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Inconsistent sticks

Jaydub28

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I’m new to this site and the whole cigar rolling adventure but the main thing that turns me to this adventure is I’m tired of spending $14 on a stick that was great then spending $14 more two days later for the same stick that taste like the inside of a mud flap. It seems to me like the big box companies push quantity and as long as appearance is fine then they will sell it. I have some ideas on how to keep my consistency as close as I possibly can but I’m interested in hearing what you guys do to maintain your blend from stick to stick
 

Standy

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I’m new to this site and the whole cigar rolling adventure but the main thing that turns me to this adventure is I’m tired of spending $14 on a stick that was great then spending $14 more two days later for the same stick that taste like the inside of a mud flap. It seems to me like the big box companies push quantity and as long as appearance is fine then they will sell it. I have some ideas on how to keep my consistency as close as I possibly can but I’m interested in hearing what you guys do to maintain your blend from stick to stick
Well seems like you came to the right place to learn. Am not an expert but the best advice I can give you is read, read, read. There are folks in here that have videos, and show how, and why. I have been at this about a year and I'll say their help is what got me this far. That's the best advice I can give to a beginner.
 

deluxestogie

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Similar proportions of high quality leaf is really the best you can do. Like any agricultural commodity, there will always be variation from season to season, and sometimes between one shipment and the next. As a home-grower, and experienced at curing and finishing over 100 tobacco varieties, I have a notion of what a particular variety, at a particular stalk level is trying to become. But there is just a lot of unavoidable variation.

If you're rolling reasonable proportions of high quality leaf (like you would receive from WLT), then you will end up with similar--but not identical--blends from stick to stick. And the variation won't matter.

Just as an aside, there is no cigar anywhere on Earth that is worth $14. There just isn't.

Bob
 

waikikigun

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Similar proportions of high quality leaf is really the best you can do. Like any agricultural commodity, there will always be variation from season to season, and sometimes between one shipment and the next. As a home-grower, and experienced at curing and finishing over 100 tobacco varieties, I have a notion of what a particular variety, at a particular stalk level is trying to become. But there is just a lot of unavoidable variation.

If you're rolling reasonable proportions of high quality leaf (like you would receive from WLT), then you will end up with similar--but not identical--blends from stick to stick. And the variation won't matter.

Just as an aside, there is no cigar anywhere on Earth that is worth $14. There just isn't.

Bob
And yet I'll buy all the authentic $14 Cohiba Behike 54s I can get my hands on.
 

webmost

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Just as an aside, there is no cigar anywhere on Earth that is worth $14. There just isn't.

Bob

Four bucks is for the gar, the roller, the transport, the tax, and the store.
Ten bucks to impress your friends how much money you have. Oh, and for the artful box, the embossed band(s), and the hype.
Think of K-cups. That's gotta be the least coffee for the most price in the history of brewing coffee, other than paying for coffee beans that a bat crapped.

Note how Bob said "similar proportions". He does not say "the same number of each type of leaf". One given habano viso leaf from the DR may be long, the next one short; one may be thick & the next thin; one may be crinkly & the next smooth. And, of course, a habano viso leaf from Nicaragua flat out is a totally different animal. In fact, you can taste the diff between Esteli and Condega.

We have the remarkable advantage that, once we settle on a blend that we want to stash, we don't have to roll our way through one bale of baccy after another, day after day. We're just running thru one pound bags. Hence, we can say that we like the hab viso from this bag with the piloto seco from that bag and demonstrate common sense enough to stop rolling that blend when either bag runs out. We get to control the process end to end. So we can decide to roll strictly thin viso with a light color from bag X, and go to town. With the store bought box, you are buying gars sorted for color by gals who are looking thru trays of gars wrapped by someone else who wrapped gars which were bunched by someone else, who got his filler leaves prepared by a team who may sort thru a dozen bales a day. We have a chance to be way better when it comes to consistency.

BUT: You also do have to be willing to chuck out stuff that doesn't fit the bill. You gotta treat your leaves the same way you treat your celery, where you whack off the white base and the green frilly head and stick only the nice middle stem into your peanut butter. You have to give up the notion that you are going to use every damn scrap of leaf that you paid for cause otherwise the old lady will give you grief. It's not like that. It's like picking out which taters to bake versus mash the rest of them. At the end of a rolling session, you ought to be able to look down with satisfaction at ample misfit sniggly ends and stemmy lil bits in your trash can. A willingness to chuck some leaf will also help your smooth draw as well. Look at some of Marc's pics, where he has his makin's all sorted out and prepped before he begins. I'm betting that's how he controls the flavor he likes. (Is Marc on this forum?)

Keep your filler dry as it can roll. Test your blend ROTT. Then, if you like that, roll a batch and leave it set for six months.

Here are two habano leaves, one from a bag of Vuelta Abajo and another from a bag of Esteli:

LeafSizeEsteliVuelta.jpg
 

waikikigun

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I’m new to this site and the whole cigar rolling adventure but the main thing that turns me to this adventure is I’m tired of spending $14 on a stick that was great then spending $14 more two days later for the same stick that taste like the inside of a mud flap. It seems to me like the big box companies push quantity and as long as appearance is fine then they will sell it. I have some ideas on how to keep my consistency as close as I possibly can but I’m interested in hearing what you guys do to maintain your blend from stick to stick
If you ever come up with a blend that you like so much you don't want it to ever change, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pm me the blend info. And I'll broadcast it to the world. Thanks.
 

Jaydub28

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Four bucks is for the gar, the roller, the transport, the tax, and the store.
Ten bucks to impress your friends how much money you have. Oh, and for the artful box, the embossed band(s), and the hype.
Think of K-cups. That's gotta be the least coffee for the most price in the history of brewing coffee, other than paying for coffee beans that a bat crapped.

Note how Bob said "similar proportions". He does not say "the same number of each type of leaf". One given habano viso leaf from the DR may be long, the next one short; one may be thick & the next thin; one may be crinkly & the next smooth. And, of course, a habano viso leaf from Nicaragua flat out is a totally different animal. In fact, you can taste the diff between Esteli and Condega.

We have the remarkable advantage that, once we settle on a blend that we want to stash, we don't have to roll our way through one bale of baccy after another, day after day. We're just running thru one pound bags. Hence, we can say that we like the hab viso from this bag with the piloto seco from that bag and demonstrate common sense enough to stop rolling that blend when either bag runs out. We get to control the process end to end. So we can decide to roll strictly thin viso with a light color from bag X, and go to town. With the store bought box, you are buying gars sorted for color by gals who are looking thru trays of gars wrapped by someone else who wrapped gars which were bunched by someone else, who got his filler leaves prepared by a team who may sort thru a dozen bales a day. We have a chance to be way better when it comes to consistency.

BUT: You also do have to be willing to chuck out stuff that doesn't fit the bill. You gotta treat your leaves the same way you treat your celery, where you whack off the white base and the green frilly head and stick only the nice middle stem into your peanut butter. You have to give up the notion that you are going to use every damn scrap of leaf that you paid for cause otherwise the old lady will give you grief. It's not like that. It's like picking out which taters to bake versus mash the rest of them. At the end of a rolling session, you ought to be able to look down with satisfaction at ample misfit sniggly ends and stemmy lil bits in your trash can. A willingness to chuck some leaf will also help your smooth draw as well. Look at some of Marc's pics, where he has his makin's all sorted out and prepped before he begins. I'm betting that's how he controls the flavor he likes. (Is Marc on this forum?)

Keep your filler dry as it can roll. Test your blend ROTT. Then, if you like that, roll a batch and leave it set for six months.

Here are two habano leaves, one from a bag of Vuelta Abajo and another from a bag of Esteli:

LeafSizeEsteliVuelta.jpg
Thanks for all your input
 

plantdude

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"With the store bought box, you are buying gars sorted for color by gals who are looking thru trays of gars wrapped by someone else who wrapped gars which were bunched by someone else, who got his filler leaves prepared by a team who may sort thru a dozen bales a day."

LeafSizeEsteliVuelta.jpg
And just think of how many people didn't wash their hands:)
 

ArizonaDave

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I’m new to this site and the whole cigar rolling adventure but the main thing that turns me to this adventure is I’m tired of spending $14 on a stick that was great then spending $14 more two days later for the same stick that taste like the inside of a mud flap. It seems to me like the big box companies push quantity and as long as appearance is fine then they will sell it. I have some ideas on how to keep my consistency as close as I possibly can but I’m interested in hearing what you guys do to maintain your blend from stick to stick

Start a blend book. I have two. I make tiny cigars of 1 leaf. Pick up different tiny cigars, and smoke 1,2,3 or more to see what tastes good to you.
 

tullius

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If you ever come up with a blend that you like so much you don't want it to ever change, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pm me the blend info. And I'll broadcast it to the world. Thanks.

After you make a ten slot full to test it out.. ;)

I'd do the same, no shame
 

MarcL

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I’m new to this site and the whole cigar rolling adventure but ... I have some ideas on how to keep my consistency as close as I possibly can but I’m interested in hearing what you guys do to maintain your blend from stick to stick
Yeah, the homogeneity is in the work. There is sorting, amount and placement. There are some things to know though.
 

webmost

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^^ There Marc is. Frequently posts pics of his leaves laid out prepped for a rolling session.

Here's a quickie test stick rolled last night seeking a blend for a Dominican project:
b_20200729.jpg

One medium-sized and thin Dom piloto volado leaf surrounded by one and a half large medium thickness Dom seco leaves, both of unspecified seed. Bound in old Dom binder and clad in FX Smith CT shade. Doesn't look carefully made, cause it's not, being merely a test gar. But the proportions are carefully controlled. Thickness of leaves and their and size is never mentioned when torcedoritos discuss a blend; but I'm betting that those factors most always have a bearing on how said torcedorito comes up with his stash-worthy recipe. Yesterday, I taste tested two similar sticks without wrappers... one had a Rene core, the other a piloto seco core. The eventual blend is destined to have a wrapper from the DR, not from Windsor CT; but you don't want a pungent wrapper to obscure what you're trying to do within the bunch just yet. Gotta get the bunch right, then get the wrap right.

Blending is the most fascinating of all, innit?
Blending is just about the whole point, I spose.
Been putting a lot of thot into it lately, in prep for a vid.

I don't write down thickness and color and size... should... but I do try to keep it in mind. I more often sort as I go rather than prep like Marc does. That's prolly lazy on my part. But I am prepping more, here lately. Always sort the binders. Who was it, I forget, who said he always weighs out his leaves? Long time ago. That may be going too far. But there's a lot to be said for prep sorting if you aim at blend consistency.
 

tullius

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Not the one you're thinking of, but I weigh out all of my filler. Helps me quickly distribute thick and thin, consistently making a more uniform bunch for each vitola. Takes very little extra time for a ten slot mold full. Notes are kept.
 

deluxestogie

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One of the differences between a journeyman and an expert (on any subject or skill) is that the journeyman can tell you in infinite detail exactly what he/she is deciding and doing at every step of a process. He/she is actively mindful of the process. The expert, by contrast, has to invent an explanation on the fly (if asked), since he/she actually performs the complete task intuitively, rather than mindfully.

So journeymen tend to be better instructors and teachers...until they become experts (obtuse professors).

Bob
 

tullius

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One of the differences between a journeyman and an expert (on any subject or skill) is that the journeyman can tell you in infinite detail exactly what he/she is deciding and doing at every step of a process. He/she is actively mindful of the process. The expert, by contrast, has to invent an explanation on the fly (if asked), since he/she actually performs the complete task intuitively, rather than mindfully.

So journeymen tend to be better instructors and teachers...until they become experts (obtuse professors).

Bob


How does this relate to the subject of the thread?
 

webmost

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I agree with Bob entirely.
Yeah, I accept that I will never obtain expert status. Didn't roll my first gar till I was sixty something. Don't smoke enough to roll enough to ever learn enough. That's just the landscape.

The best I can do is pass my two cents to a beginner.
 

deluxestogie

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Each of us eventually becomes expert at the very specific tasks that we do regularly for long enough. The more we experiment, rather than strictly repeat, the fresher our intellectual, detailed understanding of a process continues to be.

Each winter, I experiment extensively with pure-tobacco pipe blends. My working knowledge of which levers to pull and buttons to push is fairly crisp.

I cannot say that I "experiment" with cigar blends. I have rolled cigars with so many scores of varieties and sources and primings and ages, that I have become expert at just throwing together a Bob cigar: a reliably smokable and enjoyable cigar that suits my taste. I'm terrible at repeating a specific shape or size or blend of cigar.

We tend to think of "expert" as better than journeyman. Expert is an intellectual dead end for acquisition of a particular skill.

I certainly had no intention of calling anyone either an expert or a journeyman. I was relaying the conclusions of several psychological studies (the references to which are not at my fingertips at the moment) that explored what "expert" actually means, amidst a thread mentioning, "new at this," "not an expert,", as well as specific methods of increasing cigar consistency.

If my own cigars are anything, they are regularly irregular--inconsistent sticks. What I can teach about cigar rolling is to relax, enjoy the process, and not be too concerned about replication.

Bob the Expert at some things and not so much at other things.
 

plantdude

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Each of us eventually becomes expert at the very specific tasks that we do regularly for long enough. The more we experiment, rather than strictly repeat, the fresher our intellectual, detailed understanding of a process continues to be.

Each winter, I experiment extensively with pure-tobacco pipe blends. My working knowledge of which levers to pull and buttons to push is fairly crisp.

I cannot say that I "experiment" with cigar blends. I have rolled cigars with so many scores of varieties and sources and primings and ages, that I have become expert at just throwing together a Bob cigar: a reliably smokable and enjoyable cigar that suits my taste. I'm terrible at repeating a specific shape or size or blend of cigar.

We tend to think of "expert" as better than journeyman. Expert is an intellectual dead end for acquisition of a particular skill.

I certainly had no intention of calling anyone either an expert or a journeyman. I was relaying the conclusions of several psychological studies (the references to which are not at my fingertips at the moment) that explored what "expert" actually means, amidst a thread mentioning, "new at this," "not an expert,", as well as specific methods of increasing cigar consistency.

If my own cigars are anything, they are regularly irregular--inconsistent sticks. What I can teach about cigar rolling is to relax, enjoy the process, and not be too concerned about replication.

Bob the Expert at some things and not so much at other things.
Bobism explained:) Bob, just having some fun with you because I know you have a hard candy shell and can take it:) Trying to lighten the mood with a bit of my ill placed humor as usual.

There is something to be said for keeping detailed notes for repeatability even at the "expert" stage (not that I've ever obtained that stage myself in anything). We all have off days and days where we forget the simplest things. It doesn't do the world much good if a person is only an expert in their own mind.

I would also disagree that being an expert is an intellectual dead end for acquiring a skill. I would really hope it is a higher stage in which more knowledge can be obtained and better questions can be asked.
 
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