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Whole Leaf Tobacco

POLL: Does your homegrown cigar leaf taste like a cigar?

mwaller

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#1
My vote: No :mad:

After my first year growing tobacco I'm puzzled why my cigar varieties don't really taste or smell like a cigar. For the record, I grew Corojo 99, Criollo 98, Havana 142, Little Dutch, and Florida Sumatra. After kilning, the Corojo 99 is probably the most palatable, but it really doesn't smell or taste anything like a cigar. The flavor reminds me more of a burley or a dark air. The dark, earthy scent that I associate with a cigar is entirely absent. :confused:

What has been your experience?
 

deluxestogie

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#2
Yes. Mine tastes like a cigar. Otherwise, I wouldn't grow it year after year.

Be patient. In 2018, your growing and harvesting will be better in a hundred tiny ways. You'll never be sure of exactly all the things you will do differently, but it will be better.

  • Use a seedling mix that is already fertilized, and don't add more fertilizer.
  • Fertilize your soil with a common NPK fertilizer, prior to transplanting, then leave it alone. Just add water.
  • You already have a better notion of when to prime, but waiting for actual yellow tips is a safe bet.
  • Allow the harvested leaf to color-cure for as long as you can. (My 2017 leaf began moving from the shed to the kiln only a couple of weeks ago.) Give it lots of time.
  • Kiln in the range of 125°F constantly for at least 4 weeks, preferably longer (to compensate for low temps and dry episodes).
  • Rest the kilned leaf in low case for at least a few weeks. I notice changes as much as 6 to 9 months after kilning, depending on the variety and stalk level.
Commercial cigar leaf is stored usually for 6 months to 3 years after fermentation. It's not cheap to do that. They age it for a reason.

Bob
 

mwaller

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#3
Thanks, Bob! I'm definitely going for a more typical fertilization schedule as you recommend - once and done! I was planning to amend with horse manure, which I believe I can source from a nearby stable. Yea / nay? Thanks!

Yes. Mine tastes like a cigar. Otherwise, I wouldn't grow it year after year.

Be patient. In 2018, your growing and harvesting will be better in a hundred tiny ways. You'll never be sure of exactly all the things you will do differently, but it will be better.

  • Use a seedling mix that is already fertilized, and don't add more fertilizer.
  • Fertilize your soil with a common NPK fertilizer, prior to transplanting, then leave it alone. Just add water.
  • You already have a better notion of when to prime, but waiting for actual yellow tips is a safe bet.
  • Allow the harvested leaf to color-cure for as long as you can. (My 2017 leaf began moving from the shed to the kiln only a couple of weeks ago.) Give it lots of time.
  • Kiln in the range of 125°F constantly for at least 4 weeks, preferably longer (to compensate for low temps and dry episodes).
  • Rest the kilned leaf in low case for at least a few weeks. I notice changes as much as 6 to 9 months after kilning, depending on the variety and stalk level.
Commercial cigar leaf is stored usually for 6 months to 3 years after fermentation. It's not cheap to do that. They age it for a reason.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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#4
Horse manure is well known to transport viable weed seeds. Also, it is very slow to break down. How about getting some low chloride fertilizer from a fertilizer store? [10:10:10 is not ideal, but it works just fine.] Eliminate all the variables you can.

Bob
 
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#5
I haven't put my cigar leaf from this year's grow into the kiln, yet. I am optimistic though. The last time I grew cigar leaf was in 2015. The Pergeu didn't taste like cigar, and still doesn't, but I attribute that to the confusion of whether it is cigar filler or dark air. However the CC98 ligero which my friend kilned, vacuum sealed in his sous vide certainly did indeed taste like cigar. The CC98 I kilned did not. That's a mystery that will go unsolved. But what Bob says about improving growing subtly making a big difference, I believe. My flue cured this year is better than last year. Different varietal, but no tongue bite. Something I've been struggling with on previous years.

I fertilized with alfalfa pellets. Additions were in the amount of 500-115-386
But because it's slow release organic, and they are only 33%, 60%, and 90% usable in year one, that works out to an effective fertilization of 167-70-347
 

SmokesAhoy

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#6
My first grow tasted like shit man, compared to what I grow now. I still have some in a plastic bag.

You might have harvested later giving you much more powerful leaf than you typically get commercially? A lot of people here like to prime a couple weeks after topping. Or maybe you picked too early? Just throwing darts blindly here.
 

Chris A

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#7
My small crops taste like cigars, but "American"
cigars. I don't own a kiln, so they age naturally. Don't think I'll ever get my tobacco to taste Caribbean, but that's ok. Samples others have sent me taste different than mine and different than commercial cigars. All good, just different. Perhaps a kiln would make a difference, but I'm fine with what I have.
 

Leftynick

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#8
For me it is Yes and No

First season I grow Little Dutch it is very good cigar filler. Then the next season I grow some few other It doesnt taste anything like cigar, except for Besuki, where it has some hint of cigar tobacco.. This time I grow Corojo 99, Cuban Criollo and Coroja, which I hope will taste like cigar.
 

Charly

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#9
From my little experience, I would say just like Leftynick : Yes and No :)

My first year, I grew no real "cigar" strains, but I grew some Semois. It gave me some nice cigars, really light/mild, but they had a little "cigar taste", very enjoyable, but more "sweet" / mild than commercial cigar.

In 2017, I grew some "cigar" strains (just like you mwaller) and I am waiting for some to come out of my kiln (this is my first kiln batch), for now, my leaves are not smelling like commercial cigars, but some are slowly beginning to give me hints of smells that I associate with cigars, I just hope that they will continue to evolve this way :)
I have to say that some of my leaves are smelling BETTER than any commercial leaves. BUT they smell different, sometimes very different.
For example, some Corojo 99 leaves are giving me some hints of red wine :) Not sure how it will evolve, but who knows :D

The only strain that gave me this "commercial cigar" smell for now is Jalapa, the leaves on the plant were smelling something reminding me of cigars, and when I pile cured some leaves, they smelled something close to "commercial cigars".
Now some are in the kiln, the odor is changing again (maybe less cigarish), so I am wainting :)

Maybe it's just a question of letting our leaves enough time.
I hope I will get some real "cigarish" cigars soon (just like Bob), but I am already very happy with the smell of some of my homegrown leaves :) Even if it's different.
 

SmokesAhoy

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#10
Oh one question, do you use a bunch of the bottom leaf in your home made cigars? When family gives me a cigar I taste almost 100% bottom leaf, my home grown cigars ideally have 0 bottom leaf. Maybe your used to the low leaf and rolling a cigar with mid to upper only is giving you a much stronger cigar than you're used to?
 

mwaller

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#11
Thanks for the comments. No, I'm not rolling with 1st priming leaves. I actually harvested my 1st priming too early and it cured green - so I tossed it.
I've been working with 2nd and 3rd priming, mostly.
Oh one question, do you use a bunch of the bottom leaf in your home made cigars? When family gives me a cigar I taste almost 100% bottom leaf, my home grown cigars ideally have 0 bottom leaf. Maybe your used to the low leaf and rolling a cigar with mid to upper only is giving you a much stronger cigar than you're used to?
 

mwaller

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#12
Hi Charly -
Thanks for your comments. Can you tell me more about how you pile cured your leaves? That sounds like an interesting experiment! I didn't realize I could be done on a small scale...
Please tell me more!

From my little experience, I would say just like Leftynick : Yes and No :)

My first year, I grew no real "cigar" strains, but I grew some Semois. It gave me some nice cigars, really light/mild, but they had a little "cigar taste", very enjoyable, but more "sweet" / mild than commercial cigar.

In 2017, I grew some "cigar" strains (just like you mwaller) and I am waiting for some to come out of my kiln (this is my first kiln batch), for now, my leaves are not smelling like commercial cigars, but some are slowly beginning to give me hints of smells that I associate with cigars, I just hope that they will continue to evolve this way :)
I have to say that some of my leaves are smelling BETTER than any commercial leaves. BUT they smell different, sometimes very different.
For example, some Corojo 99 leaves are giving me some hints of red wine :) Not sure how it will evolve, but who knows :D

The only strain that gave me this "commercial cigar" smell for now is Jalapa, the leaves on the plant were smelling something reminding me of cigars, and when I pile cured some leaves, they smelled something close to "commercial cigars".
Now some are in the kiln, the odor is changing again (maybe less cigarish), so I am wainting :)

Maybe it's just a question of letting our leaves enough time.
I hope I will get some real "cigarish" cigars soon (just like Bob), but I am already very happy with the smell of some of my homegrown leaves :) Even if it's different.
 

Charly

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#13
Hi Charly -
Thanks for your comments. Can you tell me more about how you pile cured your leaves? That sounds like an interesting experiment! I didn't realize I could be done on a small scale...
Please tell me more!
I used the pile curing method this year when the weather was not right for curing my leaves correctly : it was too hot and dry.
Most of the time, I air cure my leaves in a place that is opened to ambiant air (I will try to close it for next harvest, so I could maintain more easily the humidity inside).
Since it was too dry, some of the leaves I was hanging flash dried green... So I tried the pile curing to allow my leaves to become yellow, then I hung them to dry.

The method is simple :
- harvest your leaves,
- make a pile with them (or many piles if too much leaves)
- put these piles in a place not too dry,
- check every day the leaves in the piles, remove each leave that is humid and dry it a little before you put it back in the pile.
- do not hesitate to rotate your leaves in the pile, change their order (put the outside leaves inside ...)
In a few days (depending on the temperature) they become yellow without drying.
Once they are yellow, they can be dried as fast as they want.

Some people even put the leaves in cardboard box to help insulation and humidity regulation (I did not, because my leaves were too big to go inside the boxes I had).

I found that this method worked very well to avoid dried green leaves, but it needs to be checked regularly : if your leaves are too humid they will rot or mold.

This year, if I am not confident in my air curing place, I will certainly pile cure again.

There are some pages that talk about this method better than I, so take a look :
http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/4885-Pile-curing
http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/1213-Cardboard-box-pile-curing
...

Hope this helps ;)

P.S. This technique is used to "color cure" the leaves, it doesn't need a lot of leaves. It's different from fermenting (which can take place after the color curing).
 

mwaller

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#14
Thanks for the explanation. I thought you actually fermented in a pile as they do commercially...
Sounds like you use the pile method to slow the drying so the leaves color cure properly. That makes sense!

I used the pile curing method this year when the weather was not right for curing my leaves correctly : it was too hot and dry.
Most of the time, I air cure my leaves in a place that is opened to ambiant air (I will try to close it for next harvest, so I could maintain more easily the humidity inside).
Since it was too dry, some of the leaves I was hanging flash dried green... So I tried the pile curing to allow my leaves to become yellow, then I hung them to dry.

The method is simple :
- harvest your leaves,
- make a pile with them (or many piles if too much leaves)
- put these piles in a place not too dry,
- check every day the leaves in the piles, remove each leave that is humid and dry it a little before you put it back in the pile.
- do not hesitate to rotate your leaves in the pile, change their order (put the outside leaves inside ...)
In a few days (depending on the temperature) they become yellow without drying.
Once they are yellow, they can be dried as fast as they want.

Some people even put the leaves in cardboard box to help insulation and humidity regulation (I did not, because my leaves were too big to go inside the boxes I had).

I found that this method worked very well to avoid dried green leaves, but it needs to be checked regularly : if your leaves are too humid they will rot or mold.

This year, if I am not confident in my air curing place, I will certainly pile cure again.

There are some pages that talk about this method better than I, so take a look :
http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/4885-Pile-curing
http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/1213-Cardboard-box-pile-curing
...

Hope this helps ;)

P.S. This technique is used to "color cure" the leaves, it doesn't need a lot of leaves. It's different from fermenting (which can take place after the color curing).
 

burge

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#15
Buy leaf. I know my brother is a member of the cigar of the month club told him about the cigar leaf. Not sure if he ever did it but I will quote someone who is smoking high end cigars is that the leaf is properly aged. Most are 5 years or older. Starting to grow even if it is gown properly its the aging aspect.
 

mwaller

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#16
It's a plan! Thanks, Bob!

Horse manure is well known to transport viable weed seeds. Also, it is very slow to break down. How about getting some low chloride fertilizer from a fertilizer store? [10:10:10 is not ideal, but it works just fine.] Eliminate all the variables you can.

Bob
 

mwaller

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#17
Would Osmocote 14-14-14 be a reasonable fertilizer choice? It is readily available, and from what I can tell, does not contain chlorides or urea.

Per the MSDS, the fertilizer contains:

Ammonium nitrate, Potassium sulfate, Ammonium phosphate, and Calcium phosphate.

Horse manure is well known to transport viable weed seeds. Also, it is very slow to break down. How about getting some low chloride fertilizer from a fertilizer store? [10:10:10 is not ideal, but it works just fine.] Eliminate all the variables you can.

Bob
 
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#18
Would Osmocote 14-14-14 be a reasonable fertilizer choice? It is readily available, and from what I can tell, does not contain chlorides or urea.

Per the MSDS, the fertilizer contains:

Ammonium nitrate, Potassium sulfate, Ammonium phosphate, and Calcium phosphate.
Looks good to me. If your soil were low on potassium, I would add a little bit more potash.

This is some good reading here.

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&sour...FjAAegQIExAB&usg=AOvVaw13nzVC1d1Sya2YdtqoNqAu

The numbers in this article are kilograms per hectare. Times them by 0.89 to get lbs/ac or as I like, x 1.08 to get grams per 100 square feet.
 

deluxestogie

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#19
If the Osmocote is a slow release formulation, then I would look for something else. You want the tobacco growth to explode, then run out of nitrogen by maturation time.

Bob
 
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