Burley or White Burley; is a mutation of Virginia that developed in Maryland after the Civil War. It has natural tobacco taste, almost nutty, and will never "bite." It takes flavorings and casing especially well as it has very little taste of its own. It is the most common base tobacco in drugstore blends.

Burley and Virginia leaves are the same size, about 20 cm to 50 cm long, but their properties and consistency differ. The colour of Burley tobacco ranges from light brown to dark brown.

Burley is the second main type of tobacco used for pipe tobacco. It is known for having very low sugar content, and its leaves often contain no natural sugar. Burley tobacco has a robust aroma, burns well in the pipe and carries a slight hint of cocoa in its taste; but it does not have the sweet taste of Virginia tobaccos.

Burley tobacco is harvested when the leaves lose their suppleness, so the leaves are green when the harvesting begins. The plants are harvested whole, and hung to dry in barns sheltered from sunlight. No warm air is used, but the amount of fresh air can be adjusted to achieve the perfect drying conditions. The normal drying method used for Burley tobaccos is called air-curing.

There are other methods of drying Burley tobacco, as used on the famous Kentucky tobacco. After air-curing, this Burley is then fire-cured. A fire giving off a thick smoke is built in the barn, and the aromatics in the smoke are absorbed by the leaves. Kentucky tobacco comes originally from the American state of the same name, but it is also cultivated in other parts of the world, such as Malawi.

Mac Baren buys Burley in the USA, Mexico and Malawi.

The above information has been gathered from a variety of sources including but not limited to the following:

Mac Baren Tobacco
Articles by William Serad
e-articles by G.L.Pease
Craig Tarler, William Ashton Taylor, Charlie Price
and assorted other arcane sources