Types of Pipe Tobacco | Cuts, Blending & Taste

June 22, 2015

Cigar School

Lesson 13: Pipe Tobacco "101

The Different Varieties Of Pipe Tobacco

Aromatic– To understand what is aromatic pipe tobacco you need to know that, during the manufacturing process, casings are added to the tobacco. A casing is flavor that is added to the tobacco. Some of the most common casings are chocolate, vanilla, cherry, rum, apple, liquor, etc. Depending on the amount of casing used, a blend in this category can also be deemed “semi-aromatic” or “lightly-aromatic.”

Non Aromatic– Another of the different types of pipe tobacco. A mixture that relies solely on the natural ingredients of the tobacco to derive its flavors and aroma. In many cases, the tobacco is specially aged or fermented, which increases its sweetness.

English Blend – Up until 1986, additives were not allowed in tobaccos made in England. For this reason, those were referred to as English blend tobaccos even though non-aromatic tobaccos were manufactured all over the world. Today a true English blend is considered to be any blend containing Oriental tobaccos, most notably Latakia. The most common English pipe tobacco consists of Latakia, Virginia, and Perique. Depending on how much Latakia is mixed into the blend ultimately determines the overall strength of the mixture, described as a mild-, medium-, or full-bodied English blend.

Tobacco Cuts

Flake Cut – Tobacco packaged as large, flat flakes. Must be rubbed out to separate the flakes.

Ready Rubbed – A flake-cut tobacco that has been rubbed out before packaging.

Ribbon Cut – Tobacco cut into long, thin ribbons.

Shag – Tobacco that has been shredded very finely.

Cake Or Plug – Cake tobacco is soaked in honey, which acts as a bonding agent as well as a sweetener. The tobacco is then molded by packing it into round molds before packaging. This process is sometimes referred to as “spun-disc” tobacco.

Blending Tobaccos

The following list of tobaccos is the main ingredients found in all blends of pipe tobacco.

Virginia – Red / black / dark / lemon / orange / orange-red. The mildest of all blending tobaccos. Virginia tobacco has the highest natural sugar content, and is used in virtually all blends as it is a good burner and lights easily. It imparts a light, sweet taste, which naturally increases when properly aged before blending.

Bright – A very light tobacco that is grown in the Carolinas. Very mild flavor.

Burley – A naturally thicker leaf than Virginia, Burley has a soft, nutty taste that never bites. It also burns very slowly and is used for slowing down the combustion rate for many blends.

Cavendish – Cavendish is a curing and cutting method. Often mistaken for a type of tobacco leaf. Cavendish is actually a type of manufacturing process. This special heating and curing process will bring out the naturally sweet flavor of Virginia tobacco. The process also creates a tobacco that is quite mild, very light in taste, and easy to pack.

Black Cavendish – The natural process of heating and curing Virginia tobacco to bring out the natural sweet flavor.

Navy Cavendish – Aged naturally with dark Jamaican rum.

“Taste” Tobaccos

Think of these blends as adding salt and pepper to a meal. Most of these tobaccos are added sparingly to the mixture to create some unique flavors and aromas. Many of these tobaccos have very dominant flavors so only a small amount is required to taste the full effect of the leaf.

Perique – Grown in Louisiana, Perique is a very dark tobacco that is renowned for its very spicy flavor.

Brazil – A very dark tobacco that has a robust, sweet flavor.

Latakia – Grown in Syria, Latakia is a very full-bodied dark tobacco that gives off a smoky aroma that is similar to burning leaves. Latakia is a very overpowering tobacco that is primarily used in English blends.

Oriental – A generalized grouping of tobaccos including Latakia that is known for its unique “spice” flavors. The tobaccos in this category are grown in Western Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, and Syria. Many times a mixture will include Macedonia as one of the ingredients. The different types of tobacco leaf grown in Macedonia are as follows … Xanthi, Komotini, Drama, Serrus, Samsun and Izmir.


One response to “Types of Pipe Tobacco | Cuts, Blending & Taste”

  1. 3Pursuits says:

    Interesting information over here.
    Totally agree with you, No other tobacco category is as diverse as pipe tobacco. With a huge variety of cuts and blends available, it’s enough to confuse even an experienced pipe smoker.

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