Whats it take to create a Cigar?

So i was thinking about this over the weekend. What is the prcoess of creating a cigar? From having an idea that i want to make something that should taste like X. To having it on the shelves? Also how long does this process usually take?

Comments

  • KriegKrieg Posts: 5,092 ✭✭✭
    I remember Josh writing a blog about how long it takes to ferment cigar tobacco...it was a good read:How Long Does it Take to Ferment Tobacco?"
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    wow.... what a question.

    lemme see what i can do...
  • wife got me " the complete idiot's to cigars". i read it. then i went to a cigar seminar put on by one of the local shops that roll there own brand. wow alot of time and work goes into cigars.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    this is a difficult question to answer. there is just so much involved.
    i did my best to keep this to the "readers digest" version.

    tobacco seeds are tiny. almost microscopic. an entire fields worth can fit in a common table spoon. these seed are planted in individual cups in trays with about 150 to a tray. they are then placed in a nursery which is protected and shaded from the direct sun and weather. Germination takes approximately 38 to 45 days or till the plant is about 6 or so inches.

    here is a picture of a nursery in the DPG (my father) fields:
    image


    they are then planted in a field to grow

    day one:


    image

    day 15:
    image

    day 60:
    image

    by day 90 the tobacco may be ready to cut depending on the season.

    harvesting goes in primings. in the first priming (week one of harvest) the bottom set of leaves are harvested. the following week will get two more, and so on for the next month or so until all the leaves are harvested.


    we are now about 120-140 days deep in to this (from seed).


    these harvested leaves are then taken to the tobacco barns to begin curing. all this does is turn the leaves from green to brown. the barns are big and wooden and have doors and windows to help control the humidity

    image
    the curing process takes about 50-60 days. (220 days deep)

    now the fermentation begins. to ferment most cigar tobacco the leaves are first sorted by priming and quality all of this is done by hand:
    image

    once they are sorted, they are bundled together and stacked into piles called "pilones" (sp?) where they are covered and can build up heat, release ammonia and generally ferment. here is a picture of one being stacked:
    image

    and one of a fermentation room with many of these covered stacks just fermenting. :
    image
    the amonia smell is almost overwhelming in there.

    these pilones will get re-stacked every so many days depending on how high they want the temperature to get in them.


    after fermentation (up to 6 months (just over a year from seed at this point)) the leaves are sorted again for quality and the veins are taken out. again, this is done by hand. the wrapper quality tobacco gets sorted into binder and wrapper and the filler tobacco gets sorted into usable for long-filler and usable for short filler.

    considering the blend has already been decided (a process that could take months to years on its own) , the tobacco then goes to the rolling rooms.
    rollers tend to work in teams of two. the first person bunches and binds the cigar and places them into molds. the molds are placed into a press and left there for a little under an hour.
    the molds look like this:
    image
    the cigars are then taken out of the mold are are then given to the second person in the team who applies the wrapper and cap.
    in the picture below the person out of the shot is bunching and placing the cigar in the mold (seen on the very bottom). the woman in the pic is applying the wrapper.
    image


    here is a picture of the buncher and the press for the molds:
    image


    now that the cigar is bunched, wrapped and capped, it is time to put it to rest in the aging room for a nice long rest (6 months, a year, maybe more):
    image

    now that the cigars are ready to be shipped, they need to be banded and boxed:
    image


    image




    the tobacco that was planted 1.5 to 2 years ago is the tobacco that is being shipped out as a cigar that is ready to smoke today.

    this doesnt take into account the any special blends that require more age, fermentation, post roll age, etc...


    most estimate that from seed to your humidor, the tobacco in the cigar has seen about 200 different sets of hands.


    i hope that answers that for you.
  • DiamondogDiamondog Posts: 4,169
    Awesome breakdown!
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Wow kuzi, great run-down! Complete with personal pictures as well, fantastic!
  • fla-gypsyfla-gypsy Posts: 3,024 ✭✭
    This needs to be a Sticky! Great primer on production
  • RaschNutsRaschNuts Posts: 882
    Kuzi great write up. Although i guess i didnt word my question right. I was wondering more or less the creative side i guess. For example if i want to create a cigar and i have an idea of what i would like it to taste like. How would i go about that. Do they normally grow specific seeds to have different flavor profiles? or do they get to sample tobacco from growers and decide those will be the best then start to blend? etc...
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    RaschNuts:
    Kuzi great write up. Although i guess i didnt word my question right. I was wondering more or less the creative side i guess. For example if i want to create a cigar and i have an idea of what i would like it to taste like. How would i go about that. Do they normally grow specific seeds to have different flavor profiles? or do they get to sample tobacco from growers and decide those will be the best then start to blend? etc...
    have you read tre blending 101 thread?

    UPDATED


  • Alex_SvensonAlex_Svenson Posts: 1,224Moderator admin
    RaschNuts:
    Kuzi great write up. Although i guess i didnt word my question right. I was wondering more or less the creative side i guess. For example if i want to create a cigar and i have an idea of what i would like it to taste like. How would i go about that. Do they normally grow specific seeds to have different flavor profiles? or do they get to sample tobacco from growers and decide those will be the best then start to blend? etc...
    You would need to work with a blender. If you want to make a few boxes and have a ton of money it can be done. It all depends on how much you want to order and who you know. That said, if you are trying to break into the industry with you own label be prepared for a long run and hard work. Most people lose their life savings trying to do it and those that succeed is usually by chance. It is a tough biz to own a brand. The old saying is "how do you get a million dollars working in the cigar industry? Start with 3 million". It is a joke of course but there is a lot of truth in it.
  • JdoraisJdorais Posts: 653
    Oh man Kuzi that was great! That took a bit of time to post, you must still be on vacation.
  • kuzi16:
    RaschNuts:
    Kuzi great write up. Although i guess i didnt word my question right. I was wondering more or less the creative side i guess. For example if i want to create a cigar and i have an idea of what i would like it to taste like. How would i go about that. Do they normally grow specific seeds to have different flavor profiles? or do they get to sample tobacco from growers and decide those will be the best then start to blend? etc...
    have you read tre blending 101 thread?

    UPDATED


    Thanks. Looks like a good read on a train to Boston right now so a bit to long to read on my phone I will read later. Thanks again for the input.
  • Alex Svenson:
    RaschNuts:
    Kuzi great write up. Although i guess i didnt word my question right. I was wondering more or less the creative side i guess. For example if i want to create a cigar and i have an idea of what i would like it to taste like. How would i go about that. Do they normally grow specific seeds to have different flavor profiles? or do they get to sample tobacco from growers and decide those will be the best then start to blend? etc...
    You would need to work with a blender. If you want to make a few boxes and have a ton of money it can be done. It all depends on how much you want to order and who you know. That said, if you are trying to break into the industry with you own label be prepared for a long run and hard work. Most people lose their life savings trying to do it and those that succeed is usually by chance. It is a tough biz to own a brand. The old saying is "how do you get a million dollars working in the cigar industry? Start with 3 million". It is a joke of course but there is a lot of truth in it.
    Unless I win the lottery soon this is more curiosity and wondering the thought process and effort that's put into the cigars we all smoke on a daily basis.
  • Alex Svenson:
    RaschNuts:
    Kuzi great write up. Although i guess i didnt word my question right. I was wondering more or less the creative side i guess. For example if i want to create a cigar and i have an idea of what i would like it to taste like. How would i go about that. Do they normally grow specific seeds to have different flavor profiles? or do they get to sample tobacco from growers and decide those will be the best then start to blend? etc...
    You would need to work with a blender. If you want to make a few boxes and have a ton of money it can be done. It all depends on how much you want to order and who you know. That said, if you are trying to break into the industry with you own label be prepared for a long run and hard work. Most people lose their life savings trying to do it and those that succeed is usually by chance. It is a tough biz to own a brand. The old saying is "how do you get a million dollars working in the cigar industry? Start with 3 million". It is a joke of course but there is a lot of truth in it.
    Unless I win the lottery soon this is more curiosity and wondering the thought process and effort that's put into the cigars we all smoke on a daily basis.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    i plan on weaseling my way in through the back door, organizing the rollers and staging a coup d'etat. just try and stop me!

    well... i guess the guy at the front door with a shotgun could stop me....
  • skweekzskweekz PAPosts: 2,279 ✭✭✭
    kuzi16:
    i plan on weaseling my way in through the back door, organizing the rollers and staging a coup d'etat. just try and stop me!

    well... i guess the guy at the front door with a shotgun could stop me....
    Count me in! Strength in numbers...any other takers??
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,871 ✭✭✭
    skweekz:
    kuzi16:
    i plan on weaseling my way in through the back door, organizing the rollers and staging a coup d'etat. just try and stop me!

    well... i guess the guy at the front door with a shotgun could stop me....
    Count me in! Strength in numbers...any other takers??
    +1
  • danielruasdanielruas Posts: 778
    Awesome write up kuzi
  • that was perfect! this she be the "how its made" of cigars
  • RhamlinRhamlin WVPosts: 7,301 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nice work Kuzi.
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