For those of you who have grown weary of me
saying that for the most part rollers are rollers are rollers, with few exceptions, I
maintain that it is a true statement. The 110 mm Rizla, and
Zig-Zag ( www.zigzag.com ) hand
rollers are really functional and are in our opinion, the best made, but similarities in
design and functionality far outweigh any differences. Perhaps our admiration for these
products stems from the fact that all 100mm+ rollers give one the ability to create high
quality rolls using
nearly any size, or length, of rolling paper and that makes for compatibility that
outweighs their added size. They last a long time and are very easy to use. In fact, when
we return from the RTDA show in August, we not only will show you the latest in design for
these handy rollers but include a new feature to the magazine which is video instruction
on how to best use these and other products.
In the meantime, in addition to the 100 mm+ rollers mentioned above, the only real new product in this category that we have seen so far is the ZEN Blunt roller which ratchets up the length to 120 mm+. These new ZEN products were the subject of last issue's rollers review and after having some time to live with them continue to find them useful not only for Blunts, but handy as well for all length of traditional rolling papers, including the paper on a roll products such as RS Rolls.
We expected to see a whole new host of designs at the RTDA show but there was little in innovation in this category. We will show you the new Indo Shag prototype below as well as a very similar design HBI has been importing for some time from Europe (The Netherlands specifically), Before we get to these rather innovative new designs, however, there is one roller, which we reviewed way back in May of 2000, that continues to generate email. This is the Filtermatic RYO machine. Often priced as high as a Supermatic and always higher than the Excel injector, we have less enthusiasm for this product than some of our readers. That said, we do find that this unique machine has some interesting properties. Its design revolves around its ability to make double length cigarettes which are then cut in half. As a roller, though expensive, it is a very good one. The multiple cigarette function it claims of ten cigarettes at once is a bit of a mis-statement if taken literally. Yes, technically you can fill each of the chambers of the adapter (tobacco tray) that sits on top with tobacco and then begin rolling without adding more tobacco, but you really are still rolling one double-length at a time. Plus the adapter does not fit well enough to prevent leakage of tobacco into the other chambers so we found, and most of our readers find, that one long cigarette at a time is realistic. Still the roll it creates is very, very nice. You can add a filter element with more ease than with traditional hand rollers and the machine is more forgiving as far as tobacco quality and quantity. This machine also allows one to vary the diameter of the stick with little extra effort. It requires the use of special extra long papers which fluctuate in price and availability. Nonetheless, for some, the Filtermatic machine from AE Gibbs does have fans. The only place we know of who currently sells this machine and the papers it needs is Cascade Cigar & Tobacco. www.cascadecigar.com. It is an interesting device and for those who like to fool around with contraptions, it can provide hours of enjoyable adventure. If you don't like tubes, but want longer or specialized cigarettes, we suggest you give it a try. Make sure you can find papers for it. It also is more expensive to use than injectors as the papers are more expensive and the added option of filter plugs alone cost nearly as much a pre-filtered tubes.
The new design we spoke of above, while there is some controversy around patents and other intellectual rights issues, is nonetheless an interesting concept for a roller. At the RTDA show we saw this design for the first time at the Indo Shag/Butterfly booth sponsored by National Honey Almond. Their roller differs from more traditional design in that both sides open and, once filled with tobacco, close. Much like an elongated clam shell, this design makes it a bit easier to get the paper in the right spot and thus further enhances the use of a hand roller. The Butterfly folks made it clear this was a prototype and it, in fact, may have been used only to demonstrate their line of Javanese tobacco. We were certainly told there were changes to be made to the roller but at that time, we had no idea that a similar roller existed, one that, in fact, had been around for a while. The other and evidently the original comes from Holland (The Netherlands) and bears the name Futurola. HBI has had this roller (shown at right) in their catalog for some time and from what we hear, it does not sell particularly well as it is considerably more expensive than traditional rollers. The design is unique enough that we think the extra price might be worth it and the unit seems to be more hearty, tougher to break, and its narrower (when closed) contoured lines make for an easier, less obtrusive fit in pocket or purse. There will no doubt continue to be controversy about the similarity of these two rollers but the Indo version is not yet available in the US. The Futurola is available and after trying the basic design, were I a handrolling enthusiast, I would try one. HBI distributes them and while found in their print catalog, it is not in their online one. Their more actively retail site ZenSmoke ( www.zensmoke.com) sells only Zen products so you will have to contact HBI to find a source for the Futurola. We know of none yet though they may be in your local tobacco shop as we speak. Certainly worth a look at least. Perhaps with enough interest the price can come down. we'll continue to look around for a retail source.
Let us know what you think about new rolling machines and especially your experience with them. We are, for the most part, injector-heads here at the magazine and would greatly appreciate any tips and experience you have had with any of the various products of this type that are available. Also feel free to Share with us any really unusual or older ones we have not discovered by attaching a JPEG of it (please keep file sizes less than 30k), along with a brief history as to how it came into your possession. We will likely use it in our next issue. If you have some real "treasures" share them with us and our readers. Contact us by clicking here or go to our Contact page for more information on how to get sample products to the magazine.
We get a lot of mail about handrolling techniques and we feel it is pretty obvious how to accomplish this feat with simply tobacco, paper and two hands (in some cases one). So, we will continue to repeat the techniques, tricks and tips for true hand-rolling. As a preface, however, suffice it to say that hand rolling is mostly a matter of practice - not secrets.
In addition to the pictorial demo that remains below, we asked Lisa (from Gizeh's corporate office in Germany), who is an expert handroller (as are many European smokers) to give us a quick demonstration. The following is a Window Movie Video, so Mac users will not be able to access it. Give it a try, especially if you have a broadband connection. We compressed it as much as possible, and without sound, so even those with phone connections, with a little patience should be able to view it. A little over one Mb file. It is seen best in Windows Media Player. If it doesn't load properly, check your media player to make sure in the file types setting your player is not sharing Windows Video with other players. If enough Mac users request it, we will provide an MPEG video as well in the future. Click here to access the video or look at the steps below if you need help with your hand rolling technique. For those of you who can see the video, you will notice that the pre-roll stage is the most important and time consuming part of hand rolling a well formed stick. Notice how Lisa spreads the tobacco evenly and gently "rocks" it back and forth in the paper until consistency is achieved throughout the length of the unrolled paper. Only then does she lick the paper and roll the final product. She savors the experience, as should all smokers, of using tobacco and takes her time with her rolling. Smoking tobacco should not be associated with an obsession for speed (time) or with any other obsessive behavior for that matter. It is a true luxury to be savored.
Our thanks to Paul at TobaccoLovers.com ( http://www.tobaccolovers.com ) for the following graphics and text
|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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