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Blending Thread

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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.


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.


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:


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!!
This is what makes this site one of a kind.
 
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This is unusual: Ordered from LO and WLT on Tuesday. The LO order just arrived this a.m., on Saturday. The shipping option was 2-day Priority, which was their least expensive, and cheaper than the least expensive option I paid at WLT. The WLT tracking says arrival by 8 pm today. I honestly expected the LO stuff to arrive sometime next week. I must be on their "nice" list. The WLT order was $40 for leaf, and 20$ for shipping. Always harsh to press the Buy button when that shipping number pops up, because I just don't buy by the 10-lb load anymore, for various reasons.

Anyway, I'm gonna put all the leaf from these two orders into a tupper along with the receipts for the purchase prices, and carefully document what it actually costs to roll stuff, which'll be tricky since there's not a precise proportional supply of each leaf, for reasons of being able to buy 1/4 lbs at LO but being limited to full lbs at WLT.
 

YvanheTerrible

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Interesting project. I guess you will need to decide how you want to depreciate your equipment. Main problem will be how you value your main cigar roll versus your short fillers. Might be a good idea to just weigh your final cigar output and see how much they cost you per gram, then use this per cigar size.
 
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Interesting project. I guess you will need to decide how you want to depreciate your equipment. Main problem will be how you value your main cigar roll versus your short fillers. Might be a good idea to just weigh your final cigar output and see how much they cost you per gram, then use this per cigar size.
I just want a realistic, non-idealized, number to tell people when they ask how much it costs to roll my own. Since people can do this with a kitchen knife and some honey, I don't think the equipment has to be a huge factor. I've always thought it was about a buck-fifty a stick, and Webmost has always said it was like 65 cents. I'd like to find out if it's really 2 bucks fifty or something. Wrapper is expensive, and WLT filler is $30 a pound, so it'll be interesting. The cigarillo factor shouldn't be huge, because it takes the scraps of about 6 cigars to make one small cigarillo.
 

YvanheTerrible

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I just want a realistic, non-idealized, number to tell people when they ask how much it costs to roll my own. Since people can do this with a kitchen knife and some honey, I don't think the equipment has to be a huge factor. I've always thought it was about a buck-fifty a stick, and Webmost has always said it was like 65 cents. I'd like to find out if it's really 2 bucks fifty or something. Wrapper is expensive, and WLT filler is $30 a pound, so it'll be interesting. The cigarillo factor shouldn't be huge, because it takes the scraps of about 6 cigars to make one small cigarillo.
But realistically, the cost is important and interesting but in the end one needs or should consider the value also in the larger picture. If you are able to roll a smoke that compares to a seven, ten or (insert number here) dollars commercial smoke then, for me anyways really adds up to the real cost (or savings) of rolling my own. Value of course doesn’t take into consideration the personal joy or satisfaction achieved. I’m quite curious and looking forward to find out your results.


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mitetak

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This is unusual: Ordered from LO and WLT on Tuesday. The LO order just arrived this a.m., on Saturday. The shipping option was 2-day Priority, which was their least expensive, and cheaper than the least expensive option I paid at WLT. The WLT tracking says arrival by 8 pm today. I honestly expected the LO stuff to arrive sometime next week. I must be on their "nice" list. The WLT order was $40 for leaf, and 20$ for shipping. Always harsh to press the Buy button when that shipping number pops up, because I just don't buy by the 10-lb load anymore, for various reasons.

Anyway, I'm gonna put all the leaf from these two orders into a tupper along with the receipts for the purchase prices, and carefully document what it actually costs to roll stuff, which'll be tricky since there's not a precise proportional supply of each leaf, for reasons of being able to buy 1/4 lbs at LO but being limited to full lbs at WLT.
Oooh ! I like this idea.

I've always wondered on which end of the "cheaper than buying" spectrum the totals really fell. I'll be interested to see where this ends up.
 
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But realistically, the cost is important and interesting but in the end one needs or should consider the value also in the larger picture. If you are able to roll a smoke that compares to a seven, ten or (insert number here) dollars commercial smoke then, for me anyways really adds up to the real cost (or savings) of rolling my own. Value of course doesn’t take into consideration the personal joy or satisfaction achieved. I’m quite curious and looking forward to find out your results.


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IMHO people know what those other variables are in their lives. They know what they spend on cigars, know the value of their time, etc. I don't know those things about them. I am answering one single variable (what's the raw material cost of a home-rolled robusto) that they can plug into their own cigar life math. Or even just know it as a bit of trivia.

There are many variables besides the ones you mentioned, some of them very dynamic. E.g. where do they put themselves now on the quality vs. quantity aspect, and how will that change when they start rolling (an unfortunate aspect of home rolling: one starts smoking more, of a lesser quality, the opposite of what most smokers should do), etc. And of course most people considering the hobby will over-evaluate the quality of what they can roll themselves, because of the way the quality is hyped at some forums, because they think all tobacco must taste good, etc.; and because some people's regular smoke is a Swisher Sweet from the gas station or a cheap Fuente bought from the 90F/90RH summer humidor at the local tobacco shop, and some only smoke Cubans, Liga, and Warped. In my case I only smoke Cuban cigars and other very good cigars gifted to me, and I've only rolled 50 out of 5000 that were half as good as those. Another variable is that beginners sometimes chase a good blend by buying more leaf, and end up with tons of leaf that doesn't work and won't get used at all. But at least this one piece of objective info will be fairly stable and true, for now.
 
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I'm hoping to get some help refining my first blend for a 50 x 5.5" stick.
The filler leaves are 2 x Piloto Cubano Ligero (WLT) and 4 x Rene seco (WLT). I've tried a few different binders, and I am most pleased with the WLT Dominican Binder (Olor?). The binder adds a great aroma, and the initial flavor is very pleasing. However, past the midpoint of the cigar, the bright flavors become a bit overpowering and an almost menthol-like note asserts itself. I believe this mostly due to the binder.
Is there something I can add to the blend to soften the impact of the binder? Can I trim the binder more like a wrapper leaf to reduce the amount of leaf in the blend?
Other thoughts?
 
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@mwaller you can definitely trim your binder, it may even lay prettier under the wrapper if you do...
 
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Rolled up a modified BHMM blend this am. Subbed in .5 leaf Mata fina for some of the corojo viso, quite tasty...
.5 Nicaraguan Habano seco
.5 Corojo seco
.5 Corojo viso
.5 Brazilian Mata Fina
.5 Dominican ligero
Bound in Dominican binder, wrapped in Ecuadorian seco. I have to wonder how it would be with a touch of broadleaf, that may be the next tweak.
 
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A random concoction tonight, with high hopes. Some Dominican ligero, T13 viso, and Olor seco. The T13 was used as the binder. Ecuadorian seco wrapped.
20190901_203707.jpg
It's pretty smooth already. And seems to go good with a blend of Canadian Club whiskey, campari, and Angostura bitters.
 
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A random concoction tonight, with high hopes. Some Dominican ligero, T13 viso, and Olor seco. The T13 was used as the binder. Ecuadorian seco wrapped.
View attachment 139324
It's pretty smooth already. And seems to go good with a blend of Canadian Club whiskey, campari, and Angostura bitters.
What cigar, for example, wouldn't go good with that particular cocktail?

My guess is that that cigar would be even better without the T-13 and subbing in either Corojo Viso or Olor Viso. What do you think?
 
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A random concoction tonight, with high hopes. Some Dominican ligero, T13 viso, and Olor seco. The T13 was used as the binder. Ecuadorian seco wrapped.
View attachment 139324
It's pretty smooth already. And seems to go good with a blend of Canadian Club whiskey, campari, and Angostura bitters.
Nice looking stogie Jim , rookie question what is T13 ?
 
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What cigar, for example, wouldn't go good with that particular cocktail?

My guess is that that cigar would be even better without the T-13 and subbing in either Corojo Viso or Olor Viso. What do you think?
I'm not sure, I seem to like everything with this cocktail...
I do like the Corojo viso, I'll have to try that! I've not ordered the Olor viso to try yet. Maybe next time.
 
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Nice looking stogie Jim , rookie question what is T13 ?

T-13 is a hybrid leaf produced by "grafting" Dominican Criollo and Piloto Cubano. I'm not aware which plant is grafted onto which stalk... they don't say. For that matter, considering the interminable task of grafting mega-thousands of leaves onto thousands of plants across a field, I wouldn't be surprised if the term "grafted" didn't actually mean that someone did their best to translate what should have been rendered "cross-pollinated". The 13, I've been told, means this is the 13th year they've been at it.

It's a damn nice leaf. Easy to work with, burns well, and the flavor, tho not rich, is right up my alley.
 
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I'm not sure, I seem to like everything with this cocktail...
I do like the Corojo viso, I'll have to try that! I've not ordered the Olor viso to try yet. Maybe next time.
Come to think of it, I meant Olor ligero. LO doesn't offer an Olor viso.
 
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So I am working on a modified Corojo Kink, kind of adding a component that Blake and Jonathon independently added to corojo in the past.
The Corojo Kink (by @Hopduro ) is corojo seco, Brazilian mata fina, and criollo ligero with a Dominican wrapper.
Both @blisscigarco and @BrewinHooligan add Nicaraguan habano seco to the corojo seco blends.

So I'm adding half a leaf of Nic habano seco to the Modified Corojo Kink.
.5 Nicaraguan habano seco, .5 corojo seco, 1 Brazilian mata fina, about .5 criollo ligero. Using the Nic Hab seco as binder. Will use an Ecuadorian seco wrapper, I don't think I have any Dominican wrappers.
20191226_160157.jpg
 
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So I am working on a modified Corojo Kink, kind of adding a component that Blake and Jonathon independently added to corojo in the past.
The Corojo Kink (by @Hopduro ) is corojo seco, Brazilian mata fina, and criollo ligero with a Dominican wrapper.
Both @blisscigarco and @BrewinHooligan add Nicaraguan habano seco to the corojo seco blends.

So I'm adding half a leaf of Nic habano seco to the Modified Corojo Kink.
.5 Nicaraguan habano seco, .5 corojo seco, 1 Brazilian mata fina, about .5 criollo ligero. Using the Nic Hab seco as binder. Will use an Ecuadorian seco wrapper, I don't think I have any Dominican wrappers.
View attachment 143802
ISO
 
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Speaking of corojo, I just smoked a thing called a La Aroma de Cuba "Corojo." Corojo was on the second label, and I think it was a corojo wrapper. It was a good smoke.

Now, that thing tasted a LOT like a thing I roll which is sort of a 1 Corojo seco, 2 corojo viso, .5 corojo ligero (with variations to more ligero), bound in Nic Habano seco and wrapped in Corojo oscuro. The main diff was, the La Aroma de Cuba had plenty pepper, which my thing doesn't; and the wrapper intensity was dialed back, probably with age. What I felt was, if I add the right combo of Nic habano viso and/or ligero to it, I could get some of that missing pepper. Give it a little age, and I might have something. I'll roll some of these up during my next sesh.
 
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