Spotlight: The Cultivation of Tobacco

Spotlight: The Cultivation of Tobacco

Cigar aficionados rejoice, Pinar del Río is harvesting the finest tobacco leaves in the world just as you are reading this blog post! Reports from the best tobacco growing province in Cuba reveals that the 2017-2018 crop is exceeding previous years’ standards and Hector Luis Preto, Cuban tobacco farmer, says that the crops are ‘looking excellent’.

In celebration of this, we have written a post about the cultivation process behind our favourite Cuban Cigars. So let us begin!

The whole method takes around five months in total. Firstly, the soil has to be ploughed to ensure that it is loose enough to provide the perfection growing conditions for the plants.

In Cuba, tobacco seeds are usually planted in October. The seeds are initially grown in greenhouses for about a month to shelter them in their tenuous early stages. After the tobacco plants reach a healthy 13-14cm tall, they are then transplanted into the fields and tended to for 3-4 months before they are harvested. 

The farmer’s job is very demanding and they will have to keep on top of the manual tasks to make sure that their crop is to the highest standard. For example, irrigation of the soil has to be carried out regularly and after three to four weeks, the soil needs to be heaped up around the base of the plant to stimulate the roots. Then, as each plant reaches its optimum height, the top bud needs to be manually removed to encourage leaf growth. Unfortunately, this necessary process also causes side root growth to occur and therefore the farmer has to hand pick these from the plants every couple of days.

After forty days, the harvest can then begin. This process is also lengthy and done in meticulous intervals. Two to three leaves from the bottom of the tobacco plant are picked first and are usually destined for the small, machine made cigars. After seven days, working from the bottom up, a few other leaves will be picked and so on, in interims of three days. The tobacco plants which are used for wrappers will need a little longer before being picked because they are taller.  

The lower leaves, known as Volado, are predominantly used for lighter flavoured fillers and for binders. The leaves just up from these are called Seco, which are mostly used for medium- bodied cigars. The Ligero leaf is the next one to follow, mostly used in the fuller flavoured cigars. And finally, some tobacco plants grow the highly sought after Medio Tiempo leaf, which is used in premium cigars seen in our Limited Editions and many of our Regional Editions for sale online.

All of our fantastic and exquisite cigars have undergone this meticulous and magnificent process and all have their own unique strengths and flavour profiles, such as the following: 

 

See our previous EGM Cuban Cigar Blog posts, Spotlight: Tobacco Leaves and Spotlight: How Tobacco is Grown in Cuba if you want to learn more about Cuban Cigars.