Cigars are tightly wound packages of dried tobacco. They are easily distinguishable from cigarettes due to their size. Cigars have a much wider diameter than a cigarette. Cigars are clipped at the end and then lit. They are placed into the mouth and smoke is drawn through the clipped end and exhaled. Cigar tobacco is grown in specific countries such as Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, and the Eastern United States and some types of tobacco are more strongly sought after than others for their superiority flavor and aroma.
How are cigars made?
Cigars are made from two different varieties of tobacco plant, the criollo and the corojo. The criollo provides the binder and the filler for the cigar and the corojo provides the wrapper. Each of these leaves is carefully prepared and selected to ensure a good flavor and aroma when smoked. They are also specially prepared to ensure that the smoker is able to get an even draw when inhaling.
The first step of creating a cigar is to pick and cure the leaves. This makes sure that excess sugar and water and reduced in the leaves without causing the leaves to rot. During this process the leaves are separated into the three parts needed to make a cigar, the wrapper, the binder and the filler. Curing takes anywhere from 25 to 45 days depending on the climate in which the leaves are stored. The curing process is essential in making sure that the tobacco leaves are all the same color. Next the tobacco is fermented. The temperature and humidity are controlled to ensure the tobacco leaves die slowly. The leaves are then aged for a number of months. The leaves are then exposed to high pressure water and rolled to remove the stems. They are then graded based on size and color.
The filler for the cigar is then blended from the leaves that were separated for this purpose. Three different types of leaves are used to create the filler blend these are the olado, seco and ligero and these are harvested from the criollo plant. Once the blend has been created it joins the binder and wrapper leaves in the rolling room to be rolled by the torcedores (people who roll the cigars). The wrapper leaves, which are harvested from the corojo plant give the cigar its distinct color and aroma, are laid out and moistened. The torcedores use a special crescent shaped knife and wooden board to create a cigar. They roll 4-5 filler leaves together with a binder leave, being careful to fold them correctly. These are then pressed into a wooden mold to get the correct shape and to make sure that they are rolled tightly. The filler and binder is then wrapped using the wrapper leaf. They are then cut to size and stored in wooden forms to dry.
Cigars may be stored for years or even decades before they are packaged and sold. This allows them to age, which gives them a better flavor. Cigars should be keep in special wooden boxes known as humidors once purchased to ensure that they retain their quality.