From seed to barn
THE DURATION: The duration from seed planting to harvesting is 17 weeks for shade grown or wrapper leaf plants and 16 weeks for sun-grown or filler and binder leaves. Fields are planted at different times to spread the burden of crop caring.
THE ANIMAL TRACTION: Animal traction is still carefully used for field ploughing so as to properly loosen and aerate the soil.
THE SHADE GROWN: Shade grown, or wrapper leaf plants, demand extra- ordinary labor as these are entirely covered by muslin cloth canopies and individually strung to the frame.
THE HARVESTING: The plants are ready for harvesting 40 days into the process and one plant can take up to 30 days to harvest, as only 2 to 3 leaves can be picked at one time.
From barn to bench
Filler leaves undergo:
50 days of air curing in the Barn and 25 to 30 days of fermentation in the Sorting House. The leaves are then taken to the Stripping House to be moistened and hand-stripped of their center vein. A second fermentation then takes place of at least 45 to 90 days. A third fermentation is reserved for exceptional cigars, such as Edición Limitadas and Cohibas to further develop and enhance the flavours and aromas.
Wrappers or Shade-grown leaves undergo:
25 days of air curing, a minimum of 30 days fermentation and at least
6 months of ageing.
From bench to box
EACH TORCEDOR, OR ROLLER, SPECIALIZES IN ONE PARTICULAR SIZE AND ONLY THE MOST EXPERIENCED TORCEDOR IS PERMITTED TO ROLL THE LARGER SIZED CIGARS.
To begin, there are 3 leaves integral to the composition of a Habanos:
THE FILLER LEAF: The calculated blend of these 3 filler leaves depends entirely on the varying House flavors.
Ligero: Full-flavored leaves from the top of the plant.
Seco: Medium flavored leaves from the centre of the plant.
Volado: Milder flavors from the bottom of the plant.
THE BINDER LEAF: This leaf encases the filler leaves to form a "bunch", which is then placed into a wooden mould to further set their shape.
THE WRAPPER LEAF: This leaf always remains a little moist to ensure a perfect stretch around the filler and binder leaves. The cap is cut separately and wound around the head of the cigar to close off the open end and secure the wrapper.
Finally, using vegetable gum, a small disc of tobacco is secured to the head of the cigar, which is then guillotined to length.
THE BATCHES: Each batch of cigars is labelled with the torcedor’s number, the type of cigar and the date of manufacture to facilitate a strict quality control. Cigars are tested for combustion, color, rolling quality, dimensions and the finish of the cap. Torcedors are paid per cigar.
COLOR CLASSIFICATIONS: Cigar wrappers naturally display around 12 different colors and up to 72 different shades. Ensuring that each box is consistent in color is a great task accomplished in by the Escogedores (choosers) who work in pairs to color-match the wrappers.
THE ANILLADORA: The anilladora or bander manually applies the band to each and every cigar making sure the bands line up perfectly within the box, which is also entirely hand-crafted.