What are cigars?
The amazing thing about premium cigars is they’re the ultimate form of nature’s perfect simplicity. They are made of one thing and one thing only, and that’s tobacco. Pure, unadulterated tobacco. Unlike mass produced cigarillos or cigarettes, not a single leaf is chemically treated or artificially altered for taste. Everything from the cigar’s flavor to color is achieved through natural means.
When you really think about it, there are little to no products that many people consume on a day to day basis that are so natural.
Blending and rolling handmade cigars are both incredible skill sets, and ones that take a lifetime to fully master. Blending is one part art and one part science, working as one with an ingredient that pretty much never stops evolving.
Wineries face a similar situation where a certain year’s crop may be better than others. But just like the wineries, cigar artisans will do everything in their power to ensure that their product is consistent.
There’s a famous quote within the cigar industry. It’s that 200 pairs of hands touch your cigar before it makes it to your humidor. Some people even say the number is higher. Take a look at a very simplistic view at the life of tobacco from seed to finished cigar.
It starts with seed selection and greenhouse cultivation.
Then, the plants are transplanted to the fields where they can flourish.
At full height and maturity, the leaves are harvested and hung in a curing barn.
The cured tobacco is then taken to a facility, unpacked and piled up for fermentation.
Once fermented, the leaves are all repacked and stowed for aging.
After aging, the tobacco is blended and rolled by expert torcedors.
The finished cigars are then sorted for color consistency and sent to the aging room.
Finally, the finished cigars are banded, boxed and sent out.
Now, remember, this is a very vague description of an incredibly intricate process. However, the point remains, it takes a ton of hands-on experience to make one premium cigar.
What’s in a cigar?
A cigar is made up of three major parts:
The three form a smoking system and the single system forms a singular organism called the cigar.
The wrapper is the visible outer cover leaf.
It’s also the most expensive component per pound, as these tobacco leaves need to be pristine in appearance, as well as flavorful.
The binder can be considered a wrapper leaf that didn’t make the cut.
It’s often the same tobacco as the wrapper, only not as smooth in appearance, and it doesn’t have to be—you don’t see it.
The filler is where the cigar maker can be most creative.
Filler tobaccos are normally several different types of tobacco from various countries and several different primings.