Oriental tobacco or Turkish tobacco is a highly aromatic, small-leafed variety of tobacco which is sun-cured. Historically, it was cultivated primarily in Thrace and Macedonia, now divided among Bulgaria, Greece the Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey, but it is now also grown on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, in Egypt, in South Africa, and elsewhere.
The name "Turkish" refers to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the historic production areas until the late 19th/early 20th century.
Many of the early brands of cigarettes were made mostly or entirely of Turkish tobacco; today, its main use is in blends of pipe and especially cigarette tobacco.
Turkish tobacco has a much milder flavor and contains less nicotine and fewer carcinogens than other varieties. Cigarettes containing only Turkish tobacco, like Murad, Helmar, Balkan Sobranie or those supplied by urban tobacconists like Fribourg & Treyer or Sullivan Powell in London, are no longer available. Blends, however, persist: the American Blend cigarette, in particular, uses Turkish mixed with more robust tobacco such as Virginia tobacco and Burley. Turkish tobacco plants usually have a greater number and smaller size leaves. These differences can be attributed to climate, soil, cultivation, and treatment methods.
Tobacco originated in the Americas and was introduced to the Ottoman Turks by the Spanish. The Ottoman people over time developed their own method of growing and using tobacco. The Ottomans also developed different methods of consuming tobacco, including the hookah.
- Jordan Goodman (1994). Tobacco in History. Taylor and Francis. p. 97. ISBN 9780203993651.
- http://www.american.edu/ted/turkish-tobacco.htm[dead link]
- "Tobacco Timeline: The Twentieth Century 1900-1949--The Rise of the Cigarette". tobbaco.org. Retrieved 27 March 2014.