Tobacco – things you may or may not know about Pipe Tobacco
In the UK the largest volume of pipe tobacco is the classic British Flake or Ready Rubbed.
After the tobacco leaves are harvested they are compacted under great pressure and heated for days at a time, producing cakes of tobacco which when taken from the press are guillotined into thin slices.
To produce the texture required for the pipe and the smoker the pipe smoker breaks the flakes up in the palm of the hand. This method produces an exceptionally cool, slow burning, satisfying smoke, but does require a certain amount of time, skill and expertise to get it just right.
To save time and effort and in a bid to provide a more consistent and easy smoking mixture for the newer pipesmoker the manufacturers began producing Ready Rubbed which is both more convenient and gives almost the same quality as the flake variety.
After the Flake and Ready Rubbed come the Mixtures which includes the plain natural Virginia and Shags whose unique character comes from careful blending of many different and exotic tobaccos. Some of these may have been pressed and darkened and may well include rich flavorings to enhance the aroma and taste. Generally the Mixtures are light in character and easier to smoke.
The third category of pipe tobacco is Aromatics. Originally mainly of European and American manufacture they are most popular amongst the younger UK pipesmokers.
Many Aromatics are imported and manufactured here in the UK and specialist tobacconists are able to supply an increasing range of flavored aromatic tobaccos.
Finally – Twist and Spun Cut, the enthusiasts tobaccos and normally only stocked by the specialist tobacconist.
Full bodied, powerful and rich they are made in traditional style as developed by sailors and spun to form a rope.
There is no truth in the story that with these tobaccos there is no waste. It used to be said that the miners would chew a plug of twist whilst underground, let it dry out and smoke it when sitting at home or in the pub. It is alleged that the ash was then crushed and used for snuff !
Finding the right tobacco
Very much a case of trial and error, a sort of suck it and see exercise.
The beginner is advised to choose a tobacco that is easy to smoke and easy to burn, so it is best to start off with a ready rubbed tobacco such as any one of the following;
Dutch Blend Aromatic – an even burning most satisfying smoke with a gentle aroma. Made of carefully selected tobaccos spiced with Burley & Oriental leaf.
Gold Block – ‘The Aristocrat’ of pipe tobaccos. Even burning and premium quality, Gold Block is made to a centuries old unique sweetening process guaranteeing the character.
Craven Mild Ready Rubbed – A sweet smelling modern style round smooth flavoured tobacco.
Erinmore Mixture – the famous aroma of this long established favourite is a surprisingly light, mild
and easy smoke.
Clan – both young and old pipe smokers enjoy this cool, fragrant, mild and slow burning pipe tobacco with the unique flavour.
Condor Mild – from the House of Condor and classed as Britain’s number one selling pipe selling tobacco. Condor Mild is a blend of fine tobaccos producing a cool, slow-burning and satisfying smoke.
Falcon Medium Mixture – in contrast to traditional pipe blends Falcon Medium Blend has a mildness and an elegant flavour all its own. The rough cut burns more slowly, cooler and completely giving a cooler smoke in a drier pipe.
Amphora Full Aromatic (Red Pack) – a subtle mixture of the fragrance of oranges, raspberries and flowers, this is the most popular aromatic version of Amphora.
Borkum Riff Whiskey – Riff cut blended with bourbon whiskey. Made in Germany, blended in Sweden.
Borkum Riff Cherry Cavendish – heavily cased with cherry flavouring to achieve a mellow and full aroma. Made in Germany, blended in Sweden.
Snuff tobacco is basically a flavoured tobacco with just three traditional ingredients; high grade tobacco, natural fragrances and water, however the ingredients of snuff vary from country to country. Some countries add paraffin based oil mixtures to their snuff but the UK has the purest snuff.
The process of making snuff tobacco.
To get top quality snuff tobacco there are a few golden rules that need to be taken into account for the perfect recipe.
The tobacco needs to be of exceptional quality with a rich blend using the finest tobacco leaves that are fully matured and dried.
The leaves need to be ground using traditional water power or machines. The machines grind the tobacco to the required level such as coarse, medium or fine. Now the ground tobacco is repeatedly sieved to leave a smooth grain size.
Next the oils and fragrances are added which gives the snuff its character and signature. The snuff is finally left to mature again which ensures a full bodied flavour and required moisture content of moist, medium or dry.
History of Snuff
Snuff was first discovered by Columbus on his second voyage to Americas in 1492, where he came across Taino-Indians sniffing snuff through large Y-shaped tubes.
Since that period snuff has been taken by various social classes over the yeas from aristocracy to miners, and has spread all over the world from Europe to China.