Cigars: Completely DIY

I’ve enjoyed smoking cigars for many years and I was always curious about the production process from seed to cigar.

Finally, in 2015 I decided to give it a try.
First of all I bought seeds “Havanna Corojo” plus all the required equipment for growing seedlings from these seeds.
I got mine from www.tabakanbau.de, a shop I can highly recommend.
When the seedlings were big enough and there was no more danger of frost, I planted them in my field.

The soil is very sandy and perfect for growing tobacco. Actually, my great-grandfather grew tobacco here already.

After some months the plants had grown nicely and the leaves were ready for harvesting.

As you can see, they actually grew over my head.

Unfortunately, I had to work a lot so I wasn’t able to take care of the crop as much as I wanted to. Luckily though, my dad (with whom I shared the crop) took care of everything.
Here you can see us having a break with a Single Malt and a good cigar.

When the leaves were harvested, they were strung up for drying.
Dad went to a lot of trouble building a sturdy frame and making sure that the leaves dry properly.

When the leaves were dry we took them down and prepared them for fermenting.
First of all we placed them on a palette to make sure that air can flow below them.

We then covered them with a bed sheet (for lack of banana leaves) and weighed the tobacco down with some heavy stones.

Every few weeks we removed the weight and shifted the tobacco around, moving the leaves from the inside to the outside to ensure an even fermentation.
Finally, after eight months, I was able to take the leaves and roll our first cigars.
I rolled them and placed them in an old cigar-press which I found on eBay.

After pressing, they looked quite good, even though they looked a bit rough for lack of a wrapper.

I decided to leave them like that.
These cigars taste great!
The workload and patience involved in the production is huge.
Having done it myself once, I have the greatest respect for the people doing this professionally.