General Tobacco, Lifestyle

Pipe tobacco and cigar tobacco: The main differences

In the world of tobacco, pipe smoking is still enjoyed by tobacco lovers around the world although less noticeably in public than it was several decades ago. Cigar smoking is far more mainstream than pipe smoking but it is not uncommon for cigar smokers to occasionally opt for a pipe to smoke and vice versa. Both smoking methods produce complex aromas and flavours for the smoker to enjoy and both cigars and pipes are smoked without inhaling. 

So what is the difference between the tobacco smoked in a pipe and the tobacco used to make cigars? There is in fact quite a significant difference even though the two tobacco types are often thought of as the same. 

Here are the main differences. 

  • Difference in flavour and aroma

Cigars are made with a series of flavours with the most common being nuts, cedar, coffee beans, pepper, hickory, maple and cocoa. A cigar’s tobacco is usually described as either spicy or creamy. The flavours transition throughout the cigar and are usually more intense towards the end. The extent of the intensity depends on the cigar’s ring gauge and length. 

Pipe tobacco, by comparison, is typically less intense and has a less obvious transition of taste due to it being more finely cut. The leaves used for pipe tobacco are finely cut so that they can be packed into the pipe’s bowl, whereas the leaves used for cigar tobacco are usually left whole.  

The two main classifications for pipe tobacco are Aromatic and Non-Aromatic. Aromatic tobacco has a sweeter taste and scent with flavours of vanilla, chocolate, rum and cherry. Non-Aromatic pipe tobacco is less sweet with earthy notes and wood and spice flavours.   Both types of pipe tobaccos are created using a blend of different types of tobacco including Burley, Virginia, Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental and Perique. 

  • Difference in origin

The main growing locations of cigar tobacco are in Central America and the Caribbean with Cuba, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic being the most prominent tobacco growing areas.

Pipe tobacco is mainly grown in North America and Turkey. 

Each tobacco-growing location has specific growing conditions which impact the quality and flavour of the tobacco. 

  • Difference in smoking experience

Pipe and cigar smoking requires some preparation ahead of starting a smoking session. A cigar’s cap needs to be cut using a cigar cutter and the foot of the cigar is lit with a cigar lighter or match. A pipe should be packed with tobacco – not too tight or too loose and the density of packing it will depend on the type of tobacco used and its moisture content. Once packed, the pipe’s bowl is lit using a match. 

During smoking, a cigar needs to be puffed on every few minutes to ensure that it doesn’t extinguish. It should, however, not be smoked too fast which can cause the cigar to burn too hot creating an unpleasant taste. With a pipe, oxygen control is important and the airflow must be controlled with a pipe tamper or your thumb. If you’re an avid cigar smoker but have always wondered about smoking a pipe, then give it a go! Regal stocks a range of pipe tobacco and smoking accessories to get you started!

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