Main types of tobacco

The three most common types of tobacco are Virginia, Burley and Oriental.

Virginia tobacco takes its name from the state in America where the British first started growing it in 1612. It belongs to the flue-cured group, i.e. the leaves are dried with a stream of hot air, and it is very popular for its mild, gentle, aromatic flavour and excellent combustion. It is grown all over the world: in North America (Virginia, North and South Carolina,Georgia, Florida and Alabama), South America (Argentina and Brazil), Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia), Asia (India, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Japan and above all China), in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and in Europe (Eastern Europe, Greece and Italy).

Burley tobacco is darker than other varieties, because it is air cured, i.e. the leaves are dried in the open air until they take on a colour that ranges from light to dark brown. The flavour resembles that of a cigar. It is produced mainly in the USA, but is also grown in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central and South America.

Oriental tobacco varieties are all sun-cured, i.e. the leaves are dried in the sun. The leaves are typically small and golden-yellow in colour, but they may also be darker, varying from yellow-green through to brown. These superbly aromatic varieties are grown mainly in the coastal areas of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

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