Cigar leaf vs Pipe leaf tobacco

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Tate, Jan 15, 2013.

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  1. Tate

    Tate Member

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    I've often been baffled by the differences in discussion between tobaccos depending on their intended end point (ie, cigarette, cigar, pipe, snuff, etc).

    For instance, when it comes to a cigar you're primary talking about filler, binder, and wrapper leaf. The wrapper leaf is most often the most important leaf in this mix, but all play some part. The typical nomenclature cites the location the tobacco was grown at. For instance, "Nicaraguan." Then we usually have if it was shade or sun grown. Sometimes how it was cured (Maduro/natural/etc). And occasionally we'll have some citation of the actual variety of plant. It isn't at all uncommon to hear, "A shade grown green Candela wrapper from the DR with a shade grown Connecticut binder and filler from Honduras, hand rolled in Miami".

    However, when encountering pipe tobacco, the first thing we discuss is a variety of tobacco plant, possibly the curing processing (air/flue/fired/etc). Cavendish itself is a misnomer. That leaves us basically with VA, Perique, Burley, Orientals (which comprise their own subset), Latakia, etc. Usually no mention is made at all of where the tobacco is actually grown or under what conditions the tobacco was grown in. Usually no mention of the quality of the leaf (like wrapper/binder/filler).

    Why is this? Does VA tobacco never go into a cigar? Does Connecticut never go in a pipe blend? Where is the cross over? When I read about cigars, no one ever says "burley". And when I read about pipe tobacco no one ever says "sun grown". The closest I've seen in the meeting of the two is when someone will say "some cigar leaf" in a pipe blend, however, what does that actually mean? I have no idea. They don't explain what that cigar leaf is.

    I'm looking to expand my Overall understanding of tobacco. Why don't these two things overlap more? And if they do, why are they described in such differing ways? Can someone please help this poor ignoramus out?
     
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  2. blendtobac

    blendtobac Member

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    The big difference between cigar and pipe leaf is that pipe tobacco is usually cured and cased (mildly flavored) whereas cigar leaf is cured and fermented, which develops different flavors. Some pipe/cigarette leaf does find its way into cigars, primarily dark Burley that has been fermented (DeNobili and Parodi brand).
    In our Hearth & Home tobaccos, I will occasionally use cigar leaf to a blend. Our Virginia Spice, Strikeforce and Virginia Memory #10 all contain cigar tobacco.
     
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  3. Tate

    Tate Member

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    Thank you so much for that answer blendtobac. When you say that you use cigar leaf in your pipe blends could you elaborate as to what sorts you use? Does that mean just a fermented leaf of any sort? Or do you distinguish between the different kinds?
     
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  4. danthebugman

    danthebugman Member

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    So many questions. I've been trying to find a way to answer them all, but I end up with a book's worth of typing. I'm going to try to give the Cliff Notes version...

    There are a number of species of tobacco plant. The species most grown for cultivation is by far Nicotiana tabacum. Within that species there are several varieties that have been bred for specific characteristics. What makes a good leaf for cigarettes is not necessarily a good leaf for cigar rolling or pipe smoking. Also tobaccos grown in different regions with have different characteristics. A tobacco grown is West Africa will not smoke the same as one grown in Connecticut or Nicaragua. Different curing or fermentation techniques will yield different smoking tobaccos. A tobacco that is air cured will not smoke the same as one that's been smoke cured.

    It seems tobaccos generally get named for where they're grown...i.e. Oriental tobaccos come from the region around Turkey and Cameroon wrappers (in cigars) come from West African countries (most notably Cameroon). They are also named by how they're cured...i.e. Cavendish, Latakia and Candela.

    I hope that sounds half way coherent and answers some of your questions. If you have more specific ones (particularly about cigar tobaccos since that's where most of my knowledge is) I'd be glad to try to answer them. I'm sure someone could probably do a better job of answering for you though and hope the come along to do so.

    Dan
     
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  5. Tate

    Tate Member

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    Interesting feedback Dan. I do have one rather pointed question for you... "What makes a good leaf for cigarettes is not necessarily a good leaf for cigar rolling or pipe smoking." How is this determined? Is it to do with how the tobacco smokes or burns in a pipe vs a cigar roll or is it entirely dependent on taste? What are the different qualities that make something "pipe" vs "cigar", etc. And by that I don't mean the process by which they took on their qualities but the actual qualities themselves. For instance, why is a shade grown Connecticut leaf used in cigar wrappers not commonly available as a blending tobacco?
     
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  6. danthebugman

    danthebugman Member

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    The reason you're not going to find shade grown Connecticut wrapper commonly available as a blending tobacco is I believe two fold. The first is the expense and effort involved in growing shade grown wrapper leaves. Most of those leaves, especially the best ones, are going to go into cigars. You can get shade grown tobacco from a few places online so on an individual level if you wanted to play around with some you certainly can. On a commercial scale I think you're less likely to see that done. The second reason I don't think you see this done much has to do with flavour. I don't know how well it would translate into a pipe blend. Maybe it's been done and it didn't work...I dunno. Thanks just my opinion though and maybe I'm off base...

    Dan
     
  7. Tate

    Tate Member

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    So it seems that the reason continues to be "economy". However, I see some 50 year burley blends going for amazing dollar amounts per ounce. Surely cigar tobacco that was grown for wrapper leaf but flawed due to rips or tears (usually converted to binder) would be a reasonable price? And I didn't mean just Connecticut. That was just my case-in-point. I'm more interested in trying to pull some of that powerful sun grown flavor into pipe blends and wondered why it isn't done. Perhaps you're right about it just not smoking the same in a pipe. I do wish I could get my hands on a load of cigar leaf to play with blending.
     
  8. danthebugman

    danthebugman Member

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    One thing I didn't think of earlier also is that a lot of tobacco grown for cigars is grown by the cigar manufacturers. Which means they'd have to sell it to someone instead of using it to make their cigars. Cigar tobacco is also fermented where I believe pipe tobacco is just cured (please someone correct me if I'm wrong). This plays into that doesn't smoke the same in a pipe. I suspect that cigar tobacco that ends up in pipe blends comes from the cuttings on the rolling floor. So when they trim the foot of the cigar when they're done rolling or when they're trimming tobacco leaves to fit the cigar they have scrap. But I don't know that for sure. If you go to http://www.leafonly.com/ you can get several different varieties to play with.

    Dan
     
  9. Taco

    Taco Member

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    Tate, I admire your thought process. I think the answer to your question isn't that these "exotic" blends aren't commercially viable, but rather that no one has figured out *how* to make them commercially viable. That part is a lot of work and most of the time the blender will be stuck with a "mixture 79" rather than a "penzance".
     
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  10. Baccyman

    Baccyman Member

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    Cigar leaf is fermented. Every manufacturer has his trade secrets but it is typically fermented at about 125 degrees F for about 1 month. It is then usually aged for a 1 or 2 years before being used. Pipe tobacco and cigarette tobacco is "sweated". This is basically the same as fermenting but it is done at lower temperatures. Cigar tobaccos just do not taste all that good in a pipe. I do not know why. On the other hand a cigar made with all Burley filler can be very tasty.

    The reason cigar manufacturers do not sell their ripped leaves is becasue they save them to make short filler cigars.

    It was common though back in the day ( 1800's) to interchange chew/pipe and cigar tobacco with one another.
     
  11. blendtobac

    blendtobac Member

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    The cigar leaf that I use is Pennsylvania maduro, for the most part (similar to Connecticut Broadleaf), but I do use some Nicaraguan ligero in one blend for spice.
     
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  12. CMAsailor

    CMAsailor Active Member

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    ... this is exactly the thing I ponder and research for fun when nobodies looking cause my local family and friends think I'm out there for being so indepth about it. however, the more I learn the more I am apt to believe it's all hype.

    For instance... there are places you can buy hands of tobacco... for either rolling into cigars... or chopping up into zigzags... or doing what you wish for pipe consumption... it's the same leaf, you have your options available; meaning the gamut of burley's, Va's and whatever else they've got and they let you do what you wish to it.

    I find that when making your own blend of either cigar, pipe, or cigarette tobacoo... you don't have the chemicals available to make the tobacco "do" what the commercial people do to it. meaning it's as pure a smoke as you can attain, congratulations.

    it all tastes like tobacco, non of it bad. do you have a clue if it came from the top of the plant or the bottom? nope, probably somewhere inbetween. Probably not completely shade grown, probably not completely mature but damn near,

    Twist form and plug form was most popular back in the days because it didn't spoil as easily as leaf. A type of cure or fermentation.
    Piles of leaves, if left un turned will get warm in the middle of the pile... curing it's self. fermentation.

    True, you wont see anyone listing pipe tobacco as SunCured or Oscuro or Maduro... but it's not as if the same tobaccos arent used, cant be used or wont be used... it's more of a cultural difference I think. those terms are associated with the cigar industry and have been since someone charged more for it being slapped on the box, or wrapper. Granted, the places that grow tobacco for cigars generally save the best they have for just that... cigars. however not all tobacco plantations have a focus on an end user or company loyalty.


    Another interesting analogy to culture of tobacco would be Wine, and more specifically the grapes therein.

    the definitions are... loose, but many people get specific, and demand specificity to maintain quality. but it's all relative.

    Smoke what you like, like what you smoke
     
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  13. Baccyman

    Baccyman Member

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    The better whole leaf tobacco supply stores will tell you the leaf position of the tobacco they are selling (Whole Leaf Tobacco is one). The naming of leaf position is indicative of the type of tobacco grown. Cigar leaf will be listed as seco, volado etc while Burley will be listed as lugs, leaf, tips etc. Turkish tobacco has the most categories of leaf all the way to the famous ootz (the very small tips). All Burley is sun grown, air cured. All "Virginia" or "Bright leaf" is sun grown and flue cured. Turkish is sun grown and sun cured. Only Cigar shade wrapper is grown under shade.
     
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