Cigar Reviews info on 20 Sep 2010
What many people don’t seem to know, is that the most famous two types of “Tabacco Negro Cubano”, the Criollo and Corojo (intended for wrapper leaves), are actually no longer cultivated in their original forms. During the years hybrid variants have been genetically engineered to be more resistant to various diseases the tend to befall tobacco and influence its quality. Still, the cultivation process hasn’t changed much in the past centuries, and most of it is still done by hand, using old techniques and tools.
After intensely loosening the soil with animal carriages, the 9 month long process of tobacco growth begins in the month of June. From then on each leaf is controlled regularly by farmers, until it is time for the harvest, which in itself is a process that requires between 16 and 17 weeks of work, depending on the type of plant.
Leaves are picked from the bottom, progressing towards the top. The Maňanita leaves are the closest to the soil and are too small for cigars, so they are mostly used for cigarillos. The picked leaves have now to be cured for a certain amount of time, and are transported to the curing barns, where they will be air-cured for at least 20 days in the case of wrapper tobacco, and around 2 months for fillers and binders. After that the leaves are taken to the Escogidas for fermentation, which lasts for a month or more for the wrappers, binders and fillers, while the fillers and binders are then, after moistening and various classifications, submitted to another round of fermentation. Tobacco intended for Cohibas is cured for a third time, which is one of the factors that made them famous. All leaves are then aged, but depending on classification for different periods of time. While wrappers can be aged for only six months, Ligero takes at least two years of aging. The Volado and Seco are aged for around one to one and a half years. Of course all of them can be aged longer, which increases their quality. Most “Limitada” cigars are made with tobacco that has extra age on it.