FAQs

Q?

How do I select a cigar?

A.

Now armed with more information on history of cigars, it’s time to start the selection process. The best place to buy cigars is at a well-established tobacconist, preferably one with a walk-in humidor. The selection process itself, once in the humidor, includes finding a cigar that has the size, flavor profile and strength that fits the individual. Cigar sizes are measured by length and ring gauge (diameter measured by 1/64 of an inch). They range usually from 4-8 inches in length and ring gauge of 30-60. Typically the longer the cigar the more time it requires to smoke. The second part in choosing an enjoyable cigar is deciding on the flavor profile. Flavor is often subjective and takes smoking different cigars to find the flavor profile a person enjoys most. Basics in looking for flavor include a natural cigar or a cigar that has been enhanced with a flavor such as Cognac or Vanilla. Flavor notes found in natural premium cigars can include; earthy, cocoa, leather, black pepper and coffee. The third part of the cigar selection process is strength. A cigar can have very robust flavor but be on the milder side. On the other hand a cigar can have very little flavor but be very strong. Most cigar smoker’s start out smoking milder cigars and work their way up the strength scale the more experienced they become.

Q?

What is a Churchill cigar?

A.

The stories of how people experience their first cigars vary as much as the iconic figures who are famous for smoking them. Winston Churchill, who smoked about ten cigars a day, is the most famous figure of all. In fact one of the most popular cigar sizes is named the “Churchill” in honor of the size of cigar he preferred to smoke. Other notable names associated with premium cigars include; music moguls Sean “Puffy” Combs and Jay-Z, former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ulysses S. Grant, authors Samuel Clemens (known as Mark Twain) and Ernest Hemingway, as well as comedian Groucho Marx.

 

 

Q?

What is the importance of Cuba in the cigar industry?

A.

Havana, Cuba is the most famous region and revered as the cigar capital of the world.  Cuban cigars have been sought throughout history largely because Cuban tobacco is widely regarded as the finest in the world, although many of the other tobacco growers around the world would disagree on that point.  When Fidel Castro overthrew General Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he nationalized Cuba’s tobacco plantations and factories.  First, this led to many of the top cigar families to flee Cuba and settle in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Secondly, due to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a trade embargo against Cuba that still stands to this day.  These factors are the reason why United States Citizens are not legally allowed to buy Cuban cigars and now have access to exceptional cigars from other parts of the world.

Thanks to the exodus from Cuba of major cigar manufacturers, we now have access to many Cuban named cigars that are grown in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua.  These brands include Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo Y Julieta.  There are also many newer brands that cigar aficionados have come to enjoy grown in these regions such as; Ashton, Arturo Fuente, Avo, Davidoff, Padron and Zino.  Though these cigars may not have centuries of history they have become recognized as premium brands throughout the world, including countries which have typically just smoked Cuban cigars.  After all, these cigars are still often produced using Cuban seed tobacco and the same traditional techniques that started hundreds of years ago in Cuba.

Q?

What is the history of cigars?

A.

The history of cigars begins in the eighteenth century with the industry steadily increasing in popularity through the years until the early 1990's when demand for premium cigars in the United States increased to “Boom” status.  Hundreds of new brands appeared along with numerous cigar bars and clubs.  A new lifestyle magazine called, Cigar Aficionado, recorded all this growth.  The magazine combines informative and well-researched articles on the world’s major tobacco and cigar producing regions, their brands and the larger-than-life characters responsible for sustaining them.

Q?

What is the proper way to light and cut a cigar?

A.

Now that the right cigar has been selected, it is time to relax and enjoy the cigar.  The first parts of the smoking experience are cutting and lighting the cigar.  Cigar cutters come in all shapes and sizes.  The most common cutter is a Double Guillotine cutter which has two blades connected to finger holes.  The cutter blades are then spread open so the closed tip of the cigar can slide between the two blades.  Once the cigar is lined up, both fingers are pressed together simultaneously to cut off the very tip of the cigar.  This allows for air flow through the cigar when it is lit and the cigar smoker starts puffing on it.  The next step of the process is lighting the cigar.  For most of history, matches and cedar strips were the preferred methods for lighting cigars.  They have mostly gone to the wayside as butane lighters have come to the market over the past few decades.  Butane is an odorless, easily liquefied gas that is flammable.  When lit with a spark from a lighter, it produces a very hot flame that will effectively light the cigar, while not altering the flavor of the cigar.   It is also more efficient and effective as cigars typically have larger surface areas to light then in the past.  To properly light a cigar, hold the cigar in one hand with the foot (the bottom of the cigar) exposed to the flame.  Bring the lighter within an inch of the foot of the cigar and start to light the cigar.  This process should not be rushed; it should be part of the experience and enjoyment.  Once the whole foot has been toasted from the flame, the newly cut end of the cigar should be brought to the smokers lips.  The smoker should take slow, deep puffs and continue lighting the cigar as they puff.  Within a few seconds the cigar smoker should be able to draw smoke through the cigar.  At this point the cigar is lit.

Q?

What are the best cigar publications?

A.

  • Cigar Journal
  • Cigar Aficionado
  • Cigar Snob

 

 

Q?

What are the countries of origin?

A.

Every cigar has its own taste regardless of origin. Cigars are made in a number of different countries, from tobacco grown in various soils and rolled using different techniques. These countries include:

  • Jamaica - Mild
  • Dom Rep - Mild to Medium
  • Honduras - Medium to Full
  • Nicaragua - Full and Rich
  • Cuba - Rich and Creamy

Q?

How do I break in a new humidor?

A.

It takes time, patience and a little know-how to get a new humidor ready to hold cigars. You're trying to recreate the tropical environments where most cigars are made, and you can't rush the process. Putting cigars into a dry humidor can ruin good smokes. Your humidor has an interior of untreated Spanish cedar, the preferred wood for humidifying and aging premium cigars. The wood needs to be humidified, or seasoned before the box is ready to hold cigars:

  1. To season your humidor, take a Boveda 84% humidor pack and place inside the humidor.
  2. Wipe down all the exposed wood with a damp cloth moistened with distilled water, including dividers, and the interior lid. Avoid using a paper towel or a fraying cloth; these will literally leave a paper trail on the wood.
  3. Use only distilled water. Tap water contains minerals that will destroy most humidification systems by leaving deposits that will clog the humidor element.
  4. Once the humidification element is filled be sure to wipe it down to remove any excess water. Close the humidor with the humidifying element and the Boveda 84% humidor pack, and leave it overnight.
  5. Let the humidor sit another night, and then remove the Boveda 84% humidor pack and the plastic bag. The walls of the humidor have now absorbed all the water they need, and now you can safely store your cigars.