Whole Leaf Tobacco

Big Gem for Cigarettes

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scraldog

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Hey Guys,
General question. Of the three varieties I grew this year, Big Gem has out produced the others by a long shot. It looks like I am going to have about 70 good (BIG (no pun intended)) plants to harvest. In preparation, since this is my first time growing Big Gem, how does this baccy do straight for a cigarette? Any curing or fermenting suggestions for a good smoke? Thanks in advance!

Scral
 

Jitterbugdude

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Here's my very limited experience. I grew some Big Gem this year. It is hanging in the barn. It is cured. Last week I pulled a few leaves and ran them through the POWERMATIC shredder. I smoked a bowl in my pipe and really enjoyed it. My wife smoked a cigarette and said it was better than the Virginia Gold she normally smokes. She liked it because it was mild. Keep in mind too that this was harvested 4 weeks ago and it smoked great. I'll need to shred more and do more taste tests but if this hold up to the fact that it can be smoked 4 weeks after harvesting, then it'll be a keeper
 

scraldog

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No kidding. That is great news! I am going to take my first priming off some of the plants this weekend and hang it in the barn. I am going to wait a couple more weeks and then do some stalk curing as well. I am looking forward to this one now. Hurray and thanks for the info!
 

Jitterbugdude

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Women.. go figure. My wife just smoked another Big Gem and complained it was too mild.. and she likes mild. This is the exact same batch I shredded a few days ago that she liked so much.
 

Chicken

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i.m.o.

it's a mild smoke, definatlly need something to mix with it,
 

BigBonner

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Women.. go figure. My wife just smoked another Big Gem and complained it was too mild.. and she likes mild. This is the exact same batch I shredded a few days ago that she liked so much.

Women we just can't figure them out :confused:
 

Daniel

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I am interested in getting some big Gem seed if anyone has any to spare. I have several varieties still on the plants ripening. Two that sound like they woudl match Big Gem are. Costello and African Red. Both seem to be large plants. No idea how they smoke yet though.

Keep in mind the lower leaves are not a real good indication of how the tobacco as a whole will smoke. they always seem very mild to me.
 

Chicken

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I am interested in getting some big Gem seed if anyone has any to spare. I have several varieties still on the plants ripening. Two that sound like they woudl match Big Gem are. Costello and African Red. Both seem to be large plants. No idea how they smoke yet though.

Keep in mind the lower leaves are not a real good indication of how the tobacco as a whole will smoke. they always seem very mild to me.

when the time comes to do some seed swapping,

keep me in mind, i have a lot of BIG-GEM seed, from last year
 

skychaser

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Daniel,

Glad to hear you like the African Red and Costello. I thought you might. I have a couple more I think you will like too. :) I am growing 70 more of the A.R. and a hundred plus Costello this year because I really like the smoke. Both are little known varieties rescued from the gov seed bank before its demise by Joelw, a HTGT member. We did some trading and he split the 10 varieties he got from them with me. I found a couple other gems in that batch too that I'll talk about later.

The African Red, (or South African Red might be a better name) is a name I gave it. It has no official name that I know of. The ars-grin number for it is PI 420191 The original seed was donated to the USDA from Transvaal, South Africa in 1975. The package Joel received was labeled with the plant identifier number and the word "red" on it. So we called it African Red. I really like this plant. It is a bright leaf variety. air cures very well, almost no suckering, it is a heavy producer, and like most bright leafs it has a light flavor and is mild to smoke. But it has a very high nicotine content at 29/mg per gram of dried leaf. So if you like Virgina Golds but need more kick to your blend, this might be the plant to grow. The biggest downside to it is the 80 day maturity. It barely fits my growing season. But give me 3-4 more seasons and I bet I can have the maturity down to under 70. I'm working on that one. :)

The Costello ars-grin number is PI 318757 It has no official name listed either but in the PDF file download I found it referred to as Costello Negro. It is a bright leaf variety and I have found it be a very good producer as well. But it has a much shorter maturity time at 65 days. It also is high in nicotine at 24/mg per gram of leaf. Again, like most bright leafs, it is light and mild to smoke. But it has a bit of a different flavor to it that I love. Kind of nutty maybe. Hell, I'm terrible at describing tastes my self but that's what my wife says. lol She really likes it too. One other thing that I really liked about this plant was how easy it cured even when cut and hung whole very late in the season. It colored up near perfectly during November when the temps were only 40-50 degrees. A lot of other plants I hung then didn't and dried nearly green.

Back to topic:
I am growing Big Gem for the first time this year also. And I agree with the other comments about it. It looks like a keeper. It's nice to hear it is actually smokable after only 4 weeks of hanging! Most tobacco will choke you good after only 4 weeks aging. I have 36 bagged plants in my patch so I should have a good supply of seed available for next season.

Sky
 
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Daniel

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Thanks for the info Sky, I messed up and cut down teh stalk to my African Red plant I wanted seed from. I am trying to grow suckers from all my stumps but the Red is not looking like it is much interested in growing a second plant. I will have seed so can try again next year. It will definitely be on the list.

I have 3 other varieties that have not blossomed yet. Silver River, A cross of some sort. (14l8/Tn something)
and Gold seed burley. I am not sure they will have enough time to produce seed before things freeze here.

Pretty much everything is harvested for the year except for the suckers that are growing. Just guessing but I am sure there was over 200 lbs of green leaf hung in my shop this year. I have my fingers crossed for abotu 25 lbs of finished shredded and ready to roll tobacco this year. With one less smoker in the house that will stretch to about 6 months worth of tobacco for this household.
 

deluxestogie

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Sky,
Great info on African Red (I rather prefer the name, "Transvaal Red," but African Red seems to be a unique label as it is.) and Costello Negro. Thanks.

Bob
 
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