVC black pipe. I can seal three pints or 2 quarts at a time.

Anyway, I've used the pump to pull most of the air out of the heavy plastic bag full of tobacco and then I wrapped it with strapping tape to make a large packet. Then I put it in the press (see picture above) and cranked the press down on it. I'll check it tomorrow and tighten it more if I can, then leave it until after the holidays before transferring to mason jars.

Real blenders do it with a box form, but I didn't feel like building one just for this. Given the mil on the plastic and the reasonably good taping job and San Francisco humidity, I'm not terribly worried about drying in the next 2 weeks while it presses... The vacuum was more to compress the packet before binding with tape, to enable me to get a uniform shape for pressing.
 
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