Dark leaf tobacco, also known as black leaf, is unwashed and cured with molasses. It has greater nicotine content, primarily because the leaves are not washed or rinsed. Blonde leaf tobacco, also known as golden leaf, is washed or rinsed after harvest and it is cured with honey. The washing or rinsing reduces the nicotine content in blonde leaf tobacco. There are several other differences caused directly due by the distinct processing or production techniques.
Difference between Dark Leaf and Blonde Leaf Tobaccos
Nicotine is a natural constituent of tobacco plants. In fact, tobacco is a common name of the plant classified in the genus Nicotiana. The nicotine content present naturally in any tobacco plant depends on the particular species. Local environmental factors, conditions of cultivation, and other elements also play an influential role.
There are two distinct stages of processing before any type of tobacco is blended with flavors or extracts for shishas. The first stage is washing. The second stage is curing. Since dark leaf is not washed, the rinsing step is not relevant. Dark leaf is cured with molasses, so there is a distinct flavor profile. Blonde leaf is cured with honey and thus has its own distinct flavor profile.
Generally, dark leaf tobacco is strong, there is an obvious richness, the smoke is usually denser, and the kick is pronounced due to higher nicotine content. In comparison, blonde leaf tobacco is lighter, it is not as dense, and the kick is mellower. This distinction is primarily why experienced smokers prefer dark leaf and beginners opt for blonde leaf.
Implications of Varying Nicotine Contents for Smokers
Since the nicotine content varies greatly between these two types of tobacco leaves, how a user packs a bowl with a particular shisha has to be altered when switching from one to the other.
Dark leaf tobacco works better with funnel shaped bowls. Smokers want rich and dense clouds with a strong hit of nicotine. A funnel shaped bowl allows heat to gradually pass down through more tobacco. This results in rich, dense and flavorful clouds. The nicotine hit is quite strong.
Blonde leaf tobacco works better in ordinary bowls, which tend to have a broader base and not much depth. This shape allows heat to spread uniformly through much of the packed tobacco without causing any burn, and the smoke carries with it a smooth nicotine hit enriched with the flavors added to the leaves after curing.
Pairing Dark Leaf and Blonde Leaf Tobaccos
Every beginner reaches a stage when singular flavor profiles fail to weave the same kind of magic. This is primarily why brands too opt for blends, within a particular pack itself. Yet, most smokers would eventually try two or more shisha flavors, whether there is a singular profile or more in each of them.
Such pairing works well when there is one dark leaf shisha flavor and the other has blonde leaf tobacco. The lightness of blonde leaf complements the stronger nicotine content and richness of dark leaf tobacco.