Taste-testing my home-grown stuff

You may notice that I avoid the ‘T’ word.

It just so happened, this evening, that Daughter 1 told me that the lady who owns the stables where D1 stables her horse was interested in growing her own stuff. As you can imagine, the owner of a stable for horses has plenty of land. Cutting the story short, I gave D1 a sample of my own stuff for her friend to try. But I pointed out that the stuff was only one year old.

There is something weird about curing the stuff. I have tried every way that I can to produce a good taste immediately after curing. I mean changing temperatures and ventilating in different ways. Nothing works. The stuff always has the same taste shortly after curing – there is a tartness to the taste which is unpleasant. It is like eating an orange or an apple which is not quite ripe. When apples and oranges are ripe, there is no tartness to the taste, but there is such tartness if they are not quite ready. The same seems to apply to most fruits.

Although I knew about ageing, I did not see its importance. And I must admit that I still do not see how there can be important chemical changes which occur merely as a result of the passage of time. A friend told me that the tartness means that the nitrogen has not yet been leached out of the stuff. Nitrogen, nitrates, nitrosamines….

It is said that it it a good idea to allow the stuff to age for three years. Right. I must admit that my 2015 stuff tastes a lot better now after 12 months of ageing. And the smell is far better. I am in no hurry to use my own stuff. I am happy to store it until we see what Brexit brings.

But there is a way to short-circuit the ageing process. It is called ‘kilning’. You an take the leaves, create a ‘block’ of wadded leaves, dampen the block but not too wet, and seal them in a plastic bag. Better then to place the block into a sealed plastic box. You then need to keep the box and the block warm at a temperature of about 50C for a month, turning the block over every day.

Too fiddly? Indeed! But that is what a hobby entails.

Tobacco Control wants to stop us enjoying our hobby. It got a clause inserted into the Finance Act to outlaw our hobby. The former Chancellor, Osborne, permitted that obscenity. Why has our hobby been outlawed? Because TC says that ‘there is a  RISK’ that some people will avoid taxation. Erm, people who use grapes to make their own wine avoid taxation. But you do not need to actually grow your own grapes! You can buy them at the supermarket! And, Erm, anyone who does make their own wine does not avoid taxation. The reason is that the word ‘wine’ is not defined. It is a generic word which means any produce of grape juice which has been fermented. Very few such fermentations will produce a trade-able product.

Some terrible errors have been made by GOVERNMENT, and terrible errors will continue to be made until politicians are separated from Government. Politicians are short-term incumbents. The idea of a ‘career politician’ is a contradiction. Every single one of them can be voted out, and most of them would probably be voted out if it were not for party affiliations.

Our system of Government has become corrupted.  I quite liked Cameron to start with. I  actually believed that he would start a bonfire of the Quangos. Silly me! The Quangos have grown and grown, and politicians have been too terrified of making a mistake that they have covered their eyes and turned their faces away. Cameron turned out to be a construct of the aristocratic Elite.

So, back to the beginning, I have provided the lady with a sample of my stuff, and a generous amount of seeds.

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8 Responses to “Taste-testing my home-grown stuff”

  1. smokingscot Says:

    Like yourself I’ve found that ageing tobacco changes the taste. Harley once commented that tobacco companies have 3 years of the stuff in reserve, so maybe that’s the only way to get a very pleasant smoke.

    What I also discovered (not be news to you) is the best cigars are produced from leaves that are 3 plus years old. So once rolled, then boxed then stored by the wholesaler, then set up in a shop, they’re most likely to be four to five years old when smoked.

    That might explain the cost aspect. I noted this rather splendid place makes a very big issue of having a “collection of Cuban and pre-Castro Cigars”!!!!!

    http://www.lanesborough.com/eng/restaurant-bars/garden-room/

    So you’re talking about tobacco that’s close to 50 years old.

    No idea what they sell for, but they do look rather splendid!

    https://www.cgarsltd.co.uk/cigar-library/preembargo.htm

    Certainly my experience – and it’s only with Virginia tobacco – is it’s very pleasant indeed after two years in a cardboard box. Not touched, not rotated, just left to quietly get on with it’s own thing.

    Perhaps the biggest lift I got was when a (non-smoking) friend asked to see what my own stuff looked like. He opened the pouch, took a look, then said “and it even smells like tobacco”, then inhaled strongly!

    Anyway let’s hope the lady does get into tobacco cultivation, then plants fields of the stuff!

    • junican Says:

      Amusing links, SS.
      As I understand it, tob companies buy freshly cured stuff. It would not make sense for the farmers to store the leaves. I have tried to find out via the net how Tobcoms flavour their products, but without success. What we have to bear in mind is that they want to produce a product which is consistent in its taste, so it makes sense for them to take the raw tobacco, age it and then alter the taste to their liking using additives. The nearest I could get was a flowchart which indicated that flavouring was accomplished during ‘casing’, which makes sense.
      Kilning is a quick alternative to ageing.

  2. garyk30 Says:

    Up to a point, even life gets better with age.
    Some of the most obnoxious people around are younger or have never outgrown their youthful beliefs or prejudices.

    • junican Says:

      And it that not very annoying? It infuriates me that the very people who, as a result of experience, are most likely to be tolerant and easy going are the very people who are being persecuted by Tobcontrol.

  3. Ed Says:

    Kilning too fiddly? It’s a breeze compared to the old Navy method of making perique. Now that is fiddly and time consuming, but makes a smokable product in around 6 months, lol

    It’s quite sad to see that tobacco control are attempting to prohibit the use of raw tobacco in all its forms when it’s pretty obvious to anybody that you either have to wait years or jump through hoops to achieve a smokable product.

    • junican Says:

      Ha! I’ve seen that video before,and must admit that there is no way that I would go to such trouble. Judging from the amount of stuff that he was working on, I doubt that there would have been enough for 100 cigs.

  4. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    Fabulous Junican. Hats off to you growing and producing your own tobacco. Its appalling that the TC zealots even interfere with that. Time they were defunded.

    • junican Says:

      Don’t get carried away, Tim! Think of it as a hobby. The quantity produced is nowhere near worth the effort in commercial terms. To make any money out of it would require massively greater scale. In any case, the initial taste would be horrible to most smokers.
      The trouble with Tobcontrol is that they have no idea what is involved. They seem to think that you just scatter some seeds on the ground and up comes a lovely crop of tobacco. They seem to think that you can just pick a leaf of ‘raw’ tobacco, stuff it in your pipe and smoke it. To them, an ounce of tobacco is more dangerous than a pound of semtex.

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