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21. august 2014

Virginia type tobacco is the far most used tobacco type in pipe tobacco today . It is grown in most
parts of the world. Zimbabwe, Brazil, North & South Carolina and Georgia being the producers
of the highest quality at the moment . Virginia tobacco is known for its high content of dextrose
(sugar), which basicly gives you a sweet taste . For a non flavoured tobacco, that is . The nicotine
content can vary from 1 to 3 .5 %. 2 % being the average . After the harvest the leaves are hung in
barns to dry . The barns are heated for about 3-5 days . This processing is called 'flue cured', which
is also the technical term for Virginia tobacco . After the leaves has regained some humidity from
the air, they are sold . Further treatment is done by the raw-tobacco dealers . Here the leaves are
'aged' for 1-2 years and stripped for their stalks . Before selling they are sorted by color and
quality. This makes the raw material for pipe tobacco manufacturers . Pure Virginia tobacco is
best known from flake types . Dunhill's Light Flake is a very good try here . Medium strength and
rather sweet in taste . Several blends by Rattray comes into mind also . Marlin Flake being a rather
'heavy' member of the family . But still very sweet . The Danish manufacturer A&C Petersen has
the Blue Caledonian. Mild to medium in strength, and a nice pure taste of Virginia tobacco .

Burley tobacco is the next largest tobacco for pipe tobacco blending . The nicotine content is
between 1 .5 and 4.5 % . It contains almost no sugar, which gives a much dryer and full aroma
than Virginia. I think Burley means something like big, solid and stout, which is a rather precise
description of the taste. Main growers of Burley are Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina,
Virginia and Missouri . But also Mexico and Malawi must be considered . The technical term for
Burley is'air cured'. This air curing is done in large open barns, by the natural air flow, for one or
two months . The Burley is also matured, stripped and sorted by the raw-tobacco company . The
color is ranging from light brown to mahogany. Pure Burley blends are mainly produced by US
and Danish companies . Blends like Blue Edgeworth, Old English and Half-and-Half are classic
examples. The latter being slightly flavoured. Burley is also the main ingredient in most of the
Danish McBaren blends .

Spice tobacco
Spice tobacco is actually not one type of tobacco, rather than a broad variety of more 'special'
types, used in small amounts to create an interesting blend . Here we find Oriental, Latakia,
Perique and Kentucky among others . Most of them are frequently used in English type blends,
also called mixtures .

Again a variety of tobaccos, grown in Turkey, the Balkans, Russia and around . The best known
types are Izmir, Samsun, Yedidje, Cavella and Bursa . A common characteristic is a dusty, dry
and sometimes slightly sourish aroma . Some of them are also used in 'exotic' cigarettes from
Egypt and other Arab countrys.

Latakia (lah ta KEY ah)
Probably the most well known spice tobacco . Mainly grown in Cyprus nowadays . After the
leaves are harvested and dried, they are hung in tightly closed barns and smoke-cured . Small
smouldering fires of oak and pine are filling the barn with smoke, and covering the leaves with
smoke particles . This curing can take up to two months . The myth, telling that this curing is done
over camel manure might have been true in ancient days . It is definitely not the case today. But it
makes a good story, ey? The aroma of Latakia is, quite naturally, very smoked and unique, i
prefer to call it . I love the taste and also the aroma from others smoke, but non-smokers tend not
to. It is honestly quite characteristic, to say the least . Latakia is an indispensable ingredient of the
traditional English mixture . The content can vary from a few percent to about 40-50%, or even
more. Some (few) smokers like it at 100% . A bit harsh i would say . Not because Latakia is a
strong tobacco, but it has a pitful burn and tend to dry out your mouth and throat. Excellent
blends with Latakia comes the Dunhill and Rattray . My Mixture 965, Early Morning and London
Mixture from D ., and Red Rapperee and Black Mallory from R. are among my favourites . Seven
(7) Reserve from R. has a moderate content of Latakia, and might be a good introduction to this
kind of blends . Bengal Slices is unique - a flake tobacco with a moderate to high content of
Latakia . A very lovely blend if you like Latakia .

Perique (pear eek)
Like Latakia, perique is a quite peculiar product . It is exclusively grown in a tiny region of the
southern Louisiana near Mississippi . The production is small ; less than 100000 kg per year, and
the prize is high. During the growing season the upper part of the plant is cut off, just leaving
about 10 leaves on each plant. The remaining leaves will then become more concentrated in taste
and nicotine content . Perique is cured like Burley, but for a shorter time . There after the squeeze
some juice out and make the whole thing ferment . Once in a while the leaves are taken out for a
period and then repacked and refermented . This process takes at least one full year . Some times
even longer. The aroma of a tobacco treated by this method is round and full bodied. Not
penetrating like Latakia . Actually rather difficult to describe . The nicotine content is
overwhelming. Perique can not be smoked by itself. Try it if you like . Two minutes and you are
knocked out. Therefor it is used very limited in blends . 5 % in a blend is about the maximum . It is
usually applyed to Virginia blends to give more body . Escudo is a good representative of a
Virginia blend with perique.

This is actually a specially treated Burley tobacco, produced in - you guessed right - Kentucky
(and Malawi). It is, unlike Burley, fire-cured. In Kentucky called dark-cured . The smoked aroma
is not as marked as for Latakia, but very aromatic and unique. The nicotine content tends to be
rather high, and the use therefor limited in amount . Dutch cigarette tobacco like Drum and
Samson Sware contains some Kentucky . African Kentucky is sometimes used to spice Virginia
blends .

Cuban and other cigar tobaccos are used in a limited range of Virginia blends and mixtures .

Cavendish was originally 'developed'by English tobacco firms . It is more a method to treat
tobacco than a type . Cavendish can be produced out of any tobacco type (mainly Virginia's and
Burley's are used) . The original English Cavendish is produced out of Virginia tobacco, which is
slightly flavoured and either heated by high pressure or on copper pans . Or both. This will give
you a very dark / black product . A few English Cavendish blends exist on the market - Rattray's
Dark Fragrant and Black Virginia plus McConnel's Maduro . The modem version of Cavendish is
generally much more flavoured . The natural taste of tobacco is almost gone . The flavouring is
probably better described as casing, in most cases . This is the term used when you add a
considerable amount of additives to the tobacco . This is usually done by producing a fluid
mixture of sugar, liquorice or any kind of aromas in which the tobacco is soaked . The goal is to
produce a sweet and smooth aroma. Modern Cavendish tobacco comes in numerous flavours .
Cherry, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, Irish coffee .... You name it. Not my kind of mixture . I like
tobacco (sorry) . Modem Cavendish tend to be very popular in the US and Germany . The market
is growing in most countrys all over the world .

Ib Fagerlund, April 1998

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