Different pipe tobaccos

Different pipe tobaccos

03 08 2018
Where can I find pipe tobacco? What are the different types of tobaccos? We are going to help you in your research to let you appreciate the many possibilities available to you...

You have looked at the numerous pipes available on www.pipeshop-saintclaude.com... By following our advice to choose the right pipe for you, your selection has gradually narrowed down. It is not easy when we begin to choose among the different shapes, sizes and finishes. And now you have finally crossed the milestone and you've fallen for a new pipe... It is perfect! It was made for you and now it is yours!

You are now ready to build up a cake in your new pipe. OK, well... Should you know where to buy pipe tobacco... In this blog article, we are trying to dissect the topic: first, we are going to see where you can find pipe tobacco. Then we will look at the different tobaccos.

Where can I find pipe tobacco?

First thing: find a tobacco store near your house. Well, that's easy! Second thing: find one that sells tobacco specifically made for pipes. There, it gets harder... To begin, we advise you to look for what we call in France a "civette". No, this is not the animal, the mammal with an elongated body, but a place where you can buy tobacco. A "civette" is a tobacco stored that proposes (in addition to common products: cigarettes, rolling tobacco...) products for "other" smokers (cigars and/or pipes). In this particular case, the company might obviously have a large range of products and there will be a good chance that it will also propose your precious gem: pipe tobacco!

La Civette, a historic place to buy pipe tobacco in Paris

At the beginning, the name "civette" came from a famous tobacco store located in Paris, at the 157 rue Saint-Honoré. This place has been famous since 1716 because it must be one of the oldest tobacco shops in France.

Jean, La Pipe Rit

Bingo! You are at the right place.The choice may be limited (and sometimes very limited depending on the tobacco shop near your house) but there are however some available tobaccos you might find... Your smoker friends may have already talked to you about good and bad tobaccos. Do not let that stop you. We have already told you and we will tell you again: you have to make your own mind. Do not lose your time poring through the many forums on the Internet. You will find everything and its opposite, each assessment being totally different from one smoker to another. Discover, try and enjoy new tobaccos, welcome in a new world...

Be careful, we strongly advise you to not use tobacco for rolling cigarettes! It will burn too quickly and your pipe might overheat! It is one of the best ways to damage or even burn your pipe...

Bastien, La Pipe Rit

If you find a nice tobacconist who, cherry on top, knows a few things about pipe smoking, he might be able to advise you in your choice. Which tobacco to choose when beginning, if you already know this or that brand, if you are looking for new feelings... Not so easy! The website fumeursdepipes.net has actually listed a few good places to buy pipe tobacco in France. Needless to say that we do not know them all.

With the continuous rise in the price of cigarettes (in France), a lot of people are nowadays looking towards pipe smoking. And they are right: smoking less and smoking better. We simply appreciate to smoke pipe and take our time.

Jean, La Pipe Rit

An important reminder before you continue reading: French legislation forbids to sell tobacco remotely or on the Internet. Moreover, tobacco selling is exclusively reserved for tobacconists. La Pipe Rit therefore do not sell any tobacco, whether it is on our Internet website or in our shop. We are therefore not experts regarding tobacco, but we hope that these few lines will help you better understand the topic.

The different types of pipe tobacco:

Dear pipe smokers, you are lucky, because we are going to help you understand the different types of tobaccos better. First of all, keep in mind that the ideal tobacco does not exist. Each tobacco has its own specificities! Just like wine has its grape varieties, and flavors, it is the same for tobacco: different types, families and cuts...It must be a little bit more difficult for tobacco because (unlike wine), it is possible to create flavorful blends by mixing different tobaccos together (a pure tobacco and a slightly flavored tobacco for example).

It usually takes a little bit of time to enjoy a given tobacco. Indeed, when using the same pipe tobacco in a pipe, its flavors will be soaked up in the briar (which is why we also say that it is better to have one pipe for a specific type of tobacco). You may also want to smoke this or that type of tobacco depending on where you are or what you do! With experience, you will see that some tobaccos are good to smoke but may be "strong to smell" for those around you. On the contrary, some tobaccos might be a delight for the noses of your neighbours (yes, even if they do not smoke)!

When beginning smoking the pipe, don't choose a too pronounced or too flavored tobacco, or a rough cut (of a "Flake" type)... Do not worry, even if that seems difficult (with words at least), it is by trying that we learn and we educate our palate!

Claire, La Pipe Rit

After this short introduction, let's begin the explanations:

2 main types of pipe tobaccos:

We generally divide pipe tobacco into two distinctive types:

  • "natural" tobacco, also called "pure tobacco" because it is non-flavored
  • "flavored" tobacco

The different tobacco families:

Pipe tobacco can be divided into multiple families. We have listed the main families used for making your favorite tobaccos below. Some brands mix tobacco leaves in order to get new and unique flavors. In the same way a beer brewer will dose the hop and malt quantities, tobacco manufacturers try new blends to find the ideal composition.


As its name suggests, the Virginia tobacco comes from Virginia, in the United States of America. Virginia tobacco's taste is mostly soft and sweet. Smokers like this light flavor because this tobacco does not sting the tongue. Moreover, it easily burns inside the bowl. Virginia tobacco is sometimes smoked on its own, but it is also used to create blends and brings additional aromatic notes.


Burley tobacco is a widespread variety of tobacco. It is actually cultivated a little bit everywhere in the world (Mexico, United States of America, Africa...). Its tobacco leaves will slowly burn. They are often used in blends with other varieties. Some people say that Burley tobacco adds a slight note of chocolaty hazelnut flavor in a blend.


Perique tobacco is originally from the State of Louisiana, U.S.A.. Its leaves are famous for releasing slightly spicy notes. If you put some Perique tobacco with strong tobaccos, it might bring a touch of softness. It is therefore a very interesting tobacco to create flavorful blends. Its appearance is rather amazing because the leaves are dark.

Cavendish and Latakia:

The Cavendish and Latakia tobaccos do not really belong to the tobacco family. They are actually specific manufacturing processes. For example, the Cavendish tobacco looks like a dark tobacco, almost black, because its leaves are dried with smoke. Regarding the Latakia, we can distinguish between two subfamilies: the Shek-al-Bint (from Syria) and the Smyrne (from Cyprus). Like the Cavendish, the Latakia is generally used in small quantities in blends. Both provide particular and strong aromas.


Orientals include many tobacco leaves varieties. This type of tobacco is also called Turkish tobacco. Smokers enjoy Oriental tobaccos because they bring softness and sweetness. They also most of the time allow to bring new aromas in blends.


The Kentucky tobacco is mainly harvested in the State of Kentucky, U.S.A.. This tobacco variety gives a slightly sweet and woody flavor. Its color is dark because the leaves are dried in the open air and with a wood fire. It usually gives birth to aromatic blends very pleasant to smoke.

...and also:

"Semois" tobacco is not really a tobacco variety, but its name is so famous that it almost becomes one by itself. "Semois" tobacco is usually a slightly spicy tobacco, cultivated in the Semois valley in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes. Marketed since more than a century, "Semois" tobacco has nowadays a worldwide reputation, probably thanks to the quality of its plants and its natural side.

The different tobacco cuts:

There are many cuts of pipe tobaccos. Some cuts are very thin, whereas others will be more or less rough. This distinction is important because if you have a pipe with a small bowl, you will obviously want to get a tobacco with a thin cut. If you like pipes with a big bowl, you will have more possibilities. You should however keep in mind that a thin cut will burn more easily, unlike a bigger cut that could be more difficult to smoke. Indeed, a big cut will usually promote a "difficult" combustion, but will allow a cooler smoke.

Different pipe tobacco cuts
Different tobacco cuts - Instagram picture by @thismrj

Curly, Spun :

The Curly cut is easy to recognize. The tobacco is arranged in a circular shape, like a medallion. To get this cut, manufacturers usually start with a Rope/Twist that they cut in thin strips. This type of cut is perfect to be stored in a round box.

Curly cut

Shag, Ribbon :

Shag cut

The "Shag" is a thin cut. Tobacco strands can be more or less long but they are always thin (like hair for comparison). On the contrary, the Ribbon cut is a little bit more classical. However, we have regrouped these cuts in our presentation because they are both easy to smoke. Indeed, they will easily burn in the bowl of your pipe. You have to know that this cut is sometimes used in some tobacco families (in the Latakia for example) which have, due to their basic properties, more difficulty to burn. Please note that the Shag cut will keep a little less well (after opening) than a Plug or a Flake cut. You will therefore have to ensure that it is kept in a tobacco jar with a humidifier.

Cake, Plug :

The Cake cut has, again, an easy-to-remember name. It is thus called because it is in the shape of a square slice of cake.

Despite what you might think about it at first, this cut, yet compact and squeezed, is rather simple to smoke. You take the block in your hands, you cut it (with a knife for example), then you easily crumble it and put it in the bowl of your pipe. The tobacco strands might be somewhat uneven because they come from different tobacco families. We usually say that it is preferable to use the bigger strands for the bottom of the bowl.

Please note that we sometimes talk about a Plug cut. Like the Cake cut, it requires a little bit more preparation, but is easier to smoke afterwards.

Cake cut

Rope, Twist :

Rope cut

The Rope/Twist cut is, as its name suggests, a cut presented like a non-cut tobacco in the shape of a long twisted rope. This stacked and braided design is very original. Smoking a Rope or Twist cut requires a very special handling. Indeed, you will have to start by cutting the tobacco in pieces before putting it in your pipe. Some people even use a cigar cutter to create proper portion sizes. This cut of a rope shape requires some experience as a smoker. Be careful, this cut results in strong flavors.

Flake :

Flakes are tobaccos made with stacked leaves joined under pressure. They are aged for a long period of time, after which they will be packaged under the shape of rectangles (most of the time obtained from a Plug cut). Their taste is more pronounced than other cuts. This cut is not for beginners (even if we are all beginners given the multitude of available tobaccos). This cut, in the form of ribbons, requires a particular dexterity when tamping the tobacco in the bowl of your pipe. If you are not used to it (and do not want to crumble it), your pipe will go out (too) often. The combustion is difficult. We advise you to try this tobacco cut if you already have some experience as a pipe smoker. You might also find "Broken Flake", which is simply Flake with less thick leaves and a little bit more disordered. "Broken Flake" will therefore be easier to tamp in the bowl of your pipe. You might also hear about "Ready Rubbed": this is a similar cut to "Broken Flake", because the tobacco has already been "cut" (and is ready to be used). It is therefore not necessary to disassemble these long ribbons.

Flake cut

Cube :

Cube cut

Another type of cut: the "Cube". It is aptly named and you will easily remember it because the tobacco is in the form of cubes. Depending on the tobacco you will find, the cubes will be more or less big. Obviously, small cubes will be more convenient because the combustion will be easier. This Cube cut is nothing less than a pressed tobacco that was cut before being packaged in this way (small cubes).

Mixture :

In the Mixture cuts, we somehow find all the other cuts, let's say more "traditional". Again, there is a lot of choice and tastes can vary a lot from one tobacco to another depending on the blends that will be made. If you are in France, it is a good bet that it is this cut that you will find the most easily at your tobacco shop.

Mixture cut

Pipe tobaccos brands:

There are many brands everywhere in the world. It is impossible to list them all, but here are some names that might sound familiar to you: Amphora, Ashton, Astley's, Alsbo, Amsterdamer, Black and Mild, Borkum Riff, CAO, Captain Black, Captain Earle's, Castello, Chonowitsch, Clan, Comoy's, Cornell, Dan Tobacco, Daughters & Ryan, Davidoff, Drucquer & sons, Hoffman, Esoterica, Erinmore, Former, Fribourg, Germain, GL Pease, Hearth & Home, Holger Danske, James Fox, John Aylesbury, Kentucky Bird, Kramer's, Lane Limited, Larsen, Low Country, Orlik, Mac Baren, McConnell, Murray's, Paladin, Peter Heinrichs, Prince Albert, Rattray's, Reiner, Samuel Gawith, Super Value, Sutliff, Svendborg, Two Friends, Velvet, Wessex...

Many pipe makers also create and commercialize pipe tobaccos. We can think about Brebbia for example, or Chacom, Dunhill (with the famous "early morning"), Peterson (with the famous St Patrick or Sherlock Holmes tobaccos), Stanwell, Savinelli, Tsuge, Vauen, Winslow...

Vauen Auenland The Shire tobacco
"Auenland - The Shire" tobacco sold by Vauen in Germany is mainly composed of Virginia, but we also find a few strands of Cavendish and a hint of Burley.
This blend has a slightly fruity taste for a very soft smoking experience.

We also invite you to consult the webpage "Tobacco reviews" which possesses an impressive amount of information: opinions and feedbacks, composition and tobacco families, strengths (soft or strong), aromas...: www.tobaccoreviews.com. In 2018, we already found more than 7000 brands and 81000 reviews.

Depending on the brands, you will obviously find tobaccos under different packaging: bags, boxes (rounded or rectangular), jars,... 50, 100, 125, 150 grams...

Chacom n°1 tobacco

Chacom n°1 tobacco: this tobacco is made from Black Cavendish, Virginia, Latakia and Oriental tobaccos. This tasty blend of pure tobaccos seems to be appropriate for a daily use if you like the "strong" side of the Latakia.

Chacom n°2 tobacco

Chacom n°2 tobacco: this tobacco is mainly made from Virginia as well as a little bit of Burley and Black Cavendish tobaccos. A fruity hint (yellow plum) accompanied by vanilla gives a great taste to the tobacco while staying discreet.

Chacom n°3 tobacco

Chacom n°3 tobacco: this flavored tobacco is made from Black Cavendish. A little bit of Virginia and Burley were added. The whole is embellished with bourbon vanilla. The smell is very pleasant for people around you.

Chacom n°4 tobacco

Chacom n°4 tobacco: this pure tobacco is composed of different Virginia tobaccos and enhanced by a hint of Perique. The "Flake" cut is obtained thanks to a process that assembles it under pressure. This result procures a pronounced taste, relatively strong, for advanced pipe smokers.

Butz Choquin Semois tobacco

Butz-Choquin Semois tobacco: this brown tobacco is a complex composition of about 10 different tobaccos. The main ingredient is obviously, as its name suggests, Belgian Semois tobacco. Its cut is of a medium size and it has a natural taste (no flavor has been added).

Winslow n°1 tobacco

Winslow n°1 tobacco: this tobacco is made from Black Cavendish, Virginia and Burley tobaccos. It is a sweet aromatic composition pleasant to smoke thanks to a hint of vanilla, coconut and rhum flavors.

Enjoy pipe tobaccos:

Is it worth reminding at the end of this blog article that a pipe should be appreciated, and tobacco be enjoyed? You have understood it thanks to the previous lines, the choice is wide, possibilities are many, and discoveries exciting! Try new tobaccos, new blends, different types of cuts... Until you find the tobacco(s) that fit(s) you best. If you are patient and greedy for discoveries, olfactory and gustatory pleasures will be almost infinite!

Buy a Saint-Claude pipe

Pipe tobacco

You still need a few tips to choose your tobacco? Follow our recommendations and see our selection of tobaccos presented in our previous blog article! Indeed, having a good tobacco is great, but if you do not know how to preserve it... Have a look at our recommendations to store your pipe tobacco: tobacco pouches, tobacco jars,...

Share this article to your favorite social networks!

Read more:

Secure payment

A 100% safe
and secured platform

Quick delivery

Orders are
processed rapidly

25+ years of experience

in the tobacco pipe industry
to advise you

Customer service

Contact us at
+33 (0)3 84 45 68 02 or by email