Whole Leaf Tobacco

Pics of your sticks!!

GreenDragon

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It was a Vuleta Abejo binder that I ran through the instant pot as an experiment for a quick Maduro. Not a success. By the time they are nice and dark they pretty much fall apart when you try to use them. As for flavor, it’s probably because we are stil at the height of allergy season and I can’t taste much.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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It was a Vuleta Abejo binder that I ran through the instant pot as an experiment for a quick Maduro. Not a success. By the time they are nice and dark they pretty much fall apart when you try to use them. As for flavor, it’s probably because we are stil at the height of allergy season and I can’t taste much.
I think a fresh wrapper would have a stronger flavour.

Theoretically you could kiln the binder in high case at 125°F for a few weeks to darken it up. It would change the flavour but probably not lessen the structural integrity very much.
 

Charly

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Theoretically you could kiln the binder in high case at 125°F for a few weeks to darken it up. It would change the flavour but probably not lessen the structural integrity very much.
Take care, I have often some leaves that becomes REALLY too much fragile when they are in the kiln while in too high case.
They tear apart when I try to do something with them.
I did not find the adequate humidity level to get the best out of my leaves.
 

PressuredLeaf

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Take care, I have often some leaves that becomes REALLY too much fragile when they are in the kiln while in too high case.
They tear apart when I try to do something with them.
I did not find the adequate humidity level to get the best out of my leaves.

I tried pressure cooking a Sumatra binder leaf for one hour to “maduro” it. It did darken, but I should have let it go longer. No problem with durability. To thin of a leaf to notice major flavor changes.

I love maduro cigars (padron 1964 mad is a favorite). How are commercial maduro leafs made? I’ve heard “more intense” fermentation (higher heat?) and steaming. Anyone know the real deal?
 

deluxestogie

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As has been discussed in the forum many times over the years, "maduro" is a result of growing on an upper stalk level. I can take cured leaves from the same plant, and at all priming levels, and kiln them in the same kiln at the same time under the exact same conditions (i.e. identical fermentation). Bottom leaf comes out light. Top leaf comes out dark (even oscuro with some varieties). And middle leaf is in between. This is a continuum of color from bottom to top.

So, "maduro" is not made. It is grown. It is a characteristic of the leaf itself, and depends on stalk level. Only during the "cigar boom" years of the late 1990s, when there was an acute shortage of premium wrappers, did legitimate manufacturers of premium cigars resort to any manipulation of the color of wrappers. All the rest is magazine myth.

Steamed leaf will turn dark, but you are making Cavendish. That will never taste like, for example, the Padron that you love.

Bob
 

zacRock

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Home roll number 8, number 7 was camera shy and got burned up a week or so ago. Worked on getting a slightly tighter draw on this one, and was successful. 73 degrees and sunny with an afternoon cup of coffee. A good Sunday.E574DF60-E331-41F3-8B17-F75C1AD776B6.jpeg
 

waikikigun

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As has been discussed in the forum many times over the years, "maduro" is a result of growing on an upper stalk level. I can take cured leaves from the same plant, and at all priming levels, and kiln them in the same kiln at the same time under the exact same conditions (i.e. identical fermentation). Bottom leaf comes out light. Top leaf comes out dark (even oscuro with some varieties). And middle leaf is in between. This is a continuum of color from bottom to top.

So, "maduro" is not made. It is grown. It is a characteristic of the leaf itself, and depends on stalk level. Only during the "cigar boom" years of the late 1990s, when there was an acute shortage of premium wrappers, did legitimate manufacturers of premium cigars resort to any manipulation of the color of wrappers. All the rest is magazine myth.

Steamed leaf will turn dark, but you are making Cavendish. That will never taste like, for example, the Padron that you love.

Bob
So a dark Habano leaf and a "Maduro" Habano leaf only differ in stalk position? Fermentation time is never a factor whatsoever? Such that a line like "a Maduro wrapper is darker color and stronger in taste due to the fermenting process" would be nonsense?
 

deluxestogie

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never a factor whatsoever? Such that a line like "a Maduro wrapper is darker color and stronger in taste due to the fermenting process" would be nonsense?
I don't know what "dark" vs "maduro" means.

If you consider a specific variety of filler that is called volado, seco, viso or ligero (or even corona), in that sequence, the thinner, lighter-color leaf is from the bottom of the stalk, where the leaf contains the lowest levels of alkaloids. As we move up the stalk, the leaf becomes thicker, finishes to a darker color, and contains higher alkaloids. These terms are reflections of their actual stalk positions.

Wrapper "colors"are a visual rating of the finished leaf. An aesthetic choice by the individual doing the grading. While they sometimes don't correspond with their priming levels, the sequence is the same. Lighter, thinner, lowest alkaloid wrappers are from the bottom of that plant of that variety from that finca during that crop year, and the darkest, thickest, highest alkaloid wrappers (same qualifications) are from the top.

Sometimes the finished color from a particular variety (for example, Nostrano del Brenta) may range from dark EMS at the bottom of the stalk, yet produce nearly black, Oscuro starting at mid-stalk. So some varieties shift the color range downward on the stalk.

So the short answer to your question is that it's the plant, and more specifically, the leaf, not a difference in fermenting process.

Bob
 

waikikigun

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I don't know what "dark" vs "maduro" means.

If you consider a specific variety of filler that is called volado, seco, viso or ligero (or even corona), in that sequence, the thinner, lighter-color leaf is from the bottom of the stalk, where the leaf contains the lowest levels of alkaloids. As we move up the stalk, the leaf becomes thicker, finishes to a darker color, and contains higher alkaloids. These terms are reflections of their actual stalk positions.

Wrapper "colors"are a visual rating of the finished leaf. An aesthetic choice by the individual doing the grading. While they sometimes don't correspond with their priming levels, the sequence is the same. Lighter, thinner, lowest alkaloid wrappers are from the bottom of that plant of that variety from that finca during that crop year, and the darkest, thickest, highest alkaloid wrappers (same qualifications) are from the top.

Sometimes the finished color from a particular variety (for example, Nostrano del Brenta) may range from dark EMS at the bottom of the stalk, yet produce nearly black, Oscuro starting at mid-stalk. So some varieties shift the color range downward on the stalk.

So the short answer to your question is that it's the plant, and more specifically, the leaf, not a difference in fermenting process.

Bob
Thanks. So the WLT description of their Ec Maduro Habano, which states that a Maduro wrapper is darker color and stronger in taste due to the fermenting process is mistaken? I'm not asking to try to burn WLT's copywriters: the sentiment of that statement is something I've seen pretty much all my life in material discussing maduro wrappers: that "true" Maduro leaf comes from not just a high stalk position but also an "extended" fermenting process. You're saying this is outright false, yeah?

Seems to me that this word has different nuances and meanings depending on who's using it with whom.
 

deluxestogie

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That is the standard explanation that you will see everywhere. If I'm not mistaken, Don has been told that by the wholesalers.

I have grown over 100 varieties of tobacco (less than 5% of named varieties). I've cured them in all sorts of ways. I've kilned leaf at different temperatures and various humidity ranges. My kilning time has ranged from 2 weeks to over 2 months.

Greater kilning time makes no difference in final color, unless you raise the temperature into a range (above about 135°F) that gives you a kind of toasted, burned taste. If leaf is kilned totally soggy, and below about 122°F, it begins to decompose (from microbial colonization) and darken, but loses its tensile strength.

I do believe that the longer kilning (fermentation) times are useful for heavier, upper leaf, but only in bringing the fermentation process closer to the point of diminishing return (more time vs noticeable improvement). The resultant color is the same at 1 month and 2 months of kilning. But the subsequent rest period is dramatically shortened, since there is not much more in the way of carbs and proteins that need to be broken down by further aging.

So, in direct answer to your question about "a Maduro wrapper is darker color and stronger in taste due to the fermenting process," I would say that neither its color nor its strength is due to the fermenting process, but that the statement is a reflection of the likely practice by tobacco producers of actually fermenting maduro longer--so it is marketable sooner. In my own experience, if I ferment maduro leaf for only one month, then I need to allow it to rest for as much as another two more years (depending on the variety) before it seems ready to my nose.

Bob
 

waikikigun

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That is the standard explanation that you will see everywhere. If I'm not mistaken, Don has been told that by the wholesalers.

I have grown over 100 varieties of tobacco (less than 5% of named varieties). I've cured them in all sorts of ways. I've kilned leaf at different temperatures and various humidity ranges. My kilning time has ranged from 2 weeks to over 2 months.

Greater kilning time makes no difference in final color, unless you raise the temperature into a range (above about 135°F) that gives you a kind of toasted, burned taste. If leaf is kilned totally soggy, and below about 122°F, it begins to decompose (from microbial colonization) and darken, but loses its tensile strength.

I do believe that the longer kilning (fermentation) times are useful for heavier, upper leaf, but only in bringing the fermentation process closer to the point of diminishing return (more time vs noticeable improvement). The resultant color is the same at 1 month and 2 months of kilning. But the subsequent rest period is dramatically shortened, since there is not much more in the way of carbs and proteins that need to be broken down by further aging.

So, in direct answer to your question about "a Maduro wrapper is darker color and stronger in taste due to the fermenting process," I would say that neither its color nor its strength is due to the fermenting process, but that the statement is a reflection of the likely practice by tobacco producers of actually fermenting maduro longer--so it is marketable sooner. In my own experience, if I ferment maduro leaf for only one month, then I need to allow it to rest for as much as another two more years (depending on the variety) before it seems ready to my nose.

Bob
Thank you very much. You're my gold standard reference for this kind of stuff since I know you speak from vast experience rather than for marketing purposes.
 

PressuredLeaf

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Thank you very much. You're my gold standard reference for this kind of stuff since I know you speak from vast experience rather than for marketing purposes.
Agreed, thanks Bob. Great explanations.

It’s nice to get real answers instead of the normal marketing mumbo jumbo that gets perpetuated in time.

Btw that middle stick looks delicious!
 

deluxestogie

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Thank you. I am sometimes flat out wrong. My understanding of all of this began with what I had read in the marketing hype. Over the years of growing and actually creating finished cigar tobaccos, I've clarified in my mind what is true in my efforts, versus what sounds mighty tempting to purchase from a tobacconist. We've also moved into an age where the advertised description of every retail cigar sounds like the dessert section of an all-you-can-eat buffet. It didn't use to be that blatantly fictional, but it sounds yummy.

Btw that middle stick looks delicious!
Yes, it does look delicious. The other two were delicious and rather full-bodied. That middle one knocked me on my ass. My home grown Piloto Cubano always comes out stronger than my home grown Corojo 99. So it's usually a minor or major condiment, rather than a primary ingredient of the blend.

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

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Thank you. I am sometimes flat out wrong.
Bob, thank you for the many times that you have rightfully corrected the mistaken information that people in tobacco tend to parrot. Because of that, I am somehow now likely the most knowledgeable person about tobacco within a few miles of where I now sit, smoking a cigar which cost me $2 and is better than what I payed $18 for a few days ago.

I must admit that I totally see how stalk position would play a part in this whole maduro business, but I can't deny that I have read the higher and longer fermentation business, which might be all BS, and I also have my own theory which entails simply using different strains. As we all know, different strains have tendencies to darken at different rates while fermenting. So I can't help but wonder if it is in fact all three theories?? Señor Alejandro Turrent will be coming in May, and I hope to ask him what they happen to do.
 
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ChinaVoodoo

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must confess, thought for a split second that a radalarm had to do with radon and I was going to light china up about it.

don't believe it does though..
You would have been very close. It's sensitive to x-, and gamma rays. Because radon emits gamma, if the radon level was high enough, it would beep. The amounts in a house are too low.
 
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