What's the deal with dark leaf?

Hello again, and welcome to another B2 Hookah blog post. This week, we're going to be covering something a little different: What's the deal with dark leaf? In the last year or so, dark leaf tobaccos have made a huge change in the industry, quickly garnering attention, and widely garnering critical acclaim. Today we're going to be talking about why this happened, and what dark leaf tobaccos actually are. Without further ado, lets get into it.

What is dark leaf?


Dark leaf is an interesting term. To start, lets define a modern leaf, or blonde cut. Modern lines traditionally use a Virginian flue cured tobacco, which is generally a very light brown color in leaf. This tobacco is usually washed, which means that it isn't nearly as high in nicotine content. Honey is usually used as the binder for these lines of tobacco, and helps in bringing a sweeter flavor palate to smokers. Starbuzz and Pure are probably the two most iconic modern lines on the market, and exemplify these traits well.

Dark leaf lines are a little bit different. Traditionally speaking, there are a few different kinds of speaking. If you asked someone in 2014, people would probably point to Nakhla's "Zaghloul" flavor. Zaghloul is a tobacco that's almost unique at this point. It's very light on molasses, and uses a unwashed leaf. It's insanely high in nicotine, and is a very unique flavor profile, being that the flavor is mostly tobacco. It's not a tobacco that someone would smoke if they were looking for clouds by any means, it's definitely something that people smoke for flavor. It has a rich tobacco flavor, and is more than most new smokers will care for, at least for several years. There have been many iterations of these kinds of flavors, ranging from Desi Murli, Jurak (which is a little bit different), and even Al Fakhers "Soft Black" flavor, which is usually considered the starting point for traditional dark leaf. These are some of the oldest dark leaf tobaccos on the market, and they're what many traditional smokers swear by. Then, Tangiers made its appearance in 2006, causing quite a stir. Tangiers was and is a very different dark leaf. To date, there's nothing like it on the market at all. They use a molasses base, much like more traditional brands, but they have more juice, and they have a much finer cut to their tobacco as well. They were one of the first brands that emphasized on flavor, while maintaining a very heavy smoke, like the traditional stuff.

[caption id="attachment_3137" align="alignnone" width="300"]Nakhla's most traditional flavor, Zaghloul. Nakhla's most traditional flavor, Zaghloul.[/caption]

Then, last year, Starbuzz released their "Vintage" line of tobacco, something that was in production for a long time, and something that garnered a ton of hype around it. I personally grabbed three of them the second I saw they were available, because I was so curious as to what Starbuzz could have done with this. Vintage was the one of the first "modern" dark leaf lines to hit the market, and it was a smash hit. But it was a more modern take on a dark leaf. They used honey for the binder, and featured a ton of sweet flavors as well as many others. The flavors lasted much longer than the other Starbuzz lines, as well as offering more of a buzz than most modern lines on the market. Since then, we've seen Alchemist and Trifecta both try their hands at a modern dark leaf line as well, featuring the sweeter flavors with more of a nicotine kick.

Why was Vintage so popular?

There's a few reasons why I think Vintage garnered such attention. First, Starbuzz is, without a doubt, the most popular brand on the market. So for them to release an entirely new line, regardless of what kind of tobacco it is, is huge. That alone is bound to get a ton of hype. Second, they were talking about it for years. It took them almost three years to finally release this line, during which the hype for the product only grew. Thirdly, it was good. Starbuzz is something that most experienced smokers shy away from, since the flavors don't traditionally last very long, and many just aren't very good. Vintage was something that could smoke for two hours easily, and the flavors were more complex, and not as overbearingly sweet as most Starbuzz flavors had been in the past. It was something from Starbuzz that experienced smokers actually enjoyed, and it continued to sell so well because of that. Even me, I have a huge love for the Dehli Tea flavor from the Vintage line (seriously check that flavor out).


Even beyond Starbuzz Vintage, dark leaf carried a ton of hype. Going into early 2016, we saw the release of Trifecta Tobaccos "Dark Blends" come to market, and the line was greated with immense popularity and critical acclaim. This is in part due to Starbuzz Vintage - Vintage opened the market up to a new opinion of dark leaf tobacco, and made people open to trying it again. So when an already loved brand like Trifecta released a dark leaf line, people went crazy for it. Alchemist even tried their hand at it, and though it wasn't quite as popular as Trifecta or Starbuzz's lines, it was still considered a success, and many people swear by it.


What these flavors all had in common was this: they all had plenty of juice, they didn't use molasses as a binder, and they featured long lasting, and stronger flavors to the market. Add in the additional nicotine kick with that, and you have a winning line.

Not really dark?

So, while these modern dark leaf lines may not be a true interpretation of a dark leaf in the traditional sense, they're still fantastic lines of tobacco, and I think the popularity can certainly attest to that. Have you tried Starbuzz Vintage? Have you tried the "true" dark leaf flavors? What did you think of them? Let us know in the comments below! As always, thanks so much for reading, and happy smokes!

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