You might have seen it in the movies, or in TV shows, or on the cover of a gangster novel. The big boss – be he a mafia don, drug lord, or your plain, run-of-the-mill CEO – is sporting a large cigar, and is smoking it unaffectedly. He seems to like it, that tight, large wad of smoke and leaves. But what makes cigars so prized, and why is it often associated with wealth and business?
Very simply, a cigar is a rolled-up heap of dried, fermented tobacco. One end is lit with fire, and the other is the opening by which smoke can enter a user’s mouth. Cigar tobacco is special: its flavour is reputedly richer and deeper than the tobacco used for ordinary cigarettes. Such tobacco is grown in tropical countries, with Brazil, Cuba, Honduras, and Mexico leading the pack. Cuban cigars, in particular, are considered to be the best varieties, although experts contend that Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars easily rival the mighty Cuban.
Cigars were once extremely expensive, and were usually confined to banquets, where “smokers” were held. These were gatherings where important politicians convened to discuss important issues while they smoked. When the U.S. imposed a trade embargo on Cuba in the 20th century, the price of cigars rose much higher, and the use of them was confined to those who could afford them.
In mid 2005, however, cigar prices declined, allowing many smokers (and smoking beginners) to taste and enjoy cigar smoking. But what is there to enjoy in cigars? According to aficionados, cigars have less of the smoky taste of cigarettes, and can even take on the taste of whisky, chocolate, or even wine!
How are cigars made? Choice tobacco leaves are first harvested, then aged by a combination of heat and shade. This serves to lower the leaves’ water and sugar content, without causing leaves to rot. Once the dried leaves are ready, they are made to “die with grace” by a slow process of fermentation. During this time, humidity levels and temperature are controlled, such that the lea will ferment without disintegrating or rotting. In this critical period are ushered out of the leaves the flavours and aroma that characterize the cigar into which it will eventually be made.
When fermentation is done, leaves are sorted out depending on whether they will be used as filler for the cigar, or as wrapper. Leaves must be kept moist, and should be handled very carefully. As soon as they are sorted, a cigar maker will roll them into any of the various cigar shapes, carefully, and by hand.
The flavour of a cigar depends on the leaves used for its wrapper and filler. Wrapper leaves usually come from the widest part of a tobacco plant. Their colour can range from the very light, mildly greenish brown shade called the Double Claro; to the oily, black Oscuro grown in Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, or Brazil. The colour of a wrapper also describes the colour of a cigar.
Most of a cigar is made up of fillers, or the interior, where smoking tobacco leaves are bundled together by elastic leaves called binders. Some cigar makers mix up a variety of leaves of various tastes and strengths, in order to produce different flavours of cigar.
To keep their flavour, cigars should be stored at room temperature, but at relatively high humidity. A humidor, or a special wooden box, usually comes with cigars when they are purchased.
Cigars still retain their mystique, whether they are seen on the silver screen, or read about in books.
Till next time, Cigars are a Lifestyle!
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Experienced cigar enthusiasts are well acquainted with the pleasures of a well-aged cigar. The subtle flavours and complex constitution of a well-aged cigar is indescribable and unforgettable. Like wine, many cigar aficionados swear by the process of ageing. A great cigar, the argument goes, is an aged one. How can you attain a well-aged cigar that provides the mellow, complex flavours you crave? You can always fork over a good deal of your money and purchase a box of expensive vintage cigars. If you would rather save the money and experiment with ageing on your own, here are a few tips to help you get started.
First, know that you will have to be patient if you want a properly aged cigar. You will have to age your cigars for about a year in order to achieve the flavours and complex subtleties of a well-aged cigar. Also, know that in order to achieve the rewards of a well-aged cigar; you must begin the process with a high-quality cigar. If you try to age a lower quality cigar, chances are that any amount of ageing will not improve their flavours significantly. Many high-quality cigars that you find too strong or odorous are perfect candidates for ageing. In fact, almost all high-quality cigars can be improved through the process of ageing.
To age your cigars, purchase a good quality humidor. Cigars must be stored in a constant and stable environment. Follow the 70-70 rules. That means the humidity must be at a constant humidity of 70%, and at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, the environment in which they are stored in is crucial. Follow the usual 70-70 rules for temperature and humidity. Any more and your cigars will get mouldy; any less and the ageing process begins to be stunted. Maintaining a stable environment for your cigars is key - a constantly fluctuating environment can be disastrous. Swings in temperature and humidity causes cigars to expand and contract, which leads to cracking in its wrappers and a disruption in the ageing process. Ideally, the space in the humidor should be about twice the volume of cigars. The lining should be cedar - cedar wood is highly aromatic wood, full of its own oils. Over time, the tobacco oil, and the cedar oil leads to a mellowing and blending of flavours which results to a subtle complexity that you can only get from proper ageing.
Recommended Vintage Cigars “Aged by nextCigar”
Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada 2011 - This extremely sought after Habanos Edición Limitada commemorates the 45th anniversary of Cohiba, and was made in a unique format specially selected for this occasion. These 10 Habanos (52 ring gauge x 166 mm length) with a dark wrapper dressing have been made totally by hand using a selection of the finest tobacco leaves (top leaves of the Tapado – shade grown black tobacco plant) found in the plantations of San Juan y Martínez and San Luis in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba. Produced in very limited quantities, this vitola is only available in a layer box of 10 units in a Boite Nature (BN) box.
Romeo y Julieta Duke Edición Limitada 2009 - Romeo y Julieta biggest Limited Edition cigar yet. This Grand Robusto will delight the senses of the true Habanos lovers in a delicate combination of passion and excellence. Available in labelled boxes of 10 cigars.
Ramón Allones Allones Extra Edición Limitada 2011 - It is the very first time that Ramon Allones has an Edicion Limitada since the brand was created in 1837. For this very special occasion, a historic band that existed until the end of the XXth century was used to replicate the past centuries in Ramon Allones; making this release an exclusive and limited collectible item.
Derived from the Spanish word for “ripe,” the Maduro wrapper is one of the darkest types of wrapper there is for cigars. But did you know that the term “Maduro” used to be used to classify a specific shade of a cigar wrapper? Nowadays the term is used to determine a type of cigar wrapper.
Although there are a wide variety of Maduro wrappers, the main two types are Natural Maduro and Boiled Maduro. The main differences between these two lies mainly in the process of how the tobacco leaves processed.
When it comes to the Natural Maduro, the way the leaves are processed is like natural selection for survival. Not every tobacco leaf that pledges gets into the frat, and certainly not every tobacco leaf can survive the hazing process. So how exactly do companies make sure they find the right tobacco leaves for Natural Maduro? Unlike Boiled Maudro, Natural Maudro’s process is done in a more “natural” way. The right tobacco leaves should have strong genetics and morphological features. In order to find the ones that possesses these features, they are put to the test when they go through fermentation that takes a much longer time than usual in order to weed out the ones that can be used as Maduro and the ones that cannot. If the tobacco leaves come out with a dark smooth color, then those are the ones that not only possess those desired genetic features, but also the right flavors that are essential to a cigar.
Boiled Maduro on the other hand, may be considered controversial because unlike Natural Maduro, it is not processed “naturally.” When processing tobacco leaves for Boiled Maduro, it does not matter if the tobacco leaves have the same genetics that Natural Maduro tobacco leaves have. Instead of being selected from birth, Boiled Maduro is created by mixing different ingredients together with the tobacco leaves in order for it to have the desired result. The ingredients used to make Boiled Maduro can be from anything like sugar, citrus juice, rum, tobacco stems, and other various materials. The material is mixed together forming a black liquid that gets boiled with tobacco leaves which soaks up the ingredients that it is being boiled with. However, the industry continues its practice of “boiling” Maduro with minimal repercussions.
At nextCigar, we only carry premium cigar brands that distributes only Natural Maduro cigars, available only through years and experience of cultivation.
Recommended Natural Maduro Cigars
Davidoff Maduro Corona 10-Stick Bundle - Maduro Corona releases a smooth nutty aroma ahead of caramel and dark chocolate flavors, while the second half delivers a lively, gratifying kick of chili.
Davidoff Maduro Robusto 10- Stick Bundle - Maduro Robusto’s wide ring gauge and relatively short length emphasize the tang of sweet honey in perfect complement to smooth chocolaty aromas.
Davidoff Maduro Toro 10-Stick Bundle - The longer format of the Maduro Toro allows Davidoff tobacco masters to select hearty tobaccos that deliver particularly smooth, sweet, dark chocolate aromas.
Lighting up a cigar with the wrong kind of flame is a very common rookie mistake. Although there are many different types of ways to light up your cigar, we will be discussing how to pick out the right cigar lighter for you.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to use a typical cigarette lighter to light up your cigars. The reason is because different types of flames are produced with certain chemicals like sulphur or gasoline. The reason why cigar aficionados do not use chemical inducing lighters is because those chemicals gets soaked into the tobacco which inevitably ends up altering the cigar's taste. Which is why buying a butane or torch lighter would be most ideal. Both odourless and non-chemical inducing.
The great thing about butane lighters is that they are considered wind resistant. Worrying about wind blowing off your smoke would then become less of a concern. But more importantly, when you are lighting up your cigar at a 45-degree angle, the flame would stand straight instead of "willowing" or leaning over and burning your precious little fingers. Having multiple flames on your butane cigar lighter tends to be stronger and is less prone to "willow" over. However, that is not the only advantage having an extra flame brings.
Knowing what kind of cigars that you smoke is an important factor into picking out the right cigar lighter. If you smoke cigars with a bigger ring gauge, you might want to use a torch lighter with multiple flames, as opposed to one. The reason being that cigars with a big ring gauge tends to take longer to light up, so having a torch lighter with two or more flames would get the job done a lot quicker.
Lighters unfortunately do not carry an unlimited supply of fuel. In the case of worrying about whether you will run out of fuel or not, a cigar lighter that shows you how much fuel is left in the tank might be something you would be looking for in your lighter.
However, note that if you do not need a cigar lighter with multiple flames, do not feel the absolute need to buy them as they are pricier. The more the flames do not necessarily mean the better it is.
Do you forget your cutter every time you go out? Well as long as you do not forget your lighter, purchasing as lighter with a cutter or other accessories might be the lighter you might be looking for. There are lighters that come with accessories like a punch cutter, v-cutter, or even a pair of scissors.
Lighters come in various shapes and sizes, different people may prefer a certain size or shape of a lighter more than others because of how it feels in their hands. But more importantly, the grip on switching the flame on is important as well. If you run into a lighter with a poor switch, you might have to consider looking at a different model.
Finally, if you've narrowed down your search down to this point, looking at the kind of aesthetic and design you want in your cigar lighter and decide from there.
Davidoff Air De Famille Prestige Lighter - Nothing is more emotive in the ritual than the moment when the flame appears. When the heat meets the craftsmanship and the flavours which have been so expertly wrapped inside your cigar are finally set alight. The quality and control of that flame are therefore central to your enjoyment. Lighting your cigars should be done efficiently but also with style. Davidoff lighters ensure both.
Lamborghini Mugello Table Lighters - Mugello table lighter features powerful triple-jet flame lighter with push button ignition, easy-to-use fuel adjuster, single-action ignition and extra large fuel capacity. Includes leather case with matching stitching. Includes Tonino Lamborghini gift box.
Colibri Boss - The Boss’s integrated cutter swiftly cuts the cap on your cigar with its finely-honed dual stainless steel blades. Then, the robust triple-jet flames effortlessly light your cigar. This is the beginning of time well spent as you handle your cigar like a Boss.
There is nothing better than sitting at home with a fine cigar and some scotch. But what if you want the same pleasure while on the go? Bringing your prized cigars with you on business trips, outings, meetings, or vacation is actually very simple if done correctly.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have the correct device to store your cigars. If you are going to be out for a few hours then you can use a simple leather cigar holder or zip-lock bag. If you plan on being out for a day or two then a device with a humidifier is preferred, and for a few weeks on the road, it is advised that you use a specially designed travel humidor that has been properly re-humidified.
After you get your storage device, choose the cigars that you want to bring along. It is best to take cigars that have already been stored in a humidor for a period of time as they will have stabilized at the perfect humidity. Make sure you bring only enough cigars for the excursion. You really want to avoid bringing any cigars back with you that you took from home. Not that they will go bad, but the likely-hood is higher than if you enjoy them while out. For example, it is not advised to bring 25 cigars if you are going to a wedding and plan on smoking 2 during the evening.
Now that you have the cigars you want to travel with, and they have been sitting in a proper humidor for some time, you can simply take your storage device and load it up. If you just got cigars from the tobacco shop, it is advised to leave them in the wrapper and place them in your travel case.
Remember always to close your case, tube, etc. when you are done with your cigar. This will help maintain the humidity and preserve your cigars longer. Also, try to not put the case in direct sunlight or any place where the heat will get extreme. It is best to carry the case with you at all times. As an example, bring it on the plane with you, rather than in the storage below.
Recommended travel accessories
Davidoff Mille 2000 Tubos - Every 30 seconds, someone somewhere in the world enjoys the Mille 2000‘s higher percentage of Piloto tobaccos, bold coffee and wood notes and creamy aftertaste as delivered in the timeless Corona format.
Davidoff Cigar Case XL-3 - Made in Spain, our XL-3 cigar case is perfect for the aficionado on the go. Able to hold 3 fine cigars, the case is adjustable in length and available in two handsome embossed patterns. Cigars stored in this case are guaranteed to stay fresh for 10 days.
Davidoff "Year of the Rooster" Cigar Case - To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, the Davidoff cigar cases is adorned in all its finery with a vivid red cowhide leather laser-marked with the Rooster's plumage. For the ones on the move, the XL-2 cigar case will protect your investment. Wherever you're headed, your cigars will arrive in the best possible condition with the utmost style.