I've never thought of Carter Hall as an "aromatic," even though it smells nice. ::
I don't see anything on the tub next to me where the product identifies itself an aromatic, not even the "liner notes" on the back label.
Even after 30 years of smoking, what I consider to be an "aromatic" tobacco blend is admittedly inconsistent. :wink:
Just as Classic Burley Kake is considered an aro, so are the likes of CH and PA.
A codger aro leans toward tobacco flavors, uses burley, and has a flavor added.
These are the only sorts of Aros I keep around and smoke. I've got a few that I used to enjoy which were outright aromatics, and these now scream artificial and chemical additive when I smoke them or even smell them.
These are the two broadest subdivisions of pipe tobaccos, although often the distinctions are blurred.
Q: I keep hearing about "cased" tobacco. What does this mean?
G.L. Pease Answers: There are two things of interest here, namely "casing" and "top flavoring." They are two distinctly different approaches to altering a blend's flavor. Some tobaccos employ both.
Casing requires that the tobacco be sprayed with or soaked in a "sauce" that may contain sugar, molasses, liquorice, alcohols like rum or whiskey, and various flavorings, natural or otherwise, depending on the manufacturer. Once the tobacco "drinks" the sauce, it's conditioned in large cylinders that dry it back to the desired moisture level, generally between 12% (on the dry side) and 22% (very moist). Optimal moisture for smoking depends on the smoker, but it's generally in the 13-16% range. The aromas and flavors imparted by casing will remain in the tobacco pretty tenaciously, and will affect the smoke throughout the bowl.
Top-flavoring is added by spraying the finished blend with scents and flavorings. This is a much lighter application, and doesn't alter the moisture content of the leaf dramatically. Sometimes called "top-notes," this can be quite ephemeral. Because of the volatile nature of many of the commonly used components, a tobacco left to "air out" may lose a lot of the perfume that's applied this way.
Depending on the casing used, tobaccos can become very sticky. Some producers use humectants to maintain a specific moisture level in the final product. You'll hear people talk about PG, or propylene glycol, the most commonly used humectant these days. It's generally spoken of in rather disparaging terms, thought it's not the PG that deserves the condemnation, but the blending houses who use it with reckless abandon. If the tobacco won't dry out, PG is likely the culprit. In small quantities, it does its job well. In large quantities, it produces a sticky, wet smoking, pipe clogging weed that should never see the inside of a pipe.
Not all flavoured tobaccos are cased, and casing is not always a bad thing, but the term is used incorrectly more often than not, so a lot of confusion has been created.
That article has no bearing on this topic.If anything it just muddles the subject. Since almost all pipe tobacco is adulterated it is up to the user to define "aromatic". We all know classic examples of an aromatic (such as Autumn Evening etc) but at what point does adding something to tobacco tip it over in favor of being an aromatic? If someone wants to call CH an aromatic and another does not, they are both correct.
I think the aromatic and non-aromatic distinction was started with the British who forbid sales of flavored tobacco which was called aromatic and meant any blend with any added non-tobacco flavoring whether topping, casing, or other additive. By that strict definition, Granger is aromatic, never mind that it is principally rough cut burley. I think the definition is somewhat negotiable. I taste Carter Hall as mildly vanilla burley aromatic, but what do I know? I stand to be corrected on history and CH contents, but this is my current understanding. I find CH pleasant but a little boring.
Is it really an aromatic, yes, by most definitions. But whether to call codger blends, which tend to be tobacco forward but definitely have a room note, aromatics or not is an age old question. I tend to consider them in their own category, tobacco forward light aromatics.