Originally Posted by Fezzik
Ok so there is one aspect of Shisha tobacco that we don't seem to talk much about. With the flavorings and all that I suppose it takes a back seat but I wonder a few things about it. Shisha tobacco has a tobacco leaf in it that is one of the main ingredients. The idea is to get the flavors that are added across but in actuality the tobacco comes through to a certain degree as well. Not the same way and not the same extent. My question is how important is the type and quality of the leaf? Is Virginia typical or is that unique to Al Fakher? Has anyone else noticed the subtle difference in tobacco used?
One of the first comments my wife made when we started branching out was the flavors of Al Fakher seems better but she didn't like the flavor of the tobacco itself as much as Nakhla. I can't put such a fine pin point on it but I like Nakhla better in general but to me it may be because I seem to get more of the tobacco flavor and the flavorings just kind of enhance it for me. We always talk about clouds, and buzz, and flavorings but how about the tobacco itself. Thoughts?
For the record I would probably be in heaven if I could get some of the Al Fakher flavors with the Nakhla tobacco but then that may be more of a difference in process or the fact that Nakhla is a bit dryer.
In most Gulf and American brands of moassel the tobacco is chosen to be as mild as possible and then the leaves are washed so as to remove as much of the flavour as possible. In other words, most of what you can buy in the states is made with the goal of the tobacco giving as little flavour as possible. As a result, a great many brands use low grade tobaccos (irreguardless of the actual veriety) better suited to cigarettes.
Some brands (like Nahkla, Havana, Afzal, Tangiers & Salloum) wash the tobacco for less time and at lower tempratures (or even not wash at all) in order to preserve the flavour of the tobacco. However, the agglutinantion process all mass produced moassels go through do reduce the natural flavours of the tobacco.
Virginia leaf is the most common veriety of leaf used because it's very common, fairly inexpensive, very mild and familiar to nearly all ciggarette smokers. As a result, nearly all American and Gulf brands use Virginia leaf almost exclusively. Other verieties of tobacco used by comapnies like Nahkla, Havana, Afzal, Tangiers,Baja Salloum, Desi Merli and those not imported to the states use wide range of leaf native to Syria, Turkey, Iran, Central America and India in order to get destinctive tastes and burn charisterics you can't get from Virginian based strains.