| There have been a few new products in this category to attract our
attention this time and all have some interesting qualities that make them worth writing
about. The first two, while similar, are both high quality tubes from well known companies
in the RYO/MYO industry. Probably no single person is better known in this industry as is
Peter Stokkebye. His tobaccos have set the benchmark for many decades and his company's
migration into the newer MYO injector dominated portion of the rolling industry has been
both smooth and dramatic. So many of his noteworthy rolling tobacco blends have found
favor with the new tube injector crowd, that Stokkebye International (www.peterstokkebye.com) really did not have to
change much to adapt to this new market. Nonetheless, Stokkebye has continued to update
and introduce new products. His McClintock brand of tobaccos are among
the most popular on the planet for the discerning MYO enthusiast and the Bali Red line
continues to be my personal favorite for injecting into tubes. So, it is only logical,
though I am surprised it took this long, that the Stokkebye company would develop their
own line of tubes. The McClintock tube was probably first generated to
work with their new kits, as kits need three components - tobacco, tubes and injectors.
Like most other tobacco companies, whose business is predominantly tobacco, they opted for
tubes that were of high quality but without significant differences from most other good
tubes. Their bundled hand injector fits in much the same category.
Gizeh took a little different approach in so far as they are not a tobacco company and already had several lines of tubes to accompany their vast rolling paper business, including the Gizeh signature brand, Silver Tips, Charbon, Menthol and Mascotte brands. Their new Twister tube, like Stokkebye's McClintock are nice quality, unassuming and low cost entries into the market. Both tubes use the European standard 15mm filter element, which is a bit of a surprise, as most US market dedicated tubes use the longer 17mm element. It really does not make that much of a difference in the taste of the smoke, but can be an annoyance to some who find the fact that the filter itself is recessed considerably from the end of the tipping paper (where the brown meets the white cigarette paper) to be disturbing. They find that 2 mm difference can make a small difference in how effectively the injector fills the filter area of the tube and many of our readers have commented on just such occurrences. Again, we feel it is no big deal but honestly we prefer the 17 mm length as well. We have even considered the advantages of a longer filter element than the 17mm preferred by the US market. The Rizla Cigarette Size tube uses an even longer element as shown below, but the jury is still out as to when too much filtration occurs, breaking up the smoke into too fine of particles and thus irritating the throat and lungs of the smoker much like pre-mades can and do.
Since tipping paper makes up about 24mm of the 84 mm's of total tube length, the 2mm is a relatively small difference and a properly functioning injector will notice little difference when used properly to begin with. Still, we would like to see the longer elements used, as an option if necessary, in both the Gizeh and McClintock lines. Both tubes share very similar packaging strategies and we would not be surprised to find they come out of the same factory or are certainly made on similar machines. Again, this should not dissuade their success as they are both well made tubes from reputable, perhaps even revered companies and impart no added taste to tobacco, which is the primary goal of any tube design. Neither tube has any revolutionary aspect like the new Rizla "Cigarette Size tube we reviewed last time or the new Vera Cruz "Nocturne" which was introduced at the RTDA show in Nashville last week. The Rizla tube is purportedly doing quite well and seems to have found a consistent quality which is admirable for a radically new product. We really liked this new tube and hope that, in the near future, new and better full-sized injectors will be created to fill it.
The much anticipated Vera Cruz (www.veracruzbrand.com) has arrived and is already causing quite a stir as it is the first, truly elegant, designer quality MYO tube in the world. Though much more expensive to produce, its wholesale cost is only a little higher than normal tubes and less than some 100mms and unique size tubes like the Rizla. At left is finally a production graphic of the actual Vera Cruz "Nocturne" tube. We are told that many orders have already been placed to CTC, its maker, and this new tube portends to change the way many folks, especially those who have not yet left the ranks of the packaged cigarette smoker, feel about making their own custom cigarettes. We hope this is the case, as the true goal of the RYO/MYO philosophy is to encourage folks to treat each smoke as a very special event. A tube this beautiful really brings that experience home. Few would consider drinking a fine wine out of a paper cup and the same aesthetic should apply to tobacco. We have tried the finished production version of the Vera Cruz tube and are astounded at its elegance and tastiness. It leaves the tobacco flavor alone like a good tube should, while showing the world that the smoker is proud that he or she is smoking a custom made cigarette, one that they personally selected all elements of. It will be interesting to see the reaction to this tube at the show. There is nothing else like it on the planet and I predict it will change the way the entire industry and the smoking public looks at the cosmetics and image of RYO/MYO. Of course, I have been encouraging such an innovative change for several years now, and perhaps it is beginning to sink in. Time will tell, but I can assure you of one thing. Taking this tube out in public attracted a whole lot of attention everywhere I went among the smoking public, and the same was true at this year's RTDA. As one person put it during a smoke break/intermission at a concert I recently attended, "that is the most beautiful cigarette I have ever seen." And . . . They were not even smokers!
Update: The Vera Cruz "Nocturne" king size filtered cigarette tube was one of the real hits of the RTDA show. They are already significantly backordered (as I predicted) and the excitement about the escalation in the image of MYO is palpable. The new tube attracted a great number of people from the cigar shop world who had not yet been introduced to the profit potential of carrying make your own supplies. This new tube is just what they needed to realize that the Make Your Own world can be every bit as luxurious and connoisseur driven as is the cigar market. CTC did an outstanding job on this new product from start to finish, and took the time necessary to do it right. Really right. Let the show begin. The official RTDA flyer for the Vera Cruz "Nocturne" tube is shown at right above. You will find them at many fine tobacco shops already, and online at such shops as D&R Tobacco www.cigarettetobacco.com, RYO Tobacco www.ryotobacco.com , www.ryocigarette.com , and Custom Blends www.customblends.com and even though they are backordered, the first run was plentiful enough and distributed wisely to meet the market demand for a while. For you retailers, HJBailey www.hjbailey.com is one of many distributors including D&R who also distributes quantities. For upcoming information about this great new tube, and more and more places to find them, visit the Vera Cruz website, at www.veracruzbrand.com .
There is also yet another entry from CTC www.premiersupermatic.com in the tube market that signifies yet another milestone and that is their new Premier 100 mm Light tube. This product joins forces with their regular strength 100 mm Premier tube to provide the added length in both varieties at remarkably low prices. They (shown at right) are the least expensive of the 100 mm entries and are already selling quite well. The tube market is growing because of the migration of packaged cigarette smokers to MYO in the US. However, it is also growing because it has finally become apparent to the industry that not everyone indulges in MYO simply because it is cheaper than pre-mades. Those that try MYO seldom return to packaged smokes for the simple reason that the pleasure of fine, pure tasting tobacco, mixed with a demonstrable lessening of obsessive behavior, and topped off with the variety of experiences offered, far outweigh even the smaller cost. Few I have talked with would switch back even if they gave pre-mades away for free. I know I would not.
Having now returned from the Convention in Nashville our initial take on all of the aforementioned products has proven to be accurate. The MYO industry is continuing in its proactive and aggressive development of more and better products to serve the growing number of smokers who are looking for an alternative to the obsession driven ambience of packaged smokes. Smokers are increasingly looking at the enjoyment of tobacco in a much more personal way and with their own varying tastes at the control switch. They are being served well.
This is all we have for now from the world of tubes. As more new designs come to life we will test them and let you know what we think. For those of you new to all of this, we suggest you consult our Archive section as every tube in the world worth writing about will be found there. Until next time, keep in touch and let us know your thoughts on each of the products we review. This is a fascinating subject that is shared by many hundreds of thousand of readers and each of us wants to know what the other person's impressions are. We look forward to hearing from you. -the ed.
|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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