Cigar Thoughts 3

25 02 2011

How Leaf Placement Affects Flavor

Leaf placement is another factor that will determine how much a wrapper (or filler blend) will impact the overall flavor in a cigar. Tobacco plants are harvested in stages called primings. Each priming removes 2 leaves starting at the bottom of the plant and each priming is separated by approximately 1 week. There are typically 5-8 priming’s on a tobacco plant (depending on the tobacco variety). Therefore it will take approximately 5-8 weeks for the priming process to reach completion.

The uppermost leaves of the tobacco plant, the corona and ligero, are primed last. Because they have remained on the plant longer, the leaves have faced harsher weather conditions of direct sunlight, wind, and other elements, and have been nourished longer by the stalk. As a result, they are thicker and contain more oleoresins and possess a stronger flavor. The viso, or mid-level leaves of the plant, contain tobacco of medium-full strength and flavor. Viso tobacco strikes a balance between flavor and burn characteristics and is very useful in providing both a good-tasting and good-burning cigar. The lower primings of the plant, the seco and volado contain tobacco that is lighter in flavor and strength. This tobacco possesses great burning characteristics and provides the bulk of the combustion qualities in your cigar.

If more of the filler blend in a cigar is comprised of leaves from the top of the plant, then that will reduce the effect of the wrapper on overall flavor. But if the cigar blend uses more tobacco from the lower part of the plant (i.e., seco and volado), this will allow the wrapper to assert itself more. Conversely, if the wrapper comes from the higher primings of the plant, it will have a greater impact on the overall flavor, compared to a wrapper from the lower part of the plant.

For more information about cigars and their manufacture, check out the website at Fidel’s in Westport – Tom Foster is the owner, and a great guy!


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