Cigar devil logo
Free shipping on most orders over $199
Phone Created with Sketch. Order by phone M-F 1.888.883.5596

What are Stoved and Cavendish Tobaccos?

stoved tobacco in a pile

Cavendish, and its slightly less well-known cousin, stoved tobacco, demonstrate just how versatile the tobacco plant truly is.  By simply adding some extra steps to processing tobacco leaves, you can end up with a phenomenally unique flavor profile that takes pipe tobaccos to a whole new level. 

Easily, one of the most common mistakes that beginners make is believing that cavendish is a type of tobacco.  In fact, it refers to a processing method that can be done with any leaf.  The same goes for stoved tobacco, which undergoes a similar technique to achieve its signature darkness.

Let’s explore cavendish and stoved tobaccos to share the differences between the two, and allow you to understand what steps are involved to creating these classics.


Cavendish tobacco is tobacco that has been heated through the use of steam or fire, before heavy pressure is applied to it to press the tobacco.  This creates a “cake” of tobacco that’s about an inch thick, and that cake is heated once again so that the tobacco can ferment.  The cakes are then sliced and placed in wood barrels.

The result of this process is a very dark leaf that’s surprisingly moist to the touch, and has a flavor that’s uniquely sweet.  The application of pressure greatly enhances the tobacco’s natural sugars, and they can be flavored as well, with common flavorings including cherry, honey, chocolate, rum, coconut, vanilla, walnut, sugar, and bourbon.

There are a few types of cavendish tobaccos.  British cavendish is unsweetened and unflavored, as its processing method involves longer fermentation to bring more sweetness out of the leaf, naturally.  American, Danish, and Dutch versions do have flavoring added to them.

Today, most cavendish tobacco comes from white burley – a light and mild leaf that grows mainly in Kentucky, and is found in many cigarette tobaccos.  British cavendish, however, uses Virginia tobacco.

Cavendish tobacco has a storied history.  The story begins in the late 16th century, when Sir Thomas Cavendish and Admiral Sir Richard Greenville of England were requested by their king to visit Virginia, then a new English colony in America.  The men were gifted tobacco for their visit from Virginia farmers, and Cavendish wanted to preserve it so that it could survive the trip home.  So, he infused it with dark rum, before tightly packing the leaves with canvas and twine.  The journey home was several weeks long, and during this time, he sliced the tobacco cakes and smoked them, to find that he had ended up with an exceptionally delicious and smooth tobacco.

Stoved Tobacco

Stoved tobacco is a term we use here in the United States, coming from Virginia tobacco that has undergone a specific heating process.  However, some European tobaccos that call themselves “black cavendish” are actually stoved tobacco.  The heating process can be done through either “toasting” or steaming the leaves, and the temperature that’s reached can vary between different manufacturers.  The process allows for different tobacco manufacturers to develop their own methods, while the cavendish process is slightly stricter.

Stoved tobacco comes from bright Virginia tobacco, which is known for its mellow, mild taste.  The tobacco is heated very slowly over a long period of time until it develops a rich black color.  Applying too much heat too quickly would create a burnt flavor, and that’s why the process is so time-consuming.  By gradually heating the leaves, the natural sugars caramelize, which creates a phenomenally sweet taste.

Stoved tobacco, which is also commonly referred to as “stoved Virginia,” develops a complex flavor profile through this process.  People describe notes of dark fruit, spice, earthiness, and woodiness.  Stoved tobacco typically does have a slightly tangy taste that balances out the sweetness.  Yet, the draw is mild, as is the nicotine.  Like cavendish tobacco, stoved tobacco ends up feeling moist to the touch.

Basically, stoved tobacco is the same as cavendish tobacco, without the extra step of applying high pressure to form the tobacco into a cake.  Because of this, the two types of tobacco look different from each other, as cavendish gets its distinctive appearance from the fact that it’s sliced, while stoved tobacco is not.

Cavendish and Stoved Tobaccos: Two Great Selections for Pipe Smokers  

Cavendish and stoved tobaccos offer flavor profiles that can only develop through meticulous processing methods and enormous care for detail.  Cavendish is easily the more recognizable of the two, and a lot of that comes from its long history as a staple of the tobacco industry around the world.  Yet, stoved tobacco is equally worth exploring if you love the idea of a dark, nuanced flavor profile that’s completely one-of-a-kind.  Both show off the versatility and complexity of the humble tobacco leaf, introducing an entirely new kind of smoking experience into our daily lives.

Older Post Newer Post