By Bob Tate
Rope tobacco, also known as Twist tobacco, are tobaccos that are spun together to form a ‘rope’ of tobacco. This process is done almost entirely by hand. Sometimes the ropes are cooked under pressure, and other times they are not. It all depends on how strong that particular blend is meant to be. Rope tobaccos offer a very strong smoking experience and they are not recommended for beginners and/or smokers who have a low tolerance towards stronger blends.
Ropes used to be the most common form of finished tobacco products. It can be chewed, cut and smoked, or ground up into nasal snuff. It was also the preferred choice of tobacco amongst sailors and miners of days gone by.
Ropes used to be really popular amongst miners back in the day and it fitted their needs perfectly. Smoking in the mines was very hazardous and was not allowed. While they were in the mines working, they would just bite or cut off a chunk of tobacco from the rope and chew it while working. When they were done for the day, they would then cut tobacco off of the same rope and load it into their pipes to smoke it. It was, and still is, a multi-purpose form of tobacco.
These days, rope tobacco is not as common as it used to be and is only produced by a few manufacturers. I guess people just felt as if they didn’t have the time to deal with preparing the rope for smoking. I don’t understand this because I really enjoy rope tobacco. I guess I just love the satisfaction that I get from actually preparing the tobacco for smoking. Although for quite awhile rope tobacco faded from of the eye of the masses, it does seem that more and more people these days are starting to become interested in rope tobaccos and are starting to buy them again.
To some people, rope tobacco may be intimidating when they first take it out of the package and look at it. They may wonder to themselves; “How in the world do I smoke this stuff?” Well, it is really very simple to prepare ropes for smoking. You basically want to cut off some of the tobacco from the rope and load it into your pipe. The easiest way to do this is to cut off ‘coins’ or ‘disks’ from the rope. This can be done with a knife, or as I prefer to do it, with a cigar cutter.
Here is my video showing how to prepare rope/twist tobacco for smoking:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/fG78lNC213U" width="480" height="360" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]
I hope that this has helped to show some of you how easy it really is to enjoy rope/twist tobacco. Just remember that ropes are a lot stronger than most other types of pipe tobacco. So if you feel up to the challenge, and think that you can handle it, go get yourself some rope tobacco and get to smoking!
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to try some rope tobaccos, here are a couple recommended from SmokingPipes.com.
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Sweet Whiskey
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Black Cherry Twist Unsliced