Nicotine chewing gum, a product that is intended as an aid to quit smoking, is a good alternative if you have to go several hours without a smoke. I use it for example in long train trips. (Trains in Finland used to have smoking cabins, but they were removed something like half a year ago. They seem to be restricting smoking in general in Finland with a heavy hand, and this blog is my modest effort to fight that phenomenon.)
Nicotine chewing gum comes in two strengths, and there is a variety of flavours. Since I am in Finland, the flavours include salmiakki (salty licorice). I, however, do not like salmiakki so much, and I like best the fruit-flavoured ones. Since the stronger alternative has the nicotine of four cigarettes, there’s a serious chance of nicotine overdose, if it is used more than the instructions tell. It is easy to have the nicotine of eight ordinary cigarettes in the mouth at the same time (just have two pieces of the stronger alternative). In my case, the overdose risk is mitigated by the fact that I do not chew it with the optimal technique. You are supposed to keep the gum against your cheek for extended periods of time, but I just chew it like any ordinary chewing gum. So I do not know how much of the effect really comes from nicotine, and how much is just placebo.
Original Choice is a pipe tobacco that has its unique flavour. The taste is neither dark nor sweet. I cannot describe the flavour otherwise as saying that it is venerable. It is a good smoke now and then, but I’d get bored of it if I had to smoke it too often. I have no idea if the flavour comes from tobacco or from other flavouring agents. I visited tobaccoreviews.com to see what’s in the tobacco. The reviewers seemed to disagree whether there are significantly other flavouring agents than tobacco in it. Also the manufacturer’s ad text did not mention black cavendish, but many reviewers said there is black cavendish in it. There’s indeed some black-coloured tobacco in the mix, but Original Choice tastes unlike all other black cavendish mixes I have tried.
I used Bonus Red as the rolling tobacco, since it was the only rolling tobacco I had left.
Pipe tobaccos are usually mixes of different tobaccos, with some non-tobacco flavouring agents. Since I am anyway mixing pipe tobacco with rolling tobacco myself, I would like to make my own mixes of pipe tobacco. So, I’d like to buy pure virginia, pure burley, pure black cavendish, pure latakia and so on, without flavouring agents. I usually do not like strongly flavoured pipe tobacco and want to taste the pure tobacco, so the absence of flavouring agents would be no problem. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a place where I could buy pure, unmixed and unflavoured pipe-style tobaccos.
Borkum Riff is my favourite cheap pipe tobacco. You can get it at any kiosk in Finland. It has a smooth, dark taste, with no sharpness. I’d describe the taste cardboardy, but it this case, it is a positive quality. It has some black cavendish tobacco in it, and I simply love black cavendish tobacco. It is supposed to have some whiskey as a flavoring, but I cannot taste any in the smoke. This is a trait shared by almost all cheap booze-flavored pipe tobaccos.
I used Pall Mall Blue as the rolling tobacco, since it is what I got for Christmas. I am seriously considering trying more blue rolling tobaccos, since they taste less than red ones, and hence leave more room for the taste of the pipe tobacco.
I am currently in a skiing resort, and they have a small grocery store here. I went there to buy some rolling tobacco. I asked for Bonus Red, the cheapest brand. The salesperson said that they do not have it, showed me a package of Pall Mall and told me it is the only rolling tobacco they have. Immediately when I saw the package, I felt an irresistible urge to buy it. So I ended up spending ten cents more on tobacco that I had intended to and fell victim of tobacco advertising big time.
The salesperson broke the law. According to the Finnish law, the salesperson is not allowed to show me a package of certain a brand of tobacco until I have asked for that brand. The salesperson was supposed to give me a list of available brands, and I should have made my choice according to the list.
Of course, the law makes no sense, and this was again one instance to demonstrate that.
Today, I was smoking out in the street, wearing only a towel. The temperature was around zero degrees Celsius. That kind of experience is possible only in Kallio, the most Bohemian city district of Helsinki. I was visiting a public sauna. Between sessions in sauna, people prefer to go out to get some fresh air, and it is customary to wear only a towel. Some people smoke, others just chill out. After the heat of sauna, zero degrees Celsius does not feel cold, it just feels refreshing.
As everyone who rolls his own knows, it is impossible to roll a cigarette cleanly. You inevitably drop some tobacco on the table or on the floor in the process. Since I am extremely lazy to clean, I always have a stash of very low-quality tobacco on the floor, in case I do not bother go shopping. Tonight, I smoked one cigarette rolled out of such tobacco just to be able to review it. So it has various rolling and pipe tobaccos that have dropped on the floor in the process of rolling during the last two weeks.
This floor tobacco has its own, unique aroma, regardless of tobaccos used. It is soft and somewhat fruity. It lacks all the sharpness, and I am certain that this would be a sought-after flavour, were it hard to obtain. It is not my favourite tobacco, but at least it is strong and has some complexity of flavours. I’d prefer it in any day to a 100% generic rolling tobacco cigarette.