Now this is where it gets a bit more complicated. There is a few basic styles but then many many variations under each style.
Plain .. As the name implies these are natural blends comprised of many tobacco varieties produced and cured in different ways. Straight Virginia mixtures can range from Mild with Grassy/Lemon favour to Strong with a Rich smokey/Licorice flavour. Other tobaccos such as Oriental/Turkish & Burley are added for there Aromatic qualities.
European Aromatics .. Traditional European aromatics tend to be slightly dry mixtures of lightly cased (added molasses) mixture of Virginias, Burleys, Cavendishs or other Aromatic leafs. Cavendish tobacco is a heavily cured leaf, golden Cavendish is light, easy burning and can get hot. Black Cavendish produces a thick cool, slow burning tobacco. Sweet fruity flavours are added to give these tobaccos not only a sweet taste but a fragrent smoke so other around you arnt too offended. The tobacco burns easily but can be a little unforgiving if smoked too fast or the pipe isn’t filled properly. While this might seem a problem its actually a great way to train yourself into getting the most out of your tobacco. So if you take your time these tobaccos are amazing.
American Aromatics .. Much like European Aromatics but tend to be more heavily cased. Very sticky wet tobaccos. Same style of blends but depending on the added flavours where as European blends depend more on a complex blend of leaves. Burn a lot slower and cooler but is harder to keep lit, still a great choice to start with. Most flavours are specific, Vanilla, Rum, Honey or Cherry to name a few. Most of these are available loose so you can often try 25g rather than a 50g tin.
English Scented (Lake Lands) .. Gawith Hoggarth & Samuel Gawith are 2 world renowned tobacco manufactures found in the UK’s Lake District. There traditional methods and blends produce unique tobaccos smoked the world over, many have a distinct floral aroma. These tobaccos are blended from Virginias, Burleys, Kentucky & Latakia with a little Topping (Flavours lightly sprayed over finished tobacco). The use of fire cured leafs such as Virginias & Kentucky add body and strong Nutty Woody flavours the use of Latakia adds a cool smokey dimension. These tobaccos mixed with floral & other natural flavours produces rich cool tobacco with a franguent taste, these tobaccos can taste a little soapy at first but that fades.
Balkan & Escudo Blends .. Latakia is strong smokey & peppery tobacco it is produced by curing the tobacco over an open pine/oak fire. The tobacco is blended with Virginias and often Oriental/Turkish to produce an English or Balkan blend. The quantity of Latakia varies from blend to blend resulting in a stronger or milder blends. Escudo or Perique blends are similar to Balkan Mixtures but use Perique insted of Latakia. Perique is produced in small quanities in the bayous of Luoisiana since 1829. The tobacco is left to ferment in barrels under pressure. The process takes about a year and the result is strong pungent tobacco. Much like latakia perique is only used in small quanities, mixed with Virginias and Burleys to give a well balanced full bodied smoke. These tobaccos are generally dry and burn easy, but can be harsh and hot if smoked fast.
To begin with i would stick to the Aromatics smoke the lighter blends first, try both European and American Aromatics. Holland House, Kendals Cherry & Vanilla or Alsbo Black are good starting points then keep your fist pipe for Aromatics. Over time your pipe will asorb the flavours of the tobaccos you have smoked. If you want to smoke another style i would suggest getting another pipe for that. If your looking for something with added flavour try the Scented Blends, Ennerdale Flake & Conniston Cut Plug are classic examples. Or if you want something strong with alot of smoky & spicy flavours go for the Balkan/Esudo blends Erinmore Balkan Mixture, Orlik Bull Eye, Gauntleys Nottingham Blend (of course) or Dunhills Deluxe Navy Rolls (back on our shelfs in July) are great examples. Or if you want plain blends of fine matured Virginia’s, then Kendals Dark Plug, Peter Stokkebye Dark Flake, Wallnut Flake & Larsons Blend 30 are full bodied rich natural tobacco.