Tobacco Varietals and Nicotine Content

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jayh

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 26, 2010
196
0
Hey guys, probably a well covered topic, but I just wasn't able to find any consolidated list. How do the different varietals or preparations vary in nicotine? Ive never smoked cigarettes, and I think in general I just have a lower tolerance being newer to pipe smoking. So could anyone help me with a list of how the individual tobaccos rate so I can maybe help understand blends I might enjoy with out getting turned?
For example (made up):
VA -- Mild

Latakia -- High

Burley -- High

Cavendish -- Low

Orientals -- Mild
I've probably oversimplified this whole scheme, so any efforts by any of you good gentleman to set me straight is GREATLY appreciated.

 

jonesing

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 11, 2010
633
2
Jay:
In general terms here's how I understand it.
Leaf varietal matters and so does curing.
There are many factors in play with the PH of the tobacco (Base vs Acid) having the most impact on how readily nicotine is absorbed by the consumer.
Burley for example produces alkaline smoke. Thus more absorbable/free base nicotine. Interestingly this is the principle of crack. Baking soda is added to the coke, not because it's soda is white, but because it's alkaline. Therefore more free base. When Richard prior caught himself on fire smoking crack we still called it "free base".
Anyway for pipe smokers here's what matters in practical terms.
Burely: High
VA: Low-mid
Oriental: Low (due mainly to leaf size I believe)
Then curing comes into play. Fire curing (as opposed to air,sun or flue) increases the nicotine levels in the leaf. So fire cured burley properly referred to as Kentucky tobacco has a higher level of available nicotine than air cured burley.
Latakia is a fire cured oriental so it should have higher nicotine levels than air or sun cured orientals but still nothing approaching Kentucky. Only a guess but I suspect latakia is similar to VA in available nicotine.
Fermentation has me a bit stumped. Perique which is very similar to burley on the stalk is fermented under pressure and the result is extremely high, likely the highest, nicotine levels. Yet cavendish, typically a burley and sometimes a VA, is treated in a very similar manner just for a shorter time. Yet I don't' think of cavendish as being "strong" at all.
So the short story is that among the commonly used varietals in pipe tobacco. Fire cured burley (kentucky) and perique will kick the hardest. Then VA and maybe latakia, with other orientals being the "weakest".
Anyone have more or different information?

 

pstlpkr

Lifer
Dec 14, 2009
9,694
31
Birmingham, AL
Hey Jonesing,
Then curing comes into play. Fire curing (as opposed to air,sun or flue) increases the nicotine levels in the leaf.
I don't know that curing method can increase the nicotine content.

Maybe a better word would be concentrates.

I would think that the specific variety of the tobacco plant as well as the nutrient combination and concentrations of the soil in which they are grown would be a greater contributor to the nicotine levels.

 

jayh

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 26, 2010
196
0
I like that this thread bow mentions Richard Pryor setting himself on fire.
I'm waiting to try my new tin of University Flake, I have a feeling that it's gonna be too strong for me right now.

 

juni

Lifer
Mar 9, 2010
1,184
12
Uni flake isn't that strong, as a "former" cigarette smoker it is just right for me. It probably will be my go-to blend. Then again, people say Irish Flake is very strong but I don't find it that bad either (but much stronger than Uni flake).

 
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