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 It's the Virginias, Stupid

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Trout Whisperer

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Location : The North
Registration date : 2018-02-21

PostSubject: It's the Virginias, Stupid   Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:44 am

Hello again, briar brothers!

I may have figured out something, and I want your input.  I've smoked a pipe less than a year, so, as always, I value the wisdom you folks have to share.

Mac Baren's HH Old Dark Fired (the bulk, ready-rubbed version) didn't seem to like me.  I assumed the dark-fired Kentucky was responsible for the sore throat I experienced after smoking this blend, until I encountered the same issue with Orlik Golden Sliced.

It occurred to me that both blends irritated my throat, specifically when relighting, which involved swirling a flame around the bowl several times while puffing with greater-than-normal intensity until I was enveloped by a cloud of smoke.  Then I realized both blends contain high percentages of Virginia leaves, which supposedly burn hotter than other varieties.  Apparently, smoking Latakia- and oriental-heavy blends masked my self-torturous relighting technique.

I now swirl the flame once or twice in the bowl while puffing deliberately in order to ensure I am not inviting those searing gasses beyond my mouth (regardless of the blend I choose to enjoy).  Folding and stuffing the OGS helps as well, but the pack is rather tight in my Amphora X-Tra dublin. Either way, the result is the pleasant experience I sought in the first place.

Do you folks agree with this assessment?  Any other ideas or suggestions?
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Blackhorse
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Age : 70
Location : Portland, Oregon Area
Registration date : 2010-10-23

PostSubject: Re: It's the Virginias, Stupid   Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:33 am

An often overlooked fact is that most tongue bite and mouth burn is caused not by “hot smoke” from lighting, relighting and just regular old smoking...but it’s caused by the alkali content of the smoke (strongly basic ph like lye). Some blends are more prone than others to producing this alkali and it is produced less when a blend is smoked at a slower pace.

Worth considering...different bowl shape/geometry...longer stem...ambient room/outdoor temperature when smoking...etc.

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huffelpuff

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Age : 48
Location : Laramie, WY
Registration date : 2011-12-10

PostSubject: Re: It's the Virginias, Stupid   Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:23 am

Excellent observation! What you choose to light your pipe with will also make a difference. A torch lighter if used will cause more problems than a butane lighter which in turn will cause more problems than a liquid fuel lighter which causes more heat than wooden matches do. I believe the coolest temperature you can light your pipe with is just a coal from a fire or a piece of glowing cotton or hemp rope. The cooler you can keep things when lighting the better. I notice I get better flavor when I light cooler. Enjoy the journey brother I've been at it over 30 years now and am still learning new things all the time.

Jim
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JensDK

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Location : Denmark
Registration date : 2018-07-07

PostSubject: Re: It's the Virginias, Stupid   Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:44 am

In my experience there will always be a slight tongue bite / irritation of throat to Virginias - the gentlier you smoke it, the less. Nicotine-wise Virginia is one of the more aggressive tobaccos, and low-priced virginias are mostly the worst, simply because the leaves are very young. Ageing darkens and softens them.

Orlik has a little bite, but it's manageable, IMO. It is much softer when stuffed lightly as flakes, probably because of the slower burn.

Mac Baren is priced at the lower end, at I find most of their tobaccos bite a lot. When Burley or Perique are added it's even worse (I hate both). If you want to explore really good Virginias, I would recommend trying some of the high-end ready-rubbed from Rattray's, McConnell's or Fribourg & Treyer, for instance.
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RDPipes

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Age : 64
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: It's the Virginias, Stupid   Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:57 am

I've never gotten a bite from ODF or Escudo but, do from DF, I believe sometimes it's just the person and their chemical balance. Although a lot of tobaccos nowadays come very wet to damp and need to be dried more before smoking because the moisture turns to steam as you smoke which will certainly create a bite. And slowing down your cadence will certainly keep it cooler and keep moisture from building up within the tobacco and pipe. Wink
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monbla256

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Age : 72
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: It's the Virginias, Stupid   Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:34 pm

JensDK wrote:
In my experience there will always be a slight tongue bite / irritation of throat to Virginias - the gentlier you smoke it, the less. Nicotine-wise Virginia is one of the more aggressive tobaccos, and low-priced virginias are mostly the worst, simply because the leaves are very young. Ageing darkens and softens them.

Orlik has a little bite, but it's manageable, IMO. It is much softer when stuffed lightly as flakes, probably because of the slower burn.

Mac Baren is priced at the lower end, at I find most of their tobaccos bite a lot. When Burley or Perique are added it's even worse (I hate both). If you want to explore really good Virginias, I would recommend trying some of the high-end ready-rubbed from Rattray's, McConnell's or Fribourg & Treyer, for instance.

There's some truth in the type and aging of the Va's. For myself, I've found the African and Asian va's used by many blenders seem to have more bite to them when smoked. The American Red va's and Brightleaf varieties are processed  differently and seem to have less "bite" to them. As far as MacBaren we used to refer to them as "MacBite" as I've not found ANY of their all Va blends that don't bite! JMHO ! An all Va blend I've found to be biteless is my all time fave: Royal Yacht, Strong on the nicotine but an all around great Va blend ! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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