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What is the Difference Between Cigar Tobacco and Pipe Tobacco?


Many novice smokers of either cigars or pipes assume the tobacco is tobacco, but nothing could be further from the truth. The two are totally different, and this short article is designed to help you separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

It’s All in the Form of the Tobacco

Whether you’re new to cigars or pipes, settle in, because this one will take a while. The first thing to note is in how cigar tobacco and pipe tobacco are processed for consumption. With pipe tobacco, the tobacco leaves are finely cut. This is so you can easily pack the tobacco into the bowl of your pipe.  On the other hand, with cigar tobacco, the leaves of the tobacco are packed whole within the cigar.

Sources of Origin

The next major difference is with the source of origin of the tobacco. Quite frankly, if you enjoy variety in your tobacco, you might want to choose smoking cigars.

Cigar tobacco is most often harvested in Central American and Caribbean Sources such as Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras.

Pipe tobacco, on the other hand, can come from all over the world. Therefore, it's somewhat easier, by the simple definition of location, to identify good Cigar tobacco, although, that's only a part of the story.

But while we are on the subject of Cigar tobacco, we should mention that cigar wrapper leaves often come from either Ecuador or Mexico. So even a Cuban may not be 100 percent Cuban.

Pipe Tobacco is Generally Flavored

Any good tobacconist will tell you that pipe tobacco comes in two forms, aromatic, and non-aromatic.  In actuality, this is a sleight of hand, because even non-aromatic tobaccos are enhanced with some flavoring, due to the fact that tobacco with absolutely no flavorings at all smoke really rough. However, non-aromatic tobaccos generally do contain a minimal amount of flavorings in them, and it is barely noticeable.

Aromatic pipe tobacco is deliberately infused or has flavor sprayed onto them to enhance the smoking process.

Pipe tobacco is often flavored with alcohol-based caramel, vanilla, maple, fruit flavors, chocolate, or more. They are alcohol-based because the cigar maker does not have to redry the tobacco leaves.

Flavoring is an essential part of pipe smoking for many, and the various flavorings really enhance the pipe-smoking experience.

Flavorings in Cigars

Ask any cigar seller, and they will tell you that flavored cigars are now all the rage. This one is a mixed bag, because flavored cigars have existed for a long time, but were associated with the stigma of being cheap cigars. In general, say true cigar aficionados, you will get find subtle aromas such as a hit of orange peel or lemon in a good cigar, but not overwhelmingly so.

Flavored cigars, although they are now very popular with the younger set, are still frowned on by true cigar lovers, who resist the artificial flavoring of cigars.

In addition, many experts point out that once a smoker gets used to smoking artificially flavored cigars, they will rarely enjoy the subtleties of a quality cigar that has no artificial flavorings.

Where to Put Your Money Then?

If cost is a concern, pipe smoking is definitely cheaper. Even if you purchase Captain Blacks, the number one pipe tobacco in the world, you can typically get by on $10 for a tin that may last you two weeks.

However, with cigars, even the cheapest handmade cigar may cost you $5, and it's quite easy, to consume $50 or more on cigars within the same period that you could be smoking a tin of quality pipe tobacco for.

Now, when you smoke a pipe, you can easily pick up what is affectionally called "Pipe Acquisition Disorder”. Many pipe smokers will spend perhaps $300 or less for 6 months' worth of tobacco, but, turn around and spend thousands on collecting a wide variety of pipes.

In addition, with pipe smokers, a determining factor concerning taste is also in what you have previously smoked, as a pipe will pick up contaminants of one flavor of tobacco, and then embed those fine contaminants into the pipe. So if you change flavors, for a while at least, you may be getting a small taste of the previous blend you were smoking.

Why Do You Smoke Cigars and/or Pipes?

Experts recommend that those who are debating whether to pick up pipe smoking or cigar smoking, spend time deciding how much and how often they will smoke, and how much money they want to spend.

As noted, cigar smoking can become a very expensive habit, so if costs are a factor, definitely consider limiting your cigar smoking and generally stick to pipe smoking. However, if money is no object, and also if you enjoy smoking a good cigar with a quality rum, whiskey or cognac, then cigars may be the right choice for you.

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