A Primer on Pipe Tobacco

Pipe Tobacco Classifications Air-Cured: These pipe tobaccos are dried naturally, sheltered from sunlight in large barns. The drying is carried out on the whole plant or as individual leaves. Sugar is the by-product of this three month drying process. Dark Pipe Tobaccos: These pipe tobacco plants are very mature and developed at the time of picking. The leaf is subjected to a second fermentation process. These leaves are used to make cigars. Fire-Cured: Akin to Dark, its natural drying is completed by a wood-fired fumigation (oak used by most of the traditionalists) Sun-Cured: Almost all of Oriental pipe tobaccos are cured by this method. Oriental pipe tobaccos are grown in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and adjoining countries.


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What is the Right Way to Store Bulk Tobacco?

By: Eric Whitaker The right way to store bulk tobacco and three reasons for storing tobacco in bulk storage: 1.)    Lower cost of purchasing in larger quantities. 2.)    Protecting the value of your tobacco from future cost increase in taxes and availability. 3.)    Maturation and Preservation of your favorite tobaccos. What are the three factors that affect tobacco storage? 1.)    Humidity 2.)    Temperature 3.)    Oxidation The proper humidity of tobacco should be around 70% relative humidity in a given volume of air, with a leaf moisture content not to exceed 30%. Tobacco will form mold if too moist. Metal containers may form rust, if the tobacco is too wet. The proper temperature is around 65-70F.  You want to avoid excessive heat, to preserve the natural volatile oils of the leaf, and to avoid the casings in fragrant blends from going stale. An airtight container is good to avoid deterioration from oxygen—and a vacuum container is ideal. Most people do not have access to a vacuum apparatus to expel the oxygen, but some suppliers offer bulk tobacco in pressed, vacuum packaging. Obtain some 1 gallon size thick polyethelene plastic ziplocks, transfer your tobacco into them, press out as much air as you can, seal them, and place a single tobacco in tight sealing plastic storage bins. Your tobacco should remain fresh for 1 year, in cool, constant temperature. It is important to note—make sure the tobacco you have purchased is fresh, because if it is dry—it cannot be returned to its Continue Reading →


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New House Blend – Winchester 44

Winchester 44, our latest House Blend, is a full bodied smoke that keeps its flavor  to the bottom of the bowl. The multiple flue-cured Virginia tobaccos have the true Virginia taste and sweetness. The Black Cavendish adds a hint of vanilla and enhances the aroma. We named it Winchester 44 because it hits the target every time.


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Tobacco Selection Without A Fault: Getting a Smooth Smoke

By Eric Whitaker All too often, people select tobaccos based on psychological marketing descriptions and outright lies. We already get enough of that with politicians! Please just leave our tobacco alone, Thank you. Today’s world is fast-paced, nobody has any patience anymore (what’s that?), yes,time is money in the tobacco business–along with many other things in this world. We are faced with opposing logic (things just don’t make sense, anymore–wrong is right and right is wrong)–which all goes to prove the exact opposite, when it comes to tobacco! Tobacco is a luxury, an old world pleasure, not to be adulterated with artificial ingredients or flavors or chemicals. Any tobacco that has these things, in my experience, is a tobacco that is hiding something disagreeable, because any high quality tobacco should naturally be able to stand on its own in the flavor department, without said additives. What Mother Nature gives us is sufficient. What companies add to it is unnecessary and presumptuous, to the unknowing public: if you want cherry flavor–eat REAL CHERRIES, don’t mix it with your tobacco! The same goes with all the other Junk they flavor it with! Many times, the tobacco companies that have no character or integrity will artificially flavor tobaccos that have not been cured properly, and rapidly send the concoctions out the door, to market with impunity, and no regard,for their very customers who kept them financially alive. The customer gets a harsh smoking, goopy mess in the bottom of his pipe bowl, and a Continue Reading →


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Oriental Pipe Tobacco

The common name “Turkish”, given to tobacco currently, really refers to tobacco grown in not only the country of Turkey, but other parts of the world, including Greece, Macedonia, Russia and Asia. More specifically, the reason why the name is used in a general way, was due to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, centuries ago, when the Turks were conquering and occupying new territories. “Oriental” is a more accurate name to the tobaccos we know of today, which add marvelous aromas and tastes  to pipe tobaccos that are grouped into categories of Balkans, English mixtures and Scottish mixtures; these tobaccos being naturally aromatic, to various degrees. They are from the plant Nicotiana Rustica, the leaves being very small compared to other tobacco. They are mostly sun-cured, and harvested by priming the leaves off the plant, one by one. They grow on mountain plains, hillsides and the base of valleys. Soil conditions in many areas in which they are grown are unique. Generally, modern agricultural techniques of fertilization, irrigation, crop rotation, etc., are not used. The plants have developed a waxy coating on the leaves to help it to survive dry conditions. The beauty of this natural reaction, is that the wax on the leaves help lock in and preserve natural organic essential oils, which give the tobacco their famous herbal and spicy, aromatic qualities, so valued. The tobacco which is one of the most aromatic of this kind is called “Smyrna”, of which “Latakia” comes from. Latakia is the Continue Reading →


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A New Briar Pipe

An excellent commentary from Eric Whitaker, our Contributing Writer: YOUR CHOICE OF A NEW BRIAR PIPE Your comfort with the shape, style, finish, weight and balance, and “feel” of your pipe will determine, in most cases what pipe you will like the best. There are many factors that you may consider, to help you with your choice, but please do not feel overwhelmed, because if it’s the right pipe, you’ll probably feel very good about it to begin with, if you know WHAT to look for: –Look for a good quality pipe that you can afford. –Look for a pipe that has enough wood on it to absorb heat and moisture, but is balanced well, and has a comfortable bit. –Look for a pipe free of shellacs, varnishes, filters, or large “putty-fills”, and wood that has no “grain pattern”. –Your new pipe should be well balanced, comfortable in your mouth as well as your hand, have a fine grain pattern around the bowl, with a minimum amount of flaws, no filters or varnish, and have either a smooth, sandblast or rusticated finish. A tip: A smooth naturally finished pipe with a fine grain all around the bowl, with a minimum of flaws will cost more. Another tip: There is a group of pipe shapes that are called “classic”, which include Bents, Billiards, Bulldogs, Dublins, Pots, Princes, Apples, Pokers, Canadians, Churchwardens, Lovats. Each of these ancient shapes has a history to it’s name, so thus are they deemed “classics” from the Continue Reading →


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Mac Baren to Acquire Altadis USA Pipe Tobacco Division

Will operate under its original name, Sutliff Tobacco CSP Daily News | April 16, 2013 RICHMOND, Va. — Mac Baren Tobacco Co., a 125-year-old pipe tobacco company based in Denmark, has reached an agreement with Altadis USA to purchase the company’s pipe tobacco division located in Richmond, Va. The acquired pipe business will operate under its original name, Sutliff Tobacco Co., which was founded in San Francisco 1849, making it one of the oldest pipe tobacco companies in the United States. The acquisition is expected to be completed later this spring. For Altadis USA and its service company, Commonwealth-Altadis Inc., a unit of international Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, the move allows the company to focus on its strategic core cigarette and cigar businesses. “This acquisition continues to build on Mac Baren Tobacco Co.’s considerable reputation as a world leader in the pipe tobacco industry,” said Paul Creasy, current general manager, who will continue to lead the business as president. “I am also pleased to announce that Sutliff Tobacco Co. will continue to manufacture pipe tobacco at its Perdue Avenue factory in Richmond.” Sutliff has been manufacturing in Richmond since 1953. It began manufacturing its flagship brand, Mixture 79, in 1933. “This is a perfect strategic fit for both Mac Baren and Sutlilff,” Creasy said. Sutliff Tobacco will import and distribute Mac Baren products in the Western Hemisphere. “This acquisition will not only strengthen the pipe tobacco portfolio of Sutliff Tobacco, but also will bring to the U.S. market Mac Baren Tobacco Co.’s Continue Reading →


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