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 Simple Home Blending

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tiltjlp

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Age : 71
Location : Cheviot Ohio
Registration date : 2009-01-14

PostSubject: Simple Home Blending    Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:32 am

Many new pipe smokers, and some more experienced ones, want to try every possible blend they can get their hands on, which can get expensive, when they donít really know what they like. A less costly way to become familiar with tobacco might be to experiment with a few blends that you have already smoked and enjoyed, by doing some simple home blending. All youíll need to get started will be a digital scale, a notebook, and a sense of adventure. A few purists might argue that what Iím going to suggest isnít really blending, but it can be fun and educational, so why even quibble?

Truth be told, some of my better blends will never be for sale, because they are combinations of existing blends I happen to enjoy. Being partial to many Mac Baren blends, I often layer two favorites in a pipe, and like them enough that I try mixing them 50/50 and trying several bowls that way. Some I just use to accent another favorite blend, such as Robert McConnellís Maduro. Since I have so many blends in my cellar, sometimes I do this to create a new taste from two blends I like but donít smoke very often. This works with blends that you like somewhat, but arenít on your top ten list.

On the other hand, from personal experience, if you have an aversion or a distinct dislike for a certain type of blend, such as me and Lakelands, donít waste other tobacco trying to improve it. And as with Perique, which I can handle only in small doses, be careful how you use it, or youíll end up with a batch of sub-par whatever that youíll probably shy away from smoking. Itís best to stick with blends that you enjoy to some degree. And of course, you can simply add a bit of Latakia or Perique to a blend you really like, to make it more potent, or for a change of pace.

I see a lot of posts on some forums that begin Can I Do . . . whatever? In a nutshell, once you purchase tobacco, you can do just about anything you want with it. There are no rules, other than common sense. And where common sense is King is in using a digital scale to weigh your tobacco in grams, rather than eyeballing it or just guessing. That way, if you like a mixture you come up with, youíll be able to duplicate it again.

The reason for weighing by grams is that different cuts of tobacco, as well as differing moisture content, affect the weight, and equal looking piles of tobacco will usually be of dissimilar weights. This wonít matter if youíre adding a pinch to a bowl, but if you are trying to come up with a new home blend, it really does matter. The simplest way to home blend with existing blends you like is to mix them 50/50. If you just want to add some flavor to a blend you really enjoy, you might consider 60/40 or even 70/30, but itís best to keep it simple.

My two favorite home blends both use Mac Baren tobacco. Chocolate Covered Cherries is a 50/50 mixture of Honey & Chocolate and 7 Seas Red, which is a Wild Cherry flavor. My newest, Cherry Vanilla Rum uses 50/50 Vanilla Cream Ready Rub and Cherry Ambrosia, which is Cherry with Rum. I use a large stockpot to mix the tobaccos very thoroughly, and than put them in recycled Middleton tubs for four to six weeks to mellow and meld, so the flavors are combined. I really like Mac Barenís Honey & Chocolate, which is dark cocoa flavored, and use it alone, as well as adding it to other blends as an accent.

So, if you like variety, and are on a budget, or just like to experiment, you can have a lot of fun, without too much risk of failure, by using blends you already enjoy. Just start off small, making a total of 20 or 25 grams total, to see if you like your new creation. Make accurate notes, so that if you make a winner, you can mix yourself up as much of a batch as you want. And then, if you feel generous, you can post your recipe for others to try. But the whole key to home blending is to have fun.

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somedumbjerk

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Age : 32
Location : Palo Alto, CA USA
Registration date : 2012-08-26

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:09 pm

when doing this, does it make sense to put the new blend in a jar for a period of time to let the flavors marry? or just smoke it right away?
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:08 pm

Wonderful thoughts, JP. Smile

Glad you have an appreciation for Mac B, too: not everything they do is a "win" but there's some stuff they do that's unlike any other...kind of a good thing. I've been enjoying Robert McConnell stuff, too, mainly Scottish Flake, which is my favorite. "Maduro" would be one I have to try.

One thing about the "common sense" part of blending I can only attribute to culinary experience: know your ingredients, the best you can. Learn how and why, even if it's merely by tasting, and measure, measure, measure...adjust, keep notes, etc.

So far I've only come up with one little "safe" mixture, a 12:1 ratio (appx) of Carter Hall to pure Latakia. Speaking of McConnell, the Pure Syrian Latakia is something I want to get a hold of for such mixing. Meanwhile, getting familiar with Orientals, probably through McClelland Grand Orientals--best shot I have, most likely.

Blending is an intimidating curiosity for me. Recipes can be a disaster, and boy is a bad dish especially discouraging...especially if you have to serve it to others. Laughing

Cool
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tiltjlp

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Age : 71
Location : Cheviot Ohio
Registration date : 2009-01-14

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:58 pm

somedumbjerk wrote:
when doing this, does it make sense to put the new blend in a jar for a period of time to let the flavors marry? or just smoke it right away?

Yes, while you can smoke it right awasy, it'll usually get a lot better if you jar it and let it meld for at least a couple of weeks. I try for give mine 4-6 weeks to improve.
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Rob_In_MO

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Age : 45
Location : Park Hills, MO
Registration date : 2011-01-19

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:25 am

tiltjlp wrote:
Yes, while you can smoke it right awasy, it'll usually get a lot better if you jar it and let it meld for at least a couple of weeks. I try for give mine 4-6 weeks to improve.

I agree 100% and have found this to be true in all the blending I've done as well. That 4-6 weeks can make all the difference in the world.
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Kelhammer

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Age : 44
Location : North East Indiana
Registration date : 2012-07-06

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:14 pm

I like to think about things. Neutral So with all the variation in moisture content in tobacco, why do people blend by weight. To me volume would be more consistent. My question here is purely academic. I wonder about this every time I see a post on blending.

Andy
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BigCasino

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Age : 50
Location : North of Pittsburgh pa
Registration date : 2012-11-27

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:19 pm

thats a good point but also the cut of the tobacco would alter its weight if you measured by volume I would think
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tiltjlp

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Age : 71
Location : Cheviot Ohio
Registration date : 2009-01-14

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:54 pm

Kelhammer wrote:
I like to think about things. Neutral So with all the variation in moisture content in tobacco, why do people blend by weight. To me volume would be more consistent. My question here is purely academic. I wonder about this every time I see a post on blending.

Andy

Different cuts will hold more internal moisture than others, and the moisture content will vary by many factors. Blending by weight gives the most consistant results over time.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:45 pm

I've thought about this frequently when I ponder my hand at blending. Water-weight is a bulk of what is picked up on the scale, so what happens in drier or wetter components? Eventually, taste has to follow any blending attempts, and familiarity with those tastes would lend themselves to blending in ratios once weight is secondary to the equation (but not omitted). Theoretically on my end, anyway.

It's why I have to respect and be humbled by a good blender in the end--the things they have to deal with when making their products.

I'm assuming there's methods to determine the relative humidity of tobacco, a gauge or something? That'd help out tremendously, I'd guess.

Cool
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BigCasino

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Age : 50
Location : North of Pittsburgh pa
Registration date : 2012-11-27

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:49 pm

Then again maybe it's like grandma's Chili always has the same components but kinda like shooting from the hip when making the cauldron of deliciousness?

Nah I would like to think the blenders have got er down to a science.

but heck I love to cook and create things why not throw some tobacco together and see what I can make.

Sorry but for me , experimentation, creation, obstacles, failure, success, is all part of life, with out it I'm not living, only existing Like a Star @ heaven
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Slide



Age : 56
Location : Benton, Louisiana
Registration date : 2011-11-23

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:47 pm

A home blend I am enjoying is Newminster Superior Flake (rubbed out) with perique. 80/20.
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funkychorlton

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Location : Berlin, Germany
Registration date : 2013-03-16

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:02 am

Hello. Just joined today.

I am getting quite into home blending, especially heavy latakia/perique combos - trying to make something as great as Nightcap one day Smile

I have a question. I have 100 gramms of Mac Baren Navy Flake which I find not bad but pretty boring and lacking in any real depth or variation. The topping is not too strong but it is still too much to go into one of my usual English or Balkans experiments. I wonder if anyone has any ideas how to make something special with it?

So far I tried a 50:50 with Germain's Latakia Flake, a failure because the two just didn't come together - the topping and Lat just argued over the middle ground really.

My second thought is to add 5 or 10% Perique, which has to help, but I think it probably needs something else with some depth and character too. I'd be grateful for any ideas?

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somedumbjerk

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Age : 32
Location : Palo Alto, CA USA
Registration date : 2012-08-26

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:41 pm

funkychorlton wrote:
Hello. Just joined today.

I am getting quite into home blending, especially heavy latakia/perique combos - trying to make something as great as Nightcap one day Smile

I have a question. I have 100 gramms of Mac Baren Navy Flake which I find not bad but pretty boring and lacking in any real depth or variation. The topping is not too strong but it is still too much to go into one of my usual English or Balkans experiments. I wonder if anyone has any ideas how to make something special with it?

So far I tried a 50:50 with Germain's Latakia Flake, a failure because the two just didn't come together - the topping and Lat just argued over the middle ground really.

My second thought is to add 5 or 10% Perique, which has to help, but I think it probably needs something else with some depth and character too. I'd be grateful for any ideas?


add some kentucky an perique? maybe some different orientals? or perhaps a lakeland scented tobacco. you could call it "drunken granny" or "sailor's panties"
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DrumsAndBeer

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Age : 46
Location : Northern, CA
Registration date : 2012-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Simple Home Blending    Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:59 pm

funkychorlton wrote:
My second thought is to add 5 or 10% Perique, which has to help, but I think it probably needs something else with some depth and character too. I'd be grateful for any ideas?


Try 5% perique, & give it a few weeks to meld. If it's still not where you want it, up the amount of the perique a bit more, with the idea in mind it's much easier to add a little more and it is to subtract it from the batch.
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