I’ve gotten a few emails about organic tobacco and thought I’d do some research and try to get the pulse of what people think about organic tobacco and which brands they favor.
Before I get to the reviews of what roll-your-own aficionados have to say about different organic pipe tobacco I realized I didn’t know how many different brands of organic pipe tobacco are out there. At AAA Tobacco, we only offer one brand, in one size, Kentucky Select Organic Gold. But there must be a large variety out there… Right? Apparently not. It appears the crowds on favorite several years ago was a pipe tobacco called Organic Pipe Dreams. From information gleaned off of a comment 1, this may now be the Kentucky Select Organic Gold, but I am uncertain of this. Both of them were/are produced by Organic Smoke, Inc. so either way, you are getting the tobacco from the same grower(s). An article from 2008 by Tobacco International explains why, at least back then, finding a plethora of organic pipe tobacco options is harder than it sounds:
Organic tobacco products have been largely the territory of a single manufacturer to date: Santa Fe Natural Tobacco, maker of Natural American Spirit cigarettes and roll-your-own mixtures.
But now a flurry of recent launches by three different companies suggests that organic tobacco products may be on the way to becoming a bigger part of the overall tobacco market:
Organic Pipe Dreams, a new pipe tobacco mixture from Organic Smoke Inc. is believed to be the first pipe blend ever certified as organic. An all-Virginia blend, Organic Pipe Dreams is manufactured on contract by the bulk hand-blender Cornell & Diehl Inc. and is made with both organic leaf and organic casing materials. Introduction was scheduled for May at the Chicago Pipe Show. Organic Smokes provides the leaf for this mixture.
Yuma Organic cigarettes, seek to serve the emerging trend in ecological niche products, according to the manufacturer, Yuma Europe Tobacco Company of Niederanven, Luxembourg. Two styles were introduced in Germany last September. As of yet, there are no plans to introduce these brands in North America any time soon.
“Natural” versions of the Vengeur, Rowland, and Windsail roll-your-own products were scheduled to launch when this issue went to press.
Vengeur, Rowland, and Windsail are manufactured by D&R Tobacco, and all three are line extensions of popular existing brands and use only organic leaf, which Organic Smoke supplies.
Vengeur Natural and Rowland Natural fall in the Virginia/Burley blend type, which traditionally contains Oriental. This created a problem for D&R: Oriental tobacco has never been successfully produced organically and can’t be used in an organic product. Still, Mark Ryan, Owner of D&R, wanted to maintain an Oriental presence. His solution has been to steam Oriental tobacco into syrup, distill it, and derive an Oriental essence that he puts in as a topping. That took some experimentation, but Ryan said the work was worth it. “Oriental adds to the balance of the blend.”
Santa Fe’s organic cigarettes, by comparison, are made up of pure organic flue-cured and burley. Rowland Natural is essentially the same as the Vengeur blend, but “an organic cocoa flavoring has been added on top of it,” Ryan said. Also, Vengeur contains no flavorings.
Windsail Natural, like the conventional Windsail product, is a British blend mixture made entirely of flue-cured tobacco.
Santa Fe, meanwhile, continues to offer two styles of cigarette using organic tobacco: the full-flavor Maroon (referring to the color of the pack) and its light- to mellow-tasting Gold. It also offers an organic roll-your-own mixture.
All three new natural blends from D&R contain an organic humectant and anti-microbial, developed by Organic Smoke, to preserve flavor and freshness.
From the information you see to your left, there is a starting point to see if there are any other brands available. First, Yuma Organic Pipe Tobacco. I was able to find it available to most European countries but if they’re selling in the US, I am hard-pressed to find it for sale. Vengeur, Rowland, and Winsail have “been coming out with an organic blend” for the past five years. Which leaves us with Santa Fe’s American Spirit and Organic Smoke, Inc.’s Kentucky Select dual-purpose pipe tobacco. From tobaccoreviews.com there are Kentucky Select Organic Gold Reviews that range from the calling out of American Spirit as inferior to the mighty Kentucky Select:
“I am long time smoker of hand rolled cigarettes. I have tried everything from American Spirit to Zig Zag. This particular tobacco is far superior to anything else that i have used to roll cigarettes. It is mellow, light yet strong, and organic on top of it all. Compared to the harsh, scratchy American Spirit organic, this is a much better choice for rolling. I would recommend this to anyone that rolls their own.” -meanwhilebacklash
to the mention of a slight harshness to the tobacco (though from other reviews, it doesn’t seem like this is the consensus):
“ … There seems to be something in it to irritate an inhaler (as opposed to a pipe puffer). It could possibly be the Agave ? I know agave is a mucilagenous type plant like aloe but sweet.. the lung may not be very happy dealing with this sort of substance. I plan to contact the growers and find out what sort of testing they do to determine what to cure tobacco with.” -NicoleS
All in all, out of these four roll your own reviews and from the 12 older reviews when the brand was called Organic Pipe Dreams, the average rating is 2.8 stars out of 4 stars.
In looking at the ratings from rollyourown.com of American Spirit Organic Pipe Tobacco, it received an average of 3.7 stars out of 5 stars.
Comparing the two as apples to apples, American Spirit received a rating of 73% and Kentucky Select 70% out of all possible stars.
If you have come across any additional organic dual-purpose pipe tobacco, please let us know and we’ll see about offering it.