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Vintage Cigars Pt. 2: Connecticut Tobacco

In Vintage Cigars Pt. 1, we uncovered the methods for aging premium cigar tobacco. Next we will explore the aging methods used to process Connecticut Shade and Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco.

Stalk- Cut and Priming

It is important to remember that the aging of tobacco begins the moment the tobacco stalk is cut or the leaves are primed at the time of harvest. The aging process begins immediately at the time of harvest since the plant has been severed from its nutrient source.

Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco plant
Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco plant

Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco has thicker leaves and larger veins and is harvested by cutting the stalk at its base.

Priming of Connecticut Shade Tobacco Plant
Priming of Connecticut Shade Tobacco Plant

The more delicate Connecticut Shade plant is primed. Priming entails picking the leaves from the stalk, starting at the bottom of the plant, and working up the stalk in levels, usually in intervals of 6-8 days.


Connecticut Shade in Curing Process
Connecticut Shade in Curing Process

The tobacco plants are then transferred to barns, where the tobacco is hung and the curing process begins. The Connecticut Broadleaf stalk-cut plants are hung inverted by the stalk. The primed tobacco leaves from Connecticut Shade plants are tied in bunches, strung together in a line, and hung. The curing barns for each type of tobacco vary in design, so as to bring about the best environment for curing.

Connecticut Shade Curing Barn

The traditional Connecticut Shade tobacco barn features panel sidings that open to allow air to move freely through the barn, and close when heat or humidity is needed. This design makes benefit from the brisk temperatures of New England during tobacco harvest season.

Curing times vary for the two types of Connecticut tobacco but normally last between 30- 45 days. The curing process is not just to dry out the leaves. In this phase, the tobacco is expelling naturally occurring impurities like sucrose, ammonia, and nickel compounds. Once the leaves are dried and cured, they are moved to the next infant stage of aging; the sweating process.


Sweating Connecticut Shade and Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco requires different methods and controls according to the plant. The sweating process is also known as fermentation in the cigar industry. In this stage, heat, humidity, and convection are applied to further expel impurities and mature the color, aroma, and flavor profile of the leaf. The sweating process is where Connecticut Shade gets its golden color and creamy flavor profile, and Connecticut Broadleaf gets its dark and oily texture and rich aromas.

Once Connecticut tobacco is cured and sweated, if it is intended for aging and used in premium cigars, it will undergo further fermentation processes before being stored away.

Stay tuned for Vintage Cigars Pt. 3: Aged Connecticut Cigars


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