In some non-alcohol related news, I’ve recently planted a large variety of tobacco, and the first sprouts are now beginning to come up.
As many of you know, I’m a lover of a good smoke. That necessarily omits most of the commercial brands of Big Tobacco, which are a far cry from the flavorful and mild blends I recall from my youth. I fondly remember Camels when they were really made with fine Turkish tobacco instead of the stinky, sulfurous weeds now foisted upon us by corporate greed.
I also love good cigars, which fortunately are not yet extinct.
Most of the varieties I’ve planted are Turkish, Cuban, and South American, although a few are North American, and several of them are heirloom strains free from hybridization and genetic mucking about. One strain is an intact rustic variety identical with the tobacco first imported into Europe. I have seeds from Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Greece, Paraguay, Persia, Peru, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.
All in all there are about 25 varieties coming up, so I’ll probably only grow a few plants of each variety just to see which do best in this climate and which have the flavor and aroma characteristics I’m looking for. I’m mostly looking forward to the Izmir, Xanthi Yaka, Smyrna, and Havanas. Xanthi Yaka was the variety grown in Yenidje, and was the gold standard of Turkish tobacco. Anyone who’s enjoyed a Balkan Sobranie cigarette from before 1980 will be smiling wistfully right about now.
Most of the tobacco will be sun-cured by Turkish methods, but I’ll be air curing some. I’ve also got some Perique that I’ll be press-fermenting and some Latakia I’ll be fire-curing for that dark, smokey quality.
I’ll post more pics as the babies grow!