Tobacco Selection Without A Fault: Getting a Smooth Smoke

By Eric Whitaker
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!2013-04-08 14.51.00 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 sour taste in his mouth, so much of the gloop in the tobacco he can’t keep the pipe lit with a blowtorch, and his pipe will invariably always smoke wet, and his tongue gets burned. No Thank you, please!

The reason: time is money. The tobacco that is processed too quickly and improperly, has some problems already with it–BEFORE the additives have been dumped into it: The leaf contains ammonia (NH3) which will wreak havoc on you in the form of the effect it has on your body chemistry–it will make you nauseated, and the smoke will be harsh tasting, almost acrid. That is NOT what you paid for!

The solution to this problem involves chemistry and/or time. One method that is traditional and takes time is fermentation, in the form of the ammonia naturally in the green leaf to undergo a process of fermentation (with increases in heat) as a byproduct of this natural process–all taking time. This is why the world famous Cuban cigars are so mellow and nice, is because all the tobacco used to make them is fermented three times by Cuban law, before the cigars are sent to market, ensuring no ammonia remains within the leaf. Another process is man-made, the flue curing method of heat being introduced into the curing barn to artificially convert the ammonia and starches within the leaf to sugars and esters of flavor, that is, Virginia Bright tobacco with a low nicotine and high natural sugar content. 2011-11-09 14.42.22Then, of course, there are some methods of old world craftsmanship of fine tobaccos, that, believe it or not, are still practiced today, after being proven superior, for over 200 years in process; that is, the processes of the likes of Samuel Gawith, Gawith and Hogarth, J.F.Germain and Sons, and as very few others, do. 2011-11-09 15.24.13The old world methods involve pressing the tobaccos under great pressure and the addition of heat for several hours, to “cook” the tobacco under compression, thus yielding a superior product free of off favors and ammonias. What they end up with is a sweet, mellow, natural product that is really pleasurable to smoke–without ANY additives! The tobacco leaves meld together and the essential essences meld together in natural product–far superior to anything else.
The lesson of all this is, you the consumer may easily do a little research on the brands to learn who does things the right way–which to them is the only way, tested and proven by time immemorial, is more desirable than a quick profit for an inferior product. The firms that use pride and integrity crafting their tobacco products are still going concerns in high demand after 200 years. You will taste the difference. Be wise in your tobacco selection and you will get a smooth smoke.

–Happy Smoking,
Eric Whitaker


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