Is all cigar tobacco picked leaf-by-leaf?
No, some varieties are stalk-cut.
Most cigar tobacco is primed, picked two or three leaves at a time starting at the bottom of the plant. But a few hearty varieties, particularly Connecticut broadleaf and Mexican San Andres Negro, are stalk-cut.
In the stalk-cutting process, the entire plant is cut. After cutting, the plants are allowed to wilt, then are speared on lathes that are tipped with sharp spearheads.
The spears piece the stalks and hold the tobacco plant in place. They are then hung upside down in tobacco curing barns, or casas de tabacos, and allowed to cure.
This allows the tobacco to live off the thick stalk, and is a longer curing process than the one for primed tobacco.
Stalk-cut tobacco tends to have a more earthy flavor than primed tobacco.
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