Whole Leaf Tobacco

Puerto Rican heirloom tobacco?

hooyoo

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I've been trying to find out more about Puerto Rican native/heirloom tobacco varieties, but have hit a roadblock.

'Don Collins' makes their cigars with 'Hoja Prieto' and mentions 'Pantoja' and 'Vaca de Linga' on their website (http://www.bonitto.com/DCC2010/about-history.html), but I have not been able to find information about these varieties anywhere else.

Similarly, one or two old books talk about 'Utuado X', and there is an accession in the USDA called 'Utuado', but beyond those handful of references I've found nothing on that variety either. The USDA also has accessions for a few 'Olor' varieties from PR and one called 'Ceniza'. Not sure if these Olors are the same as ones from the Dominican Republic, or a native line.

Does anyone have experience growing or using any of these, or other traditional Puerto Rican tobacco cultivars? I've seen lots of information, history, and research on tobaccos in the DR and Cuba, so I'm curious why there's so much less information for PR. I'd especially love to know if there are PR tobaccos that have been around since the Taino, like Cuban 'Criollo'. Thanks, all!
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I was in PR, and was given Piloto seed by Don Rey that was meant for a new venture not under his brand, which he was partners in. I forgot the name of it. I brought an unlabeled bundle of those cigars home. I don't think it survived.

Anyway, thats not a traditional PR seed, but we have proliferated it and several forum members have it.

I talked to Club del Turro, a newer organic brand. I'm pretty sure their seeds are Corojo, (they appear to be friends with Aurora, maybe the seed is from them?).

So I don't know if anyone is using the old seeds except for Don Collins. Why not just ask them directly? Explain your interest in history and preserving genetics. Ask nice.
 

deluxestogie

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I can't help with oldies, nor why the history is so limited. I have grown the following:
  • PR Olor (1377)
  • PR Olor (1542)
  • Cigar Wrapper (Dom Rep)
  • Selección Olor (1543)
  • Piloto Cubano [seed from PR, sent by @ChinaVoodoo]
The "Cigar Wrapper (Dom Rep)" is Dominican Olor. It is nearly indistinguishable from PR Olor (1377), PR Olor (1542) and Selección Olor (1543)

Bob
 

hooyoo

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Found some more through research:

"Ceniza" (available through ARS-GRIN) is an unusual variety, selected from native stock in PR, that has glaucous (blue-ish) foliage and requires different curing than other tobacco leaf. It was popular in 1930.

"Utuado X" (possibly the same as the "Utuado" available through GRIN) was reportedly a very promising variety with excellent traits that agronomists were hoping to plant more widely. Cured and fermented well.

All of the 'Olor' varieties from PR were originally brought over from the Dominican Republic, however one of them ("Seleccion Olor" - also available from GRIN) was found to have exceptional resistance to black shank disease. Another variety, 'Beinhart 1000', was a selection of Quin Diaz, which was itself an 'Olor' selection. 'Beinhart 1000' has such robust disease resistance, particularly to black shank and brown spot, that it's been used in subsequent breeding programs. I'd be curious if its quality holds up to other Dominican Olor varieties.

Found an old reference to 'Comerio' leaf being the most well-renowned throughout the island about a century ago. One company claims to use 'Hoja Comerio' in its cigars - I've reached out to them to find out more, as well as to Don Collins company, in the hopes of seeing if there's a seed source or further information.
 
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