Oriental tobaccos are typically very fragrant, variable sugar content and have virtually no nicotine because they are grown in nitrogen poor soils in arid regions of the Middle East and Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. They are bought up in massive quantities by the large cigarette companies.
There are two broad types of oriental Turkish and Greek.
The Greek includes Basma, (Frog Morton on the Town), Mahalla, Xanthi, (Ashton Old Dog), Dubek, Yenidji (original Balkan Sobraine).
The most common Turkish type is Smyrna, the best of which is called little ears in Turkish.
The concentration of natural sugar and especially natural aromatics is rather high in Oriental tobacco. These tobaccos grow in warm, dry surroundings, and the leaves therefore develop a layer of wax to protect themselves against drying out. It is this wax layer that makes Oriental tobacco very aromatic.
Oriental tobacco's leaves are somewhat smaller than Virginia leaves, only 5 cm to 10 cm long, but on the other hand, there are many more leaves on a single plant.
The entire Oriental plant is harvested when the leaves are ripe. Afterwards, the leaves are picked individually, then strung and hung to dry in the sun. Oriental tobacco is sun-cured.
Mac Baren purchases its Oriental tobacco in Greece and Turkey. Oriental tobacco is used only as seasoning in our blends.