'Borkum Riff' tobacco was launched in Sweden in the 1960s. It was a rough cut blend of Virginia and Burley tobaccos. The tobacco blend had been developed with an eye on the US pipe tobacco market. Initial sales were sluggish, but when Borkum Riff's Bourbon Whiskey blend was successfully introduced in the US in 1969, sales increased. Since then, new flavours and new packaging have been introduced. Today, Borkum Riff is also sold in India, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, France, Italy, Germany as well as in several other markets around the world. Borkum Riff's biggest market, however, is still the United States. Today, the Borkum Riff, which is manufactured in Denmark for Swedish Match, is the third largest tobacco producer on the Swedish market. In 2011 Borkum Riff ownership changed to Scandinavian Tobacco Group.
Borkum Riff was originally a lighthouse located at 53° 58' N, and 6° 22' E in Heligoland Bight off the Dutch coast in the North Sea. It was a landmark for seafarers and was well-known to Swedish radio listeners, as weather reports mentioned Borkum Riff several times a day. The former lightship called Borkum Riff was used from 1960 to 1964 as the first radio ship of Radio Veronica, which became the first off-shore radio station in the Netherlands. The ship in the Borkum Riff's company logo originates from a 17th-century engraving made by Johann Baptist Homann.
The tobacco is manufactured on behalf of Swedish Match at the Scandinavian Tobacco Group's Orlik factory in Assens, Denmark. Formerly, it had been produced by Mac Baren on a dedicated production line.
The brand comes in several different flavours:
- Borkum Riff Original
- Borkum Riff Bourbon Whisky
- Borkum Riff Cherry Liqueur
- Borkum Riff Sweet Melon
- Borkum Riff Scandinavian Mixture
- Borkum Riff Orange & Honey
- Borkum Riff Cherry Cavendish
- Borkum Riff Black Cavendish
- Borkum Riff Vanilla Cavendish
- Borkum Riff Champagne
- Borkum Riff Highland Malt Whisky
- Borkum Riff Special Mixture No. 8
- Borkum Riff GOLD Cherry & Vanilla
- Borkum Riff GOLD Malt Whiskey
- Borkum Riff Admiral's Flake Vanilla
- Borkum Riff Admiral's Flake Cherry
- Borkum Riff Genuine Pure Tobacco
- "Smooth Sailing with Borkum Riff". Pipes Magazine.