pipe tobacco primer

Pipe Tobacco Primer

Pipe tobacco is entirely about taste, and personal taste is subjective. With hundreds of blends available from around the world, I find it difficult to believe any man has smoked such a wide variety to the point they could rate the very best pipe tobacco on the market. Even independent tobacconists tend to develop their own blends of tobacco. Let’s be frank: this article is not about the top pipe tobacco in the world. It’s about our personal favorites and ones we believe are worthy of your attention.

If you don’t have a pipe yet, you definitely want to check out our Guide To Tobacco Pipes & Pipe Smoking.

Nostalgic images of the suburban pipe smoker

Nostalgic images of the suburban pipe smoker

Types of Pipe Tobacco

There are two primary categories that all tobacco falls into. Aromatics and Non-Aromatics. The difference between the two is rather straightforward: aromatics have flavoring or scent imparted on them whereas non-aromatics do not. Almost all tobacco is technically an aromatic as a genuine and authentic non-aromatic would be tough for most men to smoke with pleasure. A good rule of thumb is that most men who claim to prefer a non-aromatic tobacco just mean they want something that’s less flavored and doesn’t have strong notes of flavoring. However, this doesn’t mean that the tobacco they’re smoking is completely raw. It almost never is.

Burley Tobacco

In most cases, burley tobacco is actually used in cigarettes. It’s air-cured and light which makes it ideal for cigarette smokers, but it is used as a base layer in pipe tobacco or to enhance the burning of it. It’s exceptionally high in nicotine and offers little sweetness and a very slow burn. Burley tobacco is grown around the world and has the unique ability to hide its subtle flavor in almost any blend.

Oriental Tobacco

Also referred to as Turkish tobacco, Oriental tobaccos are spicy and prominently nutty with a nice oiliness and a sweet, yet sour flavor. Even though Latakia is technically an Oriental, the average Oriental brands try to label each separately due to their different profiles. It’s a very predominant tobacco found in English blends, and it’s very fragrant.

Pipe tobacco close up

Pipe tobacco close up

Virginia Tobacco

Do not allow yourself to be fooled that Virginia tobacco is only grown in the United States. It actually comes from many different regions around the world but is known for being very sweet. Primarily used as a base, it’s the reason so many tobacco blends are referred to as ‘Virginian blends’. In many cases, you can also buy a tin of it to smoke straight. The reason Virginia tobacco is so revered is it has some of the most complex flavor profiles of any tobacco. It’s relatively light when compared to other tobaccos like Latakia, but it offers a more elegant smoke in many cases. In most instances, the tobacco is only as good as the blend and a sign of poorly made Virginia tobacco is excessive tongue-bite. If you do experience this, it’s generally a good indication you’re not smoking the right stuff and that it’s time to find a new purveyor.

Cavendish Tobacco

Cavendish is an interesting topic because many pipe smokers consider it a type of tobacco when in reality it’s just a method that’s used to enhance the sweetness of another kind of tobacco through a unique cutting and curing technique. In fact, Cavendish is often just burley tobacco that is treated to mellow its flavor and enhance the aroma.

It comes in many different colors and flavor profiles that often have strong notes of black cherry, whisky, spiced rum, vanilla bean and others. In most cases, Cavendish pipe tobacco is very mild and delicate but with sweeter flavors and more fragrant aromas.

Perique Tobacco

Grown only in St. James Parish, Perique is a spiced tobacco that is fermented and cured together. Often found in Virginia blends, it’s very oily with strong notes of dried fruit and black pepper.

There is a huge range of pipe tobaccos availabe

There is a huge range of pipe tobaccos availabe

Yenidji Tobacco

A Greek-style pipe tobacco, it’s known for its spice but also it’s smoothness and complex taste. It’s not the best-known tobacco in the world, but it’s followers are fiercely loyal to it.

Turkish Tobacco

Often used to impart a sweet and spicy flavor, it’s used as a relatively predominant flavoring in many different blends.

Latakia Tobacco

One of my favorite styles of pipe tobacco, Latakia is a far more intense tobacco with smoky flavors and a spicy bite. It’s almost always sold in a blend since it’s such an intense smoke and is predominantly found in classic English tobaccos and some American ones as well. Many people believe that Latakia is cured over camel feces, but it’s simply a myth and nothing more than that.

A vintage pipe tobacco advert

A vintage pipe tobacco advert

Tobacco Cuts

Tobacco comes in a wide range of cuts, and each cut is really based on preference. While many prefer to buy flake tobacco, others enjoy the ribbon cut or shag cut tobacco. In other cases, some men opt to purchase plug and bar tobacco as it stores far better since it’s compressed. They will then cut the tobacco themselves whenever they are ready to enjoy it. I highly recommend starting with a rubbed out flake tobacco as they’re the easiest to work with out of the tin.

Where to Buy Pipe Tobacco

In my opinion, the only place worthy of your business is a reputable tobacconist. There truly is no exception, and a relationship with your tobacconist is akin to the relationship a gentleman should have with his barber or tailor. It’s worth it to find a tobacconist who knows your tastes and carries a wide selection of blends to choose from. In fact, many tobacconists have house blends and some will even custom blend a batch for loyal customers.

Custom house blends from a tobacconist

Custom house blends from a tobacconist

If you happen to live in a place without a reputable tobacconist, and you’re not a frequent traveler, the next best option is to purchase pipe tobacco online. There are many online merchants that specialize exclusively in the sale of pipe tobacco, and they are well worth buying from. One of the added benefits of buying online is that often the price is far less than you would find at a brick and mortar tobacconist. Of course the drawback is not being able to sample, smell or see the tobacco before you buy it.

Tobacco is very much like wine in that there are so many varieties available, and no two from the same tobacco type will taste the same. If you try one Latakia, it might be entirely different from the next. The best way to find the tobacco that you enjoy best is to simply try as many as possible and keep notes of what you liked and disliked about each blend. Once you do find the tobacco that you enjoy the most, you can then buy it in bulk or ask that your tobacconist maintain a stock for you based on your smoking habits and needs. I personally enjoy many different tobaccos, but my daily selection is Davidoff Scottish Mixture. Unfortunately, it’s not available at my tobacconist, so I have to ensure I give them plenty of time to order it in or arrange for an out-of-town friend or relative to send it by post.

Recommended Pipe Tobacco

The incredible Scottish Mixture by Davidoff

The incredible Scottish Mixture by Davidoff

Davidoff Scottish Mixture

My personal favorite and the blend I always keep well stocked, Davidoff’s Scottish Mixture is a testament to the brand’s pursuit of perfection. It’s mild and yet complex with floral aromas and a refined flavor. Blended from hand-selected grades of Burley, Oriental, Virginia and Kentucky tobaccos, it’s enhanced with a touch of smoke from single malt Scotch whisky. It is a consistently resplendent blend worth trying.

McClelland Best of Show

I really love this blend of Cavendish, Virginia, burley and black cavendish tobaccos. It’s rich and satisfying with hints of sherry cream and peaty whisky. It’s a coarse cut that needs to be rubbed out but is truly a member of the holy trinity of aromatic tobaccos. The burst of nougat is a very nice twist that McClelland has managed to perfect. You’ll enjoy this one.

Escudo Navy De Luxe

Escudo Navy De Luxe

Escudo Navy Deluxe

A blend of Virginia and Perique tobacco, it’s a masterpiece of a blend that has a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors. It is absolutely remarkable in its complexity and quality of smoke, and it is one you are certain to love, or at the very least, admire for its elegance and refinement.

Craftsbury: Frog Morton’s Cellar

A part of the Craftsbury series from McClelland, Frog Morton’s Cellar is a tribute to JRR Tolkien and one that has deep whisky flavors from its blend of Latakia and Virginia tobaccos. If you really enjoy English tobaccos, this is a great choice. It’s slightly sweet but has that old-age refinement one often seeks in new blends. Known for its whisky flavor, I actually notice as much rum in it as I do whisky. It’s slightly creamy and has great notes of vanilla and cinnamon on the finish with very little bite.

7 Seas Royal Blend

7 Seas Royal Blend

7 Seas Royal Blend

This ribbon cut tobacco pays homage to the high seas and the days when sailors were king. A blend of Black Cavendish, Virginia, and Burley, it’s a great pick for new pipe smokers. It’s a very fruity flavor with hints of dried fruits and a bit of bite. It’s a pleasant and easy-to-enjoy aromatic that is a great way of introducing yourself to your new pipe.

Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Sweet Maple Twist

I’ve never tried a GH & Co tobacco that I didn’t eventually become friends with. The fact is that these tobaccos aren’t for everyone, and it takes someone with a taste for strong tobaccos to be able to appreciate this excellent brand. However, if you do enjoy a hearty smoke, the Sweet Maple Twist is one you’ve probably never tried. It’s a Virginia tobacco cut into ropes that has this undertone of maple that’s not too sweet but manages to waft over your palate like a light breeze. This isn’t the best choice for new smokers, but it is one worth trying if you already have a fairly in-depth collection. I was very hesitant to try this blend based on the name (I’m not a fan of overly sweet tobacco), but since it’s a Gawith & Hoggarth blend I gave in. I’m very glad I did.

Orlik Golden Sliced

Orlik Golden Sliced

Orlik Golden Sliced

There is something nostalgic about Orlik Golden Sliced tobacco. It’s got a very 1950s suburban appeal that draw up images of a suburban father smoking his pipe in a cardigan on his easy-chair. Perhaps it’s this, coupled with the citrus tang that is utterly breathtaking. This is a masterful flake tobacco, and its delicate flavor profile is still so magnificent that even strong tobacco lovers will appreciate it. This makes for a very appealing daily tobacco and one I would recommend to any pipe smoker.

Dunhill Deluxe Navy Rolls

A quintessential blend of Virginia and perique tobaccos, Dunhill has once again crafted a delightfully endearing blend. At first glance, I must admit I was a tad put off by a warm tomato ketchup aroma, but once lit it wasn’t overly sweet or fruit-forward as I initially expected it to be. It has a very light touch of spice but isn’t overpowering in the least. The natural flavors from the Louisiana perique are still present, and the beauty of the Virginia tobacco is clear but without the bite. Overall, this is a great Dunhill tobacco that’s worth trying, but it takes a refined palate to be able to appreciate its intricate flavor profile.

Peterson Holiday Season 2015 Pipe Tobacco

Peterson Holiday Season 2015 Pipe Tobacco

Peterson Holiday Season

I became a pipe smoker for two reasons. First, it’s a lot less expensive and less time consuming than smoking cigars. Secondly, there’s something charming about smoking my pipe on Christmas as the children are sitting around the tree, and Alastair Sim is on the TV. For those cold December nights – especially around the holidays – I really enjoy Peterson’s Holiday Season 2014. It’s an enticing aromatic blended from Burley, Virginia and Cavendish tobaccos. It has an intoxicating chocolate flavor that’s swirled perfectly with ripe vanilla bean, candied fruit, and almonds. The buttery elegance of this blend is perfect for an evening smoke in front of the fireplace, and there’s something overwhelmingly relaxing about this blend that should be exceptionally sweet, but somehow isn’t at all. This is a limited release so considering buying up as much as possible while you still can.

Of course, also make sure to check out our lighter guide here and our Tobacco Guides.

Tobacco Brand
1776 Tobacco Co
2 Daughters
2 Guys Smoke Shop
310 Pipe & Tobacco
4 Aces
A & C Petersen
Abenaki Tobacco Co.
Admiral's Choice
Affordable Pipes
Alfie Turmeaus
Alois Dallmayr
Alt Smokers Pipes
American Snuff Company
American Spirit
American Tobacco Co
Anthony Cranswick
Ark Royal
Ash & Ember
Austria Tobak GmbH
B & D tobaccos
B&B Tobacconists
Balkan Sasieni
Batavia 1628
Bengal Slices
Benjamin Hartwell
Bennington Tobacconist
Benson & Hedges
Big Lou's Back Room
Big Star Cigar
Bjarne Viking
Black & Elegant
Black Anchor
Black Man Tobacco Company
Black River Cigar Company
Blatter & Blatter
Blender's Gold
Borkum Riff
Boswell Pipes & Tobacco
Briar & Bean
Briar Patch
Brigadier Black
Brigham Enterprises Inc.
Brobergs Tobakshandel AB
Brookline News and Gifts
Brown & Williamson
Buchanan's Tobacco Shop
Bull Dog
Burlington on Whyte Tobacconist
C.B. Møller & Co. A/S
Campbell's Smoke Shop
Candido Giovanella
Captain Black
Captain Earle's
Carmel Pipe Shop
Carolina Rose
Carroll P. J. & Co. Ltd.
Cascade Cigar & Tobbaco
C'est La Vie
Charles Fairmorn
Charutaria Alvorada Ind. e Com. Ltda.
Charutaria Cruzeiro Ltda.
Chesapeake Bay Trading Co
Chief Catoonah Tobacconist
Cigar Connoisseur
City Cigar Company
Clan Shaw
Cliff's Smoke Shop
Comoy's of London
Compton's of Galashiels
Cornell & Diehl
Cousin's Cigar Custom Blends
Criss Cross
Cruise Line
Cup O' Joes
D & R Tobacco
Dan Tobacco
Danish Import
Danske Club
David P. Ehrlich Company
David's Blend
Davis and Son Tobacconists
Day's Work
De La Concha
Diamond Crown
Distribution GVA
Doc James
Doctor Xious Blends
Douwe Egberts
Dream Castle Tobacco Company
Drew Estate
Dutch Blend
E. A. Carey
E. A. Carey (Europe)
E. Hoffman Company
East India Trading Co.
Echte Friesche Heerenbaai
El Rincon de la Pipa
Elephant & Castle
Erik Stokkebye
Erin Go Bragh
Esoterica Tobacciana
F & K
F.J. Burrus S.A.
Farmer's Gold
Finck's Cigar Company
Five Brothers
Foggy Fox
Frederick Tranter
Fribourg & Treyer
Friedman & Pease
Fumos Geróss Indústria e Comércio Exportação Ltda
G. L. Pease
G. Smith & Sons
Gallaher Limited
Gauntleys Of Nottingham
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.
George's Smoke Shop
Georgetown Tobacco
Golden Blend Tobacco Co.
Golden Harvest
Golden Leaf Tobacco
Good Smoke
Good Stuff
GQ Tobaccos
Grand Croupier
Grant's Tobacconist
Grupo Cone Sul Indústria e Comércio de Cigarrilhas
H. Simmons
Half & Half
Havana Connections
Hearth & Home
Hiland's Cigars
Hill & Hill Tobacconists
Holger Danske
Holland House
Holt's Cigar Company
House of Calabash
House of Smoke
House of Windsor
Houston Pipe Club
HU Tobacco
Imigrantes Ind. e Com. de Fumos Ltda
Imperial Tobacco Group, PLC
Indian Summer
Iwan Ries
J. F. Germain & Son
J. Paul Tucker's Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe
J.J. Moll Tabaksfabriek
J.P. Couvert
Jack Lee Blend
Jack Schwartz Importer
Jack's Tobacco
James and Sons Tobacconists
James B. Russell
James Fox
James Norman Ltd
Japan Tobacco
Jenney Station
Jewel of St James
John Aylesbury
John B. Hayes Tobacconist
John Cotton
John Dengler
John Middleton, Inc
John Patton
John Sinclair
Joseph Martin
Julius Vesz
Just For Him
Kane's of New Zealand
Kapt'n Bester
Kapt'n Brammers
Karl Erik
Kensington Pipe Tobacco
Kentucky Club
Kirsten Pipe Company
Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Lane Limited
Larus & Brother Company, Inc
Leavitt & Peirce
Leonard Dingler LTD
Levin Pipes International
London Blend
Low Country Pipe & Cigar
Mac Baren
Magne Falkum
Manchester Tobacco
Manifatture Sigaro Toscano
Marcovitch & Co.
Mars cigars & pipes
Mastro de Paja
Mazatec Garden
McGahey The Tobacconist
Meng Tobacco
Michael Apitz' Private Blend
Mick McQuaid
Middle Earth Tobacco
Milan Tobacconists
Missouri Meerschaum
Mister D's Pipes and Tobacco
Moonshine Pipe Co.
Mountain Village
Mr. B's
Mullins&Westley LTD
Murray Sons & Co, Ltd
My Smoking Shop
Nat Sherman
National Tobacco
New York Pipe Club
Nobleza Piccardo
Ocean Liner
Olaf Poulsson
Old Morris
Old Virginia Tobacco Co.
Ole Shenandoah
Organic Smoke Inc.
Orlik Tobacco Company A/S
Owl Shop
P. Lorillard
Park-Lane Tobacconist
Partagas Cifuentes y Cia
Paul Olsen
Paul's Pipe Shop
Pearl Tobacco Company
Peter Heinrichs
Peter Stokkebye
Petersen & Sorensen
Pfeifen Huber
Philip Morris
Pinkerton Tobacco Co.
Pipe and Pint
Pipe Club
Pipes & Pleasures
Pipeworks & Wilke
Port Williams
Porter House
Poschl Tabak
Poul Winslow
Prime Time International Co.
Prince Albert
Prince Philip's
R&R Tobacco
R.J. Reynolds
Racine & Laramie
Randy's Tobacco Shop
Red River
Republic Tobacco Co.
Reymer & Brothers
Robert Lewis
Robert McConnell
Royal Cigar
Royal Collection
Royal Navy
Samuel Gawith
Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG)
Seattle Pipe Club
Sentimiento Nacional
Shockoe Valley Tobaccos
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir William
Smoke Inn
Smoke King
Smoker Friendly
Smoker's Haven
Smoker's Outlet
Smoker's Paradise Clearwater
Smoker's Pride
Smokin' G Pipe Tobacco
Sobranie of London
Stag Tobacconist
Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania
State Express
Stephen Mitchell & Son
Sterling Tobacco Co
Stone Pine Tobacco Company
Straus Tobacco
Sturk's Tobacconists
Sullivan & Powell
Super Value
Sutliff Tobacco Company
Swedish Match
Sweet Dublin
Tabac Manil
Tabac Turc
Tabacos Catarinenses Ltda.
Tabacos Wilder Finamore Ltda
Tabakhaus Buttner
Tabaquería Xian
Tambolaka Natural Tobaccos
Tavern Tobacco Co.
Ted's Pipe Shoppe
Telford's Pipes & Cigars
Tewksbury & Company
Texas Tobacco
The Briary
The Country Squire Tobacconist
The Danish Pipe Shop
The Eastern Company
The Grey Fox
The Malthouse
The Pipe Shop
The Seasons
The Smoke Shop
The Smoker
The Tobacco Barn
The Tobacco Cellar
The Tobacco Haus
The Tobacco Shop LLC
Theodorus Niemeyer
Thomas Radford
Thompson Cigar Co.
Thomson & Porteous Limited
Tinder Box
Tobacco Lane
Tobacco Merchant
Tobacco Trader
Tobacco World
Tom Eltang
Torben Dansk
Treasures of Ireland
Tsuge Premium Pipe Tobacco
Two Friends
Up Down
Uptown's Smoke Shop
Van Eerkoms
Van Erkoms
Van Rossems
Vantas Tabak
Vincent Manil
Virginia Gold
Von Eicken
W. Curtis Draper
W.D. & H.O. Wills
W.O. Larsen
Watch City Cigar
Wellauer & Co
Wessex Crown
With Pipe and Book
World Tabac Ltd.


There are so many excellent blends available and far more tobacco types, styles and cuts than we’ve explored. However, this article was a focus on our favorite pipe tobaccos, not the tobacco itself. For more information about pipe smoking be sure to click here and read our in-depth guide to pipe tobacco.

What’s your favorite tobacco to smoke and what kind of pipe do you smoke it in?

Article Name
Pipe Tobacco Primer
Our recommended list of the finest pipe tobacco available.
23 replies
  1. Bob Strippy says:

    Burley is crap and belongs only in cigarettes. Here in the tobacco capital of the country (Richmond VA), the old pro’s refer to cigarette burley as “floor sweepin’s.” It is not true that non-aromatics, as a rule, have some flavoring added. The best English and Balkan mixes never have any. As for dealers, Pipes & Cigars in Bethlehem PA sells one-third of all the pipe tobacco in the U.S. and almost half the cigars. It is part of the monolithic Scandinavian Tobacco Group, which also owns Lane and Sutliff, who blend most of the pipe tobacco in the nation. STG supplies three-quarters of the world’s pipe tobacco. ALL the tobacco available for custom blending at tobacconists comes from Lane, almost the only bulk supplier. You ought to try the Hearth & Home blends from Pipes & Cigars, concocted by Russ Ouelette, generally acknowledged as the most expert blender in America. (Full Disclosure: I’m a member of CORPS, the Conclave of Richmond Pipe Smokers, and substantial shareholder in the privately held shares of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the part not held by Swedish Match.)

    • Christopher Panos says:

      As a long-time piper and as someone in the business, I would respectfully take exception to your comments on a few different fronts. First, although Burley is indeed the primary tobacco found in cigarettes, that is only because of it’s high nicotine content, as mentioned in the article. But Burley is also found in many premium pipe blends, used to increase the blend’s strength. It is also the tobacco used to make Dark-Fired Kentucky tobacco (Burley that is fire- rather than air-cured) for even more strength. All of the “old codger” blends are Burley tobaccos, including Carter Hall, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Prince Albert. It is fine tobacco with a delicious nutty flavor and deserves as much respect as the more glamorous, dare I say, trendy tobaccos. Secondly, ALL tobaccos are flavored- which is called “casing” in the trade. Raw, uncased tobacco would not be enjoyable in the least bit and would, in fact, hardly be smoke-able. Casing is usually accomplished by soaking the raw tobacco in sugar-water or a similar concoction (maple syrup is also widely used) and the point is to not notice the casing at all. English-style tobaccos use only the flavorings allowable under the old English laws: sugar water-soaked Cavendish (because remember- Cavendish is a process not a tobacco) and Latakia (also a process- it is actually a type of oriental tobacco, usually Smyrna, that has been smoke-cured). In fact, the presence of Latakia is almost the definition of an English blend, and Latakia, by definition, is an aromatic. To say that the best English blends have no aromatics in them is a stretch, to say the least (see previous sentence). What you’re referring to is called top-dressing, and heavily top-dressed tobaccos are what are known today as aromatics. The line between aromatics and non-aromatics can get pretty blurry though, especially when you speak of things like Navy Flakes, which are defined as pressed non-aromatic tobaccos that traditionally add a liquor flavoring as well. The point where non-aromatics end and aromatics begin is much debated. And finally, Pipes & Cigars is NOT owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG), although it does seem that STG owns them all, especially after their recent acquisition of Lane Ltd. from R.J. Reynolds. P&C is owned by a privately-held company called Cigars International, and the gentleman who owns the company is named Eric Vernon. Incidentally, they buy many of their products from Laudisi, as we are the sole U.S. distributor of Savinelli and Rossi pipes, as well as the parent company of Cornell & Diehl and G.L. Pease tobaccos, and sole distributor of Two Friends, Castello, Captain Earle’s, and Tom Eltang tobaccos.

  2. Simon says:

    No mention of the health dangers of pipe smoking.

    It used to be thought that cigars and pipes were not dangerous like cigarettes, but that view has changed.

    A real gentleman would alert his readers to these dangers.

    • Vincent says:

      I new such a response would come up…

      An article about pipe tobacco should be about…pipe tobacco. The risks/dangers of tobacco is another subject for another article.

      Presumably, those reading an article like this have already made up their minds about the risk/reward balance.

      Do articles on, say, single malt Scotch, need warnings about the dangers of alcohol consumption and admonishments to not drink and drive?

      • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

        Thanks Vincent. You make a good point. We also don’t inform our readers that processed meats could shorten your lifespan etc. each to his own, as long as nobody is affected by the smoke who does not want to be subjected to it.

    • Jonty says:

      I fully agree that cigarettes might effect some peoples health…… but have been smoking cigars and pipes for over 40 years, as my father did and no ill effects….. so all the health issues on anything a human does should be kept for other articles for people who may think it might effect them……..

  3. Michael says:

    I find most of my pipe smoking pleasure in the aroma. For that I recommend MacBaren Scottish Blend once you have a cake buildup.

  4. Simon says:

    You guys can make excuses why the article doesn’t need to mention health issues, but how would you feel if some healty young person reads the post and gets interested in pipes and take up smoking leading to health issues later in life.

    It doesn’t really matter if the Gazette encourages people to wear tweed, or bow ties, or spats… but readers health is something else entirely. Articles promoting dangerous substances can actually hurt people.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Right, and so we should mention the same for ham, wine, cell phones? One could argue that the electric smog of a device may be bad. Every tobacco product in most countries has warning messages attached to them. A young person reading this will undoubtedly see that it can be dangerous and they have to decide for themselves.
      Of course, you are always welcome to warn anybody about possible consequences of tobacco consumption.

  5. Simon says:

    Sven, you might be too young to have your friends dying from lung cancer and other health related diseases. I’m a bit older and have been going through this for the last few years. It is pretty awful.

    I am not suggesting you issue health warnings for ham, wine or cell phones. Doctors say you can use these things in moderation without danger.

    But doctors say there is no safe level of smoking. They say that cigarettes, cigars and pipes are all dangerous and should be totally avoided.

    What I don’t understand is why you wouldn’t just add a little health warning note at the end of the article. I enjoy reading your posts and I love how thorough they are. You really go into the nitty gritty of each subject you cover. That is why the omission of any health warning on smoking caught my eye.

    To cover smoking and not mention health dangers is irresponsible. When you suggest to people to try a tweed jacket in fall or to wear a pocket square with their suit you are not suggesting anything dangerous. When you suggest they should try smoking you have a moral responsibility to tell them the full story and warn them of possible dangers. Once informed they can make their own decisions.

    But, hey, it is your blog so you should do whatever your conscience says. You seem like a guy who wants to do things the right and proper way so I hope you don’t take my comments as an attack. They are more of a suggestion.

    I think your blog has influence, especially among younger male readers. I’m sure that there are readers who see one of your articles and go out and buy a tie pin, or an odd waistcoat, or a knit tie that you have written about. It is worrying to me that they might also read your article and think it is cool to get into smoking. At least with a warning they would be getting a balanced coverage of the realities of smoking. A health warning would damage your article, would it?

    And, who knows, a little token warning might save someone from serious health problems down the road. That would be good, wouldn’t it?

    • J.A. Shapira says:

      Hi Simon,

      The unfortunate thing is that in this day and age, there are many products on the market that some experts believe are dangerous. Some examples, of course, include tobacco, alcohol, processed meats (as the WHO just announced), red meat, driving fast, certain automobiles, certain fabrics, woods, travel destinations, etc. In addition, some products made in certain regions are considered dangerous in others, which is why there are import regulations and why customs officials ask if you’re bringing any meats, cheeses, fruits or vegetables into the country.

      I understand your position about putting a disclaimer in this article, but from an editorial perspective, you must also understand our position that it can potentially set a bad precedent. The reason magazines don’t often place warnings online is because the risks and beliefs vary region to region. Just because one product is deemed unhealthy or dangerous in the United States, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s viewed that way in Africa, the UK or another part of the world. Since our readership is global, we have to be careful about what warnings we issue. In addition, if we post a health warning for pipe tobacco because you have friends who have unfortunately passed away from it, we might be asked to post similar warnings for things such as lighters (because someone may know someone who died in a fire), articles on supercars (for those who were injured or died in accidents), articles about hotels (as some travel destinations can be considered dangerous) or even things like foods (warnings for people allergic to seafood or those with heart disease in our bbq articles). In the end, there is no limit to the things people might ask us to warn others about. Once we post one warning, it’s hard to argue others shouldn’t be posted. On top of that, the warnings issued around the world change all the time, meaning we would spend countless hours updating warnings and disclaimers.

      As I said, I understand and sympathize with you. It’s tough to lose friends to diseases caused by products. However, articles we’ve written on topics like sports cars might be just as important to those who lost loved ones in accidents. Reviews of alcohol might warrant warnings by those with family who suffer from alcoholism, or articles with steak recipes might be equally important to someone whose parent died from heart disease.

      I hope you can see our perspective on this issue, and why issuing warnings like the one you propose can’t always be done. Fortunately, as Mr. Schneider said, almost every country requires tobacco to be labeled with health warnings and most people know about the risks associated with tobacco whether they read these warnings or not.

      Yours sincerely,

      J.A. Shapira | EDITOR

  6. Simon says:

    Thank you both for your replies.

    Quick question: does Gentleman’s Gazette do “advertorial” posts, i.e companies pay to have you do a post about their product or service?

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Very rarely. I think we did a few in 5 years, but we always disclosed it. Why are you asking? It seems completely unrelated… This post was not sponsored by anyone in case that’s what you are aiming for.

      For example our flannel guide was sponsored by VBC. We turn down a lot of offers for advertorials because we do not like the brands, their products or what they stand for.
      As such, we declined to work with Christian Louboutin because it does not suit our style and audience. On the other hand Vitale Barberis Canonico is a wonderful cloth weaver. I visited them in Italy, had suits made from their fabric and then decided to work with them because their products are amazing.

  7. Mark says:

    I have to commend you both, Sven and J.A. You are worthy of the title “Gentlemen”. With regard to Simon, you were much more polite and cordial than I would have been. We are grown-ups here and don’t need nannies browbeating us about the potential dangers of our interests. Wasting time on Simon completely disrupted the idea flow as I was envisioning the Holiday blend on Christmas morning. His bizarre, unrelated, final question indicated that he had motives far different from your typical readers. Personally, I would have deleted his nonsense. But alas, I am still striving toward becoming a Gentleman some day…….so I will continue to read and learn.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Thanks for your support Mark.
      People often have a tendency to expect things from others and to demand something, but they rarely think about doing something about their beliefs. I agree, the last question was really strange and I wonder what the intentions were all along but like you say, we are gentlemen and treat others with respect, even when we are not treated the same way.

  8. Simon says:

    The last question was me wondering if the post was sponsered by a tobacco company. I’m sure you guessed that. I’m glad to hear it wasn’t.

    As for Mark’s “nannies” comment: insensitive and childish. I just hope you don’t have to experience seeing any of your family or friends in hospital with lung cancer or respiratory illness. Enjoy your holiday blend.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Considering you have been a reader here for a while, I am really surprised that you were thinking that.
      That being said, I think the assumption that sheer knowledge of the consequences will keep people from smoking is wrong.

      I have 3 friends who are all medical doctors and all of them smoke. They know exactly what consequences it might have and they still do it.
      People have the right to make decisions that will likely shorten their life span, each to his own.

  9. Quentin says:

    Regardless of one’s moral compass, one who says “Do as I say, not as I do” lets those without the knowledge believe it must not be as bad as they say if they can use hypocrisy. While you are entitled to write on whichever topic you desire, many which I read with enthusiasm, it doesn’t necessarily mean the reader has all the necessary information in thier young, naive minds to make an informed decision based upon the facts you’ve provided. I admire you candor and your tenacity to stand for what you believe in though.

    In my personal opinion I believe it has become less professional to partake in the recreational use of tobacco products, though I understand there is a tradition and appreciation still behind them.

    There are many doctors who are overweight that advocate thier patients to lose weight. People are not perfect, but they try to help others in their own errors.

    I’m not saying your article doesn’t articulate your fond opinions, I’m just saying it’s fine for others to have their own as well.

  10. Simon says:

    I read a lot of blogs and I get the impression that many of them do posts for money or free goodies. As you would know, much of what we read online and off is either “paid for” material or content supplied by PR companies representing companies or particular industries. I was not aware of your arrangements. That’s why I asked if it was advertorial.

    I would put to you that people knowing about smoking’s health consequences does stop many from taking up smoking and encourages others to quit – but not all. Some, like your doctor friends, still smoke. Some by choice, some due to addiction. When the U.S Surgeon General’s Report came out in the 1960s many people decided to quit as a result of having the factual information available to them. Like my parents.

    But, yes, people have to decide for themselves.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      It’s funny that you believe what is online is subject to sponsorship and paid for. I know many website owners and bloggers in the industry. They’d be happy if 20% of their work was paid for stuff but in fact it is less. Now, when you compare that to traditional print outlets, they do not even start a story if it is not paid for or sponsored, and they do not have to disclose it.
      We have been asked repeatedly to appear on GQ UK’s print magazine for a lot of money in editorials that would not have been marked as paid content. So at the end of the day, you are likely to read more objective articles online than in print magazines.

  11. C. Eric Jacobson says:

    Thank you for the article. Here’s a link to a study done for persons who smoke a pipe exclusively. No cigarettes or cigars. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/96/11/853.full

    I for one, a casual pipe smoker for the last 24 years do not understand the inhalation of the smoke.
    The point of the tobacco is to taste it, not ingest it or inhale it. It is to simply puff it. Enjoy its’ flavors and aroma.

    For me, it’s the total experience of it. The loading of the pipe, tamping it, lighting it, puffing it, tamping it again and relighting after the charring is complete then tamp one last time. All the while conversing with other gentlemen at the club, no rush to get this done but then finally, enjoying the smoke and aroma. Perhaps with a glass of Oban Scotch, Garrison’s Bourbon, Red Breast Irish, or…perhaps not. Depends on the tobacco and mood but that whole process is relaxing for me and I think, that in large part is the appeal for so many. It is simply, relaxing. It forces you to slow down and let go of the stress and ushers me from the mundane to the sublime; allowing me to reflect on my day and in some cases, escape the vulgarities of the day’s events.

    My top five tobaccos, in no particular order, (at this time)
    McClelland’s Blue Mountain
    McClelland’s Frog Morton On the Town
    G.L. Pease, Meridian
    Orlick’s Golden Slice
    Samuel Gawith’s Squadron Leader

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