Sit back, relax and get an education in cigars with C.A.O. International Inc.'s Seed to Soul DVD.
C.A.O. founder Cano Ozgener, his daughter, Aylin, and son, Tim, are joined by Nestor Plasencia, of Plasencia Cigar, and Charlie Toraño, of Toraño Cigars, to guide you through the intricacies of taking a cigar from a tiny seed to the finished product on the shelf.
"It's about making cigars in general," said C.A.O. vice president Tim Ozgener. "We thought it would be a good way of educating people."
Their voices form a backdrop to scenes from the lush, green fields of Jalapa and Estelí, Nicaragua, and Jamastran, Honduras. You start with the seed, then progress with workers through the cultivation of the plants and the harvest. Afterward, you are taken inside the curing barns, then inside the factories for curing, processing and fermentation followed by blending, rolling and finally boxing and banding.
The DVD provides a firsthand look at the artistry involved in producing a premium smoke and the questions that cigarmakers have to answer. For example, the narrators discuss the importance of timing in fermentation -- when to rotate the bale of leaves and how long a particular leaf should ferment before it's ready to move along -- and the patience involved in sorting through hundreds of different leaves from different countries to find the right blend.
Seed to Soul is sold in C.A.O.'s Commemerativo pack, which includes seven different C.A.O. cigars and a booklet detailing each smoke. The pack has a suggested retail price of $40 and is available at your local tobacconist or at C.A.O.'s online gift shop.
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