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 Duplicating a Blend

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Carlos
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PostSubject: Duplicating a Blend   Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:18 pm

I was going to call C&D with this question, but maybe Greg will weigh in with some words of wisdom.

What if I want to try to have a blender duplicate Dunhill's Marc's Mixture? I have most of a tin. I know the basic ingredients, but not the specifics or amounts. Orientals, but not which. It's not being made anymore, so all I want to do is get close. I don't have an interest in making tons of money of a clone (fat chance), so it can be called anything. Old Burnpile, Dung Beetle, Skunk Hollow Blend or something.

I would guess I would need to get part of this tin into someones hands to analyze it. I suppose that duplicating a process which contributes to the taste is going to be near impossible. I think some of the Dunhill's used a toasted Virginia, East Carolina or Georgian.

Could be it's already similar to several out there and a minor tweak is all it needs.
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PostSubject: Re: Duplicating a Blend   Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:30 pm

Carlos,

Greg says he gets such "deconstruction" requests all the time. The problem isn't identifying the weed or its percentage nearly as much as its flavor profile. How Rattray's processed their VAs, for example, was as distinctive as if it were another whole sub-species of tobacco. Then take 6-20 of such cases, and combine them. Modify still further with processes (such as pressing) applied to the whole. The result is thousands of combinations. Add to that some tobaccos being either proprietary or no longer available.

Better luck is had by approaching copies holistically, trying to duplicate the finished taste by whatever means get you there.


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glpease
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PostSubject: Re: Duplicating a Blend   Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:46 am

Carlos wrote:
I was going to call C&D with this question, but maybe Greg will weigh in with some words of wisdom.

What if I want to try to have a blender duplicate Dunhill's Marc's Mixture? I have most of a tin. I know the basic ingredients, but not the specifics or amounts. Orientals, but not which. It's not being made anymore, so all I want to do is get close. I don't have an interest in making tons of money of a clone (fat chance), so it can be called anything. Old Burnpile, Dung Beetle, Skunk Hollow Blend or something.

I would guess I would need to get part of this tin into someones hands to analyze it. I suppose that duplicating a process which contributes to the taste is going to be near impossible. I think some of the Dunhill's used a toasted Virginia, East Carolina or Georgian.

Could be it's already similar to several out there and a minor tweak is all it needs.

Carlos,

Recreating an old blend is complex to the point of being nearly impossible, and for some surprising reasons. Certainly, it's possible to sus out "what's in there," and even replicate a recipe to some extent, but that's only the tip of the tobacco plant. Mentally reversing the effects of time compounds things dramatically, as do the myriad "secret processes" that tobacco manufacturers have used through the years. Frankly, even if I had the precise recipe, it wouldn't be likely to yield identical results. Even water can play a more significant role than most realize. Couple that with the difficulty in obtaining varietal orientals of consistent quality, and the likely application of small amounts of flavourings, and you begin to see the challenge of wresting a precise counterfeit out of the primordial soup.

Then, there's the subtle differences in the mechanism of taste. I might create something that, to me, tastes almost identical to something else, whilst to you, it might not taste anything like it.

I've done the whole recreation thing a few times, in a few different ways. Westminster, for instance, was a deliberate attempt to reproduce the old Dunhill London Mixture. Quite a few people believe I succeeded, myself included. Some have told me that Westie is even BETTER than the old LM. Still others have told me, "Well, Westminster is fantastic, but it's quite different from London Mixture." Okay. I'll take it.

Taking a very different approach, Blackpoint was my attempt to reproduce my impressions of a very old tin of Balkan Sobranie 759. When my friend opened that tin, I got the distinct impression of perique in the nose, even though I am quite sure there was no perique in the blend. But, years of fermentation and aging had created a similar aroma and flavour. So, I blended Blackpoint to give me a similar experience. It was a success - to me. It's NOT a recreation of the original BS759, but it very closely approximates the experience I was after.

I've tasted various recreations of vintage tobaccos - Three Nuns, Craven Mixture, and, of course, Balkan Sobranies. None of them have even come close to the mark to my taste, though, apparently, others are satisfied.

Would it be possible to create a blend you're happy with? Certainly, yes, though it might require many iterations. Would it be identical to Marc's Mixture? Probably not. That's one Dunhill mixture I'm not familiar with, so I can't help with specifics. I'd have to gain some understanding of the blend before I could provide any direction.

I'm sure this isn't what you wanted to hear, but it's likely the most candid response you would get from anyone with even a remote chance of doing the job.

-Naught
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Carlos
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PostSubject: Re: Duplicating a Blend   Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:10 am

I suppose I knew all that. I didn't express it well. I just need to be happy with what we have available. Unless I want to try to recreate some lost/forgotten/died with the closing of the doors, processes that give some blends/brands a characteristic taste.

Maybe the secret ingredient in this blend is a chili powder. It certainly makes me sweat like it. Laughing I sometimes forget about topings and the like. I get so used to the proclaimations in many reviews as to how so and so blend has nothing in it but pure tobacco. No flavorings or casing etc, ad nauseam. Sometimes I forget that we are talking about secret blending methods, and start to believe it.

This blend also has that smell. Solace has it. So does Bridge Mixture. Piccadilly and EMP. Time seems to do wonderful things to certain blends. Some sooner than others. I think Bridge Mixture does it in a matter of hours. Just love that smell.

I wonder how a tobacco is/was toasted? That it gave it a new flavor profile. Without it losing something critical or becoming stoved.

Like a sesame seed bagel. My favorite. Untoasted, it just sits there. Doughy, cool, even with butter or a cream cheese spread it's not really much to talk about. It makes for a passible bologna sandwich in this state. But warm it and good things start to happen. Cream cheese actually seems to be pretty decent on it now. Toast it. Truely turn it golden brown, and magic happens. It becomes much much more than what it was. Butter or cream cheese is pretty good on this bagel now. But even better than that, toast the sesame seed bagel and fry some bacon. Simply toss the cooked bacon ontop of the toasted bagel. No butter, no cream cheese. It's wonderous. A bite of bacon and a bite of bagel are like magic together.

That's how I envision this so called toasted East Carolina and Georgian tobaccos. As wonderous when mixed with the right company. More study is called for. I must smoke more of it to find understanding. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Duplicating a Blend   Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:00 pm

I think the hardest part about matching any blend is the issue of the evolution of the tobaccos in question. From the types of plants, their genome, environmental and handling procedures, to storage and eventually casings, toppings and packaging, we just don't or can't do it like they used to. Even well established blends morph over time, due to availability of the specific leaves themselves. Eventually, that one year of that one crop just plain runs out. Each modification along the lifespan of a blend slowly changes over time. In addition, matching any blend that has aged in a tin changes one way or the other, and though you might match a ten year old blend today with today's components, it is hard to predict what ten years in a tin will do to that match. It most likely will do it's own thing, and eventually end up another direction.

Just my thoughts... sunny
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