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What can I expect in terms of quality

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I've recently got into cigars and being the obsessive DIY minded sort of person I am I soon started to get excite about rolling my own. I'm just trying to get a gauge on if it will be worth it for the cost and hassle. I live in the UK so will need to look at a mail forwarding service and high shipping cost if I use whole leaf or only leaf. Also all the kits are out of stock and I don't want to take a punt on loads of Tabaco.

What can I expect from the quality, best case scenario assuming I get my head around the rolling, aging etc? I'm pretty happy with with some of the budget sticks I've tried like Asylum schizo, benchmade and slightly nicer but still cheap stuff like brickhouse etc. Saying that I didn't like the really cheap cigars, casa garcia and a few others I think are only made for the European market. I saw a comment from bliss on here I think saying that the tobacco bought from the main two sites are not as good as commercial stuff and this got me a little worried. I know I won't be able to make a padron at home but can I at least get a decent smoke like the schizo or benchmade?
 
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... can I at least get a decent smoke ...?
Of course you can.
Better yet, you can get the smoke which suits you to a T
Eventually

There's little doubt we get the culls. I don't blame anyone for that. If I were the big cigar house, I would do exactly the same. When you look at the leafage that big house pros roll up in their vids, ours are nowhere so uniformly wide and smooth as what they use. I imagine a great deal of time and attention goes into culling and prepping the leaves that they roll. You never get to see that side of the house; but I bet it's a lot of work. I imagine that their culls are set aside for sale elsewhere. We are elsewhere.

That does not mean those culls aren't just as tasty. It does mean they aren't so uniformly sized nor so evenly textured. We will get a load of leaves that may be crunkled, big and little in the same batch, variously coarse or fine, holey, etc. That doesn't mean they didn't come from the same crop and go thru the same curing.

In fact, when I began rolling, I used to think that I had to use every bit of what I bought. Now, I tend to cull and sort more and more. A varying amount of a batch may go into the trash. Or not; depending on the batch.

Here is the plus: The fact that you finally get to know what priming, country, year, and seed you employ is a tremendous advantage that you will never ever get from a store bought stick. After a couple of years' experience, you will know just what you want to combine with what in order to create what tickles you. You don't have to roll the dice on twelve buck sticks.

Besides, the rolling is just as much dabbling in baccy as the smoking. Dip your paws in that wonderful aromatic substance and trance away. The magnificent aroma of bread kneaded by your hands baking in the oven is the best bread money cannot buy.

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I've recently got into cigars and being the obsessive DIY minded sort of person I am I soon started to get excite about rolling my own. I'm just trying to get a gauge on if it will be worth it for the cost and hassle.
I also would describe myself as a compulsive DIY. I built my house, lots of my furniture, humidors, ashtrays, you name it. I smoked cigars my whole life but when I got serious into cigars I knew I had to roll. I love it and I'm sure you will too. Most of my smokes are purchased but I roll for the enjoyment and the results are quite good after a few years of experimenting.

"Is it worth the cost and hassle" you ask. You've got to look at like a hobby. Hobbies cost money. Rolling cigars is a hell of a lot cheaper than golf. If you look at it as a hassle then I'd say don't bother but I bet you'll find it as rewarding as I do.
 
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Thanks both for the answers. I guess what I'm trying to get at is how good can home rolled cigars can be..? What kind of level is possible? Is the limited selection of tobacco going to stop the home roller achieving anything high end? I like the hobby aspect but would be disappointed if I could never reach the equivalent of the majority of commercial cigars.
 

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" I like the hobby aspect but would be disappointed if I could never reach the equivalent of the majority of commercial cigars. "

you will need their grade of leaf to do this...:banghead:

I have enjoyed rolling my own, and I am surprised at the flavors I have found in doing so.

the best part of home rolling to me is the fresh character I get when smoking them young.

One of my first cigars was a 9 inch lancero , I christened it "Lancelot". :happy: :cat: :chicken:

to learn, I rolled a lot of cigars with the short bits of leftover tobacco I had.

usually 4 inches or so, but a good stick and good experience.(y)
 
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Thanks both for the answers. I guess what I'm trying to get at is how good can home rolled cigars can be..? What kind of level is possible? Is the limited selection of tobacco going to stop the home roller achieving anything high end? I like the hobby aspect but would be disappointed if I could never reach the equivalent of the majority of commercial cigars.

Okay, let's take another stab at this...

The majority of "high end" commercial cigars I used to buy were not aimed at excellence. They were aimed at justifying an outrageous price. Take, for example, the embellished box. Any amount of gilding, varnish, art work, or fancy lining to a box raises the level of the cigar inside exactl;y zero. But it does raise the price. Same with the embossed band. Some gars may even have three rococo bands. Three bands does not make the cigar's tobacco any better than one band. It does raise the price.

The same is true of the blend. If you are expected to throw down fifteen bucks a stick, then you expect that stick in turn to knock your socks off. You want a smoke that will be worth the money. The guy blending that sock knocker is not interested in whether you can taste dinner tomorrow. He is instructed to give you mucho bang for your bucks. That doesn't make it a better blend; just a powerful blend. That, and a broad appeal.

That's not what I want,BTW. I want something flavorful in the mouth, aromatic in the nose, tasty on the tongue, a gar that I want to smoke down to a nub, with my socks on so I can still taste dinner. Dunno about you, but mellow is my aim. YMMV.

You do not have to appeal to a broad audience. You only have to appeal to you.

Take it as common sense that no farmer plants lower quality seed on purpose. Bugs may nibble, clouds may avoid, and so forth. Take it as common sense that every farmer wants to sell his whole crop to the nearest big house, or is even more likely directly contracted by a big house. Take it for common sense that everything at the big house is cured in the same shed in side by side pilones. Take it for common sense that one year or other there may be a surplus of criollo, or of criollo viso, or etc. Take it as common sense that if you had a team of skilled rollers at work, you would not waste their high paid skills sorting leaves for the smoothest and most consistent examples. Instead, you would employ a team of gals in the basment sorting and conditioning the leaves, pulling out the torn one and crinkled ones and thick ones. Between the surpluses and their culls, I imagine, is where we get our leaves.

I may be wrong in my conjectures. I'm just guessing. I don't actually know whether any big marque uses the T-13 viso I love, for instance, simply because they would be apt to say at most "Dominican filler", without telling me seed or priming.

The idea that we have access to fewer varieties than a commercial factory... that may not actually be the case. Because we have access to the culls and surpluses of any number of houses, we may therefore have more options than what they can do locally. Here today, for example, I sparked up a gar rolled with filler from Esteli and the DR, bound in leaf from Vuelta Abajo, and wrapped in leaf from Brazil. Would that be practical for a commercial house to attempt? Or would they be more likely to make what they can from what's grown on their own fields, petuned to their requirement? My great aunt, for example, took just pride in her espresso, as it came from beans picked that morning off carefully pruned shrubs along the stone wall in her mountain home, roasted that morning in her oven, ground by hand, and brewed with rain water from her cistern. It was fabulous. Cream from the cow in the neighbor's garden. What she did not have is the cosmopolitan selection of beans from all over the globe which is common to any humble coffee house. You and I, we can similarly buy a bag or two of baccy from all the major growing regions. So I would guess that our selection of leaves is far less limited. Find me a big house gar maker using Peruvian, Honduran, Ecuadorian, Dominican, Brazilian, etc., all at once. I have all these in my stash right here at hand now. Cameroon to Connecticut. Right here.
 
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Thanks both for the answers. I guess what I'm trying to get at is how good can home rolled cigars can be..? What kind of level is possible? Is the limited selection of tobacco going to stop the home roller achieving anything high end? I like the hobby aspect but would be disappointed if I could never reach the equivalent of the majority of commercial cigars.
I have a good selection of cigars. Some are reasonably priced, some are quite expensive. I can list dozens of cigars that I really enjoy and they are all different. But I don't really enjoy the "majority of commercial cigars". So when I roll I don't try to make the equivalent to the majority. I try to make a really good cigar that I like.

Think of cigars like beer. If you only like Budweiser then the chance of brewing a homebrew that tastes just like Budweiser is slim. But if you have discerning tastes and enjoy different types of beer then you can brew a great beer at home with enough experience. You can defiantly roll great cigars at home with enough experience.
 
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Thanks again for taking the time to give such comprehensive answers. Much appreciated!

Thinking about it in terms of home brew is an interesting analogy. I progressed from being a homebrewer several years ago to running a reasonable sized commercial brewery. I know that, with a lot of perseverance you can pretty much match the quality of a craft brewery and the ingredients can be almost as good if not as good as the stuff available to the commercial brewer. One difference, for example is most larger craft breweries can go an select the lots of hops they want from the hop merchant and while this is an advantage the difference between the selected hops and those available on the spot market isn't night and day and is usually fairly subtle. In my opinion there is no reason a dedicated homebrewer can't make as good beer as almost any craft brewery... with a few caveats. Wine however is very different, it's all about the quality of the grapes usually grown by the wine maker themselves, the good quality grape juice/must/whatever isn't available on the open market to homebrew wine makers.
 
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Thanks again for taking the time to give such comprehensive answers. Much appreciated!

Thinking about it in terms of home brew is an interesting analogy. I progressed from being a homebrewer several years ago to running a reasonable sized commercial brewery. I know that, with a lot of perseverance you can pretty much match the quality of a craft brewery and the ingredients can be almost as good if not as good as the stuff available to the commercial brewer. One difference, for example is most larger craft breweries can go an select the lots of hops they want from the hop merchant and while this is an advantage the difference between the selected hops and those available on the spot market isn't night and day and is usually fairly subtle. In my opinion there is no reason a dedicated homebrewer can't make as good beer as almost any craft brewery... with a few caveats. Wine however is very different, it's all about the quality of the grapes usually grown by the wine maker themselves, the good quality grape juice/must/whatever isn't available on the open market to homebrew wine makers.
The wine analogy is much, much more accurate.

As for beer brewing caveats, I immediately think of my attempts, some 25 years ago, at any sort of lager, let alone a decent Czech pilsner.
 
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Why do you think that is? Is it that Tabaco is mostly grown for specific brands and isn't traded freely to all factories or is it just the two sources available to home rollers haven't got the quality. A bit like home brew was in the 80s or so I'm led to believe.

Lager is a tricky one to get right with basic kit but with healthy yeast and temp control it can be made on a home brew scale.
 
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Why do you think that is? Is it that Tabaco is mostly grown for specific brands and isn't traded freely to all factories or is it just the two sources available to home rollers haven't got the quality. A bit like home brew was in the 80s or so I'm led to believe.

Lager is a tricky one to get right with basic kit but with healthy yeast and temp control it can be made on a home brew scale.
Yes, I never did the work on temp control because it was too easy to make killer ale in a bucket in the closet.

Your various guesses as to "why" are probably as accurate as any guesses I could make.
 
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We have some very experienced rollers on this forum. It seems strange that nobody knows where the leaf at WL or LO comes from. I've always wondered out loud but I've never come across anyone who knows the inside scoop. There's lots of theories but no facts. Maybe it's a closely guarded trade secret.
Is the leaf culled product from the big companies or is it farmers who don't sell to the big boys and simply grow for local rollers, machine rollers and also sell to these two leaf retailers.
Inquiring minds want to know.
 
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I do know that there are very many (hundreds? thousands?) small-time growers in the DR looking for someone to pick up their leaf. I'd reckon that the retailers fulfill that need. Might be true of Nicaragua etc too, I don't know. I think it's more this situation than culling.
 
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Of course you can.
Better yet, you can get the smoke which suits you to a T
Eventually

There's little doubt we get the culls. I don't blame anyone for that. If I were the big cigar house, I would do exactly the same. When you look at the leafage that big house pros roll up in their vids, ours are nowhere so uniformly wide and smooth as what they use. I imagine a great deal of time and attention goes into culling and prepping the leaves that they roll. You never get to see that side of the house; but I bet it's a lot of work. I imagine that their culls are set aside for sale elsewhere. We are elsewhere.

That does not mean those culls aren't just as tasty. It does mean they aren't so uniformly sized nor so evenly textured. We will get a load of leaves that may be crunkled, big and little in the same batch, variously coarse or fine, holey, etc. That doesn't mean they didn't come from the same crop and go thru the same curing.

In fact, when I began rolling, I used to think that I had to use every bit of what I bought. Now, I tend to cull and sort more and more. A varying amount of a batch may go into the trash. Or not; depending on the batch.

Here is the plus: The fact that you finally get to know what priming, country, year, and seed you employ is a tremendous advantage that you will never ever get from a store bought stick. After a couple of years' experience, you will know just what you want to combine with what in order to create what tickles you. You don't have to roll the dice on twelve buck sticks.

Besides, the rolling is just as much dabbling in baccy as the smoking. Dip your paws in that wonderful aromatic substance and trance away. The magnificent aroma of bread kneaded by your hands baking in the oven is the best bread money cannot buy.

View attachment 169744
What is the flavor profile of your cigar?
 
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