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 Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco

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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:45 am

Let me start with a disclaimer.  I do not intend to start a discussion on the merits of popular Virginia blends, or to suggest that anyone that enjoys blends that I do not enjoy is in any way wrong or misguided.  That would be silly as I firmly believe that smoking what you enjoy is the only rule in pipe smoking.  But I think my experience with Virginia blends may not be unique and I want to offer my thoughts for others that might be in a similar frame of mind.  In brief, I wish I knew what I know now 15 years ago, and maybe I can save someone some time.
I started pipe smoking back in the mid 1980s and after a year or so of smoking Captain Black I discovered English, Balkan, and Orientals.  For a long time I only smoked in these genres  with Lane's #10 Downing Street, Bengal slices, and McClelland's Oriental Mixtures making up the bulk of my rotation.  I switched to cigars for about 5 years and when I came back to pipes I found many of my old favorites either out of production or somehow less satisfying.  That is when I discovered Burley in all its glory and became interested in more straight tobacco blends (i.e without the heavy latakia or orientals).  I wanted to try straight Virginia tobaccos, and the recommendations were always the same, McClelland makes the finest Virginia blends.  As I've described elsewhere, I can't get past the vinegar topping/casing.  Of course the fans say that is just how mature Virginia tastes so I assumed that I would have to give up on finding something I could enjoy.  I tried a few other manufactures halfheartedly (how could they be better than the universally agreed upon best?) but never found anything that I liked.
In a recent thread Alandadp asked for recommendations for a red Virginia blend without toppings or casings, and some of the replies got me thinking again.  I decided to try a tin of GLP Union Square for the following reasons.  First, it is clearly stated by GLP that the tobacco in Union square is not topped or cased.  Second, it is blended by C&D who traditionally use only distilled water in blending their non-aromatics as told to me by Mr. Tarler back in the mid 90s.  Finally, it came highly suggested by folks here on BoB.  Over the past 2 weeks I've smoked about ¾ of the tin and here are my impressions:
The tin note was the first worry for me.  As I popped the lid I was in fear of vinegar or barbecue sauce, but what I got was a clean sweet aroma that I can only describe as prune-like.  Some might say figgy, but there was a subtle sour depth that makes me think prune.  The tobacco is a loose flake that rubs out easily and seems to have a perfect moisture level.  The method I've been using is to stuff a folded flake and top it with a bit of rubbed out tobacco to help get the burn started.  Overall the blend burns just about perfectly with minimal relights.  On the initial light I get deep sweet notes of caramel that come and go as the bowl progresses.  There is some Virginia tangy qualities here, but nothing off-putting like I get from the McClelland offerings.  The most remarkable quality for me is the creamy depth of the smoke.  This is really very good and a quality I had thought I would never get from a straight Virginia blend.  There is also a spice that emerges in the second half of the bowl that is reminiscent of perique even though there is clearly no perique present.  This stuff is fantastic and I am hooked!
This experience got me to pop open a tin of C&D Interlude, a straight Virginia with a light honey topping that was sent to me by mistake in an order from P&C (they sent the correct item and told me to keep the Interlude).  I've not smoked enough to review it, but I like it so far.  And just this evening I popped a tin of SG Best Brown Flake and enjoyed the first bowl.  Now you might say I was foolish to form my opinion of a whole genre based so heavily on the products of a single manufacture, and you would be correct.  The message I want to send is not that A is better than B, but rather that you have to try both A and B, and probably C before you can make an informed decision.  I'll not be turning away from Burley any time soon, but I'll certainly be more open minded when choosing the next blend to sample.
Mike.
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juanmedusa

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:24 am

Nicely written. There are several VA blends I'd like to try in the Pease, C&D, and McClelland families. Notably Union Square, Montgomery, Briar Fox, McC Mature Va's other than my beloved #24. Thanks, Brother.
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Psmith

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:53 am

Thanks Michael. Union Station has been on my list for a while...gonna have to try it. As oneVirginia and cigar fan to another I want to recommend Capstan Blue and Bells 3 Nuns. 3 Nuns is Virginia and Kentucky but its great if you like old school tobacco flavor. Cheers!
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AJ

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:02 am

I very much enjoyed reading your post. In my opinion it's well written. I'm sorry that the McClelland blends are not to your liking because in my opinion they create the very best straight Va. blends. For me a day without some McC is depressing. However you seemed to have found other sources of Va.'s that you like. I think this is proof that the reason for so many blends made by many different companies is that everyone's taste is different. You also learned a valuable lesson about coming to a conclusion before all the facts are in. I did that for years in my judgement of Latakia blends. After trying a couple ounces I decided I hated it and wouldn't try it anymore. But after a long time I realized there was a whole word of tobacco that I was not enjoying so I made the choice of smoking Lat. blends until I either got to the point they made me physically sick or I would develope a taste for them. After a week of smoking nothing but PS English Luxury I found myself looking forward to having a bowl first thing in the morning. Yes after developing a taste for Latakia I was hooked and after trying other blends I found I really liked them. I still like my Va. blends as well as Lakelands, Aromatics, VaPers, and Burley but now I have a host of Lat. blends to explore. I could kick myself for dismissing a whole genre of tobacco without a proper try. Like you I learned a valuable lesson. You'll find that this lesson learrned will carry over to other events in your life. Even us old dogs can still learn a lesson or two. Thanks for reminding us.  Smile

AJ
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:06 pm

First I'd like to say that was a well written and reasoned discourse and I am pleased to have read it. But sadly on one issue you are wrong and even Mr. Pease has acknowledged this , ALL TOBACCOS ARE CASED ! It's part of the processing done by the original suppliers of raw leaf to blenders PRIOR to their blending. It is what allows the tobacco to burn evenly and stay lit. Try taking some raw unprocessed leaf right off the farm , shred /cut it so that you can put it in a pipe and smoke it and you'll go thru a whole BOX of large wooden matches trying to smoke it!! This casing/topping thing si mistaken by most folks as the SAME thing and it is NOT!! TOPPINGS are ADDED by BLENDERS as part of their blending process to already CASED leaf that they use to make their blends.
As far as the dreaded "ketchup thing" , ANY Virginia leaf that is FLUE CURED and allowed to ferment as part of the production process will contain this aroma but will not taste like ketchup in the smoking. Part of my father's family lived in N. Carolina and were tobacco farmers and I spent many summers up there on their farms and recall this aroma on the flue cured tobacco we took to market.
Being a long time McC's VA smoker, since I first tried their blend/mixtures in 1990, I will admit to being somewhat prejudiced but do respect you for your well thought out discourse of your personal experience. We need more of this. Onward thru the Fog !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Stogiegila

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:08 pm

Its amazing how everyone's tastes are different. I too do not care for the ketchup scent and taste from McClelland blends and quickly transitioned to English and Oriental mixtures that I found were too rough for my mouth. I was and still am a heavy cigar smoker.

I've been really enjoying Escudo and Dunhill Deluxe Navy Rolls and am also toying with C&D Haunted Bookshop to rediscover burley blends and so far so good.

Down the road I will have to re-try some of GLP blends which I initially wrote off in favor of the heavier tasting English \ Oriental \ Latakia bombs.
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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:08 pm

monbla256 wrote:
But sadly on one issue you are wrong and even Mr. Pease has acknowledged this , ALL TOBACCOS ARE CASED !  

I'm wrong on a lot of issues, but not this one.  If you actually read what Mr. Pease wrote, you will find that he never stated that all tobaccos are cased. The majority are, but a significant number are not.  In fact, the following is quoted directly from http://www.glpease.com/FAQ.html

"Q: So, are your tobaccos cased?
A: In some cases, yes. It's can be an important and necessary step in providing the best possible smoking experience, and that's what it's all about, right? Most of the mixtures, on the other hand, are not cased, and Union Square is one of very few, if any, pure virginia tobaccos available anywhere that is produced completely without additional sugars or sauces."

I don't really mind casing and I'm not trying to put down cased tobacco.  But if you try a cased leaf and don't like it, you might want to seek out an uncased version before writing off the leaf.
Mike.
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:28 pm

MichaelM wrote:
monbla256 wrote:
But sadly on one issue you are wrong and even Mr. Pease has acknowledged this , ALL TOBACCOS ARE CASED !  

I'm wrong on a lot of issues, but not this one.  If you actually read what Mr. Pease wrote, you will find that he never stated that all tobaccos are cased. The majority are, but a significant number are not.  In fact, the following is quoted directly from http://www.glpease.com/FAQ.html

"Q: So, are your tobaccos cased?
A: In some cases, yes. It's can be an important and necessary step in providing the best possible smoking experience, and that's what it's all about, right? Most of the mixtures, on the other hand, are not cased, and Union Square is one of very few, if any, pure virginia tobaccos available anywhere that is produced completely without additional sugars or sauces."

I don't really mind casing and I'm not trying to put down cased tobacco.  But if you try a cased leaf and don't like it, you might want to seek out an uncased version before writing off the leaf.
Mike.

There are many "experts" as well as Mr. Pease. This "ketchup thing/casing/topping" has been going on for decades, I asked Mike of McC's,  when I met him at the Chicago show back in the early 90's about "casings" as I know what my family and other tobacco producers did to their crops before selling it to tobacco wholesalers and producers did and he corroborated this as fact. ALL tobaccos are Cased to allow them to be smoked, It's not the same as Topping which is a whole 'nother book!! It all depends on who ya gonna place your faith in !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil And as far as the much vaunted US of Mr. Peases its a good Va but there are many MUCH better and to my palate, it smokes as a cased blend/mixture would. Onward thru the Fog Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Ozark Wizard

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:39 pm

Easy there Monbla256, don't want to pop a rib out of place now...........

Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature... I have some 2012 bright leaf that actually has turned a wonderful redhead, and when I took her out of the press she smells like a zesty tart catsup, I'm afraid to shred and blend with..................

I also came across some 2009 leaf that some old blender gave up as he is no longer a fan of VA.

A Fracking Mazing. All I did was tear a piece off a leaf, wad it up and stuff it into a walnut pipe and hit that schnitzel.

I guess old Vag is best, eh? He was using it for chewing tobacco for his 'help'.....
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:46 pm

Most tobaccos are cased. There are however some raw tobaccos. I don't think I ever smoked one. But they do exist, however rare.
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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:45 pm

monbla256 wrote:

There are many "experts" as well as Mr. Pease. This "ketchup thing/casing/topping" has been going on for decades, I asked Mike of McC's,  when I met him at the Chicago show back in the early 90's about "casings" as I know what my family and other tobacco producers did to their crops before selling it to tobacco wholesalers and producers did and he corroborated this as fact. ALL tobaccos are Cased to allow them to be smoked, It's not the same as Topping which is a whole 'nother book!! It all depends on who ya gonna place your faith in !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil And as far as the much vaunted US of Mr. Peases its a good Va but there are many MUCH better and to my palate, it smokes as a cased blend/mixture would. Onward thru the Fog  Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

The proverbial fog is getting a bit thick.  I know there are other experts.  I chose to focus on the one you misquoted.  I really don't want to get into a my blend is better than your blend type discussion.  That was not my intent.  The only reason I replied to you was because you claimed I was wrong about something when I am in fact correct.  You keep making the unsupported statement that casing is necessary for smoking.  If so, explain Semois? Explain the C&D/GLP blends?  Are you seriously going to tell me that everybody else is lying and I should put my faith in your interpretation of the next expert you try to quote Rolling Eyes  I'll grant you that most blends are cased, but it is plainly obvious that some are not.  All I want to do is help people like myself that bought into the common "knowledge" and didn't realise that there were alternatives.  You seem to be set on perpetuating a point of view that I find to be at odds with reality, so we are just going to have to disagree. Please let's just let this rest now.
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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:04 pm

Ozark Wizard wrote:
Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature... I have some 2012 bright leaf that actually has turned a wonderful redhead, and when I took her out of the press she smells like a zesty tart catsup, I'm afraid to shred and blend with..................

Wiz, you seem to have handeled a leaf or two in your time, so maybe you can shed some light on this for me. I'm assuming you intended to write about Virginias above....
So I've certainly experienced that acetic acid smell (e.g. catsup, barbecue sauce, vinegar) in many VA based blends, and have many times heard what you stated about the maturing process leading naturally to this smell. But if thats the case, why is it only some mature Virginias? Union Square smells pruney, SG Best Brown Flake smells figgy, C&D Mature Red Ribbon smells figgy/grassy with just a tiny hint of vinegar if I really get my nose in the jar. In contrast other blending tobaccos I have sampled all seem consistent. A given burley smells like that type of burley, latakia and perique more or less smell like latikia and perique, cigar leaf smells like cigar leaf. There are certainly subtle differences, but nothing on the order of what I've experienced with Virginias. Why would the maturing process create such different beasts from the same leaf?
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Ozark Wizard

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:36 pm

MichaelM wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:
Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature... I have some 2012 bright leaf that actually has turned a wonderful redhead, and when I took her out of the press she smells like a zesty tart catsup, I'm afraid to shred and blend with..................

Wiz, you seem to have handeled a leaf or two in your time, so maybe you can shed some light on this for me.  I'm assuming you intended to write about Virginias above....
So I've certainly experienced that acetic acid smell (e.g. catsup, barbecue sauce, vinegar)  in many VA based blends, and have many times heard what you stated about the maturing process leading naturally to this smell.  But if thats the case, why is it only some mature Virginias?  Union Square smells pruney, SG Best Brown Flake smells figgy, C&D Mature Red Ribbon smells figgy/grassy with just a tiny hint of vinegar if I really get my nose in the jar.  In contrast other blending tobaccos I have sampled all seem consistent.  A given burley smells like that type of burley, latakia and perique more or less smell like latikia and perique, cigar leaf smells like cigar leaf.  There are certainly subtle differences, but nothing on the order of what I've experienced with Virginias.  Why would the maturing process create such different beasts from the same leaf?

I guess the first reason why VAs tend to vary in their character is like most leaf, how they are handled and cured. (i.e. flue, stoved, sun cured, heat applied or not, etc. Other differences occur in their environment. All plants actually exhibit variations within the same seed source depending on what soil they grow in, how it receives light, water, nutrients, but Virginias tend to show the differences more markedly....

Also, it has been said that 'Purist' tobacco manufacturers will use vinegar to stave off mold on their leaf. That will add that scent that flashes off rather quickly once it gets air.. Another source for that tart sharp smell can come from the fermentation occurring in the remaining moisture in the leaf, essentially, the leaf starches breaking down, which can also give it a yeasty smell...

And, of course, as it has been said, a sugar/water solution during the casing process is generally applied by most manufacturers. I myself have tried using cane sugar and then regular(beet) sugar, and prefer the cane to the sugar beet as far as how they taste in the bowl.

Also, air contact, heat, pressure, are also differences in how each blender works their craft.

As far as why burleys, latakias, etc tend to stay within their lines, it may be likely that there are just more folks prone to play with Vas more than the others. Of course burley is the backbone of most Cavendishs, aros, Kentucky, and some Erzatz Periques..........
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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:20 pm

Ozark Wizard wrote:


Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature...

I...huh?
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RobJ

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:37 pm

idbowman wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:


Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature...

I...huh?

lol!

well not that I noticed...
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Ozark Wizard

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:59 pm

RobJ wrote:
idbowman wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:


Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature...

I...huh?

lol!

well not that I noticed...

(smirk) Just trying to make peace gentlemen....

But yah, the aged leaf I have smells of sweet, acidic tomatoish (Bobism) after a few years... Try opening an aged tin of anything Virginian, think of catsup, and it will come.........
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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:43 pm

Ozark Wizard wrote:
RobJ wrote:
idbowman wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:


Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature...

I...huh?

lol!

well not that I noticed...

(smirk) Just trying to make peace gentlemen....

But yah, the aged leaf I have smells of sweet, acidic tomatoish (Bobism) after a few years... Try opening an aged tin of anything Virginian, think of catsup, and it will come.........
Unless it is one of the ones that don't.
And here I thought you just made a simple spelling mistake back there Very Happy
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Thomas Tkach

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:28 pm

MichaelM wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:
Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature... I have some 2012 bright leaf that actually has turned a wonderful redhead, and when I took her out of the press she smells like a zesty tart catsup, I'm afraid to shred and blend with..................

Wiz, you seem to have handeled a leaf or two in your time, so maybe you can shed some light on this for me.  I'm assuming you intended to write about Virginias above....
So I've certainly experienced that acetic acid smell (e.g. catsup, barbecue sauce, vinegar)  in many VA based blends, and have many times heard what you stated about the maturing process leading naturally to this smell.  But if thats the case, why is it only some mature Virginias?  Union Square smells pruney, SG Best Brown Flake smells figgy, C&D Mature Red Ribbon smells figgy/grassy with just a tiny hint of vinegar if I really get my nose in the jar.  In contrast other blending tobaccos I have sampled all seem consistent.  A given burley smells like that type of burley, latakia and perique more or less smell like latikia and perique, cigar leaf smells like cigar leaf.  There are certainly subtle differences, but nothing on the order of what I've experienced with Virginias.  Why would the maturing process create such different beasts from the same leaf?

Isn't it because they have a high sugar content? I thought there was a thread about 5100 where Scottie heard from the horse's mouth that the reason was because the fermentation of all those sugars.
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Ozark Wizard

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:39 pm

MichaelM wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:
RobJ wrote:
idbowman wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:


Yah, Virgins tend to smell like catsup as they mature...

I...huh?

lol!

well not that I noticed...

(smirk) Just trying to make peace gentlemen....

But yah, the aged leaf I have smells of sweet, acidic tomatoish (Bobism) after a few years... Try opening an aged tin of anything Virginian, think of catsup, and it will come.........
Unless it is one of the ones that don't.
And here I thought you just made a simple spelling mistake back there Very Happy

Bwahahaaa!!

Yah, well, it is entirely possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about.....

Wouldn't be the first time personal experience has failed me.....

lol!
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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:08 pm

I'm not doubting your experience Wiz, just trying to make sense of my own. If, as Thomas suggests above, it is a simple matter of fermentation, then similar blends aged for similar times should have roughly similar acetic acid levels. But my experience suggests that there is a broad range with some blends having not even a hint of the smell. If I remember my biochemistry, fermentation of sugars produces alcohols and carbon dioxide. Fermentation of alcohol produces acetic acid. So yes, you could get some vinegar smell occuring naturally, but you would need an awful lot of alcohol to explain some of these blends. It seems that the acetic acid has to be added, and that makes sense in terms of the pH and the mold prevention you mentioned. It doesn't make for an inferior product and there is no reason to suggest that it is in any way a bad thing. I just think its good to let people think about these things for themselves. But in the end we all need to smoke what we like.
Mike.
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Thomas Tkach

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:13 pm

MichaelM wrote:
I'm not doubting your experience Wiz, just trying to make sense of my own.  If, as Thomas suggests above, it is a simple matter of fermentation, then similar blends aged for similar times should have roughly similar acetic acid levels.  But my experience suggests that there is a broad range with some blends having not even a hint of the smell.  If I remember my biochemistry, fermentation of sugars produces alcohols and carbon dioxide.  Fermentation of alcohol produces acetic acid.  So yes, you could get some vinegar smell occuring naturally, but you would need an awful lot of alcohol to explain some of these blends.  It seems that the acetic acid has to be added, and that makes sense in terms of the pH and the mold prevention you mentioned.  It doesn't make for an inferior product and there is no reason to suggest that it is in any way a bad thing.  I just think its good to let people think about these things for themselves.  But in the end we all need to smoke what we like.
Mike.

Unless they have different levels of microbes in them. No microbes=no fermentation. Maybe the stoving or hot-pressing some manufacturers use kills some of these, while other processes let them live. I don't really know. GLP suggested somewhere (one of his Q&As I think) that different locations/facories have different microflora which may lead to these differences.
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Ozark Wizard

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:32 pm

Well, and other issues could play into that. How it is cased, what it is blended with, etc...
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MichaelM

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:13 am

Good points both. In had not thought about the impact of heat treatment. And certainly components of the casing could have an impact on the bacteria. Very interesting.
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:17 am

With all do respect to all here, this is why I don't talk tobacco much at all.
It's like a court trial with both sides having there expect witnesses and neither side being technically wrong on the surface of the matter. But, after delving into to the seemingly minor or minute details
there's always at least one question unanswered and then it's left to a jury to say ya or nay which
doesn't always get it right as we all know. Strange analogy yes but, it works for me.
And I'm not saying anybody is wrong here, just that so many questions have been brought up that I'm not even sure now. I reckon that's why I just smoke what I like and don't worry about the rest. I'm a smoker not a tobacco manufacturer..........thank god. 5)
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Thomas Tkach

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Age : 30
Location : North Dakota
Registration date : 2010-11-24

PostSubject: Re: Thoughts on GLP Union Square and Virginia Tobacco   Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:41 am

Cartaphilus wrote:
With all do respect to all here, this is why I don't talk tobacco much at all.
It's like a court trial with both sides having there expect witnesses and neither side being technically wrong on the surface of the matter. But, after delving into to the seemingly minor or minute details
there's always at least one question unanswered and then it's left to a jury to say ya or nay which
doesn't always get it right as we all know. Strange analogy yes but, it works for me.
And I'm not saying anybody is wrong here, just that so many questions have been brought up that I'm not even sure now. I reckon that's why I just smoke what I like and don't worry about the rest. I'm a smoker not a tobacco manufacturer..........thank god. 5)

I smoke what I like, too. I just think it's interesting to learn as much as I can about why blends taste the way they do. Smoke what you like and discuss what you like, too! Thing is, I wish I could easily/cheaply manufacture my own tobacco! If I had access to the same steam-jacketed pressed and high-quality leaf that the Gawiths, Mac Baren, etc. use I'd love to tinker and blend and experiment with hot-pressed vs. ribbon cut of the same blend. In home-brewing, it is possible to use most of the same ingredients and process/techniques as production breweries and make really great beer that is tailor-brewed to your specific tastes. Alas, I don't think the same is possible with blending tobacco. All respect to you, too, Cart.
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