Whole Leaf Tobacco

Making Latakia at Home

Status
Not open for further replies.

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
19,452
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
I found it! It took a bit of searching.

"On taking down the tobacco from the huts, the strings are placed lengthwise in small piles, after which they are taken and cut in half for making into small folded bundles.
These bundles are then carefully piled into stacks of 10,000 to 30,000 lbs; this needs a certain amount of skill and experience to obtain closely packed square-formed stacks. They should remain piled in this state for 6-8 months, preferably over a hot season in order to condition and dry out properly, before being ready for baling and export.

Fermentation of Latakia will only take place in large stacks of at least 80,000 lbs. when allowed to remain over a hot season in stores with reduced ventilation. The process also involves a certain amount of risks as the fermentation heating starts in the centre of the pile to a somewhat intense degree and this is difficult to control on account of the large size of the piles. However, it can be watched by either making a narrow tunnel in the pile towards the centre or preferaby by the insertion of a special thermometer for control. I have seen a similar method used in the Quebec district of Canada for the fermentation of the local cigar leaf.

During the hot summer months in the year following that in which the crop has been produced, fermentation is liable to start in the bulk and may spread quickly from the
centre of the pile showing at times intense heat in that quarter up to as much as 180°F. and liable to cause fire mould damage. In one instance I lost the greater part of a
pile owing to self-combustion resulting in the centre tobaccos being entirely charred."

--BAT

The highlight is mine. The aim is the same fermentation that can occur in large piles (on in kilns) for cigar leaf as well as other varieties. The objective is usually to keep the temperature below 130°F. In a kiln, we do this with a temp controller. In a pilon, the workers have to monitor the temp at the center of the pile, and promptly break-down the pile and rebuild it, when the temp at the center is about to rise above that. The reference to 180°F is a cautionary description of what can happen. 180°F won't start a fire, but it will spoil the Latakia.

Another cautionary tale: Even documents directly from huge tobacco companies, such as BAT, often include frankly incorrect information about varieties and processes related to Oriental tobaccos. They are often authoritative rumor, written by mid-level employees who have never directly witnessed what they are describing.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
19,452
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
According to Constantinides, the fired leaf is packed into burlap bales, then closely stacked within the warehouse, rearranging the bales from time to time. The aging and fermentation (kilning) definitely improves the flavor.

"bulked in large piles of bales which allows fermentation to proceed over a period of 3-6 months"

Bob
 
Last edited:

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
19,452
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
Well...It's been about 10 years since I read Constantinides book. In scanning over it tonight, I do see Latakia (the region) on the map, but really don't find a discussion of the process of making it or warehousing it. (The pdf file is a giant image, which cannot be searched as text.) So I am likely recalling a different reference that discusses the process. Sorry for the misdirection. It's still a delightful book to read, but misses the mark on the Latakia question.

I have hundreds of files and old book scans and research papers. I'll hunt around some more.

Bob
 

bluewalls

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Messages
13
Points
3
Location
Alabama
Since you kiln your fired tobacco, maybe that has the same effect on flavor as the fermenting bales do. I don’t know why I thought I was onto something.

I‘m gonna grow some mastic trees. Maybe I can fire some latakia one day.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
19,452
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
Maybe I can fire some latakia one day.
This thread is a saga of hunches and ideas and trials. Kilning is maximized fermenting (aging) of tobacco. Kilning my home-fired Latakia definitely improved it. Unfortunately I had other leaf in the kiln for the same two months, and it imparted an odd, fire-cured aroma to all of it (not too different from the open-fire assisted shed curing of San Andrés and Bahia leaf).

Please do post any experiments that you undertake with home-firing.

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

Moderator
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
6,325
Points
113
Location
Edmonton, AB, CA
I fire cured two bright tobacco strains. It doesn't taste like latakia, but I'm quite impressed with its ability to function as though it were all things to all men. Straight it's like a blend of flue cured and fire cured. It can be used in cigars or even as a slow burning binder or wrapper. I'll probably kiln it another month.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top