01 November 2016

Types of Tobacco

TobaccoTobacco has been used worldwide for thousands of years; with written accounts of its use dating right back to 1492. Different varieties of tobacco are grown around the world and with thanks to importation these days, it’s made easy to sample blends from different continents.

Around 6.7 millions tons of tobacco is produced throughout the world, with the majority originating from China.

Tobacco aroma, colour and nicotine strength varies, depending on the curing method used on the leaves. Three of the most popularly used types are flue-cured, dry-cured and sun-cured.

Flue-cured (Virginia)

TobaccoFlue-cured is the most commonly used tobacco. This process involves drying tobacco leaves in a closed building with added heat from a furnace. Flue-cured tobacco has a very high natural sugar content, which gives it a mild strength and light taste.

This variety is considered more inhalable than other types of tobacco. Flue-cured tobacco has lower nicotine content than air-cured tobacco, and is also known to be a good burner.

 This variety of tobacco is typically orange to dark brown in colour, and the tobacco leaves are picked at an advanced stage of ripeness.

Air-cured (Burley)

To become air-cured, tobacco leaves are left in large ventilated barns. The drying process typically takes around 4-8 weeks. Due to this method, this variety of tobacco has high nicotine content and very little sugar content, producing a mild to medium aroma.

The aroma is typically drier than flue-cured tobacco. Air-cured is typically used in blends, as it is considered a slow burner. This variety is light reddish to dark brown in colour.

Sun-cured (Oriental)

As the name suggests, producing sun-cured tobacco involves drying tobacco leaves out uncovered in the sun. With a strong and distinct aroma, sun-cured tobacco is often low in sugar and nicotine.

Sun-cured tobacco is typically grown in Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey and Greece.