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The Perfect Tobacco Blend!

Obviously the one that you enjoy most,
but how do you find it?

The answer is to experiment methodically; and we would like to help. There are only 6 basic groups of tobacco mixtures, so it is quite practical to sample each type, and eliminate the flavours/tastes you don't like. Buy the Wesley Houseblend Taster Pack covering these basic groups:
Nos. 1, 15, 24, 25, 41, 46, 43, 55, 58 (total of 110g of tobacco).
When you're trying any new tobacco, concentrate on the flavour. If you like the taste but it burns too hot, keeps going out, or everybody complains about the aroma, we can fix it. But if you don't like the flavour then it is no good going on with that tobacco. Some of the most satisfying blends have been made by just "throwing everything together" indiscriminately, but do make sure that you have tried each of the parts of the mixture on its own, otherwise if you don't like the blend you won't know which part you don't like.


SOME TOBACCO PROBLEMS

"Burns hot, giving a sore tongue" - this is usually due to the tobacco being smoked too fast, a very common problem. There are several possible reasons for this:
1. The tobacco is too weak. The smoker does not find it satisfying and smokes it too fast. If you haven't already done so, try a slightly stronger tobacco (Houseblends 24, 25, 41, 46, 43, 15, 52, all a little stronger than medium), or strengthen your existing blend with a plain, strong tobacco (Houseblends 8, 24 or 59). Read about "Tongue Bite".
2. Not enough flavour. The Dutch and some American type tobaccos, particularly, can be very bland. Test the English type tobaccos (Houseblends 13, 15, 55, 58) to see which kind of flavour you like, and add some to your "bland" tobacco if it is perfect in other respects; or change to the new flavour possibly adding some Houseblend 24, or 43 or 25 for aroma. Try No.46
3. You have difficulty keeping the pipe alight. Rub the tobacco out well, it will burn more easily; Or add a small amount of an easy burning blend (eg. No.24). If the tobacco is too wet, let it dry out a little. Read about "Wet Smoking".
4. You smoke too fast because you are anxious. Consciously slow down and relax. Smoking should be an extension of breathing, gentle and rhythmical.
5.  The tobacco is too alkaline. Neutralise this with a little Virginia tobacco (13, 15, 58) which is more acidic, or try No.43 or No.46 – which combine Burley and Virginia or No. 47 (Virginia and Turkish)

Other problems:

"Too strong " - makes you cough or feel dizzy. Try a lighter blend on its own, or mix some in with your "strong" tobacco (Houseblends 1, 13, 26, 43, 55).
"Smells unpleasant" - add a little aromatic tobacco, just enough to smell nice, but not so much that it affects the flavour. About 10% to 20% (Houseblends 23, 24, 25, 26, 43, 44, 46).
"Too bland" - not rich enough. Add the flavour you like. Try Nos. 15, 41, 46, 50, 55, 52, 58. (Read about Latakia and Perique tobaccos.)

BLENDING

Once you have a flavour that you like, you may still experience one of the problems; or you may find that two flavours combine to give the best taste sensation. Now is the time to blend.

Either
Start with the best flavour
and add tobacco(s) to correct (if necessary) the burning rate, aroma, strength.
Or
Start with the best burner
as a base and add the tobacco(s) whose flavour suits you best: correct strength and aroma if necessary.

STORAGE

Keep your tobacco in any airtight container, in a cool place, either in its packet or loose. Use a humidrol to keep the air in the container moist, or glue a piece of sponge to the lid and keep the sponge damp, with water. If you use a piece of apple, potato or orange peel don't let it go mouldy. If your tobacco has dried out then spray it with water, using a spray with a very fine nozzle, or steam it briefly.

Although the tobacco keeps better when it is moist, you may like to take out your daily quantity and allow it to dry a little (naturally), then put it in your pouch.

Caution #1: If it gets too dry, you end up with a very dusty residue.
Caution #2: If you dry it in the oven or microwave, you will probably change the flavour.

There are many theories to blending tobacco,
but in the final analysis there is only one true test -
put it in your pipe and smoke it!

Have fun experimenting, and don't be shy to ask.

Enjoy your tobacco!
Colin Wesley
(Originally written Sept.1969; updated Nov.2002, extended 2008, 2010)

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CIGARS - smoking for pleasure/ The Complete Pipe Smoker/ The Perfect Tobacco Blend!
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