The Pipe Nook
One of my YouTube viewers recently asked for assistance with finding lower nicotine blends. As I looked for recommendations for him, I decided this would be a good blog post. First, some tips: If you're having trouble with the strength of certain blends, you'll want to smoke them on a full stomach, and possibly smoke only half a bowl, or a 3/4 bowl...or possibly just not smoke a full bowl all the way down. Keep in mind that the bottom of a tobacco bowl acts as a natural filter of sorts, so the further down you smoke a bowl, the stronger it gets. I've gotten to where I typically don't smoke the last 10% to 25% of many bowls for that reason. 

With those tips in mind, we can talk about the nicotine content of various components. Here's a quick list of various tobaccos in order from the least amount of nicotine at the top, down to the most nicotine at the bottom of the list:
  1. Orientals
  2. Latakia
  3. Cavendish
  4. Bright Virginia
  5. White Burley
  6. Red Virginia
  7. Dark Burley
  8. Perique
  9. Dark Fired Kentucky

Most people wouldn't expect that Latakia (which is made from Orientals) is lighter in nicotine, because of the smokiness and robust flavor...but it's true. Thus, a blend with a higher Latakia content such as Cornell & Diehl's Pirate Kake (75% Latakia) is a fairly low nicotine blend. If you like medium to heavy English blends, this is good news! You can just focus on those types of blends. Others along those lines would be Cornell & Diehl Star of the East, GL Pease Quiet Nights and Gaslight, Mac Baren HH Latakia Flake, and Captain Earle's Ten Russians and Stimulus Package. As a side note, I would recommend all of the Captain Earle's blends, as they all contain good amounts of Orientals, and all of them except Honor Blend (which I still recommend) contains some amount of Latakia. 

Because Cavendish is so widely used in aromatic blends, I'd say that pretty much all aromatics would be on the lighter side, nicotine-wise. If you don't like aromatic blends, that's not helpful, but it's good news if you do! For aromatics, I would recommend Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening, Mocha and String Duster, GL Pease Virginia Cream, Savinelli Aroma, Cavendish and Black Cavendish, and Peterson Sweet Killarney and Sunset Breeze.

Looking at the nicotine strength list, you might decide to steer clear of any blends containing Perique or Dark Fired Kentucky. However, one must consider the proportions of these elements used in a blend. So while I would recommend to anyone looking for lower nicotine content blends to stay away from heavy Perique blends like Cornell & Diehl's Chenet's Cake, or heavy Dark Fired Kentucky Blends like Mac Baren's Old Dark Fired, Bold Kentucky, and Peterson's Irish Flake, there are blends with lighter touch of these components. As such, I would recommend Peterson's Early Morning Pipe, Captain Earle's Honor Blend, and Cornell & Diehl's Blue Ridge and Bridge Mixture. 

Although Virginia and Burley blends are typically medium strength, those who don't like either Latakia or Aromatics but are still looking for lighter nicotine blends must necessarily look to these types of blends. For these, I would recommend Peterson's Flake, Sherlock Holmes, and University Flake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Cornell & Diehl's Americana, Epiphany, and Pegasus, and Savinelli's Brunello Flake. 

These recommendations are all of course based on my personal tastes, and your mileage may vary. There are many other blends that fall along these lines, and part of the fun is finding your own personal favorites along the way. I hope this blog helps you as you navigate your path to finding your own favorite blends that won't knock your socks off with nicotine...I'm looking at you, Old Joe Krantz! :)

Keep 'em lit,
Eddie Gray
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