I’ve been building up a stock of dried tobacco leaves, mostly from around the base of my plants (which are still growing). When my tobacco shredder arrived a couple of days ago, I shredded all the dry ones I had, and also a few slightly damp ones. I’ve got about 30 gms of the resulting shredded tobacco, which has a light golden colour.
And I’ve been adding it to Cutters Choice and Old Holborn to roll my cigarettes. I suppose that they’ve only been 10% “Golden Shred”, but they’ve seemed no different from a cigarette made from just Cutters Choice, except they have a tendency to hiss a bit – which suggests that the “Golden Shred” is damper than I think it is.
Yesterday I tried rolling a cigarette using just “Golden Shred”. And it was almost perfectly smokeable, except that it left a slight unidentified “chemical” aftertaste. I suppose this is because the tobacco hasn’t been cured properly. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was as smokeable as it was.
Today I opened up one of my PureLeaf samples – the English Blend -, and shredded some of that. This was a bit tricky, because the leaves were fairly well fragmented, and there were several bits of stalk that needed to be removed before shredding (because they could damage the shredder’s rollers).
And then I rolled some of the English Shred into cigarettes. And they were perfectly smokeable as well, and left no chemical aftertaste. It was a stronger tobacco, perhaps, than Cutters Choice or Old Holborn. And perhaps with a slightly woody flavour.
The main problem I had with the English Shred was simply hand-rolling the cigarette. It took me about three times as long, and my full attention, as it does with Cutters Choice or any other manufactured tobacco. The problem was that the shredded tobacco was dry, and didn’t adhere to other tobacco easily, and was quite difficult to roll into an even cylinder. Manufactured tobacco is more finely shredded, and the individual shreds are curly, and easily adhere to adjacent tobacco to form even cylinders.
And then, when it was lit, it tended to go out fairly readily, probably because the tobacco shards were rather more widely spaced inside than in a cigarette made from much more finely-cut manufactured rolling tobacco.
So, while the end result was perfectly smokeable, it took quite a lot of concentration to roll the thing, and a fair bit of concentration to smoke it. And also, since bits of tobacco very readily fell out of it, I had to collect up quite a few bits of tobacco from the construction site floor.
Not sure what to do about this. It might help to shred the tobacco twice, to make it a bit finer. But I also think it might help if it was dampened slightly. So I’ve introduced a couple of slices of damp courgette in with the tobacco (an old trick to keep the tobacco moist – some people use potato).
Certainly if manufactured rolling tobacco becomes too dry, it becomes equally hard to roll cigarettes using it, and the resulting cigarettes produce very hot, cough-inducing smoke. I’ve occasionally resorted to speed-dampening dry rolling tobacco by putting it in a sieve over a boiling kettle spout for a few seconds.
And yet the tobacco in manufactured cigarettes seems to be very dry. So why don’t manufactured cigarettes produce hot smoke? And yet they don’t.
Anyway, I must soon go and study Junican’s authoritative treatise on curing and flavouring tobacco. This is obviously going to be the next stage.