Station: [10] Preparing the Tobacco

Cigar lovers can become very excited when they describe the delicate aroma of a good cigar. The taste is supposedly sweet, woody, spicy, like leather or even like pepper. It’s not unlike in cooking – the perfect blend of spices makes all the difference to the taste. To achieve the right flavour, the local Geudertheimer tobacco was mixed with tobacco from overseas – from Java, Sumatra, Mexico or Brazil. A foreign tobacco variety was also usually chosen for the cigar’s wrapper and binder.

Tobacco imported into Germany was packaged in a range of different ways, depending on where it came from. The bales from Asia were wrapped in burlap, while the US tobacco arrived in big wooden barrels known as “hogsheads”. Ready-mixed filler tobaccos were also vacuum-packed in plastic bags for transport. 

The local tobacco industry was relatively small, so it often re-purposed machinery from other trades. The tobacco shredder in the centre of the room was originally used to shred hemp and sisal for use in upholstery. Here, it shredded the leaves to provide filler for the cigars.

The vein roller started out life as a mangle in a laundry. 

On this side of the stairs, you can see the wooden hoist. It was used to move the tobacco to the upper floors – and operated manually, by means of a rope winch. 

Please carry on up the stairs to the top floor and we’ll continue by the large glass case on the top landing.

All depictions: © Oberrheinisches Tabakmuseum Mahlberg