Cigars and other forms of tobacco are as addictive today as they were back when the sailors of Christopher Columbus’ crew first brought them to Europe from the New World. It is said that members of the crew first saw them being smoked by natives on the islands off of Central and South America and finding it appealing, began smoking them as well.
Most tobacco is grown in the region it was originally founded with cigar products being made in Central America, the U. S., Indonesia and Europe. There are many family-owned factories who also own their own tobacco plantations, while other manufacturers buy from several plantations for developing a combination of blends. There are two major manufacturers in the world who have a number of different labels.
Tobacco leaves are harvested and then cured for anywhere from 25 to 45 days depending upon the climate and types of storage sheds. This allows the leaves to dry without rotting, and reducing the amounts of sugar and water. Leaves are then fermented allowing the natural aroma, flavor and burning ability to be brought out.
Each cigar is made of three different types of tobacco leaves – wrappers, fillers and binders. The wrapper reveals the type of cigar; the flavor, aroma and where the tobacco was grown. Darker wrapped may have a sweeter, lighter taste than light ones, which are generally a bit dryer.
The other two types used are the filler and the binder. The binder is used when making the cigar to hold the filler together. The filler makes up most of the cigar and is of a single variety or a blend of multiple varieties allowing for a subtle difference in flavor.
Hand-making these products is considered an art and these boutique cigars are made in several smaller factories. Upon receipt, the leaves are organized by color, size and texture and stored in temperature and humidity controlled areas. Different employees are trained for specific jobs, and while being made each unit goes through a variety of hands. The master blender chooses what type will be made and brings out enough leaves to only be used in that day’s work. They are distributed to the rollers who are responsible for pressing the filler leaves to the proper shape and consistency. The leaves are pressed in a wooden mold and then wrapped with the binder leaf before given to the master roller who finishes the work. It is up to the master roller to form the finished product and wrap it. He or she must also check for any imperfections.
Even though it has been proven that smoking is hazardous to one’s health, especially for those who inhale, cigar advertising in the U. S. Is not required to have the same health warnings as with cigarettes. However, it is illegal for minors to purchase cigars. In recent years, cigars have seen a resurgence. There are even specialty cigars aimed toward women and, of course, anyone can roll their own.
While non-smoking areas continue to increase in number, cigar smoking lounges have been developed. And while they may not be the popular item handed out by dads announcing the birth of a new baby, they are sold all most anywhere from convenience stores and groceries to specialty shops. Specialty shops not only carry a wide variety of individual and boxed cigars, but also a variety of smoking paraphernalia such as holder, travel cases, cutters and humidors.