CIGARS 101

1. Cigars are made completely from tobacco, with no chemical or artificial flavoring

The taste is influenced entirely by the leaves and the soil they came from.

 

2. The process is extremely hands on

Some say over 200 hand, to be exact, touch a cigar from the harvesting process to the fermenting, aging and rolling.

 

3. The fermentation process is very important

Especially to the taste of a good cigar, as it eliminates bitterness.

 

Three components:

 

⚬ water

⚬ pressure

⚬ heat

 

are all that is needed for the microbial breakdown of the tobacco leaf.

4. Aging has to happen as well

Before and after the rolling, as well as some smokers age their cigars at home, like a fine wine. This process eliminates the earthy taste and balances the nutty, floral flavors.

 

5. Cigars are all constructed of wrapper, binder and filler

The wrapper is the tobacco leaf on the outside of the cigar. The binder is another leaf that holds the loose components of the binder together. This leaf can be multiple tobaccos strains, and helps with the slow burn of the cigar. The cigar is ended with a cap. All parts of this process are critical in the smoke-ability of the cigar.

 

6. Handmade cigars require you cut the head before smoking

Check the cigar for little taper near the head, and don’t cut below that line. In the case of torpedoes and piramides, the taper is more drastic. Better to cut too little than too much. When lighting, the least contact the better. Toast the head of your cigar like you would a marshmallow.

 

7. Smoke slow and steady

The whole point of a cigar is to enjoy yourself. You can’t do that by puffing every 5 minutes, and it will likely overheat your cigar. A 5 in. cigar should last about 45 minutes. Leave the ash as long as you can. It’s characteristic of a good stogie and keeps the temperature consistent on the lit tobacco. Puff too little though, and your cigar will go out. Lots of lights add char and bitterness.

 

8. Choose your cigar based on your preferences

Strong, medium or mild refer to the intensity of the cigar. There can still be plenty of flavor at lower levels. Full strength cigars are typically made from ligero tobacco (darkest leaves that are oily and rich) and medium or mild are typically made from secos or visos (a more nuanced flavor). Make sure to talk to your salesmen to recommend the right blend for your preference. Looks can be deceiving!

 

9. Cubans cigars vs. Others

Cubans have formidable counterparts in Dominican, Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco. Many will argue their own preference and heritage. Each region has their own distinct taste and different strengths they bring to the table. Test out all the regions and see which cultural soil you prefer. (Cubans cannot be sold legally in the U.S right now, they can only be procured for personal use by going to the country. Posted 02/2019).

 

10. Price and quality are not always mutually exclusive

You may find a less expensive cigar more enjoyable than a costly one, based on taste and strength preferences. However, as with most handmade products, the better the materials, the longer the process and the more quality control, the more expensive the item will be. The best thing to do is try one out. If the higher cost isn’t matched by the experience, stay comfortable within your price range.

 

This information was summarized from the following blog link: Cigar Aficionado: 10 Things Every Smoker Should Know

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