Whole Leaf Tobacco

Would de-stemming wrapper/binder for long-term aging be ok?

greygoose

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While I'm waiting for my order from WLT, I've been wondering about something that I wasn't sure if I should even be asking...
I've always been someone that likes to save the best for last, so naturally I'm kinda into wanting to sort and grade my "pretty" wrapper/binders for long term aging and use the "ugly" stuff first and save the best for when I get better at rolling. I'm wondering, assuming I have my binders and wrappers at medium case, would de-stemming them while I'm sorting and grading them have a negative effect on long term aging and storing? My thoughts are to have them sorted left leaf, right leaf, and stack them either flat or folded. Will have them in coolidors in the vapor proof bags with 65% boveda's. In case of when I want to roll, it'll be pretty much ready to go, other than bringing the wrapper up to high-case. Just wondering if anyone stores long term this way, I just don't want to go through all of this and later find out my wrappers and binders lost their integrity and I end up with some really expensive fillers. I think I saw somewhere companies like padron's destem sometimes up to a few months before rolling, some for up to 48 hours, some right before sending it for wrapping..Thanks in advance for the inputs!
 

ChinaVoodoo

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As a matter of opinion, I wouldn't do it because it is not uncommon for my leaf to be improperly sealed and for it to dry out. (My own doing). The mid ribs help to keep them from getting damaged. It's like a handle that I can use to pull a leaf out. If I grab the bag in hand, or stack other bags on top, the ribs strengthen the pile and prevent crushing the leaves all in one go.
 

greygoose

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As a matter of opinion, I wouldn't do it because it is not uncommon for my leaf to be improperly sealed and for it to dry out. (My own doing). The mid ribs help to keep them from getting damaged. It's like a handle that I can use to pull a leaf out. If I grab the bag in hand, or stack other bags on top, the ribs strengthen the pile and prevent crushing the leaves all in one go.
That's a good point, would stacking too much leaf crush/damage hands of wrappers? I see those massive pilons that they use for fermentation, I'm guessing if there's enough humidity/elasticity then less chance of things being damaged?
 

Charly

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I remove the mid rib of all of my leaves before I store/age/kiln them (to save space).
ChinaVoodoo is right : it might be easier to store them with their rib, but it works without it too.
Eiter with or without, just be sure to take good care of them to avoid crushing them (too dry) or letting them mold (too humid).
 

MarcL

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I do like to put more preparation into the leaf then most it seems. Though there are different stages, I keep an eye on it all. I do like what was said above.
There was/is some fx smith or something leaf (wads I believe they were referred to as) that @webmost has been supplying that was found in a something somewhere that sounds similar. Maybe he can chime in.
 

webmost

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Once upon a time, while wandering round the basement of FX Smith's Sons 155-year-old cigar factory, I chanced upon a case of neglected CT Shade. Each leaf had been dampened and de-stemmed. Then 25 left sides were loosely folded into a wad, and 25 right sides were folded into a wad, and four or five left sided wads were put in a bag, then four or five right-sided wads were separately bagged, then probably 4 dozen bags were in a case. (And by the word "case", I mean a box... nothing to do with dampness.) So there was a whole schidt pile of these prepped wrappers just sitting there neglected.

Exact provenance is uncertain. Far as Smith could remember, some 10 or 12 years earlier, a Dominican cigar factory intended to send a torcedor or two to a cigar show, & so they shipped these prepped CT shade wrappers to him to clear customs & then for him to store. The torcedores would pick them up en route.

Note, however, that on another occasion I found a couple boxes of similarly bagged robusto & Churchill molded bunches ripe to be wrapped, neglected in the same basement. These were also of uncertain provenance, but reputed to be Honduran. Further, insofar as I was able to distinguish, they tasted Honduran. Supposedly, there had been more boxes of these, but who knows what happened to them. These molded bunches were also bagged in batches of a couple dozen clockwise, a couple dozen counter-clockwise. So the cigar house in question may actually have been Honduran. I wrapped all these bunches with some of the shade and toted them back to Smith. Time had loosened many of these dolls. They smoked well, tho.

Last, it makes common sense that the CT shade wrapper would have been cheaper & easier to source from FX Smith, who had a constant supply of leaf from nearby CT, rather than sending it down to wherever, then prepping it, then shipping it back, paying customs twice. So, if I were to detective the series of half-remembered events, I would deduce that a Honduran house sent Smith a batch of molded gar bunches and asked him to have his gals de-stem and wad up a batch of CT shade, & set this all aside for his torcedores to pick up en route to a show.

Anyhoo, life intervened, & the goods were left a-settin there.

I still have a quarter-schidtload of these wraps. I love them. They readily damp up easily in my baccy conditioning chamber. They come out flexible and strong, and they lay down smooth. Strong enough I have even used some as binders, time to time. After so many years in storage, and a couple of dampenings, they have lost their gloss, of course; but. then again, CT shade is not real glossy to start with.

Here, you see a hand of Indonesian wrapper I also scored from FXSS, a bags of wads, and a bag of Churchill bunches.



I still have quite a stack of the Indo, too. It works fabulous when you can find a blend that likes Indo. But that is not often the case, with this odd leaf, which, much like me, does not like to play well with others. (And by the word "case", I mean an instance... nothing to do with dampness.)
 

greygoose

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Wow thanks for all the tips and replies! @MarcL I just got my leaf last night, in the process of sorting, I’m finding I’m actually quite enjoying doing grading and sorting! @webmost thanks for the pics! I just realized your cigar video is the first video I watched last year about rolling cigars, I just revisited it again in preparation to roll today, read your post entirely with your voice in my head lol.

I went “stem deep” on my 1st ever order, got 10 pounds worth and a mold. Looks like de-stemming is ok for long term storage/aging, thanks guys. I think I’ll give that a try, And ambient humidity is great today and I’ve been slowly casing the hands overnight, will finish grading and sorting.

thanks @FmGrowit for great service and supurb packaging. Leaf quality is great and generous!
 

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MarcL

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So that looks good. I feel for you now. I want to add something and find myself reiterating on over attentiveness, minimal finessing and maximum real estate. (get the crinkles out)
Its good to be you right now.
 

GreenDragon

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I do something similar but on a much smaller scale. I’ll pull out 8-10 binder/wrapper leaves, de-stem, and case medium high, book them, fold, and store in gallon bags until I’m ready to roll. If I’m rolling frequently I use water and store them in the refrigerator. If I’m just occasionally rolling I use Rum and store them with the rest of the leaves.

This afternoon’s efforts:
6E7B5D0A-1895-4722-BB38-F99CCD8B6BAB.jpeg
 

greygoose

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So that looks good. I feel for you now. I want to add something and find myself reiterating on over attentiveness, minimal finessing and maximum real estate. (get the crinkles out)
Its good to be you right now.
Thank you @MarcL do you mean try to get the crinkles and wrinkles out while I’m grading or sorting? I’m being super careful, haven’t graded yet but just making sure I’m not ripping any leaf while de-stemming. I forgot to get a chevetta but I’ve been using scissors and a pizza roller lol
 

MarcL

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Yes but, eventually. I feel like I'm doing everything to lead to being most capable to manipulate and, place the leaf as needed to succeed in a successful bunch.
I am in a ever growing relationship with the leaf. You should find that time investment in absorption yields the highest manipulation.
 
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