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How Tobacco Is Sorted & Prepared For Rolling Into Premium Cigars By Davidoff

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How Tobacco Is Sorted & Prepared For Rolling Into Premium Cigars By Davidoff

Davidoff's Klaas Kelner takes us through the various stages of tobacco sorting. This is a complicated process, as many types of sorting are required for the company's high standards! You'll learn what cigar makers look for in a tobacco leaf.

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How Tobacco Is Sorted & Prepared For Rolling Into Premium Cigars By Davidoff

The tobacco comes in wrapped in cloth to maintain humidity. Because the tobacco needs to ferment, leaves must be frequently checked in case they've gone bad. To check quality, leaves are gently stretched out flat, focusing on the parts the roller will use.

Anything near the center vein will be discarded. The sorter inspects the usable portion for black spots and other discolorations.

Fermentation temperature must follow a narrow range. Too low, and it won't ferment, while high temperatures could remove the oils that give the leaf flavor.

At Davidoff, short fill tobacco goes through the same processes and quality checks as long fill.

Depending on how the usable areas of a leaf are shaped, it may become wrapper or binder. Otherwise, half of the leaf may be good for wrapper, and the other binder. Filler goes through different processes.

Sorters continue until they have an idea of what colors to expect from each pile. All this happens two years before the rollers will use the leaves.

Filler does not need the humidifying sauna that wrapper and binder needs; filler is dipped into water.

Aged tobacco gets very dry, and must be re-humidified to take out the center vein or for sorting. This happens in the Texture Department. Here, sorters determine the tobacco's characteristics only by touch.

Touch is important since color can trick you. Klaas shows a bin of Ligero, where some leaves are lighter than others. The thickness, the oiliness are the real identity of the leaf. People will say Maduro's strong, but that's only a term for color.

Association between color and strength is somewhat recent. Hence, tobacco companies try to meet this demand by breeding stronger tobaccos to be darker.

To customers, this can be a useful shorthand. Klaas notes that some companies, though not Davidoff, even paint cigars to match their strength! Such cigars, he notes, can stain your lips.

Klaas shows Paul some visos, between seco and ligero, which show totally different colors.

The next room is deveining, where the center vein is removed, and each leaf is sized. Deveiners determine which format each leaf is the right size for.

Afterwards, the leaves, humidified, deveined, and sized, are introduced to the machines, which will cut them perfectly. Scraps trimmed here become filler. By this point, 30% of the leaf's width have been removed. Next, binders go to be stacked in packs of 50. Afterwards, the rollers will make an exact number of cigars from each pack of leaves.

Meanwhile, wrappers are sorted by size: big, medium, small, and color. All wrapper sorters are ladies, so no rough hands will break the expensive leaves! Tabadom also finds women more patient for tasks like these, with a better eye for color. Wrappers are kept moistened and pliable throughout.

Wrappers can be thinner, with less oils, like the Connnecticut Ecuadorian, or thicker, with more oils, like the Negro San Andrés.

Dominican tobacco is very high-humidity, and therefore can easily rot if not stored properly. Hence, Dominican leaves sit as packs of 25 in coolers inside a giant humidity-controlled fridge at 65% RH. For comparison, the ambient RH is about 80%.

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How To Hand Roll Premium Cigars: Step-by-Step Guide By Davidoff

While visiting Davidoff's cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, Paul Anthony was shown how cigars are properly rolled by Klaas Kelner. Watch this video to see genuine master rollers carefully demonstrate how premium cigars are made.

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Once the tobacco has been harvested, cured, fermented and properly sorted and prepared, it is only ready for rolling then!

Davidoff has its own academy where it trains people to become professional cigar rollers. After three months of intensive training, they will be already rolling cigars. However, they will be mostly working on bundles and more affordable blends. It will not be until they have approximately 10 years of experience that they will be rolling Davidoff cigars.

Cigar rollers often work in pairs and they will also work on the same size and shape over the course of much of their career. This is because their craftsmanship will become accustomed to a particular size or shape and changing this would require a transition period.

Furthermore, rollers work in pairs as one will roll the filler into the binder, which is then moulded for around 30 to 40 minutes. Once this is ready, the second roller will apply the delicate wrapper. After the first batch is ready, they both work simultaneously and will roll about 500 cigars a day between them.

The first roller will begin with a humid binder so it is elastic and malleable while working. However, the filler must be dry so it can be broken and to avoid that they stick together. The binder is placed onto a Lieberman machine with the veins pointing in a particular direction.

The roller then folds filler into him palm in an accordion style. The way the tobacco is held in the palm is known as the pulse and becomes second nature to experienced rollers as a way to gauge the right quantity of tobacco. He then proceeds to add tobaccos leaves in just the right amount, which he breaks and places into different areas according to the blend.

The strongest and thickest tobacco will be at the centre while thinner and more aromatic varieties will be nearer the exterior to ensure an even combustion.

The filler is then placed onto the binder and the roller uses the Lieberman machine to wrap it. He catches the cigar at the rear and uses small amounts of natural and odourless glue to close it before cutting it flush.

This is then placed into the mould before proceeding onto the next one. Once the mould is full of cigars, it is pressed for 30 minutes. The cigars are then removed and turned before being pressed for another 30 minutes.

Once ready, the second roller will take the cigars in order to apply the wrappers. Using a Chaveta knife, the roller will carefully cut the humid leaf against a steel panel. After the shape is ready, he will carefully roll the cigar into the wrapper while pinching and stretching to remove any veins.

Before finishing, he will use the Chaveta to cut the end of the wrapper leaf to create what is known as a flag formation. Using the same natural gum glue, he finishes the cigar's head with a clean cap.

The end is then cut to the right size and the cigars are left to rest for a few months so the humidity stabilises.

Several quality controls are used throughout the process to ensure that Davidoff can guarantee a positive smoking experience. The cigars are weighed while the lengths and gauges are checked. Rollers are provided with incentives and bonuses if they have a low rejection rate as the quality of their work is just as important as the speed.

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How To Hand Roll Premium Cigars: Step-by-Step Guide By Davidoff
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How Cigar Tobacco Is Cured, Fermented, & Aged For By Davidoff

During Bespoke Unit's trip to the Dominican Republic, Davidoff's Klaas Kelner walked us through the process on how the tobacco is cured and fermented after it has been harvested. Watch this video to learn about the curing process and how tobacco is properly aged before being made into a premium cigar.

CONTINUE WATCHING:
See our other related videos from our #davidoffcigars Dominican experience!

Watch the full Davidoff documentary:


How Tobacco Is Grown:


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Our Davidoff playlist:


READ ABOUT CIGARS:

Written articles on Davidoff:

Our reference on cigar tobacco:

All guides, reviews, and other info on cigars at Bespoke Unit:


In this video, we step into a curing barn right from the tobacco fields. Klaas explains to us how the tobacco leaves are tied to bamboo poles and left to hang facing outwards to ensure that they do not touch. Throughout the whole process, they are moved around to ensure that they are cured as evenly as possible.

The curing process will take a number of weeks and special care is taken to make sure that the humidity of the curing barn remains stable at around 80% and a temperature approximately 80 - 90°F (30°C).

If it is too dry, the curing barn is closed shut and water is poured onto the ground. Meanwhile, the doors are opened during wet years and hot charcoal will be layered onto the floor.

In later stages of the curing process, the leaves will begin to turn brown. This is due to phenol and oxygen coming into contact as the leaves whither and the cell membrane breaks down, which reveals the initial aromas.

Once the tobacco has been fully cured, it is sent to the fermentation warehouse where they are gathered into 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) piles and covered with textile. During this process, the tobacco creates heat as it ferments.

Therefore, the tobacco needs to be flipped and moved to prevent a build-up a heat, which may cause rotting with humidity. This labour-intensive method will take a team of four workmen four hours to complete each time. A single pile can be flipped ten times over a period of several years.

The time required to fully ferment the tobacco depends on its thickness and the level of nitrogenous elements it contains. As it ferments, it sweats out the carbohydrates and the acidity, the proteins, and the alkaloid nicotine.

If the tobacco gets too dry, it is taken to a so-called sauna where humidity is added indirectly to the leaves. This complex process only lasts overnight and the tobacco will be ready to continue fermenting the following day.

Finally, the tobacco is considered fully fermented once the temperature has stabilised despite being regularly flipped. It is only at this point that Davidoff will consider ready to be sorted and prepared before being rolled into a premium cigar.

REMEMBER to comment! We'd love to hear what you thought of this video and whether you enjoyed it. Did you learn something new or do you have questions? Let us know!

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How Cigar Tobacco Is Cured, Fermented, & Aged For By Davidoff

From Seed To Smoke: A Cigar's Odyssey | Davidoff Cigar Factory & Farms (How Cigars Are Made)

In early 2019, Bespoke Unit Founder Paul Anthony and Editor-in-Chief Charles-Philippe were invited by Klaas Kelner to visit Davidoff in the Dominican Republic. Watch this feature-length documentary to discover how Tabadom makes Davidoff cigars and learn about the full process.

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What Do Tobacco Seeds Look Like?


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Why Cigars Are Kept In Cellophane:


Hendrik Kelner Full Interview:


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Eladio Diaz Full Interview:


Hamlet Espinal Full Interview:


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SYNOPSIS:

Join us as we follow the tobacco's journey from humble seeds to finely-matured leaves that is expertly wrapped by craftsmen into the cigars that we know and love.

You will be guided by Klaas Kelner, Senior Brand Ambassador for Davidoff, who will take you on a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you will learn the intimate details of the cigar's production.

01:33
You will meet Hendrik Henke Kelner, Tabadom's founder, Eladio Diaz, Davidoff's Master Blender, as well as Hamlet Espinal, the factory's general manager, who will share their unique insights as well as their most intimate secrets of the industry.

06:07
We will begin our adventure in one of Davidoff's 52 greenhouses, where we learn about their unique tobacco hybrids and watch the seeds being planted and cultivated into small plants.

15:58
From there, we are whisked away to the Kelner farm where San Vicente tobacco is grown and harvested. Klaas will show you how the freshly cultivated tobacco leaves are taken to the curing barns.

34:36
Afterwards, we travel to the fermentation warehouse and learn about the many years it takes to properly mature the tobacco until it's ready to be used.

45:00
Before heading to the factory, we see the meticulous process of the tobacco being sorted, deveined, and prepared before it can be used for making a cigar.

01:09:50
Furthermore, we see the blending process and even speak to Eladio Diaz, Davidoff's Master Blender.

01:16:01
Finally, we arrive at the factory and witness first-hand the cigars being crafted by two of Davidoff's master rollers They show us how the filler is properly bunched and placed into the binder as well as how the wrapper is carefully applied afterwards.

01:26:20
Before our journey draws to a close, we also explore the steps that follow once the cigars have been properly rested. We learn how Davidoff sorts the fresh cigar by colour, how the bands are applied, and how (and why) they are sealed in cellophane before being boxed.

CREDITS:
Presented & Produced by Paul Anthony
Narrated & Directed by Charles-Philippe Bowles
Special Thanks to Klaas Kelner, Hendrik Kelner, Eladio Diaz, Hamlet Espinal, Julio Martinez, José Nacho Vásquez, Lisbeth Genao, and Anny Moronta

REMEMBER to comment! We'd love to hear what you thought about our first feature-length documentary and whether you have any questions about the process! We would also like to hear whether you want to see more like this in the future!

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BMC Cigars Preparing the Filler Leaf's

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Hendrik "Henke" Kelner Interview - Davidoff Cigars | Who He Is, His Philosophy & Legacy

In this video, Charles-Philippe was honoured to interview Henke Kelner, a living legend and the founder of Tabadom who have been making Davidoff Cigars in the Dominican Republic since 1990.

In this hour-long interview, you will experience a rare insight into the man behind the brand. From his family history to a regular day in the life, learn about Henke Kelner and his vision for creating the world's most celebrated premium cigars.

Accurate close-caption subtitles are available for the hard of hearing.

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In this long interview, Henke looks towards his past and describes his background as an engineer student before he worked in tobacco.

He talks about his 8 years in a cigarette factory before moving on to cigars as well as the first blends he made for Griffin and Avo before meeting Dr Schneider from Davidoff. During this, he explains why he believes that Davidoff wanted to work with him in particular and what he would offer to the brand.

Henke also reveals how he came to work with Davidoff as well as the challenges he faced when making the first blends. He also details the innovations that he introduced to Davidoff and his factory in order to produce better quality tobacco in the fields for the cigars.

Furthermore, Henke explores his present by recounting a regular day, which for him starts at 5am. During this, he tells us about the time he spends in the factory as well as the importance of shaving!

Of course, Henke also talks to us about his favourite Davidoff cigars. Although he says that talking about a favourite is like comparing his own children, there are one or two blends that make him proud. Nevertheless, you'll be surprised by what he prefers to smoke the most!

We learn about Henke's passion for cigars as he tells us what they represent and compares the smoking experience to how the natives would use tobacco to communicate with their gods. Similarly, Henke tells us how the cigar is a true friend and the best time to enjoy one.

Finally, Henke touches on the future and how his legacy is important to him.

REMEMBER to comment! We'd love to hear what you think about this limited edition, other limited editions, and any other cigars you'd like us to feature on Bespoke Unit!

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Crowned Heads decided to show its darker side with the popular line of Four Kicks Maduro cigars. Bold flavors of sweet spice, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, and a honey-like sweetness, are delivered with multi-layered complexity and a fabulous smoky tobacco aroma. Get yourself a box of Four Kicks Maduro today at cigars.com.

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