The fermentation process reduces the ammonia, tar, acidity, and nicotine content of the leaves, which enhances both flavor and aroma. This makes cigar tobacco much more pleasant to smoke than cigarette tobacco. After harvest, the tobacco leaves are gathered in large bulks or piles, then moistened and allowed to ferment. The temperature inside the bulk of tobacco will naturally reach up to 140°F before the bulk is broken down and restacked, temporarily halting the fermentation process but providing for an even and higher quality fermentation. This process, called working the bulk, releases ammonia from the tobacco.
After harvest, the tobacco leaves are gathered in large bulks (or piles), then moistenedand allowed to ferment. Temperatures may reach 140°F before the bulk is broken down and restacked until fermentation stops naturally. This process, called working the bulk, releases ammonia from the tobacco.
There are primarily two types of fermentation, natural fermentation and forced fermentation, with the duration of the process ranging from two days to two months or more. Natural fermentation, sometimes known as aging, is a chemical reaction caused by moisture and warm temperatures; it occurs when tobacco is packaged in bales or hogsheads. Natural fermentation generally gives tobacco a more uniform color and a milder taste. Forced fermentation involves placing tobacco in huge stacks so that the chemical reaction caused by the moisture and warm temperatures is intensified by the pressure the tobacco is under. Forced fermentation generally gives tobacco a more uniform color, as well as a smoother aroma and taste.