All You Need To Know About Cigars

How To Experience The Most Out of A Cigar

Getting to know cigars means experiencing a great cigar. Three types of tobacco leaves are used; smaller leaves are only used as a filler, whereas the whole leaf is used as a wrapper, which is known as a binder.

How To Store Cigars

The age of a cigar changes its flavor, but its a personal preference. You can buy aged cigars, but they are expensive, so you can age them yourself. Store them in the ideal environment which controls both humidity and temperature–the ideal being the 70-70 rule. Beyond that, cigars may get moldy. However, be sure to maintain an environment that’s stable and never fluctuating, otherwise that can lead to expansion and contraction, which would crack the wrappers. If you’ve ever experienced a cigar flaking on you during smoking, that cigar was probably not aged properly.  Check out our post on Cigar Aging 101 for more information.  Choose a humidor lined with cedar and never overcrowd it with too many cigars.

How Cigars are Made

Cigars are made differently, depending on the maker. Cuban cigars are the most famous. These are made by hand, whereas other famous and top-notch cigars are made using machines. They come in different shapes and sizes, and some are open ended, while most are round headed and have parallel sides.

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An example of a well constructed cigar that lends to a slow, even burn.

Other materials used in making cigars include flavoring agents, tasteless gum used to adhere the wrapper together at the end, and a paper band around its circumference.

Many already know that Cuban cigars are rolled by hand, but most others around the world are rolled using machines, except for the finest ones, which continue to be made entirely by hand. The outer part of the cigar is wrapped by a large textured leaf that has to be in impeccable condition, whereas the inner wrapper, or binder, can be of lesser quality and imperfect.

Which Cigars Burn Slowest

Cuban cigars burn the slowest, and are considered to be the finest in the world for this and many other reasons, although numerous others rank high, as well.  Hand rolled cigars tend to burn the slowest as well.  It’s worth mentioning that the quality of the tobacco and the climate in which it is made and stored lends to the evenness of it burning.

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Cigar Aging 101

How Cigars Age Over Time

Cigars change over time since they are made from plant material; however, not all changes improve the quality of the leaf. The majority of cigars are ready for consumption by the time they reach the retailers. Variants from countries like Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic typically reach stores in prime smoking condition. Top producers ferment, bale and age the leaves for a period ranging between two to three years. They are then rolled and placed in aging rooms for periods of up to three months before shipping. The cigars continue to morph and evolve gradually until they are smoked. The micro-fermentation that occurs during this period eliminates some by-products of the initial fermentation carried out at the factory. To age them further at home, it is necessary to keep the cigars in boxes.

Why Should I Store My Cigars In A Humidor?

Ammonia and other compounds have the capacity to make the flavor of tobacco unpleasant. The reduction of these chemicals through longer periods of aging ensures that they are mellow. As the cigars spend longer time in humidors, moisture and oleoresins is distributed more evenly across the leaves. The ‘marrying’ process allows the cigar to burn evenly and undergo subtle changes to the flavor. Mellowing and blending of flavor over very long periods tends to make it less distinct and harder to detect.

This makes the flavor smoother and eliminates the ‘off’ taste. The changes provide the essence of complexity to a product, which refers to the appearance of a blend of varied favors and layers. The Dutch Masters are arguably the slowest burning cigars on the market with a complex cigar production process. They come with a distinctive, mild aroma and smooth flavor. The products are machine-made and their leaves are imported from Puerto Rico. They are combined with Caribbean Basin Cuban seed. The slow burning Dutch Masters cigars are available in three variants, including palmas, coronas and cigarillos.

How a Cigar is made

A Peak Into The Beginning of a Cigar

A quality cigar starts with the finest tobacco leaves. Without this important component, the final product is at best, an ordinary cigar. To understand what makes a good tasting, smooth burning cigar, it helps to know how a cigar is made.  For a good intro to cigars, be sure to familiarize yourself with my Cigar’s 101 guide!

The Cigar Essentials

There are essentially three components to a cigar, the filler, the binder, and the wrapper. The filler is made by using three to six tobacco leaves and bunching them together. A person known as a buncher wraps the leaves tightly together, making sure the leaves are formed evenly in width and length. The buncher also checks for overly dry or extremely wet portions of the leaves, and removes them accordingly. The bunching process ensures the inner core of the cigar is tight, so it burns hotter than the other parts.

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The next step in cigar making is the binding process. In the binding process, one sturdy, thick tobacco leaf is used to wrap around the core. The single leaf is rolled uniformly, until the end of the leaf is rolled around the core completely. At this point, the cigar must be shaped, to ensure all cigars in a box look uniform in length and width, to satisfy the end consumer. The ends are cut off, to give the cigar a better shape.

The next step is putting the cigar in a press. Usually, 10 cigars go into a mold. They are then placed in a press for about 30 minutes, to ensure it stays tightly packed. When the cigar is done in the press, it is ready for the wrapping process.

The Final Touch – The Wrapper

Wrapping a cigar requires using on the best leaves. A leaf must be smooth, stretchy, and evenly colored, to use as a wrapper. The person wrapping the cigar with begin at one end and roll at an angle. When the wrapping is done, one end of the cigar is capped with a pectin adhesive. The other end is cut to size. Each cigar is inspected, then aged for at least a month, to remove any excess moisture before packaging.

Do you have a favorite wrapper? My personal favorite is Connecticut Shade. It’s mild, yet bold at the same time and burns evenly.  Read more about Connecticut Shade here.