The second step to a Premium cigar is taking the tobacco plants to the field. Once the tobacco seeds have germinated in seedbeds (in greenhouses or out in the open) they are transplanted in the farm. To allow this, plants should be about 15 centimeters high.
Before transplanting, the soil is subject to chemical analysis to estimate its available nutrient and PH levels. This allows us to strengthen the field in terms of elements found to be lacking.
Fertilizers are used three to four times, from the first day until day 26. At the same time, the soil is prepared by moving it around in order to add oxygen, and it’s brought closer to the stalk of the tobacco plant to increase root production.
Watering is based on the development of the tobacco plant. We start with little water, until the fourth week. Then, plants are watered with plenty of water until the seventh week, and it ends with little water again, until the end.
Removing the flower
Forty days after the cultivation of the plant in the farm and its gradual growth, the flowering stage begins. The harvester removes the flower so that it doesn’t absorb the nutrients, since we want these nutrients to be distributed across the leaves. This avoids chemical steeping of leaves. The process of removing flower buds from the tobacco plant is called “topping”.
Similarly, we must remove small leaves near the axil of each leaf (called axillary buds), which sprout as the plant develops. The reason is the same: avoiding the interference of axillary buds in the development and quality of larger leaves. At this stage, removing axillary buds is called “suckering”.
With all this, the plant develops normally. Leaves are distributed along the plant in different foliar levels. According to their distinct foliar level, their flavors, aromas, strength and levels of combustion will be different.
Foliar levels of the tobacco plant
From bottom to top, foliar levels have the following names:
- Seco (lower section): these leaves mainly provide combustibility.
- Viso (intermediate section): they add flavor, but also combustion to the cigar.
- Ligero (upper section): leaves in this foliar position are the strongest and most aromatic because they tend to be oilier. Their combustion is slower.
Therefore, a cigar’s blend should carry a good combination of leaves of the various foliar levels. Variation in the amount of tobacco leaves from each level will determine the character of a cigar. Thus, it can be stronger, more aromatic, it can light faster or be more uniform…