Developing your own home blend

Help Support Brothers of Briar:

Brunello

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
710
Reaction score
280
Most home blenders start out with something simple, like combining two blends that they like half n' half. Say Lane 1Q and something with cherry. They even come up with a fanciful name like Chocolate Cherry Bomb. After a while they think they'd like a variation that is a little less sweet, so they add a portion of some plain Virginia or Burley that someone gifted them that they didn't care for. They thought: "Hmmm.... maybe if I add some of my Choco-Cherry Bomb to this awful Solani Aged Burley that will make something I can actually enjoy." And so the home blender is born.  :cheers:

Now, fast forward to the more advanced stages. Here's an example of how I went about taking RSteve's excellent blend idea, and dialing it in to my own palate. Keep in mind you can always go in a different direction, instead of going bolder like I did, you could go lighter. The key is starting with components that play well together (no casings that clash) and having good bones to the structure (the proportions) both of which RSteve has hot spot on. Here's how I proceeded:

As soon as I mixed together his recipe, smelled the components together, then smoked the blend I knew already that this was an exceptional blend (A+category). But being a tinkerer, I couldn't very well leave well enough alone, for what would be the fun in that? Down the list I went, based solely on the aroma of the jar note, I compared his PS310 against other Latakias I have on hand and decided I wanted to try McConnell's Pure Latakia. Then I smelled the four different Periques I have and decided I liked the rich aroma of the C&D. Then four different dark-fired Kentucky, deciding on John Cotton's Double Pressed which has a really rich aroma. And so on down the list, always keeping the type of tobacco the same, and the ratios the same, as I knew these worked perfectly, just finessing each individual component toward a bolder flavor profile. Keep in mind, his ingredients are inexpensive options that a readily available in bulk by Peter Stokkebye. My choices were often pricier options.

I named his original "Lion's Mane" because of his avatar (posted in another thread), my slightly bolder version I've called "Lion's Roar!" It can be made in trial-size 16 gram batches.  :sunny:

LION'S ROAR!
  • 8 parts McConnel Pure Latakia
    3 parts Sutliff 515 red Virginia
    1 part Krumovgrad Bulgarian Basma leaf tips (instead of PS313)
    1 part C&D Perique
    1 part C&D Burley Mix (half ribbon half dark Burley)
    1 part John Cotton Double Pressed Kentucky
    1 part WholeLeaf natural Turkish blend (I use a wide ribbon shredder, though next batch I may try C&D Izmir which is smelling really rich right now)
 

Blackhorse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
B of B Supporter
Council Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
11,222
Reaction score
171
Location
Oregon City, Oregon - USA
I’m lucky. I started ordering John Patton blends from 4 Noggins...back when it was 4 Noggins. I was going through various stuff they offered on their website, especially the blends that were a mix of VA, Burley, Perique, cigar leaf and Turkish (Izmir). Blends like Crossroads and Oriental Dusk. (Understand that I don’t do Latakia, haven’t for years.) So anyway, there was one blend that had a good looking readout but had Latakia. So I took a leap and ordered a pound of the blend but had them replace the Latakia with Cigar Leaf. Oooooooooo. It was just what the doctor ordered. A balanced blend of Turkish, Virginia, 2 Burleys, Perique and the Cigar Leaf.

I talked it up here and a number of others tried it with good success. So they made it a regular item & named it “Darkhorse”. They sell enough that it’s still offered.

If anyone out there has never had the pleasure...the John Patton blends are very much worth your time. The following three are favorites...

Storm Front: Two cube cut burleys combined with cigar leaf. (This is arguably the best Burley blend in the world, ever. Everyone that has ever tried it loves it. A perfect summer blend.)

Oriental Dusk: Oriental and Cigar Leaf dominate this five tobacco blend, with both Virginia and Burley in supporting roles.

Crossroads: a mix of three distinct Virginias, Turkish Izmir in a minor role, and just enough Cigar Leaf for accent.

And of course the Darkhorse.

 

Brunello

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
710
Reaction score
280
Blackhorse":w4q4wn2m said:
I’m lucky.  I started ordering John Patton blends from 4 Noggins...back when it was 4 Noggins.  I was going through various stuff they offered on their website, especially the blends that were a mix of VA, Burley, Perique, cigar leaf and Turkish (Izmir).  Blends like Crossroads and Oriental Dusk.  (Understand that I don’t do Latakia, haven’t for years.) So anyway, there was one blend that had a good looking readout but had Latakia.  So I took a leap and ordered a pound of the blend but had them replace the Latakia with Cigar Leaf.  Oooooooooo.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  A balanced blend of Turkish, Virginia, 2 Burleys, Perique and the Cigar Leaf.

I talked it up here and a number of others tried it with good success.  So they made it a regular item & named it “Darkhorse”.  They sell enough that it’s still offered.

If anyone out there has never had the pleasure...the John Patton blends are very much worth your time.  The following three are favorites...

Storm Front: Two cube cut burleys combined with cigar leaf. (This is arguably the best Burley blend in the world, ever.  Everyone that has ever tried it loves it. A perfect summer blend.)

Oriental Dusk: Oriental and Cigar Leaf dominate this five tobacco blend, with both Virginia and Burley in supporting roles.

Crossroads: a mix of three distinct Virginias, Turkish Izmir in a minor role, and just enough Cigar Leaf for accent.

And of course the Darkhorse.
Interesting story! Somehow I missed Oriental Dusk, but I've tried all the others and agree they are worth exploring, especially Dark Horse. For some reason I find that there is a dusty/musty note that they all have in common that most of the year just doesn't appeal to me. Then in Autumn, especially in October and November when the leaves are falling, they jump right to the top of my rotation.

I've developed two tweaks that give them more year round interest for me:

BLACK STALLION
7 parts John Patton Dark Horse
1 part Peretti Black Virginia
1 part Sutliff Maduro Cavendish
1 part Stokkebye 702 Burley

HABANA CAFE  (coffee and cigar theme)
11 parts John Patton Storm Front
3 parts McClelland Black Mocha 620
1 part Sutliff Aged Maduro
1 part Drew Estates coffee-infused maduro cigar
 

Blackhorse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
B of B Supporter
Council Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
11,222
Reaction score
171
Location
Oregon City, Oregon - USA
Huh?  Interesting. I’d pin the “dusty & musty” thing on the Izmir + cigar leaf mix.  And your tweaking nudges things a little higher on the cigar leaf scale with sweet coffee added.


And...I totally get the Autumn thing...except for the Storm Front which is still more a Summer blend for me.
 

BriarPipeNYC

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
92
Reaction score
11
Thanks for the very useful information, suggestions, and comments that you gents provided to this forum. Nice that you guys shared your recipes with us. Again, thanks.

I have smoked through a few samples of the John Patton mixtures, including "Storm Front" which is absolutely one of the best, and underutilized blends. I rarely see any discussions about the John Patton blends....and ditto: Wilke's selections of their line premium mixtures. Yes, sometimes these sources of premium mixtures might enter the "pages" on some forums....but a large number of pipe-smokers remain clueless to some fully-parsed mixtures that are readily available. I'll not be judge to their choices. To each his own. But it's their loss.

I especially enjoyed reading through the reasoning behind the "whys and hows" that led to the tweaking of your home brewed mixtures. I wish I could smoke through all the concoctions listed above. Just reading about them makes me curious.

I too, have come up with a few hybrid-mixtures that I think are wonderful (for me), but my experimenting is nowhere near as sophisticated.
But, I do think that starting off with commercially available, professionally blended mixtures, as a point of departure, and building upon this "base", makes a lot of sense especially for those who want to start mixing their own customized blends. Definitely start with a good "base" and then, add some tobaccos to it, like cigar-leaf, perique, etc. You'll be surprised how quickly the old standard, maybe snoozing....."Captain Black" can veer off course and speed into a new, better, more exciting, direction. Be bold.

Interesting stuff....
 
Last edited:

RSteve

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
1,124
Reaction score
208
Keep in mind, RSteve's ingredients are inexpensive options that are readily available in bulk by Peter Stokkebye. My choices were often pricier options. I named his original "Lion's Mane" because of his avatar (posted in another thread), my slightly bolder version I've called "Lion's Roar!" It can be made in trial-size 16 gram batches. ☀️

LION'S ROAR!

  • 8 parts McConnel Pure Latakia
    3 parts Sutliff 515 red Virginia
    1 part Krumovgrad Bulgarian Basma leaf tips (instead of PS313)
    1 part C&D Perique
    1 part C&D Burley Mix (half ribbon half dark Burley)
    1 part John Cotton Double Pressed Kentucky
    1 part WholeLeaf natural Turkish blend (I use a wide ribbon shredder, though next batch I may try C&D Izmir which is smelling really rich right now)
I confess, humbly....I like creating $5 oz. blends from $1.75 oz. components. Just looking at the components of Lion's Roar!, I'd wager that it has a richer, more intense flavor than my original blend.
 

Rob_In_MO

Smoker of Fine Aromatics
B of B Supporter
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
3,972
Reaction score
21
Location
Park Hills, MO
Just in time for the holidays: Rob's Special Holiday Blend!

Tequila and shot of Nyquil added to a mixture of Paladin, Captain Black Cherry, and Mixture #79 - along with a little ground-up Swisher Sweet for that Fine Cigar Leaf 'something special'. o_O
 

Brunello

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
710
Reaction score
280
Just in time for the holidays: Rob's Special Holiday Blend!

Tequila and shot of Nyquil added to a mixture of Paladin, Captain Black Cherry, and Mixture #79 - along with a little ground-up Swisher Sweet for that Fine Cigar Leaf 'something special'. o_O
Somewhere there's probably somebody who has actually tried this! :oops: Oh . . . you were serious??? 🥴
 

Brunello

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
710
Reaction score
280
On St. Paddy's Day I went through a bunch of Peterson Aromatics that have been sitting in a jar since last St. Paddy's Day. Of these the Peterson Gold was the most lackluster. I didn't get any takers when I offered this on my Buy or Trade post, so since I'm stuck with it and don't really need to spend time with it again, I thought about how I could use it as the basis for something new. What it did have was a mildly sweet creamy foundation so I thought I have two VA-Tur blends I already like, but one is bright and one is spicy, why not another that could be a creamy VA-Tur? After a couple of small batch experiments I came up with this winning formula:

Aurum Luminae
5/9 Peterson Gold
2/9 Basma (uncased)
1/9 Samsun (lightly cased)
1/9 White Burley

I guess the moral of the story is don't throw away your meh blends, if you have the inclination do some tinkering and you may come up with something good!
 

Brunello

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
710
Reaction score
280
Okay, Okay, I jumped the gun. I was to eager to post some positive results without really concluding my beta testing. I know, you're all smart enough you were going to wait for the alpha and beta testing from Jim Inks, not to mention the omega final review! ;) But anyway, I just finished trying a slight adjustment that definitely bumps up the interest and adds a slight penetrating note on the retrohale to cut through all that creaminess. This will be the final version primarily because I've now used up all my Peterson Gold, but it is good enough and distinctive enough to have earned its own jar on my shelf of favorites! The F&T is another one that isn't quite a star performer by itself, so this combo was a win-win for me!

Aurum Luminae
(final version)
5/9 Peterson Gold
1/9 Fribourg & Treyer Golden Mixture
1/9 Basma
1/9 Samsun
1/9 White Burley.
 
Top