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Whole Leaf Tobacco

FX Smith's Sons

webmost

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#1
The other day, DeluxeStogie posted on another thread that


"Cigars are just about the only hand-crafted items I know of which are regularly judged not by their artisanal quality, but by their resemblance to a mass-produced, industrial commodity."


There's so much truth in that, isn't there? It really got me to thinking: If machine made is what people want, then why don't they just go buy machine made cigars? It don't make no sense. Like taking the belt off your pants and then holding them up with your hand. If you want to hold your pants up, why did you take your belt off, kid? But that's what they do these days. I have my own theories, involving Thorsten Veblen, and all that. But it still don't make sense. Machinery makes everything else we use. Why not cigars?


Don and I got to talking on the phone the other day about this 150 year old cigar factory that I have been building a web store for at fxsmithssons.com . They make their cigars with machinery. Don suggested I post about them here.


FX Smith's Sons has been rolling cigars in Pennsylvania since before the Civil War. Five generations of Smiths. They started out with a handful of women rolling by hand in the basement of old man Smith's general store. Gettysburg is just ten miles away. Before the big battle, both sides rode over to buy smokes at Smith's place, and that's when the business took off. Over a century ago they mechanized. That was the big triumph of the nineteenth century, was machines to do the drudgery that people used to sweat at; and do a way better job of it, too. They still run those century old machines today, cause that steel was made in America to last forever. At their peak, FX Smiths were cranking out six million cigars a year. Six million. Even with machines, it's still women who do the work today, cause their sweet hands have a more delicate feel for the leaf.


You always get a perfect consistency, a perfect burn, predictable construction. That's what machines do.


My favorite is their Smithdale Maduro. Everyone I give one of these cigars to seems to like them a lot. All natural tobacco grown by the Amish in Pennsylvania. The maduro wrapper is cured by a family secret five day process that Smith won't tell you what it is. They taste like toasted black bread. Delicious. A neat little box pressed perfecto. You can get a box of fifty of these for sixty bucks. It would cost a lot less if they weren't taxed to death by the nanny state.


This last Fall, a buddy and I took a motorcycle camping trip to Moonshine Illinois. On the way, we naturally stopped to visit with a couple FairTrade forum brothers. The week before, I had sent a package with some Smithdales to Southern Planter to try. We all met up on BigBonner's porch to smoke and drink and swap lies.


Southern Planter told me sittin there: "I smoked one of your Smithdales on the way over here, and it filled me with regret."


I was surprised. I said: "Why?"


Southern Planter said: "For every time in my life I ever spent twenty dollars on a cigar which was no better than this."

____________________

Anybody goes to fxsmithssons.com and places an order there, mention FairTrade forum in your order comments and I'll make sure they shoot you out some freebies. I dunno what yet. Maybe a fiver of White Orchid, which is another of my faves from there.Maybe a shirt or sumpin.
 
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istanbulin

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#4
Prices of those cigars are really cheap and cigars are looking good but some information about the products are confusing.

For example;

For the cigar "Smith Corona Natural" information is lilke this :

Natural wrappers are grown from Connecticut Broadleaf, then patiently air dried in Amish barns, not fermented in piles.
Well, how did they ferment it ? Just leaving in the barn for a year or two ?

Another one is for the maduro and Oscuro cigars - let's say Tuscorora Maduro and Smith Breva Oscuro.

Tuscorora Maduro wrappers are fermented using a special FX Smiths Sons five-day process.
wrappers are fermented using FX Smith's secret five-day fermentation process.
If the five-day process is a type of fermentation, what can it be ? Or does it look like the Cavendish process ?

I guess filler and binder grade leaves are fermented.
 

deluxestogie

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#5
I wonder if FX Smith's Sons would be open to making a tiny batch of cigars (say, 100) from customer-provided leaf, and how much that might cost. That might turn out to be a growth area of the business.

Those old cigar machines were often designed so that an operator inserted an individual leaf binder for each cigar, as well as the wrapper. The greatest constraint seems to have been a requirement of high tensile strength in the binder and wrapper.

Bob
 

webmost

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#6
Prices of those cigars are really cheap and cigars are looking good but some information about the products are confusing.

For example;

For the cigar "Smith Corona Natural" information is lilke this :



Well, how did they ferment it ? Just leaving in the barn for a year or two ?

Another one is for the maduro and Oscuro cigars - let's say Tuscorora Maduro and Smith Breva Oscuro.




If the five-day process is a type of fermentation, what can it be ? Or does it look like the Cavendish process ?

I guess filler and binder grade leaves are fermented.
Smith will not let loose of his family's secret super quick five day fermentation process. All I can tell you is, the leaves are not fermented in the usual big piles,

Othernat, above my pay grade.

But it works!
 

BigBonner

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#7
[QUOTE=webmost;

"This last Fall, a buddy and I took a motorcycle camping trip to Moonshine Illinois. On the way, we naturally stopped to visit with a couple FairTrade forum brothers. The week before, I had sent a package with some Smithdales to Southern Planter to try. We all met up on BigBonner's porch to smoke and drink and swap lies."

_____________________________________________________________________________________


That was a great day , meeting new friends and chatting on a sunny summer day . I really enjoy meeting people from FTT forum .
Hope we can do it again sometime .Welcome anytime .
 

RICH

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#8
Hey Webmost,nice piece of work on the FXS web site and also calling them to our attention. As always I'm to late,my daughter was living in Littlestown about 10 miles away until this past July and I would have stopped in if I had known about them (1) Do they have a retail store there? (2) Do they have tours? (3) Do they offer other 5 packs (if I contacted them?) Ps next time your (and anyone else)
up there grab a cigar and sit up on Little Round Top (away from the tourists) and try to reflect on what happened 150 years ago where you are sitting.I did that 2 years ago and I still get chills.Again great job!!
 

webmost

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#9
Hey Webmost,nice piece of work on the FXS web site and also calling them to our attention. As always I'm to late,my daughter was living in Littlestown about 10 miles away until this past July and I would have stopped in if I had known about them (1) Do they have a retail store there? (2) Do they have tours? (3) Do they offer other 5 packs (if I contacted them?) Ps next time your (and anyone else)
up there grab a cigar and sit up on Little Round Top (away from the tourists) and try to reflect on what happened 150 years ago where you are sitting.I did that 2 years ago and I still get chills.Again great job!!
Rich, they do give tours, on McSherrystown Heritage Days -- sometime in August. Their store is the web site. McSherrystown is strictly a factory. You speak of Littletown -- before mechanization, FXS had a factory there as well.

Hey, I know what I should do: I just received a couple boxes sent me free from the factory yesterday. Haven't even opened them up yet; but I suspect they are Smithdale maduro and natural. I'd be glad to mail out a couple sticks to anyone who wants to PM me an address, for as long as they hold out. No cost, of course, but just for the Merry Christmas of it. If you like them, then you know where in the internet to bring your visa and go a-clicking. Are they as high tone a quality leaf as Don sells? No way. But what they are is darn tasty wholesome all-American smokes. The flavor tends towards toasty black bread for the maduro, and some leather for the natural. Being made by ,machine means that the burn is always right. They do best with abuse and neglect rather than careful humidoration. My faves so far are the Smithdale Maduro perfecto and the White Orchid.

Shoot me a PM if you want to try.

Merry Christmas, guys. Hope you get to give away everything on your list to give. Oh, and don't forget the man the day is named for, either.
 

webmost

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#10
Rich, your package is on its way. Check your messages for your tracking number.

Any of you other guys want in? I sure didn't think this crowd would be so freebie challenged. Come on and get some.
 

webmost

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#12
GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY!

The response has literally overwhelmed. I think the count is up to nine of you Christmas freebie seekers now. Love it.

The first package I sent to Rich in Qtown was a Prioroty Mail standard small box, the kind that mails for just under six bucks to anywhere in two days. I was able to stuff, I dunno, fifteen or twenty sticks in there. Could have put more, but the pair of bourbon infused Tuscororas are longer, so I had to slant the pack to fit them in. If I shoot twenty rounds nine more times, I'm gonna run out of ammo. So last night I prepared 5 five-packs in little branded five-pack boxes I had on hand to scan their logos. I'll take these to USPS today and see if they have a padded envelope or some such that can keep one safe. That's all the fiver boxes I have Not too sure they'd keep things safe anyways, and I'd like to include the longer bourbons, which don't fit in a fiver pack. Need a better plan for that. I'm dropping by the dollar store, where I may fine a better method in the tupperware section. I'll get this organized and shoot them all out before Christmas. You should have them in hand before the New Year.

All I ask is tell me if you like them. I'm trying to spread the word about a little known all-American secret stick.


cigarbaby.jpg
Keep them cards and letters coming, kiddies.
 

webmost

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#14
Looks like being first turned out to be a good thing (for a change). :)
That's what she said
========================:eek:

Michibaccy
grgfinney
BarG
DGBama
Janetta007

Yours are all packed and going out today. I'm just mailing them 1st class no tracking cause the line for the post office was DOWN THE LOBBY AND OUT THE CROWDED DOOR when I dropped by there this morning. Let me know if this simple padded mail method works or if they get crushed, cause I need to know. Ignore the label on the fiver box --- that's just the boxes I happened to have. The darker ones are Smithdale Maduro and the lighter ones are Smithdale Natural.

Ben Brand, I am sending yours to Don, along with a batch for him, then he'll relay yours to you, cause he knows how to ship to South Africa, what forms to fill, etc.

TheOtherOne the factory owner is digging thru his attic today and will send me something he has, called polypacks. Hoping these will be suitable for shipping samples. Haven't seen them. Out of fiver boxes here.

Santa is still on his chair, if any more children want to climb in his lap.

Merry Merry
 

webmost

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#16
For our affable forum host Don Carey: Your tracking number is 9114901075742856048315

Ben: Yours is in with Don's

Rich: Should arrive today

Michibaccy, Barg, GrFinney, DGbama, Janetta007 yours are en route (no tracking)

Others still waiting: I am researching a less costly sample sized shipping method. Going to a couple office supply stores today looking for mailing boxes.

This is a whole crapload of fun
 

DonH

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#17
For our affable forum host Don Carey: Your tracking number is 9114901075742856048315

Ben: Yours is in with Don's

Rich: Should arrive today

Michibaccy, Barg, GrFinney, DGbama, Janetta007 yours are en route (no tracking)

Others still waiting: I am researching a less costly sample sized shipping method. Going to a couple office supply stores today looking for mailing boxes.

This is a whole crapload of fun
Well thanks again, Webmost. I'm glad you think going to the store for supplies and going to the post office 5 days before Christmas is fun!
 

webmost

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#20
I've got a hundred small fold-em-up shipping boxes on order from U-Line ought to be here in a couple days. Getting organized.

Today, I think I'll tote my leaf down to the garage and set up to roll some little perfectos from some of Don's fine Whole Leaf Tobacco while watching the Deadskins beat up on the Cowpunks. It's seventy degrees out there. Not gonna find so mild a day again.
 
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