Backwoods Smokes made its debut in the late ‘70s, shortly after federal law banned cigarette ads on TV. Since TV was the dominant medium back then, tobacco farms feared they’d go bankrupt without some legal avenue into television advertising.
To get around the new law, Backwoods Smokes hit the shelves as the “tiny-cigar,” or cigarillo — an alternative to cigarettes. And they were heavily marketed as a tobacco product for a man’s man: Where Marlboro cigarettes appealed to Americans’ cowboy sensibilities, the Backwoods cigar appealed to the nation’s outdoorsman, the kind of macho bro who chops down trees with a three-foot axe and cooks catfish on hot coals. (Remember, it was the ‘70s…)
Unlike most mass-produced cigars, Backwoods aren’t wrapped in flat sheets of paper made from tobacco pulp. Rather, they’re made with raw tobacco leaves free of additives.
Besides all that rugged machismo, being talented enough to roll a tight, perfect Backwoods blunt is a badge of heady honor in the weed community. (Backwoods are so legendary, there’s even a secondary market for discontinued or “rare” flavors.) That’s because alongside twisting a blunt in its most au naturale form, Backwoods wraps require a ton more skill and attention than the typical convenience store blunt wrap. So, if you want to flex your OG stoner chops, crafting a Backwoods blunt is the way to go.
How to Roll a Backwoods Blunt
This guide assumes you’ve rolled a blunt before using either a prepackaged blunt wrap or a typical paper-y wrap cut from a conventional cigar. If so, keep in mind that you won’t be working with cigar paper here; you’ll be working with raw tobacco leaves, which are much more fragile than tobacco paper.
- Break up your weed by hand (for a smoother smoke) or use a grinder (for ease of rolling). Set the weed aside.
- Remove the wrap from the tobacco. To do this, locate the natural split that divides the blunt along its length. Starting from one end of the cigar, carefully unravel the split all the way to the other end.
- Now, carefully unroll the cigar to remove the wrap from the tobacco. This is the first step that most folks fuck up. Depending on your confidence, skill level, and climate, you may want to start licking the outside of the wrap during this step, to keep it moist.
- Once the tobacco is removed, carefully place the wrap on a flat surface.
- Lick or moisten the inside of the wrap. If the outside is still dry, consider moistening the outer side, too. (Note: Some people can pull off the roll without ever moistening the wrap. If you’ve got those surgeon-steady hands, by all means, save your tongue for the very end.)
- Fill the center of the wrap with weed. Small, hand-picked buds will provide a smoother smoke than using a grinder, even though that sounds counterintuitive. We’re not talking about joints here, after all...
- Begin rolling the wrap over the weed, pressing the plant material into a tight cylinder. This is the second step that most folks fuck up. Feel free to use your flat surface (tray, table, etc.) to introduce additional pressure when rolling the blunt.
- As you get to the end of the roll, you’ll notice there’s a piece of wrap dangling off at an angle. Lick or moisten this piece, then use it to seal the blunt closed.
- Wait for the blunt to dry, or use a heat source (tip of a lighter flame, a lamp bulb, etc.) to speed up the drying process.
- Smoke that shit.
Gallery — The World's Shittiest Blunts:
Some Alternatives to Licking the Paper
A few of the above steps mention licking or moistening the Backwoods wrap. Since some folks find human spit to be unsanitary, there are other options to moisten the wrap without using your gross slobber.
You can replace your tongue with an envelope or stamp moistener. These are usually tiny plastic bottles with a small sponge affixed to one end. After filling the bottle with some water, just press the sponge down on the wrap to get it moist. Don’t overdo it, though, or you’ll end up with a soggy mess and waste perfectly good tobacco.
Alternatively, if you live in a naturally humid climate (think: tropical), you may not need to do any licking or moistening at all. The Backwoods wrap will soak up the ambient moisture from the air, and so it should remain flexible and pliable without any licking required.
If an envelope moistener or tongue isn’t available, you can always create an extra-humid environment by twisting the Backwoods blunt in a steamy room, such as a bathroom with a hot shower running.
Regardless of how you go about keeping the Backwoods wrap together so you don’t end up with a crumbly blunt, remember to baby the Backwoods leaf from start to finish, and respect the process by only filling that blunt with the highest quality weed. And always feel free to add some shatter or hashish for a truly knock-out sesh.