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Turkish Tobacco Tütün or Oriental Tobacco

Turkish Tobacco Tütün Oriental TobaccoGood Turkish tobacco, called tütün or Oriental Tobacco, is sold out of large sacks in just about every market in Turkey. I usually do not smoke cigarettes, but after being offered one with a glass of tea by man that I met in Sanliurfa the other day, I was sold.Pure, unprocessed [...]

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Turkish Tobacco Tütün Oriental Tobacco

Good Turkish tobacco, called tütün or Oriental Tobacco, is sold out of large sacks in just about every market in Turkey. I usually do not smoke cigarettes, but after being offered one with a glass of tea by man that I met in Sanliurfa the other day, I was sold.

Pure, unprocessed Turkish tobacco is good. I promptly went to the market in Sanliurfa and bought a big bag just for the fun of it.

For only two Turkish Lira – $1.25 – I was able to buy this much tobacco:

Turkish tobacco, as it is sold in Turkey, still has lots of little seeds in it. This seems to be a very raw form of tobacco, and smokes very lightly. There does not seem to be a lot of tar or even that much nicotine in it, and it does not leave the same aftertaste or smell of factory processed cigarette tobacco.

Tobacco is sold in the markets of Turkey from large plastic sacks, and is incredibly cheap. This tobacco stand has a Palestinian flag on it with “Intifada” written across it. I did not mention to this vendor that Chaya is Jewish, but it is my impression that he would have greeted her with hospitality all the same.

“Tobacco originated in the Americas and was introduced to the Ottoman Turks by the Spanish. The Turks over time developed their own method of growing and using tobacco. It was first grown in Macedonia. And even though Greece and Bulgaria still grow the same seed, it is still considered Turkish tobacco because the seed was developed during Turkish rule.” – Wikipedia Turkish Tobacco

Tobacco seller in Bursa, Turkey.

Large sacks of Turkish tobacco being sold in a market. The stalls that sell this tobacco often also sell cheap smoking pipes and cigarette rolling machines. I asked one of the tobacco vendors if people here really smoke this cigarette tobacco with a pipe, and he nodded his head in the affirmative as if I were some sort of fool. I harbor very thick doubts that this would work out very well.

Turkish Tobacco Tütün Oriental Tobacco


Filed under: Middle East, Turkey

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I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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6 comments… add one

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  • Anonymous November 3, 2009, 11:19 am

    Hello Wade! You sure said it there, about the raw leaf tasting good. I grew some turkish tobacco this year, it's my first time growing. I planted my seedlings late, (July) I purchased my seeds online. It's now November 3rd 2009 and I'm smoking my own homegrown tobacco already, well, I have been for around a month or so now. I just hung it up and let it dry on nylon cord I bought at the dollar store for a buck, 3/16" to 1/8" dia. It's hanging across my living room right now, it somehow ended up forming a triangle across the room, how cool is that? I just love ducking under it while I'm passing through, "no" I really do love it! I used rubber bands to tie the leaves together at the stems, then hung the bundles of leaves over the cords. The only difference is the color, mine are still mostly green after they dried. I could not believe how tasty the turkish was, it has the most sweet taste and the finest aroma I have ever smelled. Definitely the finest cigarette I have ever smoked in my life! It only took a couple of weeks, "give or take a few days" to dry out enough where I could smoke it. As tobacco goes, it fully develops from a four inch plant in 60 to 70 days. I grew several different types of seed and nothing I grew came close the the turkish. I have an enormous amount of seeds from the turkish plants, which makes me very happy. By the way, I live in Michigan, and I never entertained the idea of growing my own tobacco until the cost went up so high. I guess partially because of my location and my lack of knowledge about growing, needless to say, I have learned alot from this venture in the last few months. What a blast, watching it grow and taking care of it, from start to finish. I'm hooked! It will grow anywhere in the U.S.A. or most of the world. And Wade, bby the way, I am very impressed with the photos you took, very nice! I'm saving them to my computer, thank you! So anyone that wants to grow there own, go for it. But please, keep a low profile, for the sake of all of us growers, if you know what I mean. Someone could be watching and listening that may want to ruin all of our fun….. That is my biggest fear! "You know who" Take care all.

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  • Anonymous December 6, 2009, 11:02 am

    I think you can import a pound or so tobacco free of customs duties.I am originally from Turkey.I used to go to local bazaars and buy a few pounds at a time and smoke.Last year when I was there I paid 5 dollars for 2.2 pounds/1 kg of mid grade tobacco.I agree you can not get consistent quality/taste, it always changes since growers are different individuals.

    Anon. from Michigan, if it is legal I want tog row my own too. I smoke handrolled cigarettes.Obama increased the tax on this kind of tobacco 1800 % this year.I used to smoke Amsterdam Shag or European Drum/Samson but not any more with these prices. How to get seeds?

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  • Jens June 1, 2011, 8:27 am

    Hi Wade,

    Turkish tobacco in a pipe works amazingly well. It’s a key ingredient in mixtures like Dunhill Early Morning Pipe or Samuel Gawith’s Skiff Mixture, so smoking it straight is very much like these, only even milder and oilier-spicier. I use Turkish in a broader cut, though (the one sold commercially in Europe and the US for pipe tobacco self-blending), and the finer shag cut of cigarette tobacco will make it burn too fast in a pipe. It’s very hard to make it burn unpleasantly hot or wet, thought, eve when it’s dry, and it will never bite like Virginia tobacco can when you puff impatiently.

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  • james klatch July 19, 2011, 8:32 am

    i have read these web page articles and i am very interested in what i have read. question: where can i purchase turkish tobacco. i roll my own cigarettes now and i tried some of the tobaccos here in the states. if the turkish tobaccos are as good as you say, i would like to purchase some even if i have to get it right from turkey. is there a website that i can click on to purchase some? please reply.

    thank you,

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    • Wade Shepard July 19, 2011, 5:24 pm

      The only recommendation that I can give is to just go to Turkey or the Middle East. These are the only places where I’ve seen it sold.

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  • Rolling Solutions USA July 27, 2013, 5:37 am

    Thank you for sharing such nice article.

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