Whole Leaf Tobacco

Mexican San Andres seeds

TigerTom

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I'm not sure if this has been posted already and web searches have been fruitless. I figured this is the best group to ask.

Anyone know where seed for San Andres tobacco can be obtained?

I recently smoked a very tasty cigar by La Galera (80th Anniversary Special Edition) and they actually published the specific components of the cigar: San Andres wrapper over Corojo binder, with Piloto Cubano, Criollo 98 and Olor in the filler.

This got me thinking. I can get all of those varieties, except the San Andres, from skychaser.

I don't hope to duplicate that cigar, but knowing that I enjoy those varieties (at least in that cigar) I had the idea maybe if I grew them I could hope to come up with something else I enjoy.

There are several other commercial cigars I enjoy that use this leaf and while I know I wouldn't be able to duplicate them, at least I may have a shot at similarities.

(Also, if anyone out there happens to have seed and are willing to part with some, PM me. I am more than willing to pay for them.)
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I am a big fan of the cigars of Casa Turrent, myself. The 1880 is probably one of my favorites. I could be wrong, but i think someone in the forum might have San Andreas seed.
 

deluxestogie

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I have grown San Andrés in two different seasons. It is just an older Habano type--possibly related to Piloto Cubano--and a rather unimpressive one at that. San Andrés, grown and cured at home, turns out to be simply ho-hum average cigar leaf, with marginally poor productivity.

The unique aroma that we detect in Mexican cigars is not from the variety of the tobacco, but from the manner in which the wrappers (at least) are cured. "Small", open fires are used to heat the curing barns, giving San Andrés wrappers a distinctive, easily recognizable, though still subtle fire-cured aroma. Heaven knows what sort of wood they burn for this.

Another issue with San Andrés seed (Pi 80250, Ti 117) is that, while definitely the same seed that was collected by USDA through its American Consulate in Vera Cruz, back in 1929, from 80 miles southwest of Vera Cruz, San Andrés Tuxtla, Mexico, ["A special variety said to be from the best tobacco grown in the vicinity of San Andres Tuxtla..."], it may have no relationship to the intentionally unidentified cigar leaf that comes from somewhere around San Andrés, Mexico today. Maybe it's the same variety; maybe not. (Specific varieties are constantly being replace by newer ones, due to disease resistance issues.) Regardless, planting and growing it will not give you what you are looking for.

If you have time to waste, and will sign my "I told you so" waiver, then I will send you some seed for the San Andrés varitey (shaking my head all the way to the post office). I think a better use of your home-growing efforts would be planting, growing and finishing Corojo 99, Piloto Cubano, Criollo 98 and Olor, each of which is genuinely excellent alone or blended.

I believe that chasing the specific aromas of a specific factory cigar is unlikely to end in success. That is especially true of a "recipe" that specifies an unidentified ingredient from a specific geographical region. (Add 1/2 tsp. of American spice.)

Bob

EDIT: One more caveat. ARS-GRIN lists San Andrés leaf as a filler class, rather than a wrapper type. I agree with this, due to the general shape of the leaf and its vein angle.



Of course, one can usually make wrapper out of anything.
 
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TigerTom

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Thanks, everyone, for the responses.

I suppose it isn't worth the effort to grow if the yield is so low but I find myself resisting the urge to try anyway. I can be a bit incorrigible.

@deluxestogie, I am curious about it being fire cured or having the barns heated with fires, since nothing I've read indicates that. Where did you read this? And do you suppose growing and fire curing a bit of Madole may do the trick?

Also, you mentioned Corojo 99. Earlier this year I ordered Corojo seeds from skychaser based on (1) the Aladino Corojo cigars are advertised as being made 100% of "authentic" Corojo (the original strain, not a newer hybrid) and it's an excellent cigar, and (2) Alejandro Robaina said in an interview that though he felt the modern hybrids have better yields and disease resistance, the original had a better flavor. I figured quality over quantity would be a fair approach.

So now I have another question: is there any reason you would recommend Corojo 99 over Corojo?
 

deluxestogie

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@deluxestogie, I am curious about it being fire cured or having the barns heated with fires, since nothing I've read indicates that. Where did you read this? And do you suppose growing and fire curing a bit of Madole may do the trick?

So now I have another question: is there any reason you would recommend Corojo 99 over Corojo?
Sorry. I just spent 45 minutes going through my tobacco files, and was unable to locate a reference to fire-curing of San Andrés leaf. I do recall specifically that @Tutu described the "small" fire-curing of Mata Fina leaf in Brazil--which nobody writes about. With regard to San Andrés leaf, he may have visited there as well, in his commercial capacity. I'll have to ask him. But I remember an aha! moment when I learned that "small" fires were used in San Andrés to warm the cigar leaf curing barns during cooler weather. Since the recent coup of Nicaraguan leaf producers "re-training" growers in San Andrés, who knows what they now do there.

I have grown the original Corojo (seed from Cuba, via ARS-GRIN) as well as Corojo 99 (for which I forwarded seed to @skychaser). The Corojo was good, but not great. The Corojo 99 is superb, well over twice the productivity, and its top leaf is nearly the same huge size as its mid and lower leaf. Corojo 99 wins, hands down. I will not replant either Corojo (Cuba) or San Andrés leaf. They're not worth my time.

Bob
 

TigerTom

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Sorry. I just spent 45 minutes going through my tobacco files, and was unable to locate a reference to fire-curing of San Andrés leaf.

...who knows what they now do there.

I have grown the original Corojo (seed from Cuba, via ARS-GRIN) as well as Corojo 99 (for which I forwarded seed to @skychaser). The Corojo was good, but not great. The Corojo 99 is superb, well over twice the productivity, and its top leaf is nearly the same huge size as its mid and lower leaf. Corojo 99 wins, hands down. I will not replant either Corojo (Cuba) or San Andrés leaf. They're not worth my time.

Bob
Thank you for the effort to find it! It makes sense not reading it anywhere, actually. Trade secrets, and all.

How would you describe flavor differences between Corojo and Corojo 99?

I suppose I'll have to add Corojo 99 to my list for next year. I'll still grow a few of the originals just for comparison.
 

Alpine

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How would you describe this one? I know it's an Italian landrace variety, but beyond that I know nothing.
I’m a disaster in describing tobacco flavour, and even worse I don’t smoke cigars... but Deluxestogie has grown it and did some research about it. Just dig the FTT forum and you’ll find many (and reliable) informations about Nostrano del Brenta. I sent seeds to many forum members, and they all reported their experience here.
You can begin with https://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/nostrano-del-brenta-italian-cigar-leaf.6480/#post-119869
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I met Alejandro Turrent at an event and we quickly nerded out on tobacco curing, and he told me that they heat the curing leaf with wood. I asked what kind of wood. He said 'tropical woods'.

He said that when it's freshly cured, you can clearly smell the smoke, and that it fades or changes during fermentation.
 

TigerTom

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I’m a disaster in describing tobacco flavour, and even worse I don’t smoke cigars... but Deluxestogie has grown it and did some research about it. Just dig the FTT forum and you’ll find many (and reliable) informations about Nostrano del Brenta. I sent seeds to many forum members, and they all reported their experience here.
You can begin with https://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/nostrano-del-brenta-italian-cigar-leaf.6480/#post-119869
Sounds interesting. I know skychaser has seed so I'll probably order from him.

Curing fires at Santa Clara (@ ~4:00, also @ ~5:49)


Flavor difference: Meh vs. very nice.

Bob
Interestingly enough, I mentioned the small fires used in San Andrés production to my boss this evening and he immediately described exactly what was in the video you posted. He said they use a lot of banana "wood" for this, as bananas are a major cash crop in Veracruz and the stems (they're not really trees) are abundant. That last bit may or may not be true. He's been there and to cigar factories in the Dominican and Nicaragua, but he also likes to spin a yarn from time to time.
 

Tutu

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Bob, I indeed travel to San Andres Tuxtla regularly. I work with the men you see in the video you posted (6:30 to 8:15).
Indeed, the taste and smell of San Andres used for commercial cigars is typified by the wood used to make fires during curing.
I'm afraid I can't confirm the "banana-wood" story, as I've never seen that being used around the Veracruz area.
I have previously asked farmers which wood they do use, and the regular answer is "whatever is available".
I've asked several times because I do think that San Andres from San Andres has a very typical smell, rather different from other tobacco regions.
If anything, it resembles the smell of Arapiraca from Brazil.

Unfortunately I do not have any San Andres seed in my possession, but I will bring some during my next visit.
I do have Mexican Habano seed. Now it may very well be possible that in a distant past they both have the same source.
However, currently, the two are quite distinctly different.
I've met farmers growing both types, and judging the two in various stages of the process (green/curing/fermenting), they are different.

Let me do a germination test on the Mexican Habano, and let me confirm that it's viable.
If anyone is interested, I'd love to trade against something interesting!
 

ChinaVoodoo

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, I'd love to trade against something interesting!
I don't need any seed, but I have a bit of seed from an old legitimately Canadian cigar strain called L'Assomption 201. It would be interesting to see what it would turn out like if grown in an actual cigar growing region. I could send you some.
 

TigerTom

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Bob, I indeed travel to San Andres Tuxtla regularly. I work with the men you see in the video you posted (6:30 to 8:15).
Indeed, the taste and smell of San Andres used for commercial cigars is typified by the wood used to make fires during curing.
I'm afraid I can't confirm the "banana-wood" story, as I've never seen that being used around the Veracruz area.
I have previously asked farmers which wood they do use, and the regular answer is "whatever is available".
I've asked several times because I do think that San Andres from San Andres has a very typical smell, rather different from other tobacco regions.
If anything, it resembles the smell of Arapiraca from Brazil.

Unfortunately I do not have any San Andres seed in my possession, but I will bring some during my next visit.
I do have Mexican Habano seed. Now it may very well be possible that in a distant past they both have the same source.
However, currently, the two are quite distinctly different.
I've met farmers growing both types, and judging the two in various stages of the process (green/curing/fermenting), they are different.

Let me do a germination test on the Mexican Habano, and let me confirm that it's viable.
If anyone is interested, I'd love to trade against something interesting!
I'm pretty sure my boss was telling a tall tale about the banana stems. He likes to play pranks at times, too.

If you're going to have San Andres seed available, I'd be interested in that as well as the Mexican Habano if it's viable. Not sure what I have to trade unless money is acceptable.
 

Tutu

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It would have been possible. Farmers in Indonesia do use cut down Banana leafs to make small fires. They use just about everything to make these fires.

No need for money! I just have to find a way to send something out of the country where I live. Postal service is practically non existent. I will ask around or otherwise I'll send it from somewhere else when I'm travelling.
 
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