The terminology shag comes from how the tobacco visually looks. The strands of tobacco look like an old English fabric that has a thick pile giving it a shaggy appearance. It's believed the word shag comes from the old English word Sceacga, derived from the Norse word Skegg which means beard. Originally Shag tobacco referred to any cut or ribboned tobacco that was imported from Virginia; however, this meaning has now evolved to apply to pipe tobacco.
Shag tobacco tends to be a blend of fine and rougher cut tobacco that is mainly associated in the UK with pipe smoking. Slightly damper than hand rolling tobacco, shag tobacco tends to burn slower and have a stronger flavour. This intense flavour is something that some smokers cannot get used to; they often find it makes them cough - however the smell of pipe tobacco is also very evocative. With pipe smoking much less common, the scent often reminds passers-by of a by-gone era.
Shag tobacco is taxed much less than hand-rolling tobacco or tobacco found in straight cigarettes. This means that smoking a pipe can be a lot cheaper than smoking hand rolling tobacco or traditional cigarettes.
At Bull Brand, we stock a number of Shag tobaccos if you fancy trying one in a pipe (we also sell a pipe for £1). The smell and flavour might just give you flash backs of a by-gone age, also you might even save some money!