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kcghost

Lifer
May 6, 2011
14,301
23,782
77
Olathe, Kansas
If you buy your tobacco from a reputable place there isn't much difference at all. The blender and manufacturer have the control over what you're getting.
 

lraisch

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 4, 2011
669
1,326
Granite Falls, Washington state
I am not an industry insider and have no specific knowledge besides my own experience. I have smoked many different blends and it seems to me there is a difference in the quality of leaf used.

It's probable that the difference in many cases has to do with the type of leaf used rather than any measure of quality.

However, whether the blend is an English, a burley or perhaps a straight Virginia, the types of leaf used may be the same, but some blends are simply better. I attribute this to a better grade of tobacco being used.

McLelland stated that one of the reasons for their retirement was the lack of Virginias of the quality they required and their decision not to compromise their product.

I know I have had tobaccos from different blenders that had the essentially the same ingredients and some had a clarity and richness of flavor that others lacked.
 
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LongIslandPiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 8, 2022
230
990
I am curious: are there tobacco brands that are known for sourcing higher quality tobacco? Or is it basically the same quality across brands and the difference is in how they treat it/blend it/etc?
Ohhh brother you are starting a conversation a fear will go on for pages. Can someone pass the popcorn 🍿?!
Imho so much is subjective to the individual. Some blends that do in fact use quality leaf I might loathe and you adore. YMMV
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
However, whether the blend is an English, a burley or perhaps a straight Virginia, the types of leaf used may be the same, but some blends are simply better. I attribute this to a better grade of tobacco being used.
It also might be that you prefer the component ratios and flavorings that the blender chose in that blend. All blenders are not created equal.
 
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pinem

Might Stick Around
Aug 16, 2015
69
109
Nebraska
The overnight decline of K&K blends, that in 2015 when I started smoking a pipe, were considered top choices (Solani, Wessex, Rattrays, F&T, Aylsbury, Astleys, McConnell, etc.) would seam to indicate all is not equal. The decline also matches up with McClellands exit.
 
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Sig

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 18, 2023
286
1,511
Western NY
Here's the thing.....its not difficult to grow good tobacco.
I have a lot of family and friends who are/have been in the tobacco growing business. Cigar leaf is a bit different than cigarette, pipe and chewing tobacco due to the need to have blemish free leaves. But that is another story. That has nothing to do with growing tobacco.
Very few pests bother tobacco generally due to its nicotine content. And as long as its watered, it grows like a weed.
The biggest factor is WHERE its grown. The soil, the water and the sun all have a part in how well your tobacco grows as far as flavor.
The harvesting, drying and curing has been perfected over the years to be almost seamless.
My moms uncle sold his 10,000 acre tobacco farm to a COMPLETE novice. Uncle stayed for one season to "show him the ropes". Now the guy has had a successful tobacco business for over a decade.
There can be mishaps or natural disasters that diminish the quality of the tobacco, but no respectable grower will sell it......and no respectable buyer will buy it.
What you MIGHT be referring to is that some blenders of pipe tobacco like a certain strain of tobacco grown in a certain area. During hard times some growers might go out of business, leaving the blender without their favored tobacco. Also, some growers take extra care during processing which makes their tobacco stand out......but that goes along with what I JUST said above. :) .
I have a couple cousins who grow tobacco exclusively for Stoker's snuff.
 

bent1

Lifer
Jan 9, 2015
1,220
3,165
64
WV
The biggest factor is WHERE its grown. The soil, the water and the sun all have a part in how well your tobacco grows as far as flavor.
The harvesting, drying and curing has been perfected over the years to be almost seamless.

Reminds me of Mcrainies & McClelland descriptions of their blends, often referring to a particular region or farm.
 
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PaulDM

Lurker
Dec 12, 2022
49
320
Supposedly their is a significant difference between Cyprian and Syrian Latakia, which has not been available in a long time. But with respect to currently available tobacco probably not a major difference.
 

lraisch

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 4, 2011
669
1,326
Granite Falls, Washington state
It also might be that you prefer the component ratios and flavorings that the blender chose in that blend. All blenders are not created equal.
Granted that this is very subjective, but I do believe there is a qualitative difference. It seems different blends that are attempting the same flavor profile may differ because the quality of the leaf used is different.

To use wine as an example, a bottle of supermarket "Red Blend" is unlikely to be as good as a Chambolle-Musigny. Of course, the wine makers may differ in their talent, but I think the vineyards where the grapes come from is also a major factor.
 

Jef

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 10, 2019
290
511
67
North Carolina
I am definitely not a tobacco expert. I just smoke what I like. As far as flavor.... I feel is the mark of the talent of the blender. I don't think any farmer wakes up and decides to grow a crappy crop. Blenders depend on their skills to make a living. Bad batches of anything happens. Personally I feel most tobacco blends are judged by flavor more than anything.