Herein we assess the separation space offered by a liquid chromatography system with an optimised uni-dimensional separation for the determination of the key chemical entities in the highly complex matrix of a tobacco leaf extract. Multiple modes of detection, including UV-visible absorbance, chemiluminescence (acidic potassium permanganate, manganese(IV), and tris(2,2'-bipyridine)ruthenium(III)), mass spectrometry and DPPH radical scavenging were used in an attempt to systematically reduce the data complexity of the sample whilst obtaining a greater degree of molecule-specific information. A large amount of chemical data was obtained, but several limitations in the ability to assign detector responses to particular compounds, even with the aid of complementary detection systems, were observed. Thirty-three compounds were detected via MS on the tobacco extract and 12 out of 32 compounds gave a peak height ratio (PHR) greater than 0.33 on one or more detectors. This paper serves as a case study of these limitations, illustrating why multidimensional chromatography is an important consideration when developing a comprehensive chemical detection system.