In this video, we discover the tobacco growing process. Davidoff’s Klaas Kelner details all the effort and planning that goes into ensuring a healthy and flavorful crop year after year.
Take a look at the other videos of our #davidoffcigars Dominican experience!
From Seed To Smoke, full-length cigar documentary: https://youtu.be/_mGFeOwjfbs
Tobacco curing process: https://youtu.be/b_qEDN9oTzg
We interview Klaas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-dgAbesiQw
Interview of Hamlet Espinal, VP of Global Production: https://youtu.be/sv73lI9PZX8
Davidoff Cigars Playlist:
Camacho Connecticut Box Pressed review: https://youtu.be/Gj-HFzp3P24
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Learn tobacco plant anatomy and leaf primings: https://bespokeunit.com/cigars/anatomy/
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How Tobacco Is Grown & Harvested For Making Premium Cigars by Davidoff
There are 15 growing zones in the Dominican Republic where Davidoff contracts farmers. Everything, including fertilizers, irrigation, and curing barns, are financed by Davidoff.
The company provides 9 million 45-day-old plants to its farmers to cultivate every year. These are grown in one of 52 greenhouses. None of these plants are able to create seeds, therefore no one can steal a Davidoff tobacco seed.
Flowers must be eliminated from each plant, since they compete with leaves for nutrients, and Davidoff is in the business of leaves!
Some countries’ tobacco plants are allowed flowers. For example, Ecuadorian Connecticut plants grow flowers in order to create thinner leaves.
Over the course of 105 days, a seed the size of a speck of dust grows to two kilos. That’s 20 million times its original weight. On day 105, harvesting starts. Every 2-3 days, two leaves are harvested from the bottom up.
Each plant has 16 commercial leaves that are suitable for cigars. Davidoff divides these into 4 different primings, 4 per priming.
The bottom is the Volado. Next is Seco, then Viso, and finally Ligero. Normally, the bottommost leaves are discarded, as are the uppermost Coronas. Further, when the flower is removed, the plant grows an offshoot son at the bottom. This is removed, diverting nutrients to the commercial leaves.
Naturally, a tobacco plant can grow up to 150 flowers, each with 1000+ seeds.
While the typical cigar smoker might not pick up subtler notes, they know consistency. If you smoke Davidoff №2 every day, you’ll know right away if that cigar’s strength changes. This blend is from the bottom of the plant. If 10% of it was seco, you’d know immediately.
In more complex blends, it’s a matter of proportion. If one of the tobaccos turns out stronger one year, the blender lowers the percentage of that leaf until it’s just right.
To maintain consistency, Davidoff keeps the soil, leaf position, and plant variety of every blend spot on. Also, the company keeps 5 years’ worth of inventory to compensate for any inconsistencies in growing.
The wine industry can tell a grape is ready for harvest by its sugar content. Tobacco has three indicators. First, intense green color shifts towards yellow. Next, leaves turn downward, showing reverence to the soil. Finally, a leaf that’s ready will break off easily.
Breaking off such a leaf emits a loud crack, while an unripe leaf lets off a ripping noise. During harvest time, the rhythm of the cracks sound like music.
This region gets 60-80mm of rainfall per month. For some areas, Davidoff invests in irrigation to compensate for meager rainfall.
A sunny year means the flower comes earlier, resulting in a smaller plant. This means a stronger tobacco, and thicker leaves, so the yield doesn’t vary so much.
During curing, humidity must be controlled carefully, especially in wet years, or the tobacco could rot.
In growing, too much rainfall can leads to mold; in dry years, insects bring the tomato virus. When the tomato virus first arrived, 30% of Dominican tobacco crops were lost.
Whether mold or tomato virus, infected plants must be taken away quickly.
The farm is planted in stages to protect against crop failure. These stages are staggered by 20-30 days. This way, if bad weather damages one crop, others remain.
Finally, Davidoff purchases leaves based on quality, that is, the health of the leaf.
REMEMBER to comment! Let us know what you think about tobacco growing, our Dominican experience, or any other cigar topic you’d like us to feature on Bespoke Unit!
The Bespoke Unit Team
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How Tobacco Is Grown & Harvested For Making Premium Cigars by Davidoff: