Our various products contain different types of tobacco leaf from many countries, which can be blended for aroma, taste and character.
Most of the tobacco we use is grown by independent farmers who typically harvest the leaf by hand over a period of two to four months.
The harvested tobacco leaf is then cured. This is a carefully controlled process used to achieve the texture, colour and overall quality of a specific tobacco type. During the cure, leaf starch is converted into sugar, the green colour vanishes and the tobacco goes through colour changes from light yellow to orange to brown like tree leaves in autumn.
There are four common curing methods:
- Air-cured tobacco is hung in unheated, ventilated barns to dry naturally.
- Flue-cured tobacco is produced when heat is introduced into a barn via pipes from an exterior furnace.
- Sun-cured tobacco leaf is strung out on racks and exposed to the sun.
- Fire-cured tobacco is produced when brushwood is burnt under the tobacco leaf.
There are three main types of tobacco used in cigarettes:
- Virginia is flue-cured and yellow/orange in colour – aromatic, but with a mild flavour.
- Burley turns brown when it is air-cured and has a slightly bitter cigar-like taste.
- Oriental is the smallest and hardiest of the three tobacco types. It is grown in hot countries and sun-cured, giving it a highly aromatic flavour.
These and many other types of tobacco are also used in making hand-rolling tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars, chewing tobacco and smokeless snus.