What about these Virginias could be irritating my body?

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WarneOut

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I've realized in my short time as a pipe smoker that I have a weird body that is highly sensitive to many tobaccos that other people find to be fine or even delicious.

This particular query is about an extreme problem with several Virginias. When I first started with a pipe, a couple of the first tobaccos I tried were Luxury Navy Flake and Luxury Twist Flake. For whatever reason, the smoke from these tobaccos was so starkly irritating to my body that I could not even get through a single charring light. The second the smoke touched my mouth was massive full on tongue bite, an irritation of my inner ears, and a big spike in my tinnitus. Basically full body rejection. I tried them fresh, well dried, microwaved, rubbed out, folded and stuffed, same result with every preparation method. I almost quit smoking right there, but thankfully tried an English blend later and really enjoyed it.

At first I thought I had a problem with Virginia dominant blends in general, yet later still decided to buy and try Old Gowrie. For whatever reason I found it to be totally fine. Smooth and utterly delicious down to the end of the bowl. I got to thinking that maybe my previous bad experiences were because of poor technique, so I tried them again... Same instantaneous bad reaction with LNF and LTF, the second the very first wisp of smoke touched my mouth it gave me severe tongue bite, irritation of the inner ears, and a headache. I tried Orlik Golden Slices and got maybe the worst reaction of all within the first second of smoking. Then went back to Old Gowrie and it was again lovely down to the end of the bowl. It appears to be the only Virginia I've tried that I can smoke, and it's one of my top 5 favorite smokes. I REALLY wish I could enjoy more Virginias that are out there, but I'm afraid to branch out from Old Gowrie now.

My question is, what is different about Old Gowrie than LNF, LTF, OGS and/or others? Is it more likely to be the type of Virginia leaf used that I'm reacting badly to, or something in the casing?

Worth mentioning, I can't smoke ANY C&D blend without a similarly bad reaction.
I have also experienced similar but less pronounced discomfort from all the Peterson Dunhill blends.

But.. I've had wonderful irritation-free experiences with several of the Peter Stokkebye English blends, the Hearth and Home English blends, MacBaren HH series burleys, and codger burley blends (I got a bad case of sour tongue from smoking too much burley too hot, but that was a different symptom entirely and has nearly resolved itself now). Some of these of course contain Virginia tobaccos.

I seem to be in the running for an award for weirdest body chemistry problems of any pipe smoker, so I almost hesitate to ask, but has anybody else had extremely bad reactions to tobaccos that are otherwise mainstream and generally well liked?
 
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WarneOut

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So now you know what to buy and smoke. I’d say you were ahead of the game.
Yes, that is positive. But I don't like the idea of my entire scope of Virginia tobaccos being limited to Old Gowrie.

More importantly, I am someone who is compulsively curious. Mysteries like this bother me to no end, and I do not get much peace of mind until I figure them out. Why would I not be able to smoke half of everything on the market when it seems like everyone else can? Wouldn't that make you curious?

Furthermore, I'd like to figure out what the source of my bad reaction is, so that I can make informed decisions on future tobacco purchases. I don't like the idea of wasting tons of money buying tobaccos I can't smoke
 

JimInks

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Judging by what bothered you, I'd say the acidity and PH levels in bright Virginias are affecting you. If you're adventurous enough, try a tin of a darker Virginia, like Capstan Blue. Or other red Virginia based blend.
 
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WarneOut

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Judging by what bothered you, I'd say the acidity and PH levels in bright Virginias are effecting you. If you're adventurous enough, try a tin of a darker Virginia, like Capstan Blue. Or other red Virginia based blend.

Very interesting, thanks for the insight. I haven't tried Capstan yet because I'm worried I may love it and develop an expensive smoking habit. But I'll give the Blue a shot in my next tobacco order. I had also been wanting to try Rattrays Red Rapparee.
 

Futureman

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Your chemistry seems somewhat similar to mine. The PS blends you mentioned gave me trouble when I smoked them, as do many blends in which red-Virginias dominate. Lately I’ve been smoking lots of Match Victorian. It’s probably the smoothest (and easiest) blend in my rotation.
 

WarneOut

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Your chemistry seems somewhat similar to mine. The PS blends you mentioned gave me trouble when I smoked them, as do many blends in which red-Virginias dominate. Lately I’ve been smoking lots of Match Victorian. It’s probably the smoothest (and easiest) blend in my rotation.
Interesting, thanks for the reply. I actually have Match Victorian in my cart for my next big tobacco order. Figured even if the Virginia doesn't agree with me, I'm out less than $3 for the attempt, so what's the harm.
 

WarneOut

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Judging by what bothered you, I'd say the acidity and PH levels in bright Virginias are affecting you. If you're adventurous enough, try a tin of a darker Virginia, like Capstan Blue. Or other red Virginia based blend.
When bright Virginias are processed into Cavendish, does the acidity level/pH change?
 

JimInks

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When bright Virginias are processed into Cavendish, does the acidity level/pH change?
Not really. That would depend on how it was treated and/or topped. In an aromatic, those aspects are reduced, but that's mostly what you could hope for.

I should note that bright Virginias age better than any other Virginia, but it takes a few years of age to simmer down what bothers you.
 

WarneOut

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Not really. That would depend on how it was treated and/or topped. In an aromatic, those aspects are reduced, but that's mostly what you could hope for.

I should note that bright Virginias age better than any other Virginia, but it takes a few years of age to simmer down what bothers you.
Thanks for your input, Jim. So a few years of age lowers acidity / brings the pH up? I'll have to look up what exactly happens to tobacco during the aging process, very interesting.

I suppose I'll hold on to the Virginias I have, and look forward to trying them again down the road.

I've heard C&D uses rather young leaf, this might be why I've had an especially bad reaction to many of their blends.
 

JimInks

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Thanks for your input, Jim. So a few years of age lowers acidity / brings the pH up? I'll have to look up what exactly happens to tobacco during the aging process, very interesting.

I suppose I'll hold on to the Virginias I have, and look forward to trying them again down the road.

I've heard C&D uses rather young leaf, this might be why I've had an especially bad reaction to many of their blends.
C&D does use young tobacco.

Age lowers the PH in bright Va., too.

Yeah, hold on to the ones you spent money on for a few years, and see what happens.
 

WarneOut

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C&D does use young tobacco.

Age lowers the PH in bright Va., too.

Yeah, hold on to the ones you spent money on for a few years, and see what happens.
Lower pH would be higher acidity, right? I know lemon juice is about a 2 and water is a 7, but I don't know a lot more than that about the subject lol
 
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