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WHAT IS “CAVENDISH” TOBACCO?
By: Mr. Eric Whitaker, for “OutwestTobacco.com”
Today, “Cavendish” is the name given to many tobaccos, also, the style of cutting some of them. Cavendish is not a type of tobacco plant. Cavendish is, rather, a PROCESS by which tobaccos are prepared.
A wonderful discovery was said to have been made in 1585. A visit to the English colony of Virginia was made by Admiral Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Thomas Cavendish, at the wish of Queen Elizabeth. The native people of the area had presented tobacco to the colonists. Sir Thomas wished to bring tobacco back to England to promote and sell it. On the return voyage, he infused his personal supply of tobacco with dark rum, preventing it from drying out, and to sweeten the smoke. He then rolled the leaves (as was common practice of sailors back then) and bound them tightly with sail canvas and twine. After a few weeks, the tobacco was cut in little slices and smoked. The flavor was improved and sweetened, mellow, demonstrating an aromatic fragrance, which pleased him, and others who tried it.
Cavendish tobacco is simply a product of “double” fermentation.
This intentional process uses air-cured or flue-cured tobacco infused with substances that are high in sugar (rum, honey, etc…). After infusion, the tobacco is compressed, steamed, heated, fermented and aged for a period of time. Naturally dark tobaccos benefit most from a second fermentation, curing out of the leaf any residual ammonia and chlorophyll. Flue cured “Bright” tobaccos have the highest natural sugar content of any type of leaf. The“Cavendish” process results in a compressed “cake” of tobacco that is sliced and rubbed-out to ribbons of multiple leaf, that burn slower, with a mellow, flavorful character. Untreated, the Bright leaf tends to burn very hot and fast, with a light, sharp flavor. The Cavendish process makes a more pleasant product! The tobacco is aged longer, burns slower, has a better taste, and the ladies love the smell! To our modern benefit, our friends in Denmark, Sweden and Holland have perfected the Cavendish process.
Thank you, Sir Thomas!