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There are many types of tobaccos. Some are basic to the blends that are made and others are used sparingly for the flavor that they add to the blends. I will try to list as many of them as I can and a brief description of them. On the links page you will find some web sites where tobaccos can be purchased. If your local shop does not carry a particular blend the chances are that you will find it on one of these sites.

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Virginia = Grown in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.Tends to burn "hot" if not mixed with other tobaccos in a blend.
Burley = Excellent burning qualities. Little flavor of its own. Good host tobacco in a blend. Grown in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Maryland = Grown mostly in Maryland. Used to increase the burning qualities of a blend.
Latakia = Grown in Northern Syria and Cypria. Almost black in color. Used lightly in a blend as a flavoring agent. Mostly found in "English" blends. A little of this goes a long way.
Perique = Grown in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Used as a flavoring agent in some blends. Very distinctive taste and aroma.
Turkish = Used as flavoring agents in some blends. Mostly grown in Greece and Turkey.
Cavendish = Not a tobacco name but the name of a process used to cure the tobaccos. The tobaccos are flavored with sugar, rum, maple, or such and pressed repeatedly to give it a dark color with a heavy-sweet taste. 

There are basically three types of tobacco cuts. Ribbon, cube, and flake. the cut determines the overall burning qualities of the tobacco. A flake always needs to be rubbed out before loading it into a pipe. Rubbing out means to rub it in the palms of the hands until it is in smaller more manageable pieces.

Blends

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There are many tobacco blends on the market today. Go to your local shop and look them over. Some say that bulk tobaccos are inferior to tinned tobaccos and some say that the reverse is true. All are worth sampling. You may look forever for the "right" blend for you. That is part of the fun in smoking a pipe. Variety is the spice of life. Experiment with the different blends. Enjoy their individual qualities and flavors. Some you will like and some you will not. Drug store blends are definitely inferior to higher grade, tobacco shop blends and tin blends.

English Blends = Natural tobaccos using their own flavors to enhance the aroma and taste. Little to no outside flavorings are used. these tend to smoke well and leave a harder cake in the bowl than aromatics.

Aromatics = These are blends that have flavorings added to them to try and enhance the taste. There are many varieties and styles to choose from. There are all strengths to be found. They come in ultra-mild to full aromatics.

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There is no right or wrong tobacco. It is a personal preference. Each person smokes what he or she likes. After you have the basic tobaccos down and know their tastes and qualities, you may want to try to blend your own. Your tobacco shop will have bulk tobaccos on hand that you can purchase and use for making your own blends.

The burning rate of a tobacco depends on four things:

  1. How dry it is,

  2. How rapidly the smoker puffs or draws on the tobacco,

  3. The cut of the tobacco, and

  4. How the tobacco has been packed in the bowl.

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Tobacco should be ideally kept at 70% humidity at 70 Fahrenheit. You will notice that your tobacco shop has a special room that the tobacco is kept in. This room is nothing more than a large humidor. You need not go to all this trouble and expense. All you need is an air tight container and a humidifier. Your tobacco will stay fresh. Tobacco can be kept in the tin and aged. Aromatics do not seem to gain in quality or smoothness in the aging process. English blends do. Try this for yourself and see what the difference is.

Now visit the links page and see where most of this stuff is on the Internet. Stock up on the different blends that you like. It will be an investment in the future if the prices and taxes on tobacco continue to rise as they have been.

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