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 100g 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.
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".
**Rubbing out: Roll a little of the tobacco into ball between the palms of your hands. Then gently tease it out trying not to break up the strands of tobacco too much.
4. You smoke too fast because you are anxious. Consciously
slow down and relax. Smoking should be an extension of breathing, gentle
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)
" - 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, 43, 44, 46, 47).
"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.)
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.
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.
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!
fun experimenting, and don't be shy to ask.
Enjoy your tobacco!
(Originally written Sept.1969; updated Nov.2002, extended 2008, 2010)
a Marca Dry pipe:
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