Whole Leaf Tobacco

Vuelta Abajo

deluxestogie

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I kilned the sample of Maryland-grown Vuelta Abajo leaf (assumed to be TI 1453; PI 405668) that I received from Jitterbugdude for 4 weeks. The leaf shape and vein pattern is suggestive of a wrapper type, though ARS-GRIN dubiously calls it an Oriental. [Their database states that it was collected in Cuba, even though the original accession document indicates only "South America," and the ARS-GRIN received it second-hand via the USDA in 1975. So we don't really know when it was actually collected from Cuba.]

I will start by saying that if you prefer medium-to-full-bodied premium cigars in a medium EMS wrapper, you should consider growing this variety. It needs to be sweated or kilned. The air-cured leaf is not ready to go.

I rolled a small corona size (5" x 45 ring) puro of Vuelta Abajo leaf, using two entire leaves. Both were nearly flawless, so I stemmed them and picked one strip for a wrapper. There would be no binder for this small cigar. All of the leaf was in low-to-medium case. I misted the selected wrapper. The wrapper leaf came into case more slowly than thin, shade-grown wrapper, but much faster than, say, CT Broadleaf. It exhibits good strength and stretch.

The leaf burns well, producing a light, gray-white ash. Tongue taste of the wrapper is subtly vegetal, with no bite or bitterness. The smoke is smooth in the mouth, but offers a slight, pleasant edge in the nose, and an eventual tingling of the lips. There is no sweetness, and likewise, none of the pungency of CT Shade, or the heaviness of CT Broadleaf. I notice a hint of light-roasted coffee, and a woodiness with a dusting of musty cumin.

Does it taste like a Havana cigar? Yes. Each label of Havana is blended differently, and has a different taste and aroma, but all of them share a subtle and distinctive quality that I'm unable to describe. This little Vuelta Abajo corona reminded me instantly of the last Romeo y Julieta Havana cigar that I smoked, a somewhat stronger and heavier smoke than mine. But the magic is there. It's in the variety.

Interestingly, is also reminds me a little of the distinctive aroma of Comstock Spanish, a variety developed in Wisconsin from an unidentified strain of Havana leaf nearly 150 years ago. Now, Comstock does not remind me of Romeo y Julieta. Comstock has a richer, somewhat heavier flavor--leaning toward dark chocolate, and lacks the subtlety of the Vuelta Abajo. So the Vuelta Abajo leaf is different, and, in my opinion, significantly better.

With nearly every cigar that I roll and smoke, I recognize an additional "missing" ingredient that might be added to improve the flavor, aroma or balance of the cigar. Not true with this one. The two Vuelta Abajo leaves grossly appeared to be from a similar stalk position, so this was a completely unblended cigar, and a truly great cigar. The nicotine hit leans toward the robust, but not overpowering (which the Romeo y Julieta was). I'm burning my fingertips as I write this.

You may or may not like the taste and aroma of a Vuelta Abajo puro, but it's the closest I've come to a true Havana taste in a cigar that I've rolled. I suspect that Vuelta Abajo, wrapped in a light CT Shade might approximate the Davidoff Havanas of yesteryear.

Vuelta Abajo is certainly a variety that others will want to plant and explore. I don't recall Randy's comments on growth, suckers, pests and productivity, but the finished leaf is a winner.

Bob
 

SmokesAhoy

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Does anyone else notice themselves salivating when they read Bob's smoke reports ?
 

Jitterbugdude

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Bob, I guess I'm a day late and a dollar short. I just rolled two Puros yesterday and thought I'd let them rest a few days before smoking. Mine were kilned for 3 weeks. I should have sent some Vuelta Abajo shade leaf too but forgot.

I have plenty of seed. If anyone wants seed, send me a PM. I'm going to save the bulk of it for the "keeper of the seedbank"

Randy B
 

johnlee1933

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I've never really liked cigars. I'm afraid if I ever sat down wind of him, that I might.
On Saturday I went to my RC model annual cookout and flying session. Like many cigar smokers I kinda move away when I light up so as not to offend. A new member's wife (a lady I'd never met) walked over and said "What's that you're smoking? It smells really good." I have to admit it was a first for me and as I told her I swelled up just a little.

John
 

Boboro

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They got pills for that. Just turn on the t.v. You'll be fly'in high in no time. (if it last longer than 3 hr. see a girl doc. about it).
 

SmokesAhoy

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Girl docs are important. You want to make sure your issue is handled properly :)
 

SmokesAhoy

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Jbd, the grin lists this as not quite 3 feet tall with 1 foot long leaves, would you say that was accurate for your grow?
 

Smokin Harley

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My Vuelta Abajo harvest impressed me very much as did Criollo98 . Last weekend I bagged the last of my kilned 2015 crop . When I get time in the rolling room , I'll take a pic of my bagged total harvest . And with a note of certainty , I grew 11 "successful" varieties and ordered 50 of the vapor proof bags to store the harvest. With the last of the kilned leaf sorted by plant position (volado, seco, viso, ligero plus what few that became binder / wrapper quality) bagged up, I used 46 of those bags.
Vuelta plants grew to a solid 3 feet ,and even approached 4 feet . The leaf quality is outstanding . Leaf length from stem to tip was a good 12 inches long. Remember now this was grown in good old typical Will County Illinois U.S. of A. soil with some minor easily obtained supplements and without any use of pesticides.
If I can grow it this nice ...almost anyone can .
My wife thoroughly enjoyed watching me marvel at my successful tobacco crop. She would leave for work in the morning and be just as happy as I was after coming home seeing me (in her words) "Playing farmer with my tobacco" .
Sounds like I may have to go trough my seed supply and make sure i have some Comstock Spanish ...the sound of the chocolate sounds like a welcome addition to the flavor profile list.
 
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