KEN BYRON VENTURES

Blend Taxonomy

The following are classifications I give to mixtures. For a new tobaccnonaut, there isn’t an agreed upon standard for names. It can be very confusing to a consumer.

I will try to use these terms within my site consistently regardless of what a third party manufacturer calls their products. Remember that a mixture may fall under several classifications. 

Mixture

A very generic term referring to the fact that leaves are mixed together. Even leaves from the same farm of the same type are a mixture. 

Straight

Straight refers to mixtures using one family of leaf, even if it is sourced from different continents. e.g. Straight Virginia normally means a mixture of one or more types of Virginia leaves. 

Blend

A blend refers to any mixture of straight tobaccos which may or may not have additional flavorings added for smell or taste. For exmaple, a blend of Straight Virginia and Perique may be called a ‘Virginia/Perique Blend’.

Stoved

When tobaccos are darkened through heating, we refer to them as Stoved. Traditional ‘English Cavendish’ was a process for steaming tobacco until browned. Stonehaven is pressed under heat, so technically it is a Stoved Flake. Many Danish Blends contain Stoved Burley that is cooked until the signature nutty flavor the Burley is removed. The term ‘Black Cavendish’ has become meaningless and should be avoided.

Flavored / Fragrant

Nearly all tobaccos are flavor enhanced, even to make them taste more like tobacco. When I use the terms  Flavored or Fragrant, I refer to enhancement for the purpose of making tobacco taste or smell different than the base leaves. This can be during processing of the tobacco components or through the addition of flavorings/fragrance to the final mixture.

English

The street address 01 St. James in Westminster is the iconic location of Dunhill of London. Alfred Dunhill popularized Latakia-forward blends that Americans called “English Mixtures”. It would be more accurate to call these “London Style” but even though Lakeland and Scottish mixtures come from England, there is no way to change the Internet to be more accurate.

Scottish

Scottish mixtures are defined by Charles Rattray as being composed mainly of the finest Virginias with optionally only condimental amounts of high quality Latakia, Orientals, or other tobaccos. Sometimes Stoved Virginias will be used as well. These are blends made for sipping due to the both the way they smoke and to savor the flavor. Scottish is a designation of quality in addition to composition.

Balkan

Balkan blends use Oriental and Latakia tobacco in proportions that don’t allow the Latakia to dominate the Orientals. Often, these will have an ‘incense’ like flavor due to the mixture of Oriental flavor with smoky Latakia. Other tobaccos will be used to give a Balkan nuance, but the heart of the blend is the play between the Orientals and Latakia.

Lakeland

Lakeland signature tobaccos characteristically use full throttle tobaccos especially of African origin. They may or may not be scented with botanical infusions. Some of the components may even have more of a cigar flavor. These are the signature cues of the Gawith family blends. 

Danish

Danish Blends are often made with White Burley, Bright Virginia, and Stoved forms of those. They are Flavored to the point of being Flavor Forward. They tend to have confectionery essences added such as vanilla, fruit, nuts, and chocolate. When people refer to ‘Aromatic‘ tobaccos, they usually mean Danish Blends.

Navy

A Navy Blend is a Virginia base but can additionally have condimental amounts of other tobaccos. The final mix is soaked in rum and minimally processed past that point. They tend to be in plug or flake form to let the tobacco steep in the rum until the tobacco is prepared. Unlike a Danish Rum blend, a Navy blend uses the rum to enhance the Tobacco flavor versus trying to smell or taste of Spiced Rum.

Classic American

Classic American blends were Burley based focusing on the natural nutty flavor of Burley. Most of these blends were made for all day smoking. The room note was designed to be pleasant. They may be flavored lightly or heavily. They pair really well with Coffee. Carter Hall, despite not being a premium blend, is generally well considered among aficionados.

French

French blends have a cigarette like flavor not unlike Gauloises and Gitanes. They are bold, strong, and unapologetic. Some of the Daughters and Ryan pipe blends like ‘Picayune’ are in the French style.

Dutch

Dutch blends tend to be working men’s tobaccos of old that feature Java leaf as the major component. These are currently not on the American market.