By Russ Ouellette
The curing of tobacco is sometimes likened to alchemy or subatomic structure by some pipe smokers. The fact is that curing is just a method of preparing the leaf for further processing, or for immediate use, usually by using a procedure which minimizes or eliminates certain inherent negative qualities. The main methods of curing include: air curing, flue curing, fire curing, sun curing (although some people consider this the same as air curing), fermentation by pressure (as in the case of Perique) and fermentation by bulking, which is used mostly for cigar tobacco. Let’s look at each process, what it does and with which tobaccos each method works best.