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How to Blend Pipe Tobacco

Pipe-smoking aficionados may wish to experiment with making their own blends of pipe tobacco. There are several kinds of tobacco that can be blended and processed to create specific tastes and smoking experiences. It is similar to cooking food in that there are well-defined mixing and processing techniques, as well as detailed recipes. Just as expert chefs create signature recipes, the tobacco expert can learn to make special blends tailored to his taste.

Decide which kinds of tobacco you wish to use in your blend. You may wish to smoke a little of each to judge taste and the level of heat or coolness. Work out the percentage of each tobacco that you will be blending or, if you are a beginner, use a recipe.

Decide whether you are going to make a so-called original blend or a hybrid blend. An original blend uses basic types of tobacco such as Virginia, Burley or Latakia. A hybrid blend includes at least one premixed commercial brand of tobacco.

Create a base for your blend. The base probably will be a Virginia tobacco, which is the main ingredient in most tobacco blends. Choose a type of Virginia based on how rich you want the blend to be. Lighter Virginias are "bright" and light in flavour. Darker Virginias have a deeper, richer taste. You can add a bit of Burley tobacco -- which is nut-flavoured and has no natural sugars -- to the base.

Add a spice tobacco to your base, such as Latakia -- a Turkish, smoke-flavoured variety -- or Oriental -- a spicy, sweet tobacco from Greece or Turkey. Perique is a spice tobacco that tastes of pepper and is grown in Louisiana. Include only one or two spice tobaccos to your blend.

Process your blend to combine the various tobaccos into a smooth blend. Place the tobacco in a crock pot or oven set to the lowest heat setting. Stir the tobacco often to combine and intensify the flavours. Wrap the blend in waxed paper. Press the mixture in a shop press. If you do not have a shop press, place the mixture between two blocks of wood. Secure the wrapped mixture with a C clamp. Leave it for a few days.

Store your blend in canning jars or other jars with tight-fitting lids to age and "mellow" for one to two months.

Tip

Blended tobaccos should have cuts that are roughly similar to one another. If there is too much of a size difference in the cuts, they will not press together properly and might separate later. Mix commercial tobacco blends as a shortcut.

Warning

Be careful not to add too much Burley tobacco to your blend; it easily can overwhelm a blend, which is called the "Burley curse."

Things You'll Need

  • Various kinds of tobacco
  • Mixing bowl
  • Crock pot
  • Oven
  • Waxed paper
  • Wooden blocks
  • C clamp
  • Canning jars
  • Shop press
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About the Author

Laura Crawley has been writing professionally since 1991. She has written about urban history for "The Hillhurst-Sunnyside Voice." She has also written about New York City history at the Virtual Dime Museum website and about popular culture at Kitchen Retro. Crawley holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Swarthmore College and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Toronto.