This is what makes this site one of a kind.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:
Also, there is typically a viso priming which is either above the seco or used interchangeably for volado.
- 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
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.