Categorize Pipe Tobaccos?

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jankomatic

Member
Sep 12, 2010
167
0
Tampa, FL
Is there an easy way to categorize pipe tobaccos? I am trying to take the ones I own and put them in groups to compare them with one another AND against the other groups. I figured it would be easy, but some seem to fall in multiple categories.
Here is my list:

Mississippi Mud Cornell and Diehl

Nightcap Dunhill

Haddo's Delight GLP

Triple Play GLP

Jack Knife GLP

Maltese Falcon GLP

Honey and Chocolate Mac Baren

Plumcake Mac Baren

Christmas Cheer 2010 McClelland

Escudo Navy Deluxe Peter Stokkebye

Irish Whiskey Peterson

Sherlock Holmes Peterson

Irish Oak Peterson

Summer Time 2010 Peterson

Hal O' the Wynd Rattray's

Grousemoor Samuel Gawith

1792 Samuel Gawith

Westmoreland Mixture Samuel Gawith

 

jankomatic

Member
Sep 12, 2010
167
0
Tampa, FL
Here is an example, Escudo Navy Deluxe, it has Virginia and Perique in it. luxurytobaccoreviews puts it in the Virginia category, why not the Virginia/Perique category?

 

lordofthepiperings

Preferred Member
May 3, 2010
6,320
34
Las Vegas, NV
It could be that the Perique in that blend is only a hint of it to spice it up and not at a certain ratio to call it a Va/Perique by their standards. That'd be my guess. Some blends do have a different leaf in them that isn't mentioned on the label, but a lot of pipers who've been smoking certain leaves for years can taste the little bit of Latakia or Oriental or whatever it is that's been added to the blend and not the label. Like Sherlock Holmes is mostly Virginia, but the tin does note the use of Burley although their website description of it says "Straight Virginia blend". The Burley is used to balance out the smoke and cool it down a little. I'd venture to say it would be listed as a Virginia though, because Virginia is what the blend mostly is, the Burley is just added like I said to cool the smoke down a little.
Categorizing blends is almost as difficult as categorizing rock music. There's so many sub-genres. You could have a just Virginia category or a Virginia/Perique, a Virginia/Burley, a Virginia/Cavendish etc. etc. etc. I think when most people categorize tobaccos though they go with what the base leaf is.
I'd venture to say as well that the reason Escudo Navy Deluxe contains Perique but isn't listed as a Va/Perique would be that, I'm pretty sure it, like most other tobacco review sites, is ran kind of like wikipedia where members can make changes to the blends as to what they're blended with or cased with and so on.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,691
1,639
Chicago, IL
Here's a cut 'n' paste from the now defunct Pipe Tobacco Aging, Storage and Cellaring FAQ...

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1 ~ Which pipe tobacco categories do most people acknowledge?
For the record, I divide the world of tobacco into the following categories: English, Oriental, Virginia, Aromatics and Burley blends. Also, there are Balkan blends, but I don't think ANYONE knows how THEY differ from English blends.
Inquisitor, 2000-10-06

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For me (and I'm by no means an authority) there are: Natural/English, Blended/Balkan, Aromatic, Flavoured.

Kevin Winkless, 2003-01-14

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Bear in mind that my classification is a kind of mixture of classifications as I have understood them over the years, but I believe that they're pretty close to William Serad's who has been doing the "Trial by Fire" column for Pipes and Tobaccos magazine: English, Balkan, Scottish, Oriental, American English/American Balkan, American/Burley, Virginia, Virginia/Perique, Aromatic.

Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07
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Tobaccos are normally divided into four types: English (with Latakia), Straight Virginia (possibly with Perique), Straight Burley, and "Flavored" Tobaccos (commonly known as "Aromatics" or "Scented").

Tarek Manadily from Pipe Smoking: A Realm of Confusion

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For the Online Pipe Tobacco Cellar, I used the following categories: Aromatic, Burley, English/Latakia, Oriental, Virginia, Virginia/Perique, and Hard to Classify.

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2 ~ What is an aromatic blend?
A lot of ASPers are starting to prefer the term "flavored" for the category of artisan (and generally natural) blends which contain a modicum of flavoring. This term is opposed to "goopy aromatics" or "cased aromatics" which refer to those blends with so much added flavoring as to overpower the natural tobacco flavor, and eliminate all hope of aging. As you can immediately tell, the term "aromatic" is - apart from its technical definition - often pejorative.

This is much like the definition of "English". If you look on the Cornell and Diehl site, "English" seems to refer to all the blends that aren't aromatics. [...] There seem to be a lot of blends that *might* be classed aromatics if we broadened the definition. Anything with Cavendish, for instance, like Dunhill Aperitif. That's flavored with smoke and Cavendish.

Ian Rastall, 2003-01-13

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Alcohol just doesn't count, but any other kind of flavouring agent does.

Bernie, 2003-01-13

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I wonder if the confusion over the term has to do with whether a person is favorable or not towards the notion of aromatic tobacco. Those who use the term as a pejorative, as I did jokingly in another thread, are probably referring to substandard tobacco artificially flavored to mask the poor quality. (Crap tobacco with cherry additives just tastes like cherry-flavored crap...for instance.)

Andrew Garner, 2003-01-13

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The definition of aromatic is, I believe, pretty much agreed to refer to those blends that smell of something other than tobacco and possibly taste of same. Some are made of very good quality tobaccos and others aren't.
Bernie, 2003-01-13

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The minute you flavor a tobacco, you've got an aromatic. [...] There are some tlends that have just a touch, if that, of sweetener. But I say again, the minute you put your brandy, or other flavoring, no matter how little or how much, you've got an aromatic. They don't have to be goopy, or anything like that, but there you are.
firedancerflash, 2003-01-13

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Aromatic tobaccos, in my mind, have come to be associated with tobaccos containing natural flavouring agents other than the tobacco itself. I consider alcoholic spirits to be natural flavouring agents. This would include the perfumed Gawith and Hoggarth/Samuel Gawith blends as well as a number of European blends. The key here is that the tobacco is mixed with *natural* materials such as extracts or even the flavouring plant itself, and the lot is allowed to meld together. The flavouring is meant to enhance the tobaccos, not to hide them.
Flavoured tobaccos on the other hand, are typically simple burley or VA blends which are then flavoured with a pre-prepared syrup or similar flavouring agent. In this case, the smoke is meant to be primarily about the flavour. I.e. Chocolate Cream Cherry Sundae should taste and smell like a Chocolate Cream Cherry Sundae and not like anything else.
Kevyn Winkless, 2003-01-14

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This class covers heavily cased blends that are commonly sold in convenience stores, but also includes higher-end aromatics that come in tins as well. Any blend that has a flavoring added to it falls into this category. Suggestions for examples: Captain Black, Rattray's Terry Red, Dan Blue Note, Dunhill Royal Yacht.
Yarnspinner, 2003-11-29 (Knoxville Boards)

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Can be pretty much any tobacco which has flavoring agents (sauces, liquors, extracts, etc.) added for additional flavor and/or aroma.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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3 ~ What is an English blend?
Here, you'll find a range of definitions arranged like concentric circles. The largest circle claims that "English" simply means "not aromatic". Another very popular definition has "English" to mean "a natural blend containing a significant amount of Latakia tobacco." And the definitions available ratchet down from there. This is one of those topics - and terms! - that never seems to die.

'English' style blends are so called because at some point, there was a law on the books in England that tobacco manufacturers could not adulterate their blends with flavorings. That is really all that 'English' means; uncased. Find when the law was passed and take the group of tobaccos available immediately afterward, and those are your prototypical 'english style' blends.
I submit that most people who use the term 'English' blend could not explain what they meant by that term in under 90 seconds, making it, to me, a useless term. If we could hammer out a term that WE agreed on, I would be willing to accept it for the sake of the discussion, but probably not any further.
As an aside, as I have used it heard used, most people divide tobacco blends into 'english' and 'aromatic' which is actually the proper usage.
Jon Tillman, 2002-12-19

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I submit that most pipe smokers (and blenders, distributors, retailers, etc) make a distinction between English blends, Balkan blends, Virginias, etc. I could be very wrong, but I thought the generally accepted definition of English blends is a little more restrictive.
I think, as I said before, that the term "English," as used by most folks, is far more descriptive that simply "not aromatic." And indeed, the many non-aromatic Virginias on your web site are not described as "English" in the product descriptions. The reason for this, I think, is that most people do not think of Virginias as English, even when they are uncased.
An off-the-top-of-my-head, less than 90 second definition of English blends...I guess I'd say, "an uncased blend of predominantly Virginia tobaccos, with Latakia and some Orientals added in smaller amounts."
There really isn't complete agreement about what is meant by the term "English". Still, they all have in common...Virginia, Latakia, Oriental.
Sean Chercover, 2002-12-19

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In my opinion, once again going back to the original definition of an 'english', there should not be any casing applied to a blend for it to be an 'english'. Beyond that, I agree that the major components are Virginias, Latakia, Orientals and perhaps other spice tobaccos, in varying quantities.
Jon Tillman, 2002-12-20

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There seems to be distinction made by some between "English mixture" and "English tobacco," the former indicating a blend of Latakia and other things, the latter suggesting that the tobacco isn't adulterated with chemicals.
GL Pease, 2002-12-20

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To my mind, an English blend has a significant portion of Virginia backing up the Latakia, and orientals serve as a spice.
GL Pease, 2002-09-07 (from his FAQ)

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English blends usually increase the portion of Latakia and sometimes the Orientals as well, while reducing the Virginias. While there are exceptions, traditional English blends don't use a topping of alcohol.
J.W. Davis, 2000-05-18

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A classic English ('Scottish' means the same thing) mixture is a blend of ribbon-cut tobaccos on a base of bright virginia: the condiment tobaccos are Turkish/Oriental (formerly individual tobaccos, now a melange called 'Basma'), Latakia, and Perique (usually only present in the 'full' mixtures.) Additional tobaccos could include various other grades and types of virginia, and very occasionally, a bit of Maryland.
Paul Szabady, 1999-08-14

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English means that the tobacco is primarily VA or Burley, with small amounts of other tobaccos such as perique, latakia, orientals intended primarily to make the smoking experience more complex by highlighting/complementing certain aspects of the main tobacco.
Kevyn Winkless, 2003-01-14

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My understanding is that indeed, "English" blends typically do use Latakia tobacco and do not use additives. Latakia is a strong, smoky tasting tobacco grown principally in Syria and Cyprus, not an additive. Those two points, Latakia and the lack of additives, seem to be the definition of most "English" blends. The "stronger" the blend, the more Latakia it contains.
Tim Wisner, 2002-05-06

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I only consider blends with VA, Turkish, and latakia to be "English" blends. Of course there are several varieties of VA, several varieties of Turkish, and two types of latakia. I do not consider blends with burley to be "English" blends. They might be tasty as all get out, but they aren't technically "English". "Latakia" blends, yes, "English", no.
Weston in Atlanta, 2002-05-06

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English. English blends are most known for that smokey condiment (usually only condimental) ingredient--Latakia. Latakia is a tobacco from the Middle East that is cured over fires fueled with an assortment of woods and herbs. The persistent rumor that Latakia is cured over camel dung fires is patently untrue. It may have been true in the past but it is no longer true (the discovery of Latakia is an interesting story, but I'll leave that for another thread and time!). English blends have a base of Virginias with Latakia and other orientals added to the blend. The Latakia is the tobacco in these blends that give them their trademark "campfire" aroma (loved by pipesmokers...hated by most wives and girlfriends of pipesmokers!). For me, English blends contain at least 50% Virginias. Examples of English blends: Dunhill My Mixture 965, Dan Gordon Pym, Peterson Old Dublin, Rattray's Highland Targe, Rattray's Black Mallory.
Yarnspinner, 2003-11-29 (Knoxville Boards)

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A blend containing Virginias and Latakia, which may also contain some Orientals for depth or spice. Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe is an example.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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"English" is particularly slippery. There seem to be two basic classifications that adopt this description. The first, probably the oldest, is a tobacco that contains only tobacco and a restricted level of ammendments or additives in accordance with the purity laws that were extant up until the late 1980s.
"English Mixture," on the other hand, the word mixture being important, has been useed to denote a blend containing Latakia for quite a long time, at least in the US. In the UK, such a blend was more often simply referred to as a "Mixture."
GL Pease, 2005-08-10

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A typical English Mixture has as its base one or more Virginias, Orientals/Turkish, Latakia, and possibly a bit of Perique. Same tobaccos that contain, or are based, on Burley and Black Cavendish have found their way into what I prefer to call "modern" English mixtures. In some countries, and in particular the USA, the word "English" is used to describe tobaccos that contain no additives, regardless of the ingredient tobaccos or the type of blend; that is, a blend could be with Latakia or a straight Virginia (pressed or not).
Tarek Manadily from Pipe Smoking: A Realm of Confusion

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4 ~ What is a Balkan blend?
I would say that when the Latakia and Orientals take the driver's seat, supported by the Virginias, then it is a "Balkan".
Sean Chercover, 2002-12-19

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Balkan blends use a heavy proportion of oriental tobaccos sourced from the Balkans (mostly the former Yugoslavia and the northern reaches of Greece.) For Balkan Sobranie, the source and inspiration of the appellation, that tobacco was mostly Yenidje, but since these pure oriental varieties are apparently unavailable to blenders these days, 'balkan blend' today refers to anything that resembles the old classic Sobranies - i.e., a rich tasting English with plenty of turkish/oriental in addition to the customary latakia.
Paul Szabady

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A Balkan, on the other hand, is predominately based on oriental tobaccos and Latakia, and just enough Virginia is used to provide structure and balance.
GL Pease, 2002-09-07 (from his FAQ)

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Balkans. Aaaah...Balkans! My favorite class of blends! To my thinking (and I think to most pipesmokers), Balkans can be considered a subset of English blends since they contain Virginias, Latakia, and Orientals. What sets them apart, however, is that they are at least 50% Latakia and/or Orientals. You'll sometimes even find Burley or Perique in Balkan blends. Examples of Balkan blends: Dan Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend, McClelland Frog Morton on the Bayou, C&D Star of the East, C&D Baalbek, C&D Levant.
Yarnspinner, 2003-11-29 (Knoxville Boards)

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Similar to an English blend, but more Orientals than Virginia is used. G.L. Pease's Odyssey is a well-known example.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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The Balkan moniker probably originates with the venerable Balkan Sobranie, a blend that's been around for a very, very long time, and for decades, set the standard for this type of mixture.
GL Pease, 2005-08-10

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5 ~ What is a Scottish blend?
In my opinion, no [the inclusion of Cavendish does not have anything to do with a Scottish blend]. I think of tobaccos like Rattray's Highland Targe to be characterisctic of Scottish mixtures, and I don't taste any Cavendish in the old tins I have sampled. I can't speak to the new version.
GL Pease, 2002-09-07

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Scottish mixtures typically use Virginias as a base, then are enhanced with spicy Orientals. Latakia is used as a *condiment* (as opposed to a side dish) and the mixture is then sometimes topped with a flavouring of some kind, but typically a whisky (scotch). The blend may or may not be steamed and/or stoved at this point. Latakia content should be no more than 20% or thereabouts.
J.W. Davis, 2000-05-18

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Scottish blends were usually just 'English' blends - that is, mixtures of Virginias, Orientals, Latakia and Perique associated with Scottish blending houses like Rattray, John Cotton (?) and Bell and others. The Scottish houses also produced flake tobaccos through different pressing techniques and as a loose generality, tobacco flavors were usually more robust than those produced in the effete South of England. The tobaccos were of high quality and much in demand and although few houses with Scot names are now produced in Scotland, the term lingers on.
Paul Szabady, 1998-05-26

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It is, I believe, a blend consisting of Virginias with a dash of Perique. So, for example, Esoterica's Dunbar is a Scottish blend (most excellent), and Davidoff makes one as well, although the latter is "sauced" excessively. Peterson's makes an Irish blend that is very pleasant, and similar to Scottish.
Samuel M. Goldberger, 1998-05-27

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"Scottish" blend is a term applied by some manufacturers (McConnell, for instance, when they were making excellent tobaccos!) to Latakia/Virginia mixtures, often with some Perique, but very light in the oriental end of things. If you were fortunate enough to ever smoke the much missed (at least by me) Elephant and Castle "Scottish Blend" and their "The Stout", you have experienced some of the best of the "Scottish" and "English" mixtures made in the eighties. These were made by Robert McConnell for Marble Arch. Garfinkel's also made some "Scottish" mixtures and flakes (a favourite was Scottish Cut Plug...long gone, *sigh*), as do McCleland's. They are rich and sweet from the Virginas, sometimes pressed lightly, sometimes broken flake. These are not known for the piquancy of more oriental based mixtures.
GL Pease, 1998/05/28

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P&T magazine tobacco reviewer William Serad described MacBaren Scottish Cake as "This is what the Danish are always trying to make when they say something is "Scottish." A very fine aged cake of dark red Virginia with a subtle amount of Perique ... sweet, with stewed fruit overtones ... a fine example of its sort." I would like to think that "Scottish" isn't just any aged red VA/P mix with a sweet casing, but I really don't know.
Inquisitor, 2001-01-02

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An English blend which also contains Cavendish. By this definition, Dunhill's 965 is a Scottish blend, not an English.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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"Scottish" mixtures are reliant upon a high percentage of Virginia tobaccos, either in their pure state, or processed through stoving, panning, pressing, and so on. The Virginias are augmented and enhanced with the addition of small quantities of spice tobaccos. The term probably derives from Rattray's blends, which gained wide acclaim as being the gold standard for this sort of tobacco. (The earliest examples of these tobaccos were all blended and tinned by hand in Rattray's shop. Later, Robert McConnell, arguably the finest blending house in the new world until their closing in the early 1990s, were contracted to produce the range, and for a time, the blends were produced both in Scotland and in England. It's my understanding that only old knife-lid tins were ever produced in Scotland, and that all pull-tops came out of McConnell's factory, but this may not be 100% accurate.)
McConnell produced their own "Scottish Mixture," which was a lovely rubbed-out Virginia with a gentle addition of Latakia. They also produced several of the Garfinkel's blends, including "Scottish Cut Cake," which was a beautiful example of a red VA blend. "Westropa Rough Cut" was another fantastic Garfinkel tobacco produced by McConnell in the "Scottish style."
GL Pease, 2005-08-10

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6 ~ What's the difference between English, Balkan, and Scottish?
A Scottish blend is similar to an English, with less Latakia, a more dominant Virginia character and, perhaps, little or no oriental leaf.
GL Pease, 2002-09-07 (from his FAQ)

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I use the term "English Mixture" to refer to a tobacco that's dominated by Latakia and Virginia, but spiced with orientals. This differentiates it from a "Balkan," in which the oriental component is more pronounced. This doesn't mean that there is more oriental leaf than Virginia, but that it's character is dominant in the smoke. (Some oriental tobaccos are quite assertive, and a little goes a long way.)
GL Pease, 2005-08-10

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For me, if the oriental component is more dominant in the smoke, it's a Balkan, while if the Virginias play the supporting role behind the Latakia's performance, it's an English - providing the orientals do their cameos well.
GL Pease, 2005-08-19

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7 ~ What is a Burley blend?
These blends have Burley as their major component. They usually pack a pretty good nicotine punch because of this, but the nutty flavor provided by the burley tobacco is a beloved and long-time staple of the pipe. It is sometimes called the "King of Tobaccos". Suggestions for examples: C&D Old Joe Krantz, MacBaren Burley London Blend, C&D Barrister, C&D Haunted Bookshop.
Yarnspinner, 2003-11-29 (Knoxville Boards)

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Mainly Burley, but may contain Virginias, Maryland, Carolina or Orientals. Most of the old foil-pouch blends (Half and Half, Carter Hall, Prince Albert) belong here.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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8 ~ What is a Virginia blend?
These blends have Virginias as their major components. Virginias tend to be sweeter and lighter in flavor than most other tobaccos. If Burley is the King, then Virginias are the Queen of Tobaccos. Very versatile and offering a huge variety of different flavors and strengths, Virginias are probably the most widely-smoked tobacco blends worldwide. Examples of Virginia blends: Rattray's Marlin Flake, Rattray's Old Gowrie, McConnell's Red Virginia, SG Full Virginia Flake, McClelland #24.
Yarnspinner, 2003-11-29 (Knoxville Boards)

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Almost exclusively pure blends of Virginias, although there's a wide variety of this type of leaf. Rattray's Hal O' The Wynd and Marlin Flake are popular ones.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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9 ~ What is a Virginia/Perique blend?
Perique is a specialized form of burley that is grown and processed on only one small farm in St. James Parish in Louisiana. Other "perique" is made and sold around the world, but St. James Parish Perique is the only genuine Perique. It is spicy and a little goes a long way. It mixes well with a variety of tobaccos, but Virginia/Perique blends (aka VAPERs)are by far the most popular. The spiciness of the Perique is the perfect complement to the sweetness evident in most Virginias. Examples of Virginia/Periques: McClelland 2015, Bell's Three Nuns, A&C Petersen Escudo.
Yarnspinner, 2003-11-29 (Knoxville Boards)

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Just what the name says. McClellland's bulk 2015 is a good example.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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10 ~ What is an Oriental blend?
Any tobaccos that have a goodly portion of Orientals in the mixture are often referred to as "Oriental mixtures". Countries where Orientals are grown: Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Syria and Cyprus. This includes Latakia, but they don't have to contain the condiment tobacco Latakia.
Terry McGinty, 2000-03-07

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One other thing to consider, there are some mixtures or blends referred to as "Oriental". This generally means a Virginnia based tobacco with various "Oriental" tobaccos added for flavor BUT NO latakia. They tend to taste more "perfumed" and less "smokey" than blends with latakia.
Michael Hogue, 1999-08-18

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It is safe to say that an Oriental mixture relies predominately upon Oriental tobaccos for their spice and fragrance, making them distinct from straight Virginias, or English/Scottish styles with greater proportions of Virginia in the mix. There is no single, concise, accurate lexicon of tobacco terminology. Oriental, originally, implied something different from New World tobaccos. All the Turkish and Greek varietals would be included in such a definition, and one could, loosely, include the Latakias, both Cyprian and Syrian. But, Latakia, being a processed leaf, deserves a place of its own, and is therefore not generally included under the appelation of Oriental.
GL Pease, 1999-08-18

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Orientals are typically only Turkish, or maybe Turkish with Virginia, but not much latakia (or none). A couple examples are McLelland's Bombay court (which has just a touch of latakia, but I hardly notice), GLP Cairo, which has a little perique. To me, orientals tend to be relatively sweet, fairly light, and have some citrus/sour to them.
Justin Holmes, 2005-08-07

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A blend in which the Oriental or Turkish tobaccos are dominant.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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"Oriental" really refers to leaf from the tobacco regions in Greece, Turkey, and so on. When used to describe a mixture, I've found that it generally indicates reliance on oriental tobaccos to provide a the dominant taste. A straight oriental tobacco is not exactly a joy to smoke. They're quite assertive, tend to produce an astringent smoke because of their low sugar content, and can be hard to keep lit. There may or may not be Latakia in blends espoused as "Oriental," so it doesn't seem to be a very useful way to describe a blend. Fox's Campanile is an example, as is my own Cairo, though the latter does have a touch of perique, which might remove it from the category, if the category had a codified definition.
GL Pease, 2005-08-10

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11 ~ What is the American or American English style?
I would say that an American blend is "dry", in the sense of not being sweet. It has only American-grown tobaccos in it (VA, Burley, Perique, Carolina, Kentucky, etc), and its taste is somewhat simplistic (in the sense of a "simple pleasure"). That could describe at least both Nassau and Cumberland.
Ian Rastall, 2003-03-19

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English or Balkan blends which also contain Burley. A few of the House of Windsor retro blends (Revelation, Barking Dog, etc.) are examples.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-07

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A blend in which the Oriental or Turkish tobacco [flavors] are dominant. [Strictly by percentages] the most common blending ingredient is Virginia, and a condimental amount of Latakia may be included.
Russ Ouellette, 2005-08-09

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12 ~ What is a Navy style blend?
Back in the day of sailing ships the sailors would collect different tobaccos from the ports of call. They would then [take] these tobacs, roll them up, then roll the whole blend of tobacs up in sail canvas. This pressure would marry the tobaccos and help in the curing process. BTW, different casings could be added. Those sailors in the "spice triangle" used mostly rum, molasses, and some native fruit juices. So it is the "process" not the blend that makes a tobac "Navy Flake."
The ropes were then cut. This is the type of tobacco you see like Escudo, Three Nuns, and other popular "roll cakes." The square slice that is also common is from a more modern method of "pressing" but achieves the same result. The square cuts are really not that much different. Think of cutting a length of pepperoni across to get discs or lengthwise to get slices like MacBarens.
Steven Banks, 2002-02-20

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The term 'navy' is used so casually in contemporary usage that it almost means nothing anymore. Players uses it for a cigarette cut, Dunhill for their rolls and McClelland for a flake flavored with rum.
The original meaning referred to rolls, ropes, and twists of tobacco that were issued to British sailors. If 2 ropes were plaited together, they were called negrohead. The rope was wrapped in canvas and tied with a string. The smoker cut some off, chewed it, or put it into a pipe. It was rather potent stuff, consisting of lugs and cutter grades of Virginia and other low grade tobacco types, stoved and steamed, usually with a great deal of flavoring. Rum and molasses were often used.
As far as form goes, Dunhill's navy rolls are sliced versions and all the 'coin' tobaccos available are really sliced navy rolls. The only 2 extant manufacturers of the genuine form of the tobacco - the Gawith twins - generally use burley now to give the tobacco its oomph, where traditionally the tobacco was just generally cheap and potent.
Paul Szabady, 2002-07-12

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13 ~ What is a Lakeland style blend?
Let me try. I believe the definition of a "Lakeland" tobacco is soft and may include more or less than I specify here. The term is usually applied to a type of tobacco blended with floral scents. The only blenders I know who produce these tobaccos are Samuel Gawith and Gawith and Hogarth.
These firms are located in the "Lake" district of England, hence the term "Lakeland." Not all of their tobacco blends would be "Lakeland." Certainly not a Virginia/Latakia blend such as Squadron Leader by Samuel Gawith. Grousemoor does have a floral scent and would be considered a "Lakeland" type tobacco.
Sailorman Jack, 2003-04-15

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It applies to tobaccos coming from the lake area around Kendal in the N.W. of England; Gawith & Hoggarth and Samuel Gawith are the two most well known manufacturers, but they are more. They also use (as do other UK tobaccos such as Erinmore) a scent that smells like Camay soap to me and many others.
Sonam Dasara, 2003-04-15

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To me, Lakeland is synonymous with tobacco that is steam-pressed in a certain way to produce a certain natural flavor type. The addition of casings to some of the blends is another factor, but if you smoke a couple of SGs and G&H unscented blends, you will pick up some common traits. They tend to smoke cool, with muted top ranges, sweet/round mid-ranges, a lack of great complexity offset by a satisfying richness, and either a hay-like flavor (SG) or a cinnamon pastry flavor (G&H). Actually, the flavors are much more complex than I can explain.
inquisitor, 2003-04-15

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14 ~ What is the difference between a tobacco "blend" and a tobacco "mixture"?
In the United States of America, most pipe smokers treat the terms as synonyms, and use them interchangably.
The British do maintain a distinction. However, they designate a mixture as a manufactured tobacco, ready to smoke, that did not go through a pressure-treatment stage. This distinguishes the mixtures from the ready-rubbed tobaccos, which are first pressure-formed into flakes or squares and then rubbed out to form a loose tobacco. They recognize any combination of differing tobaccos as a blend.
James Beard, 1997-09-18

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It is worth remembering that the two terms are absolutely and completely synonymous in English. "Blend" is derived from Old English and Old Norse, (blenda and blendan respectively) and means "to mix" i.e. to combine, while "Mix" is derived from Latin word meaning "to mix" i.e. to combine or blend.
Lastly, remember, most "pipe tobaccos" are made up of more than one type of tobacco, and as such, are all blends or mixtures (though yes you can get straight burley, etc.).
Steve Lehman, 1997-09-19

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All this talk of the difference between a blend and a mixture is too confusing. Think of it this way: One blends tobaccos to make a mixture. It's as simple as that.
Buddy McNiel, 1997-09-19

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I've been given a simple explanation by tobacconists in the past as to the distinction between a "blend" and a "mixture", but I doubt that it's in any way authoritative. The difference, alledgedly, is that a blend is a combination of like- or similar-types of leaf, whereas a mixture combines different types. That is, combinations of old belt and middle belt virginias would be referred to as "blends", whereas combinations of virginias, turkish, latakia, and perique tobaccos would be referred to as "mixtures".
I think this is a worthwhile distinction. A "blend" attempts to achieve the best qualities of a given type of tobacco, whereas a "mixture" attempts to create a new entity that's greater than the sum of its parts.
Mark Shelor, 2000-06-01

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[A] blend is the putting together of any more than one tobacco, not necessarily for smoking the resulting product as it is. [A] mixture is once the above "blend" the final product. That is, a "mixture" is a way of presenting and producing a blend. Hence, EMP and Cairo are originally blends, but to us smokers, they are mixtures, since the latter refer to how it is sold. If the "blend" is processed in a different way, such as pressing, then the end product WAS a blend at the factory and then it became flakes, twist, plug, etc.
Tarek Manadily, 2000-06-02

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Blend: the term generally implies a mixture (combination) of different *types* of tobacco (eg: burley, Virginia, or oriental) rather than merely of the varieties within one type.
Mixture: Name given to coarse-cut shredded tobacco blends used in pipe smoking. To be distinguished from plug and bar tobaccos, and shag and flake.
Robert Crim, 2000-06-02

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Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind is the notion that it depends on the nature of the tobaccos at the time they are brought together. If each of the tobaccos is smokable in its own right, put them together and you get a mixture. If the tobaccos in theory could be smoked "as is" but in practice almost no one would do so, put them together (and age, to allow them to marry up) and you get a blend.
James Beard, 2000-06-02

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A blend is made by selecting various tobaccos and marrying them together by whatever method (pressing, barrel fermentation, whetever) and then slicing / shredding / cutting / rubbing out, to the final consitency. That means that all the components are made as a single batch together and are cut to the same consitency at sale ie, flake, shag, ribbon, whatever.
A mixture is different. It is where different tobaccos or different blends are mixed together, sometimes AFTER final cutting.
Norman Lever, 2000-06-03

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I can't recall anything in the pressed, coin, rope, or flake varieties being referred to as a mixture.
Greg Sprinkle, 2000-06-01
 

rickpal14

Preferred Member
Jun 9, 2011
1,433
0
Cortez....
wow thanks for the post!! Now I know what I will be reading in depth later today with a bowl or 2 in my new Savinelli Tevere!!

 

maduroman

Preferred Member
May 15, 2010
662
0
i have a simpler way of doing it.... tobaccos i have smoked, and tobaccos i have yet to smoke...

 

pstlpkr

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2009
9,739
1
Birmingham, AL
jankomatic
I have developed an Excel Spreadsheet that has many different classifications of tobacco types/blends.

They are listed alphabetically by blend name and can be sorted by "stars" 0.25 to 5.0, ingredients, blender, room-note, flavoring, sweetness, smokiness, etc. There are links to reviews on all of them, and comments.

Included in the 3 pages are those on hand (inventory), those I have yet to try, and cellared tobacco blends (inventory and cost).
It takes a little time, but it's worth the effort.

 

kcvet67

Preferred Member
Jul 6, 2010
968
0
cortezattic's post does an excellent job of pointing out how hard it is to get two smokers to agree what the categories should be, let alone how to define those categories.
It would be logical to assume that the longer you smoke a pipe and the more blends you try, the easier it becomes to categorize each blend but that isn't always correct. MOST blends are fairly easy to assign to a category (once you decide for yourself what those categories are) but there are some blends out there that just refuse to fall neatly into place. You can fill two pipes from the same tin of tobacco and find that there is a very distinct difference between the two bowls. You can fill the same pipe from the same tin of tobacco on two different days and find that is a difference in the taste.

 

romeowood

Preferred Member
Jan 1, 2011
1,889
0
NYC ~ BOM ~ BKK ~ ETC
Excellent pick from the ASP vaults, Cortez. Personally, rather than obsess about rigidly defining the classifications, I feel a vague notion of the general character of a tobacco is sufficient to enjoy it. I would hate to see a fistfight break out over English v. Balkan. :crazy:

 

bubblehead

Junior Member
May 26, 2011
66
0
I have narrowed the catagories of pipe tobacco down to the only three that are of any importance to me: The ones I like, the ones I don't and the ones I've never smoked so have no opinion on.

 

pstlpkr

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2009
9,739
1
Birmingham, AL
I agree Romeo that rigidly defining "classifications" of tobacco is a waste of time....

However; if one is familiar with the basic components of a blend then the pipe smoker has a (relative) basis upon which to make a decision. The piper will possess some idea about what to expect and whether or not he/she may actually like it prior to purchasing a new blend. Familiarity with the components will influence your desire to try a blend or to avoid a blend. Therefore; directly influenced by your "known" preference where types of blends are concerned, you will buy what you actually desire to smoke.

If you know that you like; e.g. VaPers with a dusting of Latakia or Orientals, or if you prefer English blends with a dusting of Perique, or maybe you like sweet Aros as opposed to those with very little casing; then you can make an informed decision and you won't collect those opened tins that dry out from neglect, but rather purchase tins you intend to mature in your cellar awaiting their turn to be smoked.
I hope that made sense.... It seems to be one damn long sentence.

 

romeowood

Preferred Member
Jan 1, 2011
1,889
0
NYC ~ BOM ~ BKK ~ ETC
I love run-ons! I am in agreement, Lawrence; the example that springs to mind is GLP Fillmore--classed as a VaPer, tin description lists Virginia and Perique, packed a bowlful and SMACK! Lat in the face :evil: . Just to make sure I hadn't unhinged a few tastebuds, I did some research and found that yes, GL admits to a 2% Latakia content that 'most people can't even detect'. Well, to me at least, that unexpected pinch of Lat was akin to just a drop of clorox in my iced tea....

But then the miracle happened, and the flavors bloomed into each other (i can't think of any other way to put it), in a way that was exciting and eye-opening...and, I'll admit it, mouth-watering. Several bowls later and I'd really gotten my head around that smoke, and it guaranteed at least a limited slot in my cellar.

At first I cursed that Pease fellow for the dirty trick he played on me, smudging the lines of what should be expected of a style or blend...but now I thank him for showing me that the boundaries needn't be so rigid, that a little mystery and a little surprise now and again are good for the soul, and staying on one's toes and rolling with the punches is the only way to thrive.

 

kashmir

Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
2,713
0
Northern New Jersey
Although everyone classifies their pipe tobaccos differently, today I can see about 16 different categories:
(1) Straight (non-flake) Virginias.

(2) Virginia Flakes (Light).

(3) Virginia Flakes (Full).

(4) Ropes, Twists and Plugs.

(5) Lakeland Style (Unscented).

(6) Lakeland Style (Scented).

(7) Virginia /Kentucky Blends.

(8) Virginia / Burley Blends.

(9) Straight Burley Blends.

(10) Virginia / Perique Blends.

(11) Virginia / Oriental Blends.

(12) Light / Medium Latakia Mixtures.

(13) Medium / Full Latakia Mixtures.

(14) Cigar Leaf Blends.

(15) Cross-over Latakia Aromatics.

(16) Traditional Aromatics.
Then, there's blends like GLP's Hado's Delight and C&D's Pirate Kake, which defy categorization.
Within each category, of course, there exists a multitude of individual blend choices. Thus, a pipe enthusiast is never at loss for a wide variety of choices.

 

rmbittner

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2012
2,099
1
I can't possibly add much to the very thorough answers given so far.
But the OP mentioned that he was trying to categorize/group blends so he could explore those categories/groups in more detail. From that standpoint, my personal advice would be to settle on fewer rather than more categories.
Escudo, for example, has to go in the category of Virginia/perique if you want to make any meaningful comparisons. It is not a straight VA -- no matter what luxurytobaccos.com might say; in fact, it is perhaps the most famous VA/perique blend still in existence. It's safe to say that it could easily stand as the hallmark by which all other VA/pers could be judged. It may not be the best, per se; but I think it can lay claim to being a standard.
You can go crazy with categories. But I think it might be most helpful to focus on these, especially given the list supplied by the OP:
American-style Aromatics

Traditional English (which may or may not include a perique element)

Balkan

Flavored/scented English

Straight Virginia

Virginia/oriental (including latakia)

Virginia/burley

Virginia/perique

Plugs/Twists/Ropes
I realize this is flawed. But I think keeping the categories to a minimum will make it more meaningful when comparing/contrasting similar blends. (An argument could easily be made for giving "Lake District" scented blends their own category, though.)
Bob

 
Jan 28, 2013
188
0
I've started with a simple approach which has room to expand. I've got lots of colored paper tape for my job, so I figured I could quickly label each blend in one of three major categories - BLACK for English blends (anything with Latakia), RED for VA/Per/Burley styles, and BLUE for Aromatics. Some of the tobacco blends can blur the lines, but this is an excellent starting point. Now when deciding which tobacco to smoke, I can quickly and easily distinguish between the 3 major categories and choose from within.
The bright green marks are for oddball blends like Blending Perique, and a couple of my experiments.


 
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