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Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 30 December 2013

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Of course, rolling a cigar is only one part of the art that goes into its creation. In fact, you could say it was really a small part of the totality of the art form. The real starting point is out in the hot sun, buried deep in nutritious soil and hand-plucked by calloused hands.

The type of soil being used, the types of seed that are planted - this is a pivotal part of the cigar creation process. Once a seed is planted, the next part of the process is determining when to pluck the seeds. This decision is made based on a number of factors - weather, time, history (how long does it normally take similar crops), and just plain intuition.

Next, the leaves are plucked from the tobacco plants in a particular order and gently - you can't just rip them off. Each plant has three different types of leaves, named for where they are located on the plant. The top leaf of the plant is known as the Ligero. The middle leaf is known as the Seco, and the bottom leaf is the Volado.

Each leaf will be used for a certain part of the cigar. The Ligero is the strongest of the leaves, because it gets the most sunlight. The Seco provides the most flavor, and the Volado is often used as a filler.

After the leaves are gently plucked from the plant, a tractor is carefully loaded with the harvest, which is then taken to a curing house, where the tobacco will be sewn together - by hand - and then hung on poles.

These poles, in turn, are hung within the curing house, depending upon the type and size of the leaves. There, the leaves bake in the heat provided by the sun, sucking out the moisture until the leaves turn brown.

Next, the tobacco leaves are placed in small piles, which are then placed in even larger piles. These stacks apply pressure and heat to the leaves and cause the fermentation process to begin. This is a critical step, as it removes the impurities from the leaves.

During this process, the stacks are sprayed with water in an effort to regulate the temperature. If the temperature rises too high, it will ruin the leaves - too low and the fermentation process won't fully work. Incredibly enough, the temperature in these stacks can rise up to over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Crazy town! Meanwhile, workers also stack and restack piles for an even implementation.

This takes about a month and a half. When the fermentation is completed, the leaves are moved to another location. Leaves are stacked atop burlap and layered on top of one another and relocated to a different room. After about 3 years of aging (depending upon a number of factors), the tobacco is taken to be hand sorted by color, size, and texture.

Next up, the leaves are hand-stemmed in a painstaking process. Once more, they are stacked and fermented for another two months or so. After that, they are placed in cedar boxes and aged for up to two more years.

Only after all of this can they be packed up in bales and sent off to be rolled.






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