Whole Leaf Tobacco

Tobacco of the Canary Islands - Puros Palmeros

deluxestogie

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Some FTT members (including me) are growing in 2014 a cigar variety known as Hacienda del Cura (the Priest's Hacienda). Knucklehead provided me with the link for the quote below.

Cigar tobacco has been produced in the Canary Islands (a group of Spanish islands located off the African coast of Morocco) for over 60 years. Following the US embargo of Cuba, production of fine cigars thrived in the Canaries.

Below is a translation of a Web page from puropalmero.com. The original Spanish was pretty well hashed by Google Translate, so I've cleaned it up. (I don't speak Spanish worth a hoot, but my literary Spanish isn't too bad.)

Puros Palmeros said:
Palmero Cigars

The tender green of seedlings fills Palmero land in the months of November and December. It is the unmistakable color of tobacco. For the grower Augusto Gonzalez: "the best tobacco in the world is in Piñar del Rio, Cuba and La Palma ; so it is said; is said and will be said."

The production cycle begins with the sowing of the seed, and ends with the fermentation of "pilones" of leaves, arriving afterwards in the hands of artisans. But not before being careful to save a handful of seed for next year, carefully chosen from the best plants I had.

The craft of tobacco was introduced to La Palma in the mid nineteenth century, with the return of immigrants who had gone to Cuba in search of fortune. Their fame and recognition comes from afar.

Current seed came from Cuba in the 1940s; popularly called "pelo de oro" [golden hair], its presence in the post-war period meant that many families were able to subsist by cultivating a handful of tobacco, a work in which all members were collaborating. Women, at night, stood guard over the small tobacco plants-- with "jachos," or torches, to avoid being attacked by the "roscas," worms that appear after sunset .

Sharing a close relationship with the Caribbean, in the island of La Palma the terminology of cigar manufacturing, over the years, has passed into popular speech with a different meaning than the original. The shape and size of the cigars also have their particular names. Panetelas, long and slender; Coronas, large; Viuditas - sounding more elegant than the original "brevas", small and with a little tail; Nuncios [diplomat or consul], large with considerable thickness.

Not only the men, who predominate, work in the meticulous art of blending the best leaves, Palmera women also know the secret legacy of generations that - I'm not sure why - their feminine hands, hardened by the ferment of tobacco caused by daily labor, increased the production of cigars.

A cigar factory, or "chinchal" as it is called in Cuba, is considered a small business. It is presided over in La Palma by a cloth-skirted table, where they will put the stemmed leaf. On it, a hardwood board, usually "palo blanco"; the machine [?], a simple mechanical cutter blade and a "huevero" - a jar containing artisanal cigar glue. Simple tools are handled, along with the press, with agile and skilled hands.

Palmero Cigars are synonymous with quality, of a job well done . Some, taking advantage of our fame, pretend to name as Palmeros other cigars exported from the island. To prevent fraud we have taken the step of having all true La Palma cigars bear an official seal.

One of the most coveted values of this tobacco is its aroma, which follows from good harvests in the areas of La Caldera - from the Hacienda del Cura of the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente - La Rosa (Villa de Mazo), Breña Alta, Breña Baja, El Paso and Santa Cruz de La Palma. Also they form a round, cylindrical cigar with an even burn and a white ash.

A crafted cigar begins the ritual ceremony of a good smoke. Experts rinse the mouth to taste it better; we squeeze it near the ear to hear crackles - a lot or a little depending on moisture; we light it with a wooden match. Above all, it relays to us relaxation and tranquility, allowing us to envelope ourselves in its aroma and engage in a meaningful dialogue with its smoke.

http://www.puropalmero.com/tabaco_palmero.html
Years ago, I was able to buy boxes of Flamenco cigars, made in La Palma. I found them in US tobacconist shops, as well as in Barcelona. They were wonderful. I haven't seen them in over a decade. My favorite was a torpedo-shaped cigar that was intentionally pressed in the box, so they came out slightly squished into a triangular shape. (One tobacconist in Virginia looked at the handful of "misshapen" cigars that I carried to the counter from his humidor. He apologized for their condition, and gave me a discount. I smiled all the way home. Unfortunately, that was the last time I ever saw them. I suppose they didn't meet customer expectations of a proper cigar.)
Bob
 

darren1979

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Thats interesting Bob, im bidding on some cigars at the moment from the canaries. It will be intresting to see how they smoke.Also I've managed to source two lots of 'pelo de oro ' 1 direct from an old man in Cuba also the second lot from a gene bank donated in 1936. I plan to do a side by side grow to see if there is any difference.
 

Knucklehead

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Credit where credit is due. I was provided the link by a European member that has been with the forum for a year now. He hasn't made any posts yet so I'm respecting his privacy. I have invited him to start a grow blog and join in the discussions. I hope he will, he seems like a really nice guy.
 

Markw

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It will be interesting to see how they compare when the two strains are grown together, Lucky I have still got a big sack full in my loft ageing. I found that the La Palma leaf to be quite wide compared to 142. If it is any help here is a picture of one of the leaves from the plant.

Havana leaf.jpg
 

Knucklehead

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I'm growing some of each. I'll try to document the comparison throughout the whole grow. I'll have to build a kiln this year, suspense is going to get the better of me with these cigar varieties.
 

Knucklehead

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Photo images for Hacienda del Cura. Mostly Island pictures, but some photos of the tobacco also: https://www.google.com/search?q=Hacienda+del+Cura&client=firefox-a&hs=AhP&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=mRNBU7ivHLDMsQTnmYCYDw&ved=0CFgQ7Ak&biw=1344&bih=735&dpr=1.25

An article in Cigar Aficionado about cigars from the Canary Islands. Here's an excerpt of something I wasn't aware of: But not for smokers in the United States. Canary Island cigars sold in the States cannot have Cuban tobacco in their blends because of the American embargo against Cuba. "Our cigars for the U.S. market are admittedly lighter than our normal ones produced here," says Fernando Wanguemert, the general manager of CITA's cigar division. "We changed over the Cuban tobacco for other tobaccos. We had to."

The whole article: http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/The-Canary-Island-Connection_7411/p/1
 
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