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 Post subject: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:49 am
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Location: Near Richmond Virginia
What is a good tobacco blend you guys would recommend to make a good mild-medium cigar? When it comes to making your own cigars, how do they compare to buying an average $5 stick from the store?


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:51 pm
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Location: near Blacksburg, VA
Joe,
Whatever varieties you use for cigars, the only way you'll get something close to factory premium taste is to kiln the leaf, after it has color-cured.

As filler, the lugs and middle leaves of Little Dutch, PA Red, Long Red, Zimmer Spanish, Lancaster Seedleaf and any of the Maryland varieties blend to a mild-to-medium strength, unless you add the tips (ligero) of any of those. And there are also the many numbered "Havana" varieties.

Comstock Spanish, CT Broadleaf and most of the heavier wrapper varieties make a decent binder.

CT Shade is problematic for the home grower, unless you sun grow it. FL Sumatra is easy to grow, and kilns to a medium EMS wrapper. Comstock Spanish will kiln to a sweet, thick Oscuro wrapper. Hickory Pryor tips also kiln to a sweet, thick Oscuro wrapper.

It's certainly possible to use burley and Virginia varieties for cigars, but they will taste different (sometimes better) than the factory cigars.

I will state emphatically that home grown and home kilned tobacco of the right varieties, handled properly, can roll into cigars that are generally better tasting than most factory cigars, regardless of brand. Yup! I said better.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:16 am
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Location: near Rising Sun,Maryland USA
I agree with what Bob said. I have not bought a single cigar since I started rolling my own ( about 8 years ago). I've had people give me cigars (name brand high quality) and I say to myself " I used to smoke this crappy tasting stuff?"

Making YOUR own blend is just that... it will be something YOU like. I roll cigars for my tastes. I also make Mead for myself. I make it very sweet because that's the way I like!

Experiment with blends.. you'll find something you like!

Randy B


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:17 pm
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Location: Way Upstate NY
Bob, what would be the range for the number of days it would take to sweat tobacco to make it "good smoking" or does it vary with variety? And, is there an optimun temperature to sweat at? Thanks in advance. John


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:51 pm
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Location: near Blacksburg, VA
Gwozdz wrote:
Bob, what would be the range for the number of days it would take to sweat tobacco to make it "good smoking" or does it vary with variety? And, is there an optimun temperature to sweat at?

John,
I know this will sound crude, but I now kiln almost everything for 4 weeks. The temp is set for 125ºF, and fluctuates (due to the imprecise control of a water heater thermostat) between ~120 and ~130ºF. I don't lose sleep if it occasionally drops to 118ºF or rises to 134ºF. My Crockpot, together with a nearby plastic cup filled 1/3 with rock salt, keep the RH between 70% ad 80%. Control that is more precise than that would require electronic sensors and controls.

BACKGROUND: Historically, using bulk piles (~5000 pounds), more delicate leaf is sweated for a shorter time and kept to a lower temperature than heavier leaf, because the delicate leaf "can't tolerate the longer, higher temp sweating." This practice should be considered in light of the techniques used. Bulks are built of hands of tobacco. Whenever the core temp of the bulk reaches the desired level, the entire bulk is manually broken down, each of the hands is misted and shaken vigorously, then the bulk is rebuilt. As leaf approaches its target end-state, the lamina become thinner and more fragile (due to loss of carbohydrates and albuminoid proteins). This happens to delicate leaf more rapidly than to heavier leaf.

MY IMPRESSION: Delicate leaf tolerates the oxidation process of sweating just as well as heavier leaf. What it does not tolerate as well is the rough handling required for building, breaking down, and rebuilding the bulks. So if your leaf is simply resting within a kiln for the duration of its sweat, delicate leaf does fine for the same length of time as heavier leaf. I have seen this with my most delicate leaf (Xanthi Yaka, also known as Yenidje). It's happy to just stay in the kiln for a month, and still comes out a dark gold with a lovely and subtle Yenidje aroma and flavor. "Overkilning" seems to have little meaning, when you are in control of the temp and humidity. What you end up with, in the realm of color, thickness, strength and aroma, is much more dependent on the tobacco variety and its stalk position than on the kilning conditions, so long as the period of kilning is sufficiently long to get the job done.

After coming out of the kiln, leaf seems to require a couple of weeks of rest (in low to medium case) to stabilize and achieve its natural aroma.

I occasionally kiln some leaf for a full six weeks. I do this with some very heavy, thick and rubbery leaf, especially those with documented high levels of sucro-esters (e.g. Rabo de Gallo Negro, Copan, Orinoco Blanco), since they seem to require additional time to complete the required oxidation processes.

These are, of course, simply my personal opinions, base on my experience with my own little kiln, and with a goal of making cigar and pipe tobacco. Burley and Virginia varieties come out of the kiln looking, feeling, and smoking like Burley and Virginia, not like cigar leaf.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:54 pm 
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Location: Alabama
Jitterbugdude wrote:
I agree with what Bob said. I have not bought a single cigar since I started rolling my own ( about 8 years ago). I've had people give me cigars (name brand high quality) and I say to myself " I used to smoke this crappy tasting stuff?"

Making YOUR own blend is just that... it will be something YOU like. I roll cigars for my tastes. I also make Mead for myself. I make it very sweet because that's the way I like!

Experiment with blends.. you'll find something you like!

Randy B

POWER TO THE CIGAR LOVERS!


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:34 am
Posts: 315
Location: Virginia, USA
Joe S wrote:
What is a good tobacco blend you guys would recommend to make a good mild-medium cigar? When it comes to making your own cigars, how do they compare to buying an average $5 stick from the store?


Howdy!

I would also agree with Bob and Randy that you can make a better cigar than the store bought. I think you can get a really mild-medium cigar with ottertail havana as filler, it has the havana flavor yet very mild. See if anyone has any seeds they can swap or send ConcordBridge a pm and see if he still has seeds for sale, if you're interested. I don't have enough seed due to hurricane Irene this year, otherwise I'd be happy to send some your way.

A couple of other great varieties are madole and black mammoth as a wrapper. Black Mammoth is easy to wrap and gives a nice flavor that gives a nice richness to the cigar. The madole is very mild and I use it as filler to tame fuller varieties like penn broadleaf, like you would add creamer to espresso. My favorite blends are either BM or Florida Sumatra as the wrapper, Red Penn as the binder and Havana 142 or 608 with a sheet of red penn as the filler. I would consider this a medium strength cigar. WI Seedleaf makes a nice binder and medium filler too.

Hope that helps -- Chuck.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Cigar Blend
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:49 am
Posts: 9
Location: Near Richmond Virginia
Thank you guys for all the pointers. That is great to hear it's possible to make a quality cigar yourself. The next thing will be rolling one I'm sure that'll be a challenge


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