Rummaging through the drawers of my escritoire the other day I came across some pipe tobacco in plug form. Interestingly enough, two of the packages show price tags in Malaysian Ringgit. I must have purchased them in Malaysia eons ago!
Plug tobacco is basically large pieces of tobacco leaves that are layered on top of each other and pressed into a block, or plug.
Here’s a picture of a stick of plug that has been cut into smaller pieces:
It can seem like a real hassle to prepare, but it is really not difficult at all and it adds to the fun that the whole pipe-smoking ritual brings. To prepare it, all you need is a sharp knife, although the purists among us might insist on using a proper plug cutter like this one here:
In any case, you want to either shave off some of the tobacco or slice the plug into flakes before filling your pipe and smoking it.
When cutting plugs, always cut the plug downwards and against the grain of the tobacco leaves. This way you will get some of all of the different tobaccos used in the blend and can then savor the flavor that the blender has intended for you to enjoy.