IPCPR 2017: Drew Estate – FSG

Drew Estate

This is the interview I’ve been looking forward to doing ever since I learned Florida Sun Grown tobacco existed on a Cigar Safari trip years ago. You might know Jeff Borysiewicz as the founder of Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, Florida, or for his involvment with CRA. But today we’re talking to Jeff Borysiewicz, the exclusive grower of Florida Sun Grown tobacco and the guy responsible for bringing tobacco farming back to Florida.

The FSG cigar was actually released last year at the Drew Estate Barn Smoker event, but was more limited in its availability. This year FSG will be available to all Drew Estate DDRP accounts. (If your retailer has Liga Privada, they can get FSG.)

Jeff surprises us by unveiling some beautiful looking cured Florida Sun Grown tobacco that was harvested in May of 2017. Because the air is so dry in Las Vegas, he had the tobacco tucked away under damp towels, so we didn’t know it was there. He tells us the Cuban-seed corojo tobacco he grows is expensive to produce because you can’t stalk cut it. If you try, the top leaves will not be developed to a point where they can be used. They wind up doing seven primings. That means seven passes through the field, and labor is expensive in the U.S. Eventually after the tobacco is processed, it gets packed and shipped to Nicaragua to complete the process from fermentation to the finished product.

Justin asks Jeff what he looks for when he’s determining whether a leaf is good or bad. Jeff was only to happy to show us some of the process with the tobacco he brought to the trade show. I’m pretty sure I was holding my breath as Jeff stretched the leaves to show us their oils and color, but the tobacco was resilient, and no damage was done. Of course, all the tobacco on display was a lovely rosado color, free from spotting, holes, blemishes and other imperfections.

One thing you may not know is that hail is the scourge of the tobacco crop. Who knew Florida got hail? I could see that in Connecticut, but Florida? Apparently it isn’t uncommon there in March and April. Not something you’ll hear growers in Nicaragua complaining about.

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