The major problem with reviewing rolling
papers is that while the packaging varies greatly and in many cases is an art form unto
itself, the papers inside this wonderful packaging are often very similar, if not identical.
Characteristics such as thickness, color, perforations, and the like vary to some degree
as do the preferences of individual users of the papers. Some like them thick and easier
to roll, while some like them very sheer in order to avoid any paper taste added to their
smoke. Papers are rarely made from trees anymore, most are rice, hemp or combinations of
other natural fibers that lend themselves well to such processes. Flax, which is a
selectively processed form of cotton, is becoming more popular as it creates in the paper
blend a silkiness and smoothness that makes rolling a pleasure while imparting little or
no unwanted additional taste to the smoke. One of the nicest flax-component papers we have
seen is Republic Tobacco's Ventura Brand Whites. Hemp,
the other component in these papers adds stability to the paper which makes the final
product one of the easiest papers to roll we have seen. Hemp, if it adds any taste at all
to your smoke, imparts a nice outdoorsy, woody hint and, of course, passes muster for the
enviro-concerned because of its replacement of tree pulp as a main stabilizing ingredient.
As stated before, few rolling papers use tree pulp anymore except perhaps as very minor
ingredients to stabilize the paper's tensile strength. Tree paper also adds a papery taste
to smoke which most people do not care for, so if you get a paper that really tastes like
paper then you probably are smoking tree. On the other hand, it must be noted that hemp is
an easily grown renewable resource. It has countless applications in a very wide range of
industries and has a dynamic future as a universal product much like soy has become. It is
useful to note that much of the battle concerning hemp use arises from the strict controls
placed on its import/export due to its distant relationship with one of its more
interesting and entertaining varieties - that being cannabis sativa or marijuana
- and that battle is surely but slowly being won by those who realize hemp's incredible
potential and can get over its bio-genic relationship to the drug.
Republic's pure rice paper offering at right, the French Light, is a very fine (sheer) slightly oversize paper that shares some of the wonderful silkiness of the Ventura above. These papers are especially nice for rolling stronger bodied, finer cut shags like most halfzwares. Its gummed edge and the slightly increased width allow rolling of slightly larger diameter smokes. This is a truly classy paper that, while we have not seen them in the grocery/drug store chains yet, is sure to catch on considering Republic Tobacco's adeptness at securing mainstream shelf space with their other products, namely TOP and Drum tobacco.
The last of the Republic line of rolling papers we look at this time is a true classic standard that has been around as long as I can remember. They are the Job 1.5's. Republic owns the Job product line and has continued to ensure that this fine line of papers is among the best in the world. The extra width provides a very forgiving roll for the novice and a superior, thicker roll for the more experienced. I have been using Job extra-wides for over 25 years and part of the reason is that they are available almost everywhere papers are sold. They also work extremely well in small hand rolling machines and the extra width serves to make a more rugged stick that can be put in cigarettes cases without falling apart.
Let's now take a look at some of the Gizeh line of rolling papers. This company is making serious in-roads in the U.S. to match their already huge presence in Europe. The first paper we look at is the Gizeh Hanf extra-wide paper. Similar in size to the Job 1.5, this fine hemp (Hanf we're told being German for Hemp) offering has not only a beautiful cover, but a really nice paper inside. Haven't seen them much in this country yet, except in those places that carry a truly wide, diverse selection on rolling papers. Wider hemp papers are harder to find although several on-line outlets have them and they are certainly worth looking for. With the growing popularity of hemp products, these papers should start attracting the attention of the die-hard handroller before this year's end.
Also from the Gizeh line is their more traditional selection of papers available in several sizes (widths), thicknesses, and lengths from 70 to 110 mm . They are pictured at left and below, and are certainly worth the effort to find and try them. The blue packages are extra fine (sheer), the red covers being heavier paper and the green ones being the popular and utilitarian cut-corners instituted years ago by Zig-Zag. We especially like the latter cut-corners as they make the ends of the roll join much smoother than the more traditional square cuts. Let us know if you have a paper you would like reviewed. Whether the artwork makes it special or the paper itself, we are always looking for the unusual.
See ya next time - RYO
|EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we prescribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children. We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18, it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.|
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