Cigar Composition
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Some Cigar History

*Explorer Christopher Columbus is generally credited with the introduction of tobacco to Europe. Two of Columbus's crewmen during his 1492 journey, Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, are said to have encountered tobacco for the first time on the island of Hispaniola, when natives presented them with dry leaves that spread a peculiar fragrance. Tobacco was widely diffused among all of the islands of the Caribbean and therefore they again encountered it in Cuba where Columbus and his men had settled.[2] His sailors reported that the Taínos on the island of Cuba smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.

In due course, Spanish and other European sailors adopted the hobby of smoking rolls of leaves, as did the Conquistadors, and smoking primitive cigars spread to Spain and Portugal and eventually France, most probably through Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, who gave his name to nicotine. Later, the hobby spread to Italy and, after Sir Walter Raleigh's voyages to the Americas, to Britain. Smoking became familiar throughout Europe—in pipes in Britain—by the mid-16th century and, half a century later, tobacco started to be grown commercially in America. Tobacco was originally thought to have medicinal qualities, but there were some who considered it evil. It was denounced by Philip II of Spain and James I of England.[3]

Around 1592, the Spanish galleon San Clemente brought 50 kilograms (110 lb) of tobacco seed to the Philippines over the Acapulco-Manila trade route. The seed was then distributed among the Roman Catholic missionaries, where the clerics found excellent climates and soils for growing high-quality tobacco on Philippine soil.

In the 19th century, cigar smoking was common, while cigarettes were still comparatively rare. In the early 20th century, Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous smoking poem, "The Betrothed." The cigar business was an important industry, and factories employed many people before mechanized manufacturing of cigars became practical.

Inside an Ybor City cigar factory c. 1920

In 1869, Spanish cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his Principe de Gales (Prince of Wales) operations from the important cigar manufacturing center of Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida to escape the turmoil of the Ten Years' War. Other manufacturers followed, and Key West became another important cigar manufacturing center. In 1885, Ybor moved again, buying land near the then-small city of Tampa, Florida and building the largest cigar factory in the world at the time[4] in the new company town of Ybor City. Friendly rival and Flor de Sánchez y Haya owner Ignacio Haya built his own factory nearby in the same year, and many other cigar manufacturers soon followed, especially after an 1886 fire that gutted much of Key West. Thousands of Cuban and Spanish tabaqueros came to the area from Key West, Cuba and New York to produce hundreds of millions of cigars annually. Local output peaked in 1929, when workers in Ybor City and West Tampa rolled over 500,000,000 "clear Havana" cigars, earning the town the nickname "Cigar Capital of the World".[5][6][7][8]

In New York, cigars were made by rollers working in their own homes. It was reported that as of 1883, cigars were being manufactured in 127 apartment houses in New York, employing 1,962 families and 7,924 individuals. A state statute banning the practice, passed late that year at the urging of trade unions on the basis that the practice suppressed wages, was ruled unconstitutional less than four months later. The industry, which had relocated to Brooklyn and other places on Long Island while the law was in effect, then returned to New York.[9]

As of 1905, there were 80,000 cigar-making operations in the United States, most of them small, family-operated shops where cigars were rolled and sold immediately.[5] While most cigars are now made by machine, some, as a matter of prestige and quality, are still rolled by hand. This is especially true in Central America and Cuba, as well as in small chinchales found in virtually every sizable city in the United States.[5] Boxes of hand-rolled cigars bear the phrase totalmente a mano (totally by hand) or hecho a mano (made by hand). These premium hand-rolled cigars are significantly different than the machine-made cigars sold in packs at drugstores or gas stations. Since the 1990s and onwards, this has led to severe contention between producers and aficionados of premium handmade cigars and cigarette manufacturing companies that create machine made, chemically formulated/altered products resembling cigars, and subsequently labeled as cigars.

Historical figures

King Edward VII enjoyed smoking cigarettes and cigars, much to the chagrin of his mother, Queen Victoria. After her death, legend has it, King Edward said to his male guests at the end of a dinner party, "Gentlemen, you may smoke." In his name, a line of inexpensive American cigars has long been named King Edward. Classical pianist and composer Franz Liszt was quoted as saying "A good Cuban cigar closes the door to the vulgarities of the world".[10] Even a female literary giant of the Victorian era, George Sand, observed "The cigar is a perfect complement to an elegant lifestyle".[11]

U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant smoked cigars heavily, an estimated up to 12 a day. Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis, smoked 20 cigars a day, despite health warnings from colleagues.[12] Because of his frequent references to phallic symbolism, it is often claimed that his colleagues challenged him on the "phallic" shape of the cigar. Freud is supposed to have replied "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," however, there are no records of such a conversation ever having taken place.[13]Winston Churchill, who has been credited with the practice of dunking a cigar in port wine or brandy,[14] was rarely seen without a cigar during his time as Britain's wartime leader, so much so that a large cigar size was named in his honour.

In Cuba, revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were often seen smoking a cigar during the early days of the Cuban Revolution. But Castro has claimed to have given up smoking in the early 1980s as part of a campaign to encourage the Cuban population to smoke less on health grounds.[15] Many other celebrities were well-known cigar smokers, including Groucho Marx, George Burns, Mark Twain, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Rush Limbaugh, Red Auerbach, Ernie Kovacs, Raul Julia, and Bill Cosby.[16]

Rudyard Kipling said in his poem "The Betrothed", "And a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke."

Apart from certain forms of heavily cured and strong snuff, the cigar is the most potent form of self-dosing with tobacco[citation needed], it has long had associations of being a male rite of passage, as it may have had during the pre-Columbian era in America. Its fumes and rituals have in American and European cultures established a "men's hut"; in the 19th century, men would retire to the "smoking room" after dinner to discuss serious issues.


*Partial reference provided by Wikipedia

Smoking A Cigar

To smoke a cigar one end is cut the other end is then torched first for a even burn and then the cigar is puffed on with short breathes not inhaling the smoke while a lower temperature lighter also known as a soft flame is used to light the cigar completely. The reason for using a soft flame lighter or lower temperature source than a torch to light the cigar is to not over heat the cigar during lighting.

You also do not want to smoke the cigar at a very high temperature by smoking to fast or Hot Boxing as it is sometimes called. The slower you smoke your cigar the cooler it burns giving time for all the flavors intended in it's creation to marinate. My favorite cigar is the Casa Magna torito size, and I find that the slower I smoke it the more flavor I can get out of it.

Although some people inhale some of the cigar smoke to ascertain it's smell most do not and the smoke is simply rolled around on ones pallet as it flows from the mouth slowly.

Cigar Composition

"Cigars are made up of three types of tobacco leaves, the blending and variation of these leaves give the cigar it's flavor"

 

*Wrappers

A cigar's outermost leaves, or wrapper, come from the widest part of the plant. The wrapper determines much of the cigar's character and flavor, and as such its color is often used to describe the cigar as a whole. Over 100 wrapper shades are identified by manufacturers, but the seven most common classifications are as follows, from lightest to darkest:[28]

Cigar Wrapper Color Chart.
Cigar Wrapper Color Chart
ColorDescription
Double Claro very light, slightly greenish (also called Candela, American Market Selection or jade); achieved by picking leaves before maturity and drying quickly, the color coming from retained green chlorophyll; formerly popular, now rare.
Claro very light tan or yellowish. Indicative of shade-grown tobacco.
Colorado Claro medium brown, includes Natural and English Market Selection
Colorado Distinctive reddish-brown (also called Rosado or Corojo)
Colorado Maduro darker brown; often associated with African wrapper from Cameroon, and Honduran or Nicaraguan grown wrapper from Cuban seed.
Maduro Very dark brown or black; primarily grown in Connecticut, Mexico, Nicaragua and Brazil.
Oscuro Very black, (also called Double Maduro), often oily in appearance; has become more popular in the 2000s; mainly grown in Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, and Connecticut, USA.

Some manufacturers use an alternate designation:

DesignationAcronymDescription
American Market Selection AMS synonymous with Double Claro
English Market Selection EMS typically Colorado Claro, but can refer to any color stronger than Double Claro but milder than Maduro
Spanish Market Selection SMS either of the two darkest colors, Maduro and Oscuro

In general, dark wrappers add a touch of sweetness, while light ones add a hint of dryness to the taste.

Fillers

Short Filler

The majority of a cigar is made up of fillers, wrapped-up bunches of leaves inside the wrapper. Fillers of various strengths are usually blended to produce desired cigar flavors. In the cigar industry this is referred to as a "blend". Many cigar manufacturers pride themselves in constructing the perfect blend(s) that will give the smoker the most enjoyment. The more oils present in the tobacco leaf, the stronger (less dry) the filler. Types range from the minimally flavored Volado taken from the bottom of the plant, through the light-flavored Seco (dry) taken from the middle of the plant, to the strong Ligero from the upper leaves exposed to the most sunlight. Fatter cigars of larger gauge hold more filler, with greater potential to provide a full body and complex flavor. However, this effect can be diminished because of the generally poorer burn characteristics of thicker cigars (greater than 50 ring gauge), and the fact that these cigars burn cooler. This can prevent the full spectrum of flavors from being easily detectable. When used, Ligero is always folded into the middle of the filler because it burns slowly.

Fillers can be either long or short; long filler uses whole leaves and is of a better quality, while short filler, also called "mixed", uses chopped leaves, stems, and other bits. Recently some manufacturers have created what they term "medium filler" cigars. They use larger pieces of leaf than short filler without stems, and are of better quality than short filler cigars. Short filler cigars are easy to identify when smoked since they often burn hotter and tend to release bits of leaf into the smoker's mouth. Long filled cigars of high quality should burn evenly and consistently. Also available is a filler called "sandwich" (sometimes "Cuban sandwich") which is a cigar made by rolling short leaf inside long outer leaf. If a cigar is completely constructed (filler, binder and wrapper) of tobacco from only one country, it is referred to in the cigar industry as a "puro" which in Spanish means "pure."

Binders

Binders are elastic leaves used to hold together the bunches of fillers. Essentially, binders are wrappers that are rejected because of holes, blemishes, discoloration, or excess veins.

 

*Reference material provided by wikipedia.

Cigar Size And Shape

"There are many slang's used to describe cigar sizes or shapes however below are some of the industry accepted terminology".

*Cigars are commonly categorized by the size and shape of the cigar, which together are known as the vitola.

The size of a cigar is measured by two dimensions: its ring gauge (its diameter in sixty-fourths of an inch) and its length (in inches). In Cuba, next to Havana, there is a display of the world's longest rolled cigars.

Parejo

The most common shape is the parejo, sometimes referred to as simply "coronas", which have traditionally been the benchmark against which all other cigar formats are measured. They have a cylindrical body, straight sides, one end open, and a round tobacco-leaf "cap" on the other end which must be sliced off, have a V-shaped notch made in it with a special cutter, or punched through before smoking.

Parejos are designated by the following terms:

TermLength in inchesWidth in 64ths of an inchMetric lengthMetric widthEtymology
Rothschild 4 + ½ 48 11 cm 19 mm after the Rothschild family
Robusto 4 + ⅞ 50 12 cm 20 mm  
Small Panatela 5 33 13 cm 13 mm
Petit Corona 5 + ⅛ 42 13 cm 17 mm
Carlota 5 + ⅝ 35 14 cm 14 mm
Corona 5 + ½ 42 14 cm 17 mm
Corona Gorda 5 + ⅝ 46 14 cm 18 mm
Panatela 6 38 15 cm 15 mm
Toro 6 50 15 cm 20 mm
Corona Grande 6 + ⅛ 42 16 cm 17 mm
Lonsdale 6 + ½ 42 17 cm 17 mm named for Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale
Churchill 7 47-50 18 cm 19–20 mm named for Sir Winston Churchill
Double Corona 7 + ⅝ 49 19 cm 19 mm  
Presidente 8 50 20 cm 20 mm
Gran Corona 9 + ¼ 47 23 cm 19 mm
Double Toro/Gordo 6 60 15 cm 24 mm

These dimensions are, at best, idealized. Actual dimensions can vary considerably.

Figurado

Cigar shapes
Tuscan cigar

Irregularly shaped cigars are known as figurados and are sometimes considered of higher quality because they are more difficult to make.

Historically, especially during the 19th century, figurados were the most popular shapes; however, by the 1930s they had fallen out of fashion and all but disappeared. They have, however, recently received a small resurgence in popularity, and there are currently many brands (manufacturers) that produce figurados alongside the simpler parejos. The Cuban cigar brand Cuaba only has figurados in their range.

Figurados include the following:

FiguradoDescription
Torpedo Like a parejo except that the cap is pointed.
Pyramid Has a broad foot and evenly narrows to a pointed cap.
Perfecto Narrow at both ends and bulged in the middle.
Presidente/Diadema shaped like a parejo but considered a figurado because of its enormous size and occasional closed foot akin to a perfecto.
Culebras Three long, pointed cigars braided together.
Tuscan/Toscano The typical Italian cigar, created in the early 19th century when Kentucky tobacco was hybridized with local varieties and used to create a long, tough, slim cigar thicker in the middle and tapered at the ends, with a very strong aroma. It is also known as a cheroot, which is the largest selling cigar shape in the United States.[citation needed]
Chisel Is much like the Torpedo, but instead of coming to a rounded point, comes to a flater, broader edge, much like an actual chisel. This shape was patented and can only be found in the La Flor Dominicana (LFD) brand.

Arturo Fuente, a large cigar manufacturer based in the Dominican Republic, has also manufactured figurados in exotic shapes ranging from chilli peppers to baseball bats and American footballs. They are highly collectible and extremely expensive, when publicly available. In practice, the terms Torpedo and Pyramid are often used interchangeably, even among very knowledgeable cigar smokers. Min Ron Nee, the Hong Kong-based cigar expert whose work An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars is considered to be the definitive work on cigars and cigar terms, defines Torpedo as "cigar slang". Nee thinks the majority is right (because slang is defined by majority usage) and torpedoes are pyramids by another name.

Little cigars

Little cigars (sometimes called small cigars or miniatures in the UK) differ greatly from regular cigars. They weigh less than cigars and cigarillos,[29] but, more importantly, they resemble cigarettes in size, shape, packaging, and filters.[30] Sales of little cigars quadrupled in the U.S. from 1971 to 1973 in response to the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned the broadcast of cigarette advertisements and required stronger health warnings on cigarette packs. Cigars were exempt from the ban, and perhaps more importantly, were taxed at a far lower rate. Little cigars are sometimes called "cigarettes in disguise", and unsuccessful attempts have been made to reclassify them as cigarettes. In the United States, sales of little cigars reached an all-time high in 2006, fueled in great part by their taxation loophole.[24]

*Reference material provided by Wikipedia

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