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Whole Leaf Tobacco

how long does a "batch" of leaf last

ras_oscar

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#1
I have read on other forums that a bale of a given leaf can vary greatly in quality from year to year. By quality I mean number of holes, color consistency, leaf size, ETC. How long IN GENERAL does it take for WLT to sell out of a "batch" of leaf? In other words, if I had read on a forum that a given leaf was difficult to burn, or had a lot of holes, or had a high percentage of leaves that were not usable, how long before It would be time to evaluate that leaf again?
 

SmokesAhoy

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#2
Just pm fmgrowit with your concerns, he's the only one that would know anyway.
 

deluxestogie

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#4
Always take what you read on any forum (including this one) with a grain of salt.

First of all, there is sometimes intentional sniping from competitors or their surrogates. [This is verified, and not theoretical.]

Secondly, much of the posted distress about "poor" cigar tobacco comes from relative novices in the craft of cigar rolling. More experience usually increases rolling success, and reduces worries over common, minor leaf flaws. A big hole or large tear is still annoying in a wrapper or binder, but these should be (and in my experience are) uncommon from WLT. Holes and tears in filler leaf is common and expected.

Beyond that, some concerns regarding specific leaf varieties that burn poorly are from well recognized, experienced rollers, but who live in particularly humid areas. In such cases, the leaf in question (e.g. Habana 2000) may not be the best burning variety to begin with, but will burn adequately in most other climates. Rumors elsewhere, that Habana 2000 needs longer fermentation, seems to be untrue. [I received several hands of "poor burning" H2000 from an experienced cigar roller in Delaware. A sampling of it initially demonstrated that it burned well. I kilned that leaf an additional month, after which the burn seemed to have changed very little--still just fine. I attribute the discrepancy to differences in average humidity. H2000 is particularly hygroscopic, so it dries very slowly.]

"Bales" of leaf may be between 60 and 600 pounds. There is always considerable variability in the size and quality within a specific bale of leaf, especially in the largest bales. Of course, different growing years produce different leaf. So if you pick 30 or 40 leaves out of a bale that consists of hundreds of pounds of leaf, it is a truly small sample. Waiting for the next shipment may take a long time, and provide you with no better chance of getting "better" leaf than another order from the same bale. Also, some varieties of finished leaf (e.g. Paraguay Flojo) are always less carefully frog-legged at the point of origin than most other varieties. And smetimes a bale of tobacco may be the very last of its kind likely to be available.

Bugs happen. Tobacco beetles are rampant in warehouses within the sub-tropical growing regions. Everybody traps them, sprays for them and minimizes their damage. Likewise, when the imported bales arrive at WLT, Don is well aware of the issue, and takes appropriate measures. But still, bugs happen. [If you grow vegetables at home, then you know that you can only eliminate every last bug at the risk of poisoning yourself.]

The cigar leaf from WLT is the very same stuff that the cigar factories use every day. While it is certainly possible to hand-select each individual leaf in each individual pound of tobacco prior to packaging and shipping, I don't believe that most customers would be ready to pay the price for that intensity of quality control. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Don should offer "select leaf" tobacco, discard imperfect leaf, and raise the price.

Bob
 

ras_oscar

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#5
Please accept my apologies if my question offended you. I only seek to educate myself. I asked here because this forum is linked to a retail outlet and possibly closer to the source information I seek. When buying wine, the manufacturers places a vintage label on the finished product. There is no such "vintage" information on raw leaf. For the record, I have placed a total of 1 order with WLT and am perfectly happy with the product I received. I look forward to purchasing additional leaf in the future, as I continue my adventures in rolling.
 

deluxestogie

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#6
I have nothing to be offended about. Perhaps my response was overdone. I'm just a home tobacco grower, and not an employee of WLT.

Each commercial bale of tobacco is usually tagged with its production year. My experience with WLT leaf is that such dates are included on the label of each bag drawn from the bale.

Bob
 

webmost

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#7
I have read on other forums that a bale of a given leaf can vary greatly in quality from year to year. By quality I mean number of holes, color consistency, leaf size, ETC. How long IN GENERAL does it take for WLT to sell out of a "batch" of leaf? In other words, if I had read on a forum that a given leaf was difficult to burn, or had a lot of holes, or had a high percentage of leaves that were not usable, how long before It would be time to evaluate that leaf again?
The most interesting questions are often the least answerable. I'm sure if Don knew the present bale was going to promptly sell out he'd have ordered two, whereas if he'd known a bale was going to hang round he'd have ordered half, just as, if he'd known a certain bale wasn't going to burn, he'd not have ordered it. A lot of this is a crap shoot, with his money on the line.
 

ras_oscar

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#8
I understand. Of course, if he could make such predictions, He'd earn a bundle in the stock market and retire to Tahiti :)Curiosity: when a wholesaler such as Don purchases a bulk amount of leaf, how many pounds are we talking about?
 

Tutu

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#9
Tobacco is usually exported around the world in container loads. Usually 20 ft or 40 ft containers. There are 10 ft and 50 ft ones but they are rarely used... In a 20 ft you load about 90 to 100 bales of 100 kg each.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#10
I watched an interesting video about mechanized tobacco farming in the US. In that video the farmer said that per the buyers, the bales had to of a specific maximum size and could not exceed 850#'s. He also said that his bales varied from 450 to 600 pounds depending on the variety and the year.
 

BigBonner

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#11
Different types of tobacco will be in different size bales .Flue cured is big bales 600 to 800 pounds . Burley bales can be either the big bales or small bales . Big bales up to 800 pounds and small bales average 80 pounds each . Bales that are too heavy will be rejected by tobacco companies . They don't like them too wet or packed too tight .
Turkish will come in a box of 400 pounds
Cigar tobacco that I know of will range from 45 pounds to around 70 pounds . Tobacco coming from other countries may be different with weights .
 

burge

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#12
I have been here for 4 years and buy lemon. I have some from my first order to my last order and the tobacco will vary in colour. Generally lemon that Don has will last a year. last years crop was to me a beautiful cdn style of leaf. Not the bright lemon as in the past couple of years. When you get the leaf some years may have some holes. Its all good. Dons by far is the best leaf. Just because a leaf cosmetically looks good doesn't mean the leaf will taste good. Dons leafs are pressed and fermented in the bag if stored unopened some times pulling the leaves apart will tear a leaf. I would like to secure a source of Canadian Virginia the competition cosmetically looks good but does not have the flavor its smaller leaves and inferior in taste. It does not have the complexity of flavor as Dons. It does not age. Only exceptional tobacco ages and tastes better as it ages.
 
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