Even non-smokers can recognize the lush fragrances that emanate from pipe tobaccos. These highly aromatic blends offer some of the most pleasant, and distinct scents of any tobacco out there. But the appeal isn't limited to just fragrance- often times, a great smoking experience can be found, stuffed deep within the bowl of that chamber.

Pipe tobacco itself is largely different from that found in other types of hand or machine-made tobaccos products. Most selections utilize Virginia tobaccos in their blends, which are regarded as some of the subtlest blends available. Virginia tobaccos burn optimally, and deliver sweet, gentle flavors. Even more subdued in vigor are the 'Bright' varieties, often grown in the Carolinas, while 'Burley' blends are usually thicker in cut, resulting in a much slower burn.

But the many faces of pipe varieties don't lie in the tobacco itself, but the cuts and treatment of the blends. To find your ideal variation, it's best to understand how these various cuts and curing processes differ from other tobacco selections. From there, it'll be far easier to access what you'll need to be on your way for your optimal pipe smoking experience.

First off, the cut of the tobacco becomes a factor when pipe shopping. Unlike cigars, which emphasize the vast varieties of tobacco components like wrapper leaves and binders, there are many variations of the tobacco blend outside of flavor or aroma, and how it is presented. While seasoned cigar smokers may be sure to note the type of cuts used in their stogies, most premium offerings are handmade using long-cut filler tobaccos. Pipe tobaccos though, provide more options:

First, there's the 'Flake Cut.' These tobaccos are presented as large, flat, flake-like cuts. This is one of the most basic offerings out there, and these tobaccos need to be fleshed out, or 'rubbed' as it's known, to separate the flakes before use. But for a nominal fee, you could opt for 'Ready Rubbed' tobacco, which is simply flake cut tobaccos that have already been rubbed out before being packaged. Think buying pre-sliced peppers or onions at the supermarket. Two other options are the 'Ribbon' and 'Shag' cuts. The aptly named ribbon process has simply been prepped into long, thin, ribbon-like cuts, while 'Shag' blends have been meticulously cut down into a much more refined and shredded variety.

Having address the form and cut of most pipe tobacco blends, you'll move into its signature feature- the curing methods and flavor infusions that lead to all those warm, sweet fragrances.

While often mistaken as a form of tobacco leaves, Cavendish is a manufacturing process that is perhaps the most common curing and cutting method used throughout the industry. This unique treatment perfectly draws out the purest, gentlest flavors of Virginia tobacco, resulting in a very gratifying, and enjoyable smoke. Other variations of the process include Black and Navy Cavendish. Black Cavendish perfectly heats the Virginia tobaccos for an especially sweet smoke, while Navy Cavendish blends are aged in batches with dark Jamaican rums, for an even more distinct profile.

The buck doesn't stop there, however. There are even more variations to the tobaccos blends that offer even greater flavor varieties. Casings can be added to infuse more exotic flavors that aren't naturally found in tobacco plants. These casings specially age and ferment the blends, generally increasing their sweetness. Some of the most common casings used are chocolate, vanilla, cherry, apple, rum, or other fruit and liquor varieties. Sweet-toothed smokers can find an even more decadent variation in 'Cake' tobaccos, which are soaked in honey for an especially sweet smoke.

If that wasn't enough, all of these pipe tobacco variations have since been seasoned by the multiple blenders and manufacturers over the years. Blends are spiked with a small amount of other tobaccos to create even more intricate flavors and aromas. Among these 'taste' tobaccos frequently utilized are Perique tobaccos, which are very dark and spicy, and grown in Louisiana; Brazil, which is dark and robust, but surprisingly sweet; and Latakia, which are slow-burning, full-bodied tobaccos from Syria, to spice up any blend with a rich and smoky flavor complex.

POSTED ON Apr 04, 2018


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