Blending Thread

Discussion in 'Cigar Rolling & Tobacco Growing' started by Hopduro, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Hopduro

    Hopduro Donor 2

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    Hey everyone,
    Figured I would start a thread dedicated to creating and developing blends which would be helpful for all of us home rollers

    First, let's start with the basics. There are an endless variety of tobacco plant breeds and locations these tobaccos are grown. For example Nicaraguan Criollo is different than Nicaraguan Habano, which is different than Honduran Habano. The environment a tobacco plant is grown in, including the amount of water and nutrients available to the plant, greatly affects the overall perceived flavor. Which means that different locations within the same country have substantially different growing conditions and therefore different flavors of the tobacco grown there.
    [​IMG]

    In addition, there are three main primings of a tobacco plant to be aware of:
    • Ligero: Top of the plant, and harvested last, with access to the most sun and therefore the most flavor and strength
    • Seco: Middle leaves of the plant, responsible for the aroma of the finished cigar
    • Volado: Bottom of the plant, least nutrients and flavors of any of the primings, however excellent burn characteristics and aides in combustion
    Also, there is typically a viso priming which is either above the seco or used interchangeably for volado.
    [​IMG]

    The appropriate number of leaves in a cigar are subject to the size and thickness of the leaves of course, but for rough estimation I have listed the approximate number of leaves below for a cigar ~5" in length (Thanks @Marc_L):
    <40rg: 2 tripa leaves
    41-44rg: 3 tripa leaves
    45-51: 4 tripa leaves
    52-60rg: 5 tripa leaves

    Importantly, when constructing a cigar, you want to have your "burniest" (@blisscigarco 's words) leaves on the outside and your least/thickest leaves in the middle. An info-graphic is shown below, as well as some blend proportions:
    [​IMG]

    Now, the fun part, designing a blend. Plain and simple, you will want to attempt to blend at least one of each leaf, ligero, seco, volado/viso. Different proportions will change the strength and flavors, so it is important to keep meticulous notes so you can replicate a blend or know how to tweak it in the future. Start simple when designing a blend and use a very scientific approach to it so you can understand which leaf is responsible for the flavors and aromas you are detecting.
    For example, one of my now favorite blends is incredibly simple with 1:1 Colombian Seco:Brazilian Habano Viso. Changing this blend is simple, you can either add a leaf to the mix, for example a little ligero, or change one of the primings, for example changing out the Colombian seco for Dominican seco or criollo seco. Once again, take notes and write down every little detail and tasting notes.

    And of course, the icing on the cake is the wrapper leaf. Not only is it the eye-candy of the whole cigar, but it plays an important role in your blend as well, especially in smaller RG cigars. So, try as many as you can on your blends as they can be the final component that really makes your cigar "pop".

    Obviously, as this thread expands, I hope everyone starts sharing their own ideas and ask for improvements of their own blends. It's a learning process and is a hell of a lot easier when you have a group of individuals to help critique as we all grow in this fascinating hobby.

    Happy blending!!
     
  2. Wasz

    Wasz

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    Very cool and informative post. Thanks for taking the time to put this up.
     
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  3. HeadtoHead

    HeadtoHead

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    Viso has a stronger flavor than seco and less than ligero due to its location. I believe seco is often interchanged for volado.[​IMG]

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  4. JKinWV

    JKinWV

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    Great post...thnx

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  5. The Munt

    The Munt Just worked out why capitalism is so good.

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    Very interesting mate, cheers for posting!
     
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  6. webmost

    webmost

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    Hoppy, why do you call them "tripa" leaves?

    <40rg: 2 tripa leaves
    41-44rg: 3 tripa leaves
    45-51: 4 tripa leaves
    52-60rg: 5 tripa leaves
    Far as I know, tripa is what goes into menudo.
     
  7. Hopduro

    Hopduro Donor 2

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    I'm pretty sure tripa translates to filler, so in this case filler leaves. But now i kinda want some spicy menudo soup...

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  8. Hopduro

    Hopduro Donor 2

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    Entirely depends on the region, just to confuse more! But typically its shown like this
    [​IMG]
    Left is Criollo, right is corojo, but only when grown in Cuba.

    In Cuba they do not use the term viso for filler tobacco. Seco grown elsewhere in the world is comparable to Cuban Volado. Seco in Cuba is comparable to Viso elsewhere.

    To summarize in the easiest of terms:
    • Cuba has (from top to bottom) corona, ligero, seco, volado
    • Elsewhere has ligero, viso, seco, where seco = volado in most cases
    Edited for clarification.
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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  9. RacFocus

    RacFocus

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    I don't even roll cigars and this is informative. Awesome post.


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  10. Stogie_Bear

    Stogie_Bear Chulo Savage

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    Great thread @Hopduro. Hopefully this thread can turn into a Q&A sticky.
     
  11. webmost

    webmost

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    Rosita's restaurant in Alviso used to serve it every Sunday morning. Best thing for hangover.
     
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  12. HeadtoHead

    HeadtoHead

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    [​IMG]

    I've used capella drops to give homebrews like a witbier that extra orange zest "pop". Or a pumpkin ale some graham cracker notes. I really like their product as it doesn't smell or taste artificial. The stuff is highly concentrated. 1/4 to 1/2 tsp is usually enough to flavor 5 gallons of beer so I'm sure it'd have to be diluted with water and either spayed or brushed onto the leaves.

    I wonder how well capella would work to clone a coffee infused cigar like Drew Estate Java?

    Anyone have experience with flavoring tobacco?

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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  13. Hopduro

    Hopduro Donor 2

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    Hmmmmm, never even had a commercial infused stick.

    I will say that @remixoligist does tea infusing with her rolls, maybe she has some insight

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  14. HeadtoHead

    HeadtoHead

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    My next experiment!
    I'm going to try this method with a cheap used wooden cigar box and the espresso or cappuccino capella drops. I'll report my results!
     
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  15. Hopduro

    Hopduro Donor 2

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    Please do! I love the experiments being conducted right now!

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  16. HeadtoHead

    HeadtoHead

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    I ordered the drops! Now i just need to pick up a cheap hygrometer to delegate towards the experiment.

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  17. webmost

    webmost

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    Drink the coffee. Smoke the cigar. Try not to do both at once.



    Sent from my candlestick phone using Gladys at the switchboard.
     
  18. Gdaddy

    Gdaddy

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    I've done fair amount of experimentation with flavors/additives and all I can say is... try it and then you'll know.

    Many additives don't taste like you think they will once you burn them. Many turn bitter and acrid. I've thrown out many cigars but I encourage you to try and see for yourself what happens.
     
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  19. Gdaddy

    Gdaddy

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  20. Mikenice81

    Mikenice81

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    I have lost the link, but the information on how the major tobacco companies add flavor is out there.

    Remember though, there is a difference between infusing and petune. Petune is when you spray the mixture directly on the leaves during fermentation or right before rolling. If you dig through available books cataloged in the internet archive, you can find recipes for the proper mixture.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016

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