Whole Leaf Tobacco

Dark Virginian

ChinaVoodoo

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I'm sure there's folks who can share their experience with dark Virginian type tobaccos. I have none. I am already planning next year (I know I'm not the only one). Next year will be nothing but air cured varieties. I was thinking of Goose Creek Red as one of them because I like the name, how it can be pin pointed down to originating from a specific place, the look of the plant, and how skychaser describes it not only as a pipe tobacco, but also usable as a cigar wrapper.

Has anyone compared the three varieties from Northwood - Goose Creek, Shirey, and Stag Horn?
 

Alpine

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I have grown Goose Creek Red this year ChinaV, at the moment the only thing i can say about it is that it's the best strain i've grown so far... Very hardy, good producer and almost no suckering even after topping. I'll post more precise infos here later, when harvest will be completed. Harder to cure than Symbol4 though...
Pier
 

deluxestogie

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...because I like the name...
I have no knowledge of the varieties you've mentioned. I do have considerable experience with selecting a variety to grow based on how charming I found the name to be. "Red Rose", "Habano Colorado", "Long Red", "Moonlight", "Magnolia", "Metacomet", "Little Yellow" and a few others that I can't recall.

Of those named, only Long Red and Little Yellow (a dark air) turned out to be keepers. The others had issues of various sorts. I'm not sure what that implies, other than a need for skepticism. If a tobacco variety carries a delightful name, yet is not commonly planted, there may be a reason. For me, the cost of a small, experimental planting of a new variety is not all that consequential, but the disappointment lingers.

And I too have already planned out next year's varieties. It's fun.

Bob
 

Alpine

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My next year grow:
Ky8635
Bucak
White mammoth
Catterton
Yellow 109 (rustica)
Shirey (or, more proprerly, Shirley)
Prilep, Tik Konlak, Japan8
Reasoning behind:
Ky8635: fast grower, one of the few burleys under 70 days to maturity
Bucak: a bright leaf with a hint of turkish (Knuck's advice)
White mammoth: good yelds and fast maturing
Catterton: Maryland type has done very well last year, i'm willing to try something different from Md609
Yellow 109: rusticas are so easy to grow... Why don't give it a chance?
Shirey: fascinating strain, it comes out of the Shirley plantation dating back to 1700
Prilep: i seem to be the only member of the forum not growing it...
Tik konlak: here applies the "rule of the fascinating name"
Japan8: when the wife heard it should have a liquorice flavour, she "kindly" asked me to grow some...
Pier

If Symbol4 truly has a touch of burley to the taste, and Bucak a hint of turkish, i may well have found the only 2 strains i need to grow for the rest of my life... Apart from my better half requests, obviously...
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I was tossing between KY8635, and VA509. I settled on the 509 because I want to test the hypothesis that if a plant begins to ripen at 60 days, but doesn't flower until 80 days, that I will get more growth from the unpicked upper leaves in that time before they either flower or ripen versus ripening after they flower.

I was also flip flopping began Shirley and Goose Creek. Where did you find this information on the plantation? I'd like to read that.

Professor Pangloss has done very well with Catterton.

I've grown Japan 8 and am convinced it's not an oriental, but in fact a dark air cured tobacco. I know I'm not smarter than the folks at ARS-GRIN, but I just can't buy it.
 

Alpine

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Plantation
I think i read this link posted by Hasse, he did quite a research on it a couple of years ago... Altough i have no proof of this, i think that Shirey might well at least descend from the original tobacco grown at Shirley Plantation, the "dark" virginias were the most common types of baccy until "bright " virginias were developed from some Orinoco (or Oronoko) strain much later. Again, this is just a theory, but seems plausible (to me)
Pier
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I like your theory. Istanbulin theorized in an old thread that dark Virginians are dark air cured tobaccos originally from Virginia. Your theories jive. But neither of them can explain Goose Creek which is named after a creek that flows into Charleston Harbour SC. Perhaps it would be a slightly later development with its origins in Virginia.
 

deluxestogie

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Shirey (pronounced as shuree) is the tobacco. It's name is often misspelled and mispronounced as shirley. So far as I can determine, there is no connection other than this common error.

Bob
 

Alpine

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I agree Bob, but my theory is less scientific and more... Charming??? Poetic? Don't know, but i like it. True instead that "dark" Virginia is not even a recognized tobacco class afaik... What would be very interesting to know is wether these "dark virginias" are simply light air cured tobaccos or If they have high levels of sucroesters like bright virginias have. That would make sense to flue cure instead of air cure them
Pier
 

deluxestogie

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My guess about Bright Virginia and Dark Air Virginia.

Virginia tobacco derives from Orinoco types (named after the river in Venezuela). Until the middle of the 19th century, all Virginia tobacco was grown in relatively heavy soils, and was air-cured (sometimes supplemented with fire-curing for damp weather). It was after mid-century that flue-curing became widespread. Growers discovered that Virginia tobacco grown on poor, sandy soils tended to produce a brighter tobacco when flue-cured. This led to a divergence of Virginia type tobacco grown in south-east Virginia and in North Carolina (poor, sandy soils) vs. the Virginia tobacco grown in the remainder of Virginia and the higher Piedmont of western North Carolina. Bright types also spread over the next several decades into South Carolina and north Georgia.

Since growers of bright leaf were selecting for tobacco that would produce the brightest leaf, whereas the growers of dark Virginia were selecting for highest yield, the two types diverged. Mendel's work on genetics would not impact agriculture for another half-century.

So, like most varieties throughout the world, geographic separation, together with cultural preferences for a specific final product, created distinct varieties.

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

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My guess about Bright Virginia and Dark Air Virginia.

Virginia tobacco derives from Orinoco types (named after the river in Venezuela). Until the middle of the 19th century, all Virginia tobacco was grown in relatively heavy soils, and was air-cured (sometimes supplemented with fire-curing for damp weather). It was after mid-century that flue-curing became widespread. Growers discovered that Virginia tobacco grown on poor, sandy soils tended to produce a brighter tobacco when flue-cured. This led to a divergence of Virginia type tobacco grown in south-east Virginia and in North Carolina (poor, sandy soils) vs. the Virginia tobacco grown in the remainder of Virginia and the higher Piedmont of western North Carolina. Bright types also spread over the next several decades into South Carolina and north Georgia.

Since growers of bright leaf were selecting for tobacco that would produce the brightest leaf, whereas the growers of dark Virginia were selecting for highest yield, the two types diverged. Mendel's work on genetics would not impact agriculture for another half-century.

So, like most varieties throughout the world, geographic separation, together with cultural preferences for a specific final product, created distinct varieties.

Bob
This is fascinating. Thank you very much, Bob. Next question probably has many answers, but what about the bright varieties from other countries? I mean, there's bright varieties on every continent. Can we assume they are all descended from the bright flue cured tobaccos of Virginia and North Carolina? Did some descend directly from Orinoco on their own branch?
 

BigBonner

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This is fascinating. Thank you very much, Bob. Next question probably has many answers, but what about the bright varieties from other countries? I mean, there's bright varieties on every continent. Can we assume they are all descended from the bright flue cured tobaccos of Virginia and North Carolina? Did some descend directly from Orinoco on their own branch?

I have seen tobacco varieties that was said to only be grown in the South ( Bright leaf) or Kentucky (Burley) , leave from these growing areas to be grown / produced in other countries .
Big Tobacco Phillip Morris went over to other countries and furnished them with money ,fertilizers , seeds and know how to grow cheap tobacco . They even paid for tobacco barns for those places .

The Bright leaf is probably modern leaf and is Low Converter type tobacco ( LC )
Old style tobacco with out it being the LC variety is not accepted now days by big tobacco . We have to sign contracts that states we only use LC seeds . If tested and found to not be the modern style tobacco then the company can send that tobacco back to the farmer and the farmer has to pay shipping both ways and repay the purchase price that big tobacco paid the farmer .
 

deluxestogie

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Larry's comment explains why so many heirloom varieties are vanishing, not only in the US, but throughout the world. As with vegetable crop species, agribusiness in general has dramatically reduced the number of varieties being cultivated. No Turkish Mutki grown in Mutki. No Iranian Shirazi grown in Shiraz. Loss of plant diversity increases efficiency and profit, while also increasing the risk of catastrophic failure.

Bob
 

BigBonner

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Catastrophic failure , I do agree . When we had to switch to LC type burley our per acre pounds dropped big time . University Of Kentucky does a lot of tobacco research and development .
The question was asked to them about the new LC tobacco and why farmers seemed to not get the pounds from it as our old type tobacco did .
Their reply was that the new LC tobacco produced the same as tobacco that did not have the LC traits .
I have grown a lot of tobacco in my lifetime and I can tell you that new LC varieties does not produce the pounds or quality as old non LC varieties did .
LC Facts , my opinion .
1 . Has lower pounds per acre yield . Light and fluffy tobacco . Big Tobacco wants it for filler .
2 . Does not stand long periods for ripening . 3 Weeks after topping had better be harvested . Old types could stand 5 weeks , Leaves would fall off at the bottom but top leaves would get larger and stay healthy .
3 . Fires up and dies out quickly .
4. Disease eats it up . Target spot mainly , fire .

I have grown a lot of different varieties of tobacco , All of them can stand in the field way past equal topping of LC tobacco
I have a neighbor who sells to RJ Reynolds and he lost over half his crop because LC tobacco would not stand over the three weeks .
 

Alpine

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Larry's comment explains why so many heirloom varieties are vanishing, not only in the US, but throughout the world. As with vegetable crop species, agribusiness in general has dramatically reduced the number of varieties being cultivated. No Turkish Mutki grown in Mutki. No Iranian Shirazi grown in Shiraz. Loss of plant diversity increases efficiency and profit, while also increasing the risk of catastrophic failure.

Bob
That's the reason why i sent Nostrano seeds even to Indonesia!!! Loosing a heirloom strain would be a big mistake. Of course, i would much prefer to see the terraces in the Brenta valley full of Nostrano instead of being abandoned and invaded by weeds BUT at least somewhere in the world those plants are surviving
Pier
 

Knucklehead

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I'm sure there's folks who can share their experience with dark Virginian type tobaccos. I have none. I am already planning next year (I know I'm not the only one). Next year will be nothing but air cured varieties. I was thinking of Goose Creek Red as one of them because I like the name, how it can be pin pointed down to originating from a specific place, the look of the plant, and how skychaser describes it not only as a pipe tobacco, but also usable as a cigar wrapper.

Has anyone compared the three varieties from Northwood - Goose Creek, Shirey, and Stag Horn?
I grew several Dark Air, Dark Fire, Dark Fire/Air, and Dark Sun in 2014. My favorite was and still is VA355. My cigarette blend contains 10% Dark Air. Dark Sun was interesting and also had a nice flavor. It sun cured well. I felt the VA355 was very close to what I purchase from Don at Whole Leaf Tobacco. I grew the following in 2014:

DT 518dark air
DT 592dark air
M&Ndark air
Vincent Harris Madole552773dark air
Hastings552375dark air
Little Sweet Orinoco552376dark air
Lizard Tail Orinocodark air
Shireydark air
Small Stalk Black Mammothdark air
Walker's Broadleaf552374dark air
VA 355604198dark air
Narrow Leaf Madole552710dark fire/air
Little Crittendendark fire/air
TND 950dark fire
TR Madole (Tom Rosson)552764dark fire
VA 409552508dark sun
VA 407557005dark sun

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Knucklehead

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Wow Kucks, never heard of dark sun strains!!! Can you go a bit deeper?
Pier
I couldn't find much information about the Dark Sun varieties except that they were traditionally sun cured. They did well and sun cured nicely. Nice flavor. They came from the Nicotiana Project and have PO numbers from GRIN. I will look in the computer next time I go to the basement and see if I can pull up any info from the Nicotiana Project. I think they had little write ups about most of the seed they sold.
 
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