The 5 primings of tobacco and blending a cigar

xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
So many of us know about the tobacco primings (and if you don't . . . just pretend like I am), Valado, Seco, Viso, Ligero, Corono (from bottom to top).

Some cigars are made from Ligero (Diesel/5 Vegas Triple A, I think), but what about Corona? Is the top-most priming just too tough for a cigar? Is a cigar composed of only Valado too weak/flavorless to even bother with?

Comments

  • jsnakejsnake Kansas CityPosts: 5,764 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting information.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    From an interview Alex did about PA tobacco and AJ Fernandez(http://robustojoe.com/miscellaneous/svenson-interview):

    Maduro literally translates to “ripe” in Spanish. Tobacco is grown and reaches maturity in about 90 days. After it is grown, it is picked and taken into a curing barn for 45 days where the leaves turn from green to brown as the water and chlorophyll leave the leaf. From there it is taken into fermentation. Fermentation is a process that breaks down the tannic components of the leaf. There are many rough and edgy qualities to the tobacco while it is still fresh and the fermentation process breaks these down. Fermentation is a lot like composting actually. Fermentation takes several years in many cases and as the tobacco ferments, it darkens.

    Some people will dye their wrapper black through actually coloring it or a process called boiling or cooking the leaf. Some people do it once the leaf is naturally fermented to a maduro and use this to even the color and make it look more aesthetic (a practice generally accepted) and others who are dishonest will take tobacco that is not ready yet and is not fully fermented and hence not black and use the coloring process to cover it up (generally unaccepted).

    Abdel [AJ Fernandez] does neither. PA Broadleaf is very expensive given fermentation time and he is in love with the process. He likes showing the natural look of the leaf from the natural process. The downside to this is that there is a lot of color variation. Not just brand to brand, but sometimes box to box but the flavor is always the same.

    In terms of texture, a tobacco plant has 5 primings, Valado, Seco, Viso, Ligero, Corona (that is the order from bottom to top). The lower primings, which get less sun, are typically thinner and finer while the top primings are much heavier, thicker and tougher… like leather almost. The top primings not only get more sun, but are also picked 2 weeks later than the bottom so they also benefit from more ground nutrients from the root in the last two weeks. As you work your way up the plant, the lower primings have less body or strength and the top primings have the most. So when a blender picks a specific tobacco seed and country, that is only part of it. He also has to pick which part of the plant the leaf comes from.
  • j0z3rj0z3r Posts: 9,403
    xmacro:
    Some cigars are made from Ligero (Diesel/5 Vegas Triple A, I think), but what about Corona? Is the top-most priming just too tough for a cigar? Is a cigar composed of only Valado too weak/flavorless to even bother with?

    I've read that ligero can have poor combustion if not properly fermented, so I'd imagine the same would be true of the corona leaves, another thought is that many may be too small to utilize in a long filler blend, I don't know this for a fact though, just giving my thoughts. As for the lower primings, to the best of my knowledge they are often used to add balance to the cigar, such as taming the stronger ligeros as well as creating a cigar that will burn properly as they have better combustion properties.

    It would be cool if Alex weighed in on this and set us straight...I think I might be on the right track with some of it, but I just don't know for sure.
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    All very good information on the subject. I for one would like to know which cigars use more of the corona? It would make a good comparison as to which gives more flavor or strength, as in, say all ligero cigars. I'd like to have a all corona cigar.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    Diamond Crown Maximus uses "only the finest ligero oscuro wrappers..." that are "selected from the choicest upper corona primings"


  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    kuzi16:
    Diamond Crown Maximus uses "only the finest ligero oscuro wrappers..." that are "selected from the choicest upper corona primings"
    >
    wait . . . wut? Alex said that the ligero and corona are two separate primings, but this description makes it sound like corona is a general area of the plant instead of a specific level of leaf

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭
    xmacro:
    kuzi16:
    Diamond Crown Maximus uses "only the finest ligero oscuro wrappers..." that are "selected from the choicest upper corona primings"
    >
    wait . . . wut? Alex said that the ligero and corona are two separate primings, but this description makes it sound like corona is a general area of the plant instead of a specific level of leaf

    if you want to get technical...
    there are more than just 5 primings.... kinda.
    for example:
    on the Criollo plant the primings from top to bottom outside of Cuba are listed as: CORONA - LIGERO - VISO - SECO - VOLADO

    the Corojo plant has a history of different primings(top to bottom): CORONAS - CENTRO GORDO - CENTRO FINO - CENTRO LIGERO - UNO Y MEDIO - LIBRE DE PIE

    there are also different names for different plants, traditions, harvesting styles, etc...
    There are up to 8 primings of a tobacco plant depending on what type of plant it is.

    in the non-Cuban market the top leaves that can be used have come to been known as ligero. often the corona leaves are to small and are not used.

    this tradition of naming the primings may have the entire top of the plant being "ligero" and those "ligero leaves" being sub divided into "caronas"

    please correct me if im wrong, alex.
  • cabinetmakercabinetmaker Posts: 2,561
    kuzi16:
    xmacro:
    kuzi16:
    Diamond Crown Maximus uses "only the finest ligero oscuro wrappers..." that are "selected from the choicest upper corona primings"
    >
    wait . . . wut? Alex said that the ligero and corona are two separate primings, but this description makes it sound like corona is a general area of the plant instead of a specific level of leaf

    if you want to get technical...
    there are more than just 5 primings.... kinda.
    for example:
    on the Criollo plant the primings from top to bottom outside of Cuba are listed as: CORONA - LIGERO - VISO - SECO - VOLADO

    the Corojo plant has a history of different primings(top to bottom): CORONAS - CENTRO GORDO - CENTRO FINO - CENTRO LIGERO - UNO Y MEDIO - LIBRE DE PIE

    there are also different names for different plants, traditions, harvesting styles, etc...
    There are up to 8 primings of a tobacco plant depending on what type of plant it is.

    in the non-Cuban market the top leaves that can be used have come to been known as ligero. often the corona leaves are to small and are not used.

    this tradition of naming the primings may have the entire top of the plant being "ligero" and those "ligero leaves" being sub divided into "caronas"

    please correct me if im wrong, alex.
    Nerd. I mean that in the best way. I wish I was that cigar nerdy.
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    kuzi16:
    Diamond Crown Maximus uses "only the finest ligero oscuro wrappers..." that are "selected from the choicest upper corona primings"


    ah, good to know.
  • denniskingdennisking Posts: 3,703 ✭✭✭
    no joke, this makes me want to go out and buy a Diamond Crown Maximus. Especially after reading the whole story. Grown my Oliva Family, blended and produced by Chateau Fuente for JC Newman. I see winner written all over this. Then again, it could be too much of a great thing..... nah.
  • FourtotheflushFourtotheflush Posts: 2,555
    This makes me want to drive to Stockbridge and take a tobacoo farming & harvesting course!
  • FourtotheflushFourtotheflush Posts: 2,555
    Although I wasnt able to find a specific farming course for tobacco, I was able to find this.... http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id160/id160.pdf Although I think that this is more geared toward cigarette tobacco.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Fourtotheflush:
    Although I wasnt able to find a specific farming course for tobacco, I was able to find this.... http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id160/id160.pdf Although I think that this is more geared toward cigarette tobacco.
    There seems to be lots of talk in that pdf about the "fire-curing" abilities of different leaves as well as the air curing ability. Not sure, but it sounds like they're talking about the ability to cook the tobacco. Still, it's an interesting read to hear about all the considerations that go into growing, when to pick, how to pick, etc
  • mrpillowmrpillow Posts: 464
    Fire curing isn't really cooking per say, it's just a different method of curing tobacco using the smoke from smoldering fires instead of open air.
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