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nic

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The hunt for good quality wrapper is killing my interest in this hobby. I have pounds (and pounds) of absolute garbage wrapper; tiny leafs, full of holes, full of veins, cracked, split, and otherwise unless. There has to be some good wrapper available to homerollers, but I'm running out of money to keep buying blind. At this point, I'd be happy with 2 wrappers: 1 sun grown and 1 shade. I don't really much care what they are, so long the quality is there.

What's your favorite wrapper and why? How consistent has it been in quality?
 

Hopduro

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Ec. Habano Ligero from LO. @BrewinHooligan
Not only is it oily, stretchy, burny (diction stolen from @blisscigarco), and damn sexy... it's delicious. I tend to wrap all of my blends in this due to simplicity and based on the way I want my blends to taste.
I have never bought a pound of ANY wrapper... multiple 1/4 lb samples of this leaf and they have been mostly perfect.

Also tried the seco...much thinner, but still decent to work with.

San Andreas is also a good one for me, veining can be hit or miss, but I do enjoy working with it.
 
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Yup, my love for the Ec Habano ligero is no secret. It is easy to work with, very pretty, and the veins are very small. The color can vary quite a bit but I have found the flavor to be very consistent. I have probably gone through at least three pounds of the stuff if not more. As far as a true shade wrapper goes, I am no help as I just haven't found one I really love and want to use.
 

nic

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Here's a little stream of conscious from a private PM exchange in hopes of starting conversation:
----------

leafonly.com:
I haven't used any LO wrapper that I was happy with, but I might give the EC Shade Ligero a try, mostly out of desperation. Those 1/4lb samplers are low risk.

wholeleaftobacco.com:
I also haven't bought wrapper from WLT that isn't shit. The EC Maduro isn't terrible in quality, but it smells like rotten, sour mushrooms. I bought a lb of the Honduran Habano and it's so bad I'm not sure I'll be able to use it as binder. I'm about ready to toss it. I had some H2K from WLT that was decent, but reports of his current supply isn't good. I've smoked cigars from @Marc L wrapped in WLT criollo and corojo that are exactly the quality I'm interested in, but I'm not sure I want to gamble $120 to find out if I get the same quality.

Jorge / rollerschoice.com:
I really enjoy the spice kick of Jorge's H2K, but even in the same lb the variances are far to wide. Some of it looks like asphalt shingles, some of it is perfect. I bought 1lb of his EC shade, and about half of it is so full of holes it isn't usable. The leafs are also tiny, only about 13" long. I haven't used his US Shade wrapper.

Larry the tobacco butcher / bigbonner:
I absolutely hated Larry's "habanos" wrapper. I have about 2/3rd of a lb of his PA wrapper left. I just wrapped a couple toros with it last night. It's a damn pretty leaf, for sure. I don't have a great memory of what I thought of it though, flavor wise. For the price though, this maybe a wrapper to keep working with.

That vast majority of what I roll is 5x42 and 5.75x45. I occasionally roll toro and belicoso around 6x52. Most of the wrapper I have can barely cover the 5x42 the leafs being so small and of such terrible quality.
 
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The WLT Honduran Habano is pretty much worthless from the lb that I got from Web. It is holier than Moses, very fragile, and seems to be water proof so it won't hardly come to case. I have a few sticks that I managed to wrap with it, but I haven't burned them yet. It was too much of a pain to work with to make a viable option. Honestly, I don't buy wrapper from any other vendor but LO at the moment. I like the 1/4lb sample option because I don't want to commit to a lb and be stuck with shitleaf. I have had great luck with all of their wrapper that I have used. I use a lot of their CT broadleaf but the veins are gnarly. I use quite a bit of the Mata Fina and it is tasty, but it is pretty thin and fragile so requires some patience but I find it is worth the effort, especially for my straight ligero blend. For the size of sticks you are rolling the Ecuadorian Habano in any priming will be more than sufficient, I was able to wrap up to 12" long 44rg sticks with that leaf.
 

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Man I hate working with CBL... it is sooooo thick! But, I look at Tats and those pro rollers experience the same things I do with that leaf. I think Pete even said somewhere that the burn and appearance was the least of his concern with those blends, just that it tasted good in his blend.
I respect that... But, it doesn't make it any more forgiving to roll with.

The Mata Fina is tasty, but damn do I tear it frequently... and the veins are sometimes a nightmare. For what it's worth, I think all of my previous sticks I rolled with it taste the same or similar with the Ec. Habano ligero.

Also, the Ec. Habano leaves are sometimes real big, found a couple 24-30" last night while I was casing.
 
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Man I hate working with CBL... it is sooooo thick! But, I look at Tats and those pro rollers experience the same things I do with that leaf. I think Pete even said somewhere that the burn and appearance was the least of his concern with those blends, just that it tasted good in his blend.
I respect that... But, it doesn't make it any more forgiving to roll with.

The Mata Fina is tasty, but damn do I tear it frequently... and the veins are sometimes a nightmare. For what it's worth, I think all of my previous sticks I rolled with it taste the same or similar with the Ec. Habano ligero.

Also, the Ec. Habano leaves are sometimes real big, found a couple 24-30" last night while I was casing.
The trick with the mata Fina and the cbl (or anything with veins that are a pain) is to keep your wrapper strip around 2" wide. With that thinner strip it's easier to pull tight and keep straight so it finishes smoother.
 

nic

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The WLT Honduran Habano is pretty much worthless from the lb that I got from Web. It is holier than Moses, very fragile, and seems to be water proof so it won't hardly come to case. I have a few sticks that I managed to wrap with it, but I haven't burned them yet. It was too much of a pain to work with to make a viable option.
Honestly, the "quality" of that is leaf is so bad, it makes me question ordering tobacco from WLT.
 

Hopduro

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The trick with the mata Fina and the cbl (or anything with veins that are a pain) is to keep your wrapper strip around 2" wide. With that thinner strip it's easier to pull tight and keep straight so it finishes smoother.
Man, then I just tear it... the most frustrating part is casing and cutting that strip perfectly, then destroying it while rolling... Never has that issue with the Ligero!

Also... The CBL mold issue I had deters me from buying it :p
 

nic

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Never had an issue with binder or filler, I still prefer their filler to what LO offers, but I am scared to order wrapper from them for sure.
That a vendor would sell that dreck causes me to question them. I have also had good results with filler from WLT as well though, but damn.
 
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I for one, would hate to see you go as well as any one of us. seeing discouragement or, loss of interest is hard for me.

For me, discouragement is something I'll leave with those recipients of my inquiries of knowledge of processing tobacco that seem to want to impress discouragement on me. I get why industry trade secrets are not given to us by them. Potential loss of revenue.

One thing I really took to heart was something Jorge said to me when I asked him about his Nicaraguan seco and viso differences in pounds the first time I had bought from him. He said that they were mixed together and sorting and grading them was my job. I took that to mean as the seller of the leaf his job was done and mine has just begun. I was eager to learn what it meant to find the knowledge myself.
The last thing he said to me before hanging up the phone really meant a lot to me. he said welcome to cigar making.

The amount of investment for me seems endless. Away from the money part of it.
We have all heard of seed to smoke. Well, for us as home rollers there's a part in the middle of all that where it seems some are not willing to do. It's that part that lays between the bale of tobacco and the rolling table.
That is, be willing to gain the knowledge that only comes first hand. I would not know how exactly one could teach that.

There's a reason why the cigar manufacturers have "stemmeries" and rolling parlors close to each other.
My guess is that the final preparations are left to do as it goes into the cigar. Reason being, once the final preparations are done, it won't store well.

Is any of this making any sense to anyone yet?
 
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My go to wrapper was WLT H2K habano for the longest time. All my best matalotos were wrapped in this. Color, strength, flavor, burn all impeccable. Then, all of a sudden, his next batch came thru fireproof. Then his Honduran H2k was full of holes and would not burn. Then his next batch of H2k was wonderfully aromatic but absolutely fireproof. I'm sure it's just as frustrating to him as to everyone else. I gave away bunches of this stuff in hopes that someone else could figure out how to make it work. Sounds like nobody did. I'm using it now as a center thread of filler in order to harness the aromatic wunnerfullness of it.



Jorge = not for me. That intense raisin smell tells me it isn't finished fermenting. Smelled super great but smoked rank & stinky. Threw out big batches of gars rolled with his stuff. Plus, the veins were ginormous.


I'm currently enjoying some fine Ec Seco Shade leaf from LO. I don't see why people complain it's fragile. I have zero probs with it breaking. You have some you don't like, I'll swap you. To me, the thinner the wrapper the better the finish. The Ec shade ligero is ok, but not my flavor fave. The Ec shade viso I found musty. I way prefer the seco, for flavor. The LO Mata Fina I got is equally terrific. Here's some of that in action:

See, that's delicate wrapper in action. Just be careful with it and it rocks.

LO's Nicaraguan, however, was a mixed bag. First batch was smallish leaves with no strength & no stretch. The sort of stuff that when you dampen it, it wants to dissolve. The next batch was leaves twice as large, delicate, not very stretchy, but smooth. I'm smoking thru a batch of Uppowoc Jackals wrapped last summer in this leaf. The flavor is inconsistent. Sometimes I'm really into them; sometimes not. See here:



I have zero experience of CT shade from either supplier. I score my CT shade from FX Smith's. First batch, I sent the last of that to Bliss; but the best of it was gone. Some of these leaves were two feet long and sixteen inches wide. Craig Smith tells me he was getting six or eight wrappers from a leaf. Fabulous leaf. I went back there this last weekend cause I promised Bliss I'd try and score some more. Alas, his current batch is nowhere near as large. Craig tells me he struggles to get three or four wrapper from a leaf of this. He said the samples that the salesman showed him did not at all resemble the batch he got. I imagine Don at WLT and whoever buys at LO go thru the same frustration. Lookit this older batch:

Is that gorgeous or what?
That's laid on the same breadboard as this new batch:

What a size diff, eh? I have not tasted this new batch yet.

FXSS cuts their wrapper using patterns like this:

Air sucks thru those holes to hold the wrapper in place on the machine. That slot on the left is where a mechanical flipper holds the wrapper to the foot of the gar. That rounded top on the right, that becomes the cap. Overlap is only 1/4".

The Tobacco Butcher's stuff is not aged & fermented the way your imported stuff is. Neither is it carefully graded. But his portions are so effin big that you can't go wrong. I love his Silver River. Hope he grows more of that this year. I have a batch of PA Broad from him too, but have not used it yet. Been letting it age. I don't have a clear picture of the Silver River in action; but hee's an idea:
 

nic

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I for one, would hate to see you go as well as any one of us. seeing discouragement or, loss of interest is hard for me.

For me, discouragement is something I'll leave with those recipients of my inquiries of knowledge of processing tobacco that seem to want to impress discouragement on me. I get why industry trade secrets are not given to us by them. Potential loss of revenue.

One thing I really took to heart was something Jorge said to me when I asked him about his Nicaraguan seco and viso differences in pounds the first time I had bought from him. He said that they were mixed together and sorting and grading them was my job. I took that to mean as the seller of the leaf his job was done and mine has just begun. I was eager to learn what it meant to find the knowledge myself.
The last thing he said to me before hanging up the phone really meant a lot to me. he said welcome to cigar making.

The amount of investment for me seems endless. Away from the money part of it.
We have all heard of seed to smoke. Well, for us as home rollers there's a part in the middle of all that where it seems some are not willing to do. It's that part that lays between the bale of tobacco and the rolling table.
That is, be willing to gain the knowledge that only comes first hand. I would not know how exactly one could teach that.

There's a reason why the cigar manufacturers have "stemmeries" and rolling parlors close to each other.
My guess is that the final preparations are left to do as it goes into the cigar. Reason being, once the final preparations are done, it won't store well.

Is any of this making any sense to anyone yet?
@Marc L, yes you are making sense. My answer however, is that I'm not buying ungraded cigar leaf, I'm buying wrapper that has already been graded. If it were $20/lb for bulk ungraded tobacco I wouldn't complain. However, paying $60-80/lb for "wrapper grade" only to toss half (or more) of it into the binder category isn't acceptable.
 
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@Marc L, yes you are making sense.
I may have made sense but, is my point of sense being made at all.
My answer however, is that I'm not buying ungraded cigar leaf, I'm buying wrapper that has already been graded. ..
That's not the part of it that's relevant to what I meant.
If it were $20/lb for bulk ungraded tobacco I wouldn't complain. However, paying $60-80/lb for "wrapper grade" only to toss half (or more) of it into the binder category isn't acceptable.
How 20 something dollar Honduran can be compared to 70 dollar wrapper I don't get but, if half (or more) prime wrapper is being downgraded to binder, that is absolutely unacceptable. Something is not right there. however, there will always be additional grading to be done.
Nic has walked into a village where the kings' clothes have been fairly transparent for a long time and he's saying, "Look, I can totally see his wiener through that thing," and the villagers are gonna go, "No, man, that's not his wiener, that's just a shadow."
You've been drinking? what's this mean?
 

nic

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How 20 something dollar Honduran can be compared to 70 dollar wrapper I don't get but, if half (or more) prime wrapper is being downgraded to binder, that is absolutely unacceptable. Something is not right there. however, there will always be additional grading to be done.
It hasn't been only the Honduran Habano wrapper from WLT that has been of questionable quality. It's been the majority of wrapper I've purchased from multiple vendors.
 
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I guess I've had good luck with wrappers since I switched to LO. I've had almost perfect quality every time. I like getting an assortment of smaller 1/4 lb. amounts to try them before making a commitment of a full lb.

Tops of my list would be...

Brazilian Mata Fina Wrapper (these wrappers are smaller and thin with small veins. )
Brazilian Arapriaca Wrapper
Ecuadorian Seco Shade Wrapper (medium brown)
viso (darker)
ligero (darkest)
Mexican San Andres Wrapper

Occasionally I'll come across an attractive, very dark ligero leaf and moisten it for use as a wrapper. Dark, rustic and toothy. I enjoy it.

Wrapper compare.jpg
 
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