Perique: Specialty Tobacco

Perique is a tobacco grown only in Saint James Parish, Louisiana. It is unclear why the tobacco doesn’t seem to be able to grow elsewhere; it might be the seed or the soil. The Choctaw and Chickasaw were growing it when European settlers first arrived to the area. The tobacco has a unique harvesting process giving it a distinctive flavor. The leaves are fermented and pressurized in whiskey barrels for at least a year. It has a fruity vinegar smell and taste. Not smoked alone, it’s blended with less pungent tobacco variants due to its powerful kick. Perique is a pipe tobacco but is also sold as perique cigarettes by the Natural American Spirit brand. A liqueur is also made from it at a distillery in France. There are less than 16 acres of the crop currently being cultivated, farmed by the Martin and Poche families, who only produce a few barrels.