Do you know how cigars get their flavors?
We all know that cigars are all about natural, nutty, spicy, sweet, Coffee, and many more flavors. People love smoking a variety of Cigars to experience those flavors. There are many cigar brands in the market; all of them are famous for their distinctive tastes. But have you ever thought about how cigars get their flavors? Well, this article gives you all the details about how cigars get their flavors. There are many influencing factors starting from cultivation up to rolling a cigar.
1. Selection of seed and variety of tobacco and crop management
2. Climate and soil for the cultivation
3. Harvesting and processing, and aging of tobacco leaves
4. Leaf selection and Rolling the Cigar
Selection of seed and variety of tobacco and Crop Management
Cigar makers use only a few varieties for making cigars; they are the best. The process starts from selecting the seed. They extract the seeds from a healthy mother plant, sort and segregate them to choose the seeds of uniform size. That will ensure uniformity in the growth and size of a tobacco plant and have consistency in maturing of leaves. Seeds are germinated on a seedbed under a controlled environment so that the seedlings will have a healthy early-stage development.
When the seedlings reach the desired growth, they are transplanted to the field according to a set goal and crop management depending upon where the tobacco leaves go in a Cigar. The filler, binder, and wrapper accordingly apply different farming processes.
The typical tobacco plant varieties used for Cigar making are Connecticut Broadleaf, Shade leaf, Havana, Cuban Criollo, Habano 200, Havana 608, Corojo 99, Mexican filler, etc. The first aspect that influences how Cigars get their flavors.
Climate and soil for the cultivation of tobacco
Be it any crop, climate, and soil have their influence in plant growth and its quality. Tobacco grows in dry soil regions in a warm climate with decent rainfall and water availability. Tobacco farming is common all over the world, but not all tobacco is qualified for cigar making. Cigar tobacco requires the best conditions like exposure to sunlight, humidity, good mineral content in the soil, and the soil’s PH level. These all are the factors that impact the development of flavor in Cigars. Leaves used in different parts of a cigar are grown in various places, giving them a unique taste.
Top of the list countries which grow Cigar Tobacco are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, USA, Jamaica, and Cameroon, and even here, only specific regions grow Cigar tobacco. These regions have the best tobacco farming conditions in varying magnitudes—the second aspect of how cigars get their flavors.
Harvesting and processing of Tobacco leaves
This process is a crucial step where the leaves develop the flavors, texture, and color. The entire process generally can last for more than a year.
Harvesting: - Tobacco leaves are named based on the position of the leaves on a plant. Ligero is the top leaf, then Viso and Seco in the middle and Volado at the bottom. Each leaf has its uniqueness depending on its exposure to the sunlight and the time taken to mature. Volado is harvested first, and it takes about one month to complete the harvesting, so the Ligero get maximum exposure to sunlight and thus gets a more robust flavor.
Curing: After harvesting, the leaves are dried to remove the moisture for some days. It is called curing. The typical curing adapted in the cigar industry is air curing. Leaves hung in a curing barn and were closely monitored for uniform development of the texture and color until the leaves turn brown.
Fermentation: Before going to the fermentation process, leaves are sorted according to the texture, size, and moisture level and kept in bundles for 3-6 months till it acquires the strength to go through intense fermentation.
Once the leaves reach the desired consistency, the processers move the bundles into the fermentation room, unwrap them, stack them in piles, and leave it for the microbes to work. The moisture and pressure generate heat where the bacteria break down the natural components.
Aging: After fermentation, the leaves are placed in bales for years to settle and further enhance the flavors. These are crucial factors in how Cigars get their flavors.
Leaf selection and Rolling the Cigar:
This step is like cooking a lip-smacking dish out of the best ingredients by a MasterChef. Yes, it is done by the master blenders and Torcedors. They select different leaves for filler, binder, and wrapper and assemble them perfectly. Again the filler is a blend of assorted leaves. Either can be a mix of tobacco leaves from various regions or different types.
To understand the concept better, let us compare two full-bodied top-rated cigars, the first one Le Bijou 1922, made by the master maker Don Jose Garcia and the second one is Don
Carlos Belicoso by Arturo Fuente.
The taste notes of Le Bijou described by Cigaraficianado ” that conveys uncanny impressions of dark chocolate-covered raisins, savory leather and a sweet-and-salty finish that resonates on the palate.” Le Bijou uses fillers, a binder, and a longleaf wrapper, all from Nicaragua. An example of blending different tobacco leaves grown in the same region to create a unique taste.
Moving to Don Carlos Belicoso, a top-rated masterpiece from the Fuentes. The Cigarficianado describes, “Its wrapper-to-filler ratios resulted in a perfect combination of the Cameroon cover leaf’s sweet-and-sour properties along with the Dominican binder and filler, which gave the cigar a zesty, nutty quality full of shaved almonds and candied orange peel.” They achieved this by mixing Dominican fillers aged for ten years with Dominican binder and Cameroon wrapper. The Fuente art of Cigarmaking.
It was a long read. It’s time to enjoy a smoke. Light a cigar and enjoy the smoke. Suppose you don’t have one Order here, but it will take some time to reach you.