'Which' Tobacco Leaf Companies?

We've been promising to do this for some time now but finally we have got round to it. We found a number of 'companies' selling tobacco whole leaf. Of all the companies we looked at, only one is listed as a Limited Company, VAT Registered and a registered Tobacco Broker with HMRC. That is TL4U (Tobacco Leaf 4 U). Given that invariably you have to be VAT registered to purchase direct from source within the EU then none VAT registered companies would have to purchase from Tobacco Brokers such as TL4U or similar.That would explain why TL4U are selling retail Tobacco Leaf cheaper than the rest.

Another reason is TL4U dont sell USA/Canadian leaf like the other companies do. You can purchase from USA/Canada without a VAT number but you have to pay import duties on it because it is outside the EU. Couple that with shipment costs and you then understand why the USA/Canadian etc leaf is so expensive when compared to EU leaf.

Difference in the quality of leaf from EU and USA/Canada etc? Well, we've seen tonnes and tonnes of leaf all packaged in C48 boxes in EU Leaf Distributors all earmarked for such as  ... Imperial Tobacco. l think that answers the question. ln the end it's just down to personal choice.

Some UK leaf suppliers we looked at were clearly a rip-off and subsequently disappeared very quickly. Don't be fooled by offers too good to be true because invariably they are too good to be true! You'll end up out of pocket for sure.

So, let's have a look at some of the companies that are trading and continue to do so.

1. Whole Leaf

Owned by Paul Redmond and in Bolton, Lancs. Paul has good reputation and it's well deserved. He sells EU/USA/CAN leaf along with shredders and flavourings. Recently added WorldPay payment gateway so can accept card payment. Payment gateways are difficult to get because tobacco leaf is discriminated against by most gateway providers so kudos to Paul for getting it.

Paul sells his leaf in llb amounts which works out as 453g whereas some others sell in Metric of 500g. It's worth noting this when purchasing leaf. Look at amounts they sell the leaf in.

Average purchase price incl p&p £24.98 for 454g (1 lb)   = £2.77 per 50g

2. Buy Tobacco Leaf

An odd one this.They only sell in bulk but what worries us about Buy Tobacco Leaf is that they want all your personal details incl a copy of your passport or driving licence AND a utility bill BEFORE they will accept any orders from you.. Take a look. We really don't like this at all ... so we'll leave it at that.

3. PureLeaf

Pureleaf have had their trials and tribulations ... we wrote about them here.  What the outcome was we have not learned. PureLeaf site was down for quite a while and then they came back but with a much reduced USA/CAN stock and frequently out of stock. They don't sell EU leaf. The site used to sell shredders etc but they seem to have been removed. What has also been recently removed is PureLeaf having a go at other Leaf suppliers and saying that their leaf is poor quality. That in our view was uncalled for.

Saying that, the owner Joe Tunnicliffe of Bournemouth, did have a good reputation with his customers.

Average purchase price incl p&p £24.98 for 450g (1 lb)   = £2.77 per 50g

UPDATED ... Thanks to Blocked Dwarf we see that Joe at PureLeaf is still slagging off the competition.We are not impressed at such tactics when we know for certain such claims are patently untrue.

4. Whole Leaf Tobacco Only

Belfast Company that's been around for quite some time. Doesn't sell EU leaf  and sticks to USA/CAN etc. Sells a big range including accessories. We are reliably informed that prices have been steadily rising but recently they have changed from selling in llbs to 500g instead so that's a positive. They are still the most expensive though.

Average purchase price incl p&p £30.49 for 500g   = £3.05 per 50g

5. TL4U Ltd (Tobacco Leaf 4 U)

Came to prominence in the last year. Only sell quality EU leaf and at really good prices. Reliably informed that their service and customer service are excellent.They are registered Tobacco Brokers with HMRC and a VAT registered Limited Company from Hull/Sheffield. They are to increase their selection of leaf when the new crops are released in late Sept/Oct 2014. That has to be good news.We also like the idea that postage & packing is at a flat rate of only 4.95 regardless of the quantity ordered.

Average purchase price incl p&p £19.95 for 500g   = £1.90 per 50g

6. Miss Virginia Burley

A lady no less! Relatively new and filling a niche market. Concentrates on smaller 250g sales for those with tight budgets. Her current leaf is excellent Burley Butted (15cm of stalk removed) and Virginia Strips (no stalks at all!). We think she should change the currency she trades in though ... from Euro to Sterling.

Approx average purchase price incl free p&p £11.99 for 250g   = £2.39 per 50g

7. Fred the Shred

Fred doesn't sell leaf but what he does sell is shredders ... and he takes it seriously. You won't find better service and dedication anywhere. What we really like is his humour ... we think of him as Professor A.A. Dinwiddie, DM (7th), D.Thau., B.Occ., M.Coll aka the Bursar from the Unseen University (Pratchett's Discworld). Hope the dried frog pills are still working mate. :)


We haven't covered all the leaf suppliers so if you can recommend any OR tell us of ones you think should be avoided, then drop us a line or put it in the comments and we'll add them to the list.

Take care y'all :)


  1. Pureleaf are still doing the dirty on other sellers: http://pureleaf.co.uk/content/4-about-us
    " There are several sites in the UK offering similar products, but we can assure you that they are only selling very poor quality European grown leaf."

    Until very recently Joe was offering his shredders on a separate site and also on ebay.

    Missvirginiaburley has some outstanding leaf but I worry that her offering butted/shredded leaf might lead to problems in the long run.

    1. PureLeaf are throwing stones inside glasshouses. Doing things like that reeks of desperation imho.
      Perhaps Miss VB might cause problems but in truth both butted and strips in EU Law is classed as unprocessed raw leaf. HMRC are employing the same tactics as UKBA/BF did with cross-border shopping. That is they are making up their own rules ... unless challenged.

  2. I have heard some good things about http://www.shagtobacco.com/

    but they ship from Africa and label their goods as 'pesticide' .

    1. Oh well, l'm sure that's all above board then :)

  3. Hi guys. I have just had an interesting read. I have had a strong interest with whole leaf tobacco for a few years now. My first encounter was with this flash in the pan outfit, for its time it was cheaper than shop bought but compared with now it was quite expensive. I watched various videos on how to cut the tobacco with scissors, it was like trying to roll with strips of toilet paper. But this was the start. After a while I came across a site called leafonly, I am pretty sure many of you guys has heard of these. Its an American company that is like a tobacco 'broker' and dealt directly with the US farmers. The prices were good, but the postage wasn't. The first order was for various types of leaf, when it arrived the smell that came out of the parcel was like heaven. The quality was extremely high. After a few of the parcels that went missing thanks to the Nazi border control, I became very disheartened but was determined to persist in my quest for a regular supplier. I found a few. The first one was Pureleaf. This at the time was like a breath of fresh air, for a while, but eventually, waiting for new stock became a right pain in the rear. So I continued my search, I found one in Ireland, I forgot the name, but again, great for a while and then it dwindled. The final supplier was, and still is TL4U.... WOW! I am not arse kissing or anything but the quality and everything from this outfit has been very constant and reliable. I am always looking forward to try new different leaves, and the quality is in my honest opinion on par with the Yanks.

  4. Joe of Pureleaf is still selling shredders on ebay, I have just checked. He has yet again dropped his prices to match FredTheshred's, almost, however does not ship with an extra set of combs.

  5. Agree with Anon 9.12. The guys at TL4U give the best service you could possibly ask for. Nothing is too much trouble for them.

  6. Hey chaps. Hope everyone had a bloody good Christmas. I had a pretty good one this year, I got a bandsaw, loads of tools, oh and a jar of humbugs...... it's an old joke. Anyways, I hope you don't think I am ar*e licking here but I will tell you, I have tried lots of different leaf companies but none have come anywhere near to TL4U for quality, reliability, honesty and a decent continuous supplier. I have converted so many people away from the crap that is sold in the local corner shops to smoking decent, more healthy and cheaper whole leaf tobacco. The only problem I have with the guy I deal with is, that I can't send any more Candy crush saga requests or I could get my legs broken lol! I have been a customer of TL4U from a few years and for good reason. I even remember when all you could get was just the ordinary..... but good, VFC and burley, and now there is a nice selection of different types. I am wondering if I ask nicely, I could get a small selection of the range TL4U sells so I can continue making some cool tobacco videos on Youtube. I have even been called a tobacco god lol.

    I have come across some right shysters too, Pureleaf is one. when I used to buy from them the quality was really good BUT, they were quite pricey and you could not rely on them. The Irish guy was the same, though he wasn't greedy or dishonest.

    So, TL4U thumbs up guys, happy new year and will be seeing you soon. Toodloo for now!

    Chris (Donny):-)

  7. Pureleaf sold me shitty quality leaf early 2015.
    One was really dry and broken up in bits, the other one had live critters chewing holes through the bagged leaves, aswell as cocoon type eggs all over the leaves. including obviously loads of their poop all over the leaves.
    Silver nitrate covered leaves isn't my idea of a healthy smoke...

  8. bought oriental leaf from Whole Leaf Tobacco. Started to go mouldy quite early on. Emailed them but no reply. Had to throw it away eventually when the whole bag smelt mouldy.

  9. Hi

    Just came across this site, and thought i would add to the stream.
    I own Shag Tobacco, mentioned above by the blocked dwarf.
    As he says I ship directly from Zimbabwe, where i am involved in a tobacco processing factory. Zimbabwe as you will probably know is one of the biggest tobacco growing countries in world, despite its ups and downs in recent years, it also produces some of the worlds finest smoking tobacco, but it comes at a price, unfortunately. Whilst i advertise whole leaf and threshed tobacco on my site, the threshed is by far the most popular, as you are not paying for the 30-40% stem and midrib you get in whole leaf. I hand package all my tobacco my self, trying to maintain a constant condition. I vacuum pack the tobacco, and whilst most people are happy with it, i have had 1 or 2 asking for me not to over vacuum it, which i take note of, and in follow on orders try to follow their wishes.
    The biggest constraint I have is the cost of postage, and the time taken for parcels to arrive with the buyer. This can be any where from 9 to 21 days. All packages are sent registered mail, using the Zim postal service, and whilst a registered article number is given, for tracking purposes, often the tracking does not show up any where.
    As mentioned above, i do sometimes stick a cover letter inside, saying the tobacco is to be used for organic pesticides, not for human consumption. This is purely for our fine friends at HMRC, nothing to do with the quality of tobacco. Saying that, in the year and half since i started using registered mail, not a single parcel has been seized (touch wood)

    I also try to interact with my customers as soon as they order/get in touch, and try to advise, especially new customers on what to order.

    Lets hope we can keep supplying, and HMRC don't clamp down to hard, and thanks for this platform/forum to express these thoughts



  10. Le-Vap stocks some of the world's best e-liquids from Five Pawns, Twelve Vapors, Mad Mikes, Bumble Bee Vapor, Iceliqs, Suicide Bunny etc.

  11. I have to say I have been using Paul Redmond for over a year now.

    After trying about 4 others. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt his leaf quality is 2nd to none! - His price is good too, especially when you bear in mind that there is hardly ever any unnecessary waste, apart from ribs...Anyone who has ever bought cheap nasty dry leaves with lots of dead bits on (as we all have done in the past) ....don't leave it to chance in the "leaf lottery" just order from Paul and you will never be dissapointed !

  12. Whole leaf tobacco only is a scam! they take your money and thats it! no baccy and no money

  13. I have been having my tobacco from http://www.whole-leaf-tobacco.co.uk/ for over a year, and never had cause for concern, never any problems, I recommend them.

  14. Well you won't get any more not allowed to sell it now bloody plain


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