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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fresh Rolled Cigars - Smoke Fresh Or Wait?

Certified Master Tobacconist #1801
Fresh Rolled Cigars-Smoke Fresh or Wait?

What is a fresh rolled cigar? A fresh rolled cigar is a cigar that is handed to you by the roller or rolled within a couple of hours. Although not for everyone, I think every lover of the leaf should experience a truly fresh rolled cigar. A fresh rolled cigar has unique characteristics that are only found straight from the table. The flavor and characteristics of a fresh rolled cigar cannot be obtained any other way. Many will argue that a fresh rolled cigar is too moist because wrapper and binder tobaccos are at humidity levels much higher than 70% RH for rolling purposes.  Obviously, this is a personal opinion that must be experienced individually.

Is it worth waiting a few days to let the moisture content ease? One word, NO! Once the cigar moisture content begins to subside the wrapper leaf and binder leaf become bitter and unpleasant. This period is referred by many as the “sick period”. This causes the natural by-product of ammonia. Not a pleasant smoking attribute. As the sick period begins, it helps the filler and binder tobaccos to meld with the wrapper leaf to complete the blending process. Many in the industry refer to this stage as marrying. Once the marrying process begins the tobaccos get “sick” (sound familiar?). This sickness typically starts around 24 hours after the wrapper leaf has been rolled onto the bunch and last about 60 days. During this period the tobaccos are settling, seeking humidity equilibrium, and releasing ammonia and other impurities.

 When I obtain fresh rolled cigars I always try at least 4. The first one I try that day. The next three I try in one month intervals. Take notes on each cigar and observe the progression of the flavors of the cigar congruent to the aging process.  In conclusion, give a fresh rolled cigar a shot. You’ll be surprised at the unique flavors you may find. Smoke it within 24 hours or wait at least 30 to 60 days for the cigar to recover from the sick period.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Great Success!

Surpassing our goal of 1,000 Certified Tobacconists & Apprentices at this years IPCPR tradeshow was a huge achievement for TU! Thank you to everyone who signed up to become an Apprentice at the show, took their CRT exam with us or even simply stopped by the booth to show support. An impressive twenty five apprentices passed the final, attaining their certification. Follow this link to see a complete list of our Certified Tobacconists.  Haven’t begun your certification process yet?  Get Started!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Casings & Toppings Are Not The Same: Kevin Godbee, CMT Contribution

Casings & Toppings – Not the Same – CMT Contribution, Kevin Godbee
 On page 84 of The Tobacconist Handbook, it states in the Tobacconist Tip:
“Casing is another term for flavorings that can be added to pipe tobaccos, primarily aromatic blends. Casing usually involves applying flavored liquids, like honey, liqueurs, and extracts.”
I’d like to expand on this.
Casings and Toppings are two different things. Toppings are actually what is more associated with the stereotypical sweet flavor or aroma of an “aromatic” pipe tobacco blend. For example, a Cherry Tobacco will have a cherry topping. The topping is applied last, at the very end of the processing just before the tobacco goes into the tin or pouch.

Casing, on the other hand is done to ALL pipe tobacco blends – NOT just AROMATICS. Casing happens around the middle of the processing, and it is not meant to add anything that is detectable to the flavor. Casing is applied, and then the tobacco is left to sit for about a day to absorb the casing. So, casing is absorbed into the tobacco, and toppings, as implied, sit on top of the tobacco and quickly burn off. You don’t so much as taste the topping as smell it.
    The most typical casings are as follows:
    Virginia tobaccos (which are not strictly from VA, but that’s another lesson), are typically cased with sugar-water.
    Burley tobaccos are typically cased with a solution that contains chocolate and / or licorice.
    Even though chocolate and licorice do have distinct flavors, they are not detectable as a casing.

Casings serve the purpose of enhancing and bringing out more of the tobacco’s natural flavor. Toppings serve the purpose of adding an additional flavor (taste+aroma) to a blend. The simple way I use to remember the difference is to think of casing as a marinade, as it is added during the processing, and soaks into the tobacco. And think of toppings as a sauce. You could marinate (casing) a steak, then grill it, and after it is cooked, you can put some A1 sauce (topping) on it.

Here is a photo of tobacco being cased at the Orlik Factory in Denmark.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Top 5 Reasons To Be Certified

1) Credibility Matters- Enhance your professional credibility by becoming Certified by TU. Immersing yourself in our extensive academic curriculum will help to further establish your professional credentials. By completing the Steps to Certification, CRT’s adhere to our high expectations in regards to product knowledge and customer service thus become knowledgeable, trustworthy in the eyes of consumers and peers.

2) Personal Satisfaction/Self-Esteem- Becoming a CRT will define and shape yourself beyond your job description. You will achieve a deep sense of personal satisfaction as well as validate your luxury tobacco experience.

3) Make your Certification work for you- Promote yourself. Wear your certified lapel pin and display your diploma and other certified accoutrements. Let your certification set you apart from other retailers. TU Certification also works as a free training vehicle for your employees. Customers view certification as a guarantee they will receive a high level of quality service, it demonstrates a commitment to our industry.

4) Improved Skills and Knowledge- Develop a well rounded educational experience while studying the four Colleges that comprise Tobacconist University: Tobacco, Accoutrements, Taste, and Service College.

5) Stay Tuned- Only certified retailers can profit from selling The Tobacconist Handbook or administering the final exam to Apprentices. We also have many exciting  projects in the works which only Certified Tobacconists will benefit from.