There really is no best pipe tobacco. We’d be boiling the ocean if we told you there was any one single best pipe tobacco. It’s a myth; but there are certain characteristics you should look for as you weigh a purchase of pipe tobacco.
Seven Characteristics for Selecting the Best Pipe Tobacco to Suit Your Tastes
- Most good pipe tobacco is grown in Virginia or is described as a Burley tobacco; which refers to the type of pipe tobacco and the curing process, grown primarily in the southeastern region of the U.S.
- Pipe tobacco for the RYO lifestyle not grown in Virginai is grown in Tennessee, central Kentucky (Kentucky Select is a great product). If it’s an off brand pipe tobacco not grown in these states you may be getting an inferior product. A few minutes of research is a good thing.
- Freshness is of course critical: good pipe tobacco should be slightly moist to the touch. If you open up a package of tobacco and it’s dry or musty smelling (either way) it has not been stored properly somewhere in the delivery chain. A slight amount of moisture is a good thing for assessing the quality of pipe tobacco.
- Today you can get pipe tobacco in just about any flavor under the sun (no pun intended): vanilla, apple, strawberry, menthol, bright, cherry and even a darker Black Cavendish pipe tobacco. And, you can easily flavor your own pipe tobacco at home and this post on flavoring pipe tobacco should give you a good overview. Black Cavendish is used primarily as tobacco that can be blended with other types of tobacco to produce unique tasting pipe tobacco.
- Pipe tobacco cannot be aged like a fine wine and contrary to what some say, it does not improve with age. On the contrary, it’s going to dry up on you and lose a lot of flavor and also burn much hotter. Shelf life is about 30-60 days, depending on where and how you store it (in a cool place out of direct sunlight).
- Let’s be honest and tell you big brands dominate this market and new products and flavors are being introduced all the time, like any other consumer driven market – making it really difficult to select a “best pipe tobacco” – it’s a moving target and subject to change.
- Roll your own pipe tobacco is a much better tobacco and lower in cost that versus what you are getting from the big corporate tobacco brands.
Check out our Smartphone Friendly Video on Flavoring Pipe Tobacco at Home
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