Whole Leaf Tobacco

Red Virginia

Bex

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Sorry if this has been asked before - searched around, though, and couldn't find an answer....
What exactly is Red Virginia? Is it a different strain of Virginia, or just a different process that is used on the leaf? The stuff I got was 'machine harvested' so that it was ripped up pretty badly, and unlike the gold Virginia leaves that come intact. But it appears that the Red Virginia is not nearly as mild as the gold or brightleaf. I was hoping that perhaps this was something that was done in the processing of it (so I could try to duplicate it, of course.....).....
 

Jitterbugdude

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As far as I know, Red Virginia is regular Brightleaf that has been flue cured but instead of the final temperature (stem drying phase) being about 165F it is raised to above 185F. This partially caramelizes the sugars, turning the leaf red and giving the leaf it's tangy flavor. I am not positive about the 185 number though because I thought caramelization in tobacco leaf began at somewhere near 230f. Maybe it should be 185C?
 

FmGrowit

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I'm not sure of the finish temperature, but the leaf is the same variety as the Lemon and Bright, but it is a ripe leaf from the mid and upper stalk position. Because the leaf is allowed to grow longer, it acquires more sugar and nicotine than less mature leaf.

When did you get the machine harvested leaf? I haven't sold any for about a year.
 

Bex

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I am in Ireland - get my stuff from the UK. There are a few distributors of it over here.

Edit: And I'm glad that it's just a different process. Frankly, I think what I have is Virginia, and, to be honest, I find most of the yellow Virginia kind of like sucking on a straw - way too mild. So, if I'm able to actually give a bit more bite to my 'product' through the process I use, I'm well pleased....!!

Edit 2: By the way, one of those distributors was able to provide hand picked red Virginia, so that it was far easier to process - the machine harvested stuff was fairly difficult (at least for me). I only did my first run of flue curing - if you can call it that - and have 'memorized' the temps, humidity, etc. But I would much prefer to produce something more toward Red Virginia - perhaps not quite a strong as the Red is on its own, but somewhere in between. If this is all controlled by the end stage temp, then is it possible to manipulate that in order to obtain the strength that you want??
 

FmGrowit

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If anyone in the UK is selling "Red", it's from me. Last year I sold a lot of machine harvested Red, but this year, everything I've sold has all been hand harvested. I supply a few different vendors in the UK, so you know the quality is as good as it gets.

In order to reduce the impact of Red, try blending it with a little Bright or Lemon...or even Turkish. The other way to reduce impact is to use the casing designed for Flue Cured types. I believe www.Whole-Leaf-Tobacco.co.UK has it in stock.
 

Bex

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I get it at a slightly better price than Whole Leaf...but indeed, it's a small world, that the UK suppliers are getting it through you!! I'm hoping, of course, to become a bit more 'self-sufficient'.....Whole Leaf states that it's the 'same leaf', just cured hotter at the end of the process. I'll have to see if I can bump up my little crockpot to hit maybe 185F or more....:)
 

DonH

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I think letting the leaves get more ripe would be better than excessively high temps during
curing.
 

deluxestogie

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My batch of upper-stalk leaf from Virginia Bright will go into the Cozy Can in about 3 days. I will be flue-curing it at the same temps (max 165ºF) as I used to get Lemon from the lower leaf. I'll know when it's done if I get "Red Virginia." I believe that I will.

Bob
 

Brown Thumb

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After flue curing about 6 good batches and doing a lot of reading.
my conclusion is I get bright Yellow leaf, I get lemon and I get red from the same batch. I have Dons leaf to compare it to.
It is all about grading the leaf. There is info out there about the grades and colors. I do not think it is done intentionally.
 

deluxestogie

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After flue curing about 6 good batches and doing a lot of reading.
my conclusion is I get bright Yellow leaf, I get lemon and I get red from the same batch. I have Dons leaf to compare it to.
It is all about grading the leaf. There is info out there about the grades and colors. I do not think it is done intentionally.
I have found the same thing. But with my leaf batches, I do see a trend as I move up the stalk, from lemon to medium yellow. I'm eager to see how my hoary upper leaf comes out.

Bob
 

Bex

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Fortunately, the walls of my freezer are metal, so it should be fine to bump up the temps, if needed. It would be interesting to ascertain if it is only the position of the leaves that makes the difference, or the temp itself. As the crockpot can apparently go to 'simmer' (just aroud 212F), hitting 185 or greater in the chamber should be doable. I would tend to think that perhaps the temperature is the key to this - the leaf I buy presumably just isn't from the lower part of the plant?? And yet I find all Virginia (the yellow/tan leaves) a bit mild for my taste. Straight red is sometimes a bit too strong, and sometimes fine on its own for me, so perhaps there is a way of increasing the temp for more flavor, but not increasing it too much where it might become a bit gaggy. I would be very interested, Deluxe, to see if you find a strong difference in the upper leaves you're about to do.....
 

Bex

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My batch of upper-stalk leaf from Virginia Bright will go into the Cozy Can in about 3 days. I will be flue-curing it at the same temps (max 165ºF) as I used to get Lemon from the lower leaf. I'll know when it's done if I get "Red Virginia." I believe that I will.

Bob
Keeping my eye on this. Just a bit of a reminder to update if the Red Virginia is a success. This is what I would like to accomplish - a good, stand-alone tobacco with a bit of a bite to it. Thanks!
 

CT Tobaccoman

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This is all very interesting. I thought that they were different types. Live and learn. I do know that the "Red" is very good, much more taste than lighter VA flue cured. In my blend now the red is the major part. Even a pure VA Red cigarette is not bad.
 

DGBAMA

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Here is a simple one, CT:
75% va red
20% Izmir
5% fire cured.

The amount of fire cured is small, but let the blend rest a few days before smoking and it permeates nicely without being overpowering. I love the Turkish flavor and the bit of fire cured adds a nice "fullness".
 

CT Tobaccoman

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Here is a simple one, CT:
75% va red
20% Izmir
5% fire cured.

The amount of fire cured is small, but let the blend rest a few days before smoking and it permeates nicely without being overpowering. I love the Turkish flavor and the bit of fire cured adds a nice "fullness".
I bet that is a good blend. But I have all this Maryland and Burley and pale brightleaf to get rid of. I have those three tobaccos--I'll try it.
 

Bex

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CT, I am eternally grateful! I have been trying to locate this thread for a few days, as I was wondering if there was any update from Deluxestogie as to the result of this 'test'. I was unable to find the thread! Thanks to you, I have found it. So now, my original question.....Is there any update as to the result of this?? :)
 

Jitterbugdude

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Maybe no updates from Bob but I am going to run a small batch up past 185 F to see what happens. I'll use mids and top leaves. Give me a week or two to report back. It rained all day yesterday so it'll probably be a few days before I get started.
 

Bex

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Excellent! I'll be interested in your result - I have read about scorching of tobacco leaves - bringing the temp up past 175F or so apparently does this - and it gives the leaf a reddish hue. I just wonder if this is actually what red virginia is - but can't find any info on this. I would love to give virginia a bit of a bite, so that, at least for me, it can be a standalone smoke....
 

Brown Thumb

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I got a lot of Red Leaf out of this batch. I held it in leaf wilting a extra 24 hrs trying to get as much green out that I could.
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