The Tobacco Leaves
WHEN THE WRAPPER LEAVES ARE AGED, IT IS TIME FOR THEIR FINAL SORTING AND CLASSIFICATION.
One movement deftly removes the entire central vein of the leaf leaving its two halves ready to be graded into some 20 finely distinguished sizes and shades. In the past, these tasks were performed only by women. Working from piles of leaves on their laps thus lent weight to the popular myth that Habanos are rolled on maidens’ thighs.
Filler and binder leaves are carefully removed from their bales for examination. The task of selecting the blends for each brand according to its own recipe starts well before the bales reach the factory. The blend for each size within each brand is specified and monitored by the Tobacco Research Institute together with Habanos s.a. to ensure that the quality and taste characteristics of each cigar are respected. The task of the Master Blender in each factory is to make certain that the prescribed criteria are followed. At the central warehouse a selection is made from a huge stock of bales containing every type of leaf, each classified by its “tiempo”, its size, its age and, most important of all, by its zone and area of origin. Finally, three years or more since the oldest leaf was picked, it is now about to become a Habano…