Monday, March 15, 2010

Tobacco tratement

During our last club meeting many topics were touched upon, one of them was the the preservation of ones favorite blend, and what happens in those wonderful little tins over time. I'm no tobacco aficionado, but if it passed the sniff test it gets loaded. However, since joining the club I've learned a lot, tried a bunch of blends, started collecting pipes , and most importantly piqued my curiosity of the world of tobacco (especially the curing and aging).
Heeding Tom's raffling lure of some premo tobacco and trying to answer some of the questions raised, I did some research and here is the short story:

After the tobacco leaves are picked they are dried in five different ways. Flue, Kiln, Air, Sun and Fire. The last is how pipe tobacco is dried. Generally dark brown, low in sugar but high nicotine content. Tobacco leaves are placed in a curing barn and various woods are burned to acquire desired aroma & flavor. This process can take up to four weeks. The goal of the all drying method is to allow the carotenoids in the leaf to oxidize and the starch converted to sugar. Some manufacturers pack the dried leaves in large bails and let them age for up to five years.
After the tobacco is cut, blended and placed in those lovely little tins, that's when the party really starts.
Over a long period of time, biological activities coupled with organic reactions, change the contents resulting in those wonderful qualities we so much enjoy.
Fermentation begins with the aerobic stage via bacteria that consume the sugars until they run out of oxygen and die. At this point anaerobic reactions take place via enzymes take place & continue until one of us pops the cap.

1 comment:

  1. A good first post. I can't wait to see more.
    I guess it should come as no surprise that Allam is the second person brave enough to continue here, as he is only one of four people I know personally who have braved a bowl of Mixture 79.