A Shade Grown Wrapper Leaf

Nestor Plasencia Jr. has also already grown some excellent Nicaragua shade wrapper in Jalapa, but now he’s upped the ante by growing it in the uber-fertile soil of Estelí using Connecticut and Habano seeds. Nestor has only harvested one crop, which is still fermenting, and will be planting a second field again this month. However, the process is not only to grow top-grade shade wrapper, but to build a team of people who have the knowledge and skills required to achieve excellent results

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Growing Up Tobacco: The Thrill & Agony of Blending Cigars

Christian Eiroa wears a lot of hats as a cigar maker, and they’re all necessary to keep his employees paid and the lights on. But blending is probably the most entertaining and rewarding part of it all, even if it can also be the most disappointing and frustrating. It’s both soaring joy and crushing heartbreak, sometimes on the same day.

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“Substance & Style: Bigger Isn’t Better. Better Is Better”

People love to say things like, “you get more complexity out of a bigger ring,” or “they burn cooler.” By that rationale, should we expect to see a regular-production 90-ring cigar? It’s rumored that there’s one heading to the market, actually. It’ll probably sell like hotcakes. To each their own, I guess, but with all due respect, I am not a fan. Making and smoking cigars, there’s better balance and flavors in smaller rings – you get the best of both worlds.

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Tobacco Farming Part 7: Fermenting Wrapper Leaves, Natural & Maduro and the Rolling Process

This month Nick Perdomo continues his factory tour by describing how both natural and maduro wrapper leaves are fermented. Sun Grown wrappers are fermented at lower temperatures than filler, while Maduro wrappers are fermented at higher temperatures. Nick also gives props to the managers who oversee production, which includes the bunching and rolling phase, making “Cuban wheels,” and several rounds of quality control inspection. Additionally, readers will get to see how Perdomo rolls their unique-looking, artillery-shaped Torpedoes.

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Traveling the world with a Tobacco Master: Altadis USA’s Larry Palombo

Throughout his 44 years in the cigar and tobacco industry, Larry has traveled the world many times over, learning almost all there is to know about the plant. Palombo's long journey through the world of tobacco has made him one of the premium cigar world's most respected individuals.

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Shit Happens Luck – is Fickle

Luck is a funny thing – some people have it, some don't, some make their own. But no matter how hard you try, says Erik Espinosa, you have to be “all in.” Leave it to Erik to meet Lady Luck at the World Series of Poker – but not in a way he would expect. Remember, though – it never would have happened at all if he wasn't all-in, with everything he does.

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Keys to the City Miami

Though it’s always been popular for tourism, Miami has also been enjoying a wonderful revival. Hotels and businesses that were once deteriorating have been reborn, offering some of the best service, food, and nightlife you’ll find anywhere. Even the pastel colors of Miami can be seen in many of the latest fashions. Whatever “scene” you’re looking for, this edition of Keys to the City will introduce you to Miami’s most vibrant, as well as its most intimate places to stay, dine, and party.

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Following in the Footsteps of Hemingway: From Key West to Africa

Coincidence or fate? That is the question Rafael Nodal raises in his article “Following the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway from Key West to Africa.” Nodal, founder of Boutique Brands cigars, has traveled all over the world. Though he was a big fan of the author, Nodal writes, “…without any conscious planning, I have pretty much followed the steps of Ernest Hemingway.” Not surprisingly, many of the places Nodal discovered during his travels were the bars Hemingway frequented. Additionally, readers will get a glimpse of the history surrounding these intriguing locations.

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Tobacco Farming Part 6: Leaf Classification, Stripping, Drying and Baling

This month Nick Perdomo takes us a few steps closer to making consistently flavorful cigars as he describes how the tobacco is graded, classified, selected, and stripped before baling. The leaf classification process is among the most important stages, because it’s the only way to ensure that every Perdomo blend is made with the exact same tobaccos every time. Classification includes the leaf size, type, and quality. The leaves are then ready for the stripping process (removal of the central vein), followed by drying, then placed into bales under pressure where they will continue to age.

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Making the Case: The Cigar Boom and Bust of the 1990’s

Back in the 1970s and 80s, cigar smoking was something your grandfather did. But then seemingly overnight, the “face of the industry” literally changed. And yet while the image of cigar smokers was changing drastically, the sheer number of cigars being imported and sold was even more mind-boggling.
And then, almost overnight, the boom was over.
The fascinating thing about operating in a business boom cycle is that you are constantly kidding yourself about how long it will last. But in this cycle lay the seeds for a real cigar market that would take us into the 21st century.

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