When it comes to tobacco, there are a few varieties that are passed around as king. Connecticut Broadleaf is always in the mix of those being tossed around for number one and personally, I feel CT Broadleaf is numero uno, and its not particularly close at all.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel this side of the globe and see a small handful of tobacco crops being planted, grown and harvested. Over the past 4 years I’ve been able to see some of those crops multiple times at different stages.
New to me this year is the CT Broadleaf, though. The tobacco that makes Drew Estate tick. The cream of the crop when it comes to the lines that Drew Estate offers. It’s not just Drew Estate, either. Plenty of cigar manufacturers rely on the farms in Connecticut to bring them top-of-the-line product for their higher tier products. The crops being grown in Connecticut are easily the most impressive crops I’ve seen. The size of the leaf alone is almost enough tobacco that a half of a plant in other regions of the Americas produces. The thickness of the leaf, fat content, color and strength of the makeup were all number one for me.
Like a small handful of times this year already, we have had the privilege to bring you to the Drew Estate Barnsmokers, and show you the steps each farm takes to best prepare the tobacco for its transit to Nicaragua where it goes through a fermenting and aging cycle before Willy Herrera finally gets his hands on it to check and make sure that he can continue to make sure Liga Privada tastes the same today, as it did 10 years ago. Our first stop on the Connecticut Barnsmoker train is only fitting to stop in with the president, Jonathan Drew and the air curing process.
After a brief comparison to the Kentucky Fire Cured process, we get an in depth look at the tobacco in a, “Mega Barn,” that’s specifically built to hold eight (8) acres of tobacco as opposed to the normal five (5) acre barns that other farms use to cure tobacco. Can you imagine just how many cigars come out of eight acres of tobacco? More than I can smoke in a lifetime I’m sure! We got to learn that the barn we were standing in is housing Liga Privada Anniversario tobacco and that its a part of a “Vintage” crop. A vintage crop is a crop that happens 20% of a decade. A crop so good that it almost makes you forget about the crop the previous year that tanked. In a ten year cycle its estimated that 2 years will be “vintage”, 2 years will be “devastating” and the other 6 years are a normal harvest that isn’t special but neither is it a bad year for harvest.
Just like in Pennsylvania, Connecticut stalk cuts their tobacco, but lays it in the guild to wilt a while because of the size of the leaf and the moisture within it, but we’ll learn more about that later once we dive in to Willy Herrera’s unit at the CT Barnsmoker. After the tobacco wilts a while we pick back up where Pennsylvania does it and place it on a stake and then transport it via trailer to the barns.
It’s estimated that each stake is about 40lbs of tobacco that has to be passed to the top of the curing barn that holds those eight acres we talked about earlier. Just a little bit more to appreciate when we light these rolled leaves up when we have a few spare moments.
So please take a moment to watch the video linked above to get even more information than I’ve been able to bring you here in print. I promise it’s worth it.
Hopefully next year you’ll be some of the first to get your tickets so that you too can experience just what it’s like to be surrounded by some of the most premium leaves in the world. A memory that you’ll surely never forget!