Many varieties of tobacco are used to produce the blends in British American Tobacco’s hand-rolling and pipe tobaccos
It is believed that the Mayan people of Central America were among the first pipe smokers several thousand years ago and archaeologists have found pipes dating from around 2,000 B.C.
The Aztec descendants of the Mayan culture enjoyed the ritual of smoking a pipe after dinner and believed it was an excellent way of avoiding hostilities. Smoking the Pipe of Peace was also a well-known ceremony among Native Americans.
Many varieties of tobacco, including Burley, Virginia, sun cured and fire cured, are used to produce the blends in British American Tobacco’s hand-rolling and pipe tobaccos.
Pipe tobacco is aged, cut, sized, flavoured where appropriate, dried and then packaged. Throughout the process it is checked for its appearance, size and moisture content. It is divided into two major groups:
- Aromatic pipe tobacco blends have rich aromas and are usually known as Mixture or Cavendish.
- Non-aromatic pipe tobacco is sometimes called Straight Blend. This is a blend of non-aromatic tobacco and has a natural smell of tobacco when smoked.
It is not just the aroma that affects pipe smoking. The cut or size of the tobacco affects how it packs into the pipe, how well it stays lit and how fast and hot it burns. A larger leaf cut may burn slowly and evenly but may be difficult to pack and to keep lit.
- Crimp cut is lightly pressed short cut tobacco varieties, curled by drying and heating.
- Curly cut is formed when dark and light tobacco leaves are rolled into a cord, usually enclosed by an extra light leaf.
- Navy cut is pressed tobacco, cut into thin slices and crumbled before use.
In recent times, the use of pipe tobacco has declined and it now makes up less than 1 per cent of the world’s tobacco consumption.