"Tobacco" refers to Nicotiana tabacum; one of over sixty species in the botanical genus Nicotiana. The original strain of Tabacum (tobacco) has never been found growing in the wild, yet it is the most widely grown non-food crop plant on earth.
Within the Species of N. tabacum (tobacco) there are two main classifications, light and dark tobaccos. There are also families of tobacco like "Burley", "Oriental", and "Virginia" under which specific seed strains exist, which we call varietals. While all of the known varietals of tobacco have resulted from some form of hybridization, the differences in plant structure, aroma + flavor characteristics, quality, and end-use are astounding. Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobaccos, and snuff all require different varietals which will be grown, cured, and processed in completely different ways.
Particularly notable, with cigar and pipe tobaccos, is the extreme skill and attention required to make it extraordinary: an organoleptic delicacy. Growing great tobacco is less like traditional agriculture (growing potatoes) and more like artisanal horticulture (breeding & raising rare orchids): it is extremely time, labor, and intellectually intensive. Yet another unique characteristic of tobacco is the way we use the leaves of the plant instead of its fruit or flowers. Tobacco is indubitably the planet's most unique and valued crop plant.
| Light Tobacco is typically used for Cigarettes and Pipe Tobaccos.
Dark Tobacco is primarily used for Cigars.
"Light" and "Dark" are general classifications which must be considered in concert with 3 factors:
1. Tobacco Varietal
2. Method(s) of curing: air, fire, flue, sun
3. Intended use
The alchemy of combining these variables, constitutes the art and science of tobacco production.