Man smoking pipe tobacco

Pipe Smoking 101

A Beginner's Guide to Pipe Tobacco

From Amateur to Expert

No other tobacco category is as diverse as pipe tobacco. With a huge variety of cuts and blends available, it’s enough to confuse even an experienced pipe smoker. But we develop more pipe tobacco than anyone, and that makes us better suited to help you learn and appreciate the sophisticated nuances of pipe tobacco than anyone else.

The Different Types of Pipe Tobacco

Although the varieties are vast, the following are six of the most common types of pipe tobacco.

Virginia Tobacco


Virginia is the most widely grown tobacco variety world-wide. It is air-cured and typically sweet and more mellow than dark tobacco.

Cavendish Tobacco


A variety of Virginia tobacco specially aged in rum and sugar. This aging process darkens and sweetens the tobacco for a unique flavor profile.

Burley Tobacco


A cousin to Virginia tobacco, Burley tobacco is less sweet and typically contains more nicotine. This blend is known for its deep flavor.

Dark Fired Tobacco Tobacco

Dark Fired Kentucky

Dark Fired Kentucky is a close cousin to Burley tobacco. The main difference is that Dark Fired Kentucky is aged using a smoking process.

Turkish & Oriental Tobacco

Turkish & Oriental

This tobacco is sun-cured and grown in Southern Europe and the Middle East. These blends are known for their lower nicotine content and highly aromatic flavor.

Latakia Tobacco


Turkish tobacco that is first sun-cured then fire-cured, leading to a very smoky flavor and aroma.

Each Blend Tastes Different

In order to help you navigate through the many different pipe tobacco blends, we classify each according to three characteristics: Body, Aromatic Taste and Room Note. For each, a five point scale indicates how intense or mellow the tobacco blend is.



Similar to wine or beer, tobacco body refers to the depth and fullness of flavor. The types of tobacco leaves used determine the body of a blend. A low bodied blend (like Cavendish) could be compared to a Pilsner while an intensive bodied blend (such as Latakia) could be compared to a Stout.

Aromatic Taste

Nearly all pipe tobaccos have some degree of flavoring added, from rum to peach and anything in between. Aromatic Taste describes the extent to which the taste of the flavorings are apparent while smoking.

Room Note

Simply put, how pronounced is the tobacco’s scent to those around you? Is it light and unassuming, or bold and pronounced? The more apparent and prominent the scent of your tobacco, the more intensive the room note.

The Different Cuts of Pipe Tobacco

Standard Cuts

Most pipe tobaccos, and the majority of our tobaccos, are cut following the casing and top flavor process.

Loose Cut Tobacco

Loose Cut

A long and thin ribbon cut of pipe tobacco. Many of our blends have a loose cut.

Broad Cut Tobacco

Broad Cut

The thickest cut of pipe tobacco, Broad Cut is roughly twice as wide as Loose Cut.

Cross Cut Tobacco

Cross Cut

A broad cut of pipe tobacco, cut twice to create small squares of tobacco.

Pressed Cuts

With pressed cuts, the tobacco is placed under extreme pressure and specific heat for extended periods. From this process, the tobacco emerges compressed in cakes or rolls. This process doubles as a slight fermentation, giving the tobacco a fuller, rounder taste that typically receives little or no top flavor.

Flake Cut Tobacco

Flake Cut

When the tobacco cake emerges from the pressing process, it is sliced into thin flakes roughly 1-2 inches wide and 0.1 inches thick.

Ready Rubbed Tobacco

Ready Rubbed

Flake cut tobacco pressed with slightly less pressure. This results in the Ready Rubbed tobacco to emerge partially separated, ready to be smoked or combined with other cuts.

Roll Cake Tobacco

Roll Cake

Flake tobacco sliced thinner than usual, the resulting product is then rolled into tight tubes then sliced a second time, resulting in thin medallions.

Cube Cut Tobacco

Cube Cut

Cube Cut pipe tobacco is the result of the typical flake cut tobacco process that is subsequently cut into small cubes.

Spun Cut Tobacco

Spun Cut

A time-intensive process where tobacco leaves are hand-rolled into thin ropes up to 60 feet long, then compressed and sliced into medallions.

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