Whole Leaf Tobacco

not sure why this is - plug tobacco multi use vs cigar tobacco single use

Smokin Harley

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2014
Grant ,Alabama
I have been a member here for going on 3 years I suppose and I can't find or quite figure something out. Bob (Deluxestogie),I'm sure you won't disappoint me by giving your experienced knowledge on it and maybe some of you um, to put it politely" Old timers" who have used it in the past.
Why is it that the old "plug tobacco" ,which seems to be dying off as a store shelf staple, could be sliced ,flaked, rubbed out and used for pipe , a chunk cut off with a pocket knife for a relaxing chew or even thin shag razor cut and dried for a quick hand rolled cigarette when the cigar leaf remains as a seemingly lone use tobacco. Its been said and nearly proven that cigar tobacco does not do well in a pipe (but the opposite - a pipe tobacco can be used in a cigar ??),it comes out rather putrid in fact. Why is this. Is it the whole pH factor . Is it the process in which it was made, or is it just a wide variety thats doomed by trial and error to be pigeonholed for a stogie .


Sep 1, 2014
Edmonton, AB, CA
I believe it has everything to do with protein and sugar content. As sugar burns, it creates formic acid. Some of that immediately enters the smoke, while some condenses in the unburned tobacco to be burned later, so the further you get in the smoke, the more acidic the smoke gets. The protein in the tobacco turns into or releases ammonia when burned, and it also accumulates and condenses making the tobacco progressively more alkaline.
See chart from: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.leffingwell.com/download/Leffingwell%20-%20Tobacco%20production%20chemistry%20and%20technology.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjbqISltK7RAhUDzWMKHV-YAmYQFggeMAE&usg=AFQjCNH9Ayv75Zpy4bLA3u0kjLKOpDfAMQ&sig2=qkTV0wqwCkvRs-OWRKVhtA

See how the cigarillo is particularly egregious?
I theorize that pipe makes it particularly worse because of all the cooling and condensation that occurs in the bowl as compared to a rolled product.
This is why we blend, acid and alkaline tobaccos. So by the end of the bowl, you've still got a neutral pH.


Staff member
May 25, 2011
near Blacksburg, VA
I don't have an answer as to why most cigar leaf is awful in a pipe. PA Broadleaf oscuro is sometimes used for a pipe blending condiment, but it still stinks, and causes a pipe to smell bad for weeks afterwards.

I believe it is the aroma of the condensed cigar tars. If you smoke a cigar with a pinhole opening in the head, vile tars will build up at the cut. If you "snuff" out a cigar as one might a cigarette, by crushing the ash, and bursting the cigar's body, the stench is overpowering. There is something qualitatively different about the tars of cigar leaf.

Even in-between varieties, which is how I would class Habano Colorado. It's impressively bland as a cigar filler, but horrid in a pipe. It might make a good Cavendish, but I have yet make Cavendish with any cigar-ish variety, for fear of creating a lingering stink bomb.

It's not the fermentation (or kilning). It's the variety--anything classed as cigar filler, binder or wrapper.


ChinaVoodoo, That is an excellent article from Leffingwell. I believe they're "cigarillo" may be a fat cigarette, rather than cigar tobacco, although the sugar is pretty low. One interesting finding is the super-high levels of Asparagine and aspartic acid in burley.