With over 70 varieties and 8000 years of cultivation, there are very few plants that can match tobacco in terms of how interwoven it has become into human society. The Latin name for tobacco is Nicotiana tabacum. It is part of the Solanaceae plant family and is therefore botanically linked to potatoes and Aubergines. Tobacco is native to the Americas, and it is thought that cultivation of the plant started as far back as 6000BC. When Columbus landed in the America’s, he noted how the natives smoked dried and rolled leaves. These were essentially primitive cigars. In 1560 the French ambassador to Portugal brought tobacco to Europe for the first time, making a fortune selling the plant to wealthy European’s. The Anatomy of the Tobacco Plant The tobacco plant typically grows between one to two feet high. The flower is made up of five petals that are contained within the Corolla, and these are coloured either white, yellow, pink or red. The tobacco plant produces a small fruit measuring just 1.5 – 2 mm and this contains two seeds. The tobacco leaf, the part which we are most interested in, can grow very large when compared to the size of the plant. Leaf length can be as long as 20 inches with a width of 10 inches. The leaves are shaped one of three ways. Ovate, which is egg-shaped. Obcordate which is heart-shaped or elliptic which is oval with a small point at the tip. The underside of the tobacco leaf tends to be fuzzy, and they grow towards the base of the stem. In the tobacco plant, it’s the leaves that contain the nicotine. Although it is actually produced in the plant roots and transported to the leaves, each tobacco plant variant will contain a different amount of nicotine. At the top end, Nicotiana Rustica leaves can be up to 18% nicotine. How Is The Tobacco Plant Grown Tobacco plants are perennials. However, when grown commercially, they are done so as annuals. Seeds are sown in beds, and just one ounce of seeds can produce up to four acres of tobacco. Some plants are grown to produce seeds. Where this is the case, the plants grow for between 6-10 weeks before the seedlings are removed and sewn into fields. Where plants are not used for seeds the heads are cut off (topped), so all the plant’s energy goes into the plant leaves rather than producing seeds. This helps the leaves to become larger and thicker. When flowering stalks and branches begin to grow, they are removed so only the large leaves on the plant stem remain. Tobacco plants grow for between three to five months at which point they are harvested and the leaves removed and wilted in drying barns. Types of Tobacco There is a wide range of tobacco varieties grown around the world. Different types are used for various purposes with some favoured for pipe tobacco, others for cigars and some for cigarettes. In our range of naturally extracted tobacco e-liquids, we use some of the most renowned tobaccos available around the globe. Aromatic Fire Cured Fire-cured dark leaf tobacco is cured by smoking over a gentle fire. It is a predominately US variety that is used as chewing tobacco, cigarettes and some pipe tobaccos. It is a rich and dark blend that offers a slightly floral taste. Latakia Fire Cured Latakia is fire-cured tobacco produced from oriental varieties of cultivated tobacco. Produced mainly in Syria and Cyprus it is smoked over gentle fires that use local hardwoods and aromatic shrubs. It is used in pipe tobacco blends and adds a distinctive smokey aroma. Brightleaf (Flue-Cured Tobacco) Originating from the USA Brightleaf is a mild, lighter tobacco developed in the 1800s. It is grown in what is generally regarded as poor soil that is not suitable for other types of crop. Burley Typically used in cigarette production, Burley is a light, aromatic tobacco that is air-cured. Primarily grown in the USA, the state of Kentucky accounts for 70% of the countries production. Corojo Developed in Cuba and now grown in Honduras and the USA. Corojo has been Used extensively in Cigar wrappers and has a unique spicy taste. We use this variety in our Appleleaf and Havano Gold E-liquids. Criollo One of the very first Cuban tobaccos that would have been used when Columbus landed in the Americas. Criollo is lighter, milder tobacco with peppery undertones and a pleasant sweetness. It is most commonly used in cigar production. This tobacco is the basis for Red Vapes Havano Dark E-liquid. Dokha Originating in the middle east and the Gulf states, it is widely used in the UAE, Iran and neighbouring countries. Authentic Dokha has very little processing to prepare it for us. It is simply dried and then finely shredded. Habano One of the better-known tobacco varieties. Habano is grown from Cuban seeds in several areas of Nicaragua. It is now used primarily as a cigar wrapper and has a dark colour and spicy flavour. Oriental Tobacco Also known as Turkish Tobacco as the regions it was historically grown in was part of the Ottoman Empire. Oriental Tobacco is sun-cured and aromatic. It is used extensively in cigarettes where it is often blended with Burley and Bright Virginia tobaccos. Perique Perique is a tobacco that packs a punch. Considered to be the variety that has the strongest flavour it is blended with other tobaccos and used in pipe blends. This tobacco is so good we named an E-liquid after it. Shade Grown under tents to prevent direct sunlight from reaching the leaves. Shade tobacco is light in colour with a delicate structure. It is used as a cigar wrapper predominantly by many of the worlds finest brands. The distinctive shade tobacco flavour can be found in our ever-popular Shade E-liquid. Thuoc Lao Thuoc Lao is Vietnamese tobacco that has an extremely high nicotine content. It is often smoked after meals by farmworkers in Vietnam. For those not used to the tobacco, it often causes extreme dizziness, sickness, vomiting, and some people have been known to pass out. White Burley White Burley is essentially a naturally occurring mutation of Burley (or Red Burley). It was cultivated by a US farmer in 1865 who noticed some of the standard Burley seeds he had purchased had a white appearance. The seeds grew into a lighter, more delicate plant and the leaves, once cured, had a milder taste.