History

Explorer Christopher Columbus is generally credited with the introduction of tobacco to Europe. Three of Columbus’s crewmen during his 1492 journey,Rodrigo de Jerez, Hector Fuentes and Luis de Torres, are said to have encountered tobacco for the first time on the island of Hispaniola, in what is present dayHaiti and the Dominican Republic, when natives presented them with dry leaves that spread a peculiar fragrance. Tobacco was widely diffused among all of the islands of the Caribbean and therefore they again encountered it in Cuba where Columbus and his men had settled. His sailors reported that the Taínos on the island of Cuba smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.

In due course, Spanish and other European sailors adopted the hobby of smoking rolls of leaves, as did the Conquistadors, and smoking primitive cigars spread to Spain and Portugal and eventually France, most probably through Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, who gave his name to nicotine. Later, the hobby spread to Italy and, after Sir Walter Raleigh‘s voyages to the Americas, to Britain. Smoking became familiar throughout Europe—in pipes in Britain—by the mid-16th century and, half a century later, tobacco started to be grown commercially in America. Tobacco was originally thought to have medicinal qualities, but there were some who considered it evil. It was denounced by Philip II of Spain and James I of England.

Around 1592, the Spanish galleon San Clemente brought 50 kilograms (110 lb) of tobacco seed to the Philippines over the Acapulco-Manila trade route. The seed was then distributed among the Roman Catholic missionaries, where the clerics found excellent climates and soils for growing high-quality tobacco on Philippine soil.

In the 19th century, cigar smoking was common, while cigarettes were still comparatively rare. In the early 20th century, Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous smoking poem, “The Betrothed.” The cigar business was an important industry, and factories employed many people before mechanized manufacturing of cigars became practical.

In 1869, Spanish cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his Principe de Gales (Prince of Wales) operations from the important cigar manufacturing center of Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida to escape the turmoil of the Ten Years’ War. Other manufacturers followed, and Key West became another important cigar manufacturing center. In 1885, Ybor moved again, buying land near the then-small city of Tampa, Florida and building the largest cigar factory in the world at the time in the new company town of Ybor City. Friendly rival and Flor de Sánchez y Haya owner Ignacio Haya built his own factory nearby in the same year, and many other cigar manufacturers soon followed, especially after an 1886 fire that gutted much of Key West. Thousands of Cuban and Spanish tabaqueros came to the area from Key West, Cuba and New York to produce hundreds of millions of cigars annually. Local output peaked in 1929, when workers in Ybor City and West Tampa rolled over 500,000,000 “clear Havana” cigars, earning the town the nickname “Cigar Capital of the World”.

 In New York, cigars were made by rollers working in their own homes. It was reported that as of 1883, cigars were being manufactured in 127 apartment houses in New York, employing 1,962 families and 7,924 individuals. A state statute banning the practice, passed late that year at the urging of trade unions on the basis that the practice suppressed wages, was ruled unconstitutional less than four months later. The industry, which had relocated toBrooklyn and other places on Long Island while the law was in effect, then returned to New York.

As of 1905, there were 80,000 cigar-making operations in the United States, most of them small, family-operated shops where cigars were rolled and sold immediately. While most cigars are now made by machine, some, as a matter of prestige and quality, are still rolled by hand. This is especially true in Central America and Cuba, as well as in small chinchales found in virtually every sizable city in the United States. Boxes of hand-rolled cigars bear the phrasetotalmente a mano (totally by hand) or hecho a mano (made by hand). These premium hand-rolled cigars are significantly different from the machine-made cigars sold in packs at drugstores or gas stations. Since the 1990s and onwards, this has led to severe contention between producers and aficionados of premium handmade cigars and cigarette manufacturing companies that create machine made, chemically formulated/altered products resembling cigars, and subsequently labeled as cigars.

Manufacture

Tobacco leaves are harvested and aged using a process that combines use of heat and shade to reduce sugar and water content without causing the large leaves to rot. This first part of the process, called curing, takes between 25 and 45 days and varies substantially based upon climatic conditions as well as the construction of sheds or barns used to store harvested tobacco. The curing process is manipulated based upon the type of tobacco, and the desired color of the leaf. The second part of the process, called fermentation, is carried out under conditions designed to help the leaf dry slowly. Temperature and humidity are controlled to ensure that the leaf continues to ferment, without rotting or disintegrating. This is where the flavor, burning, and aroma characteristics are primarily brought out in the leaf.

Once the leaves have aged properly, they are sorted for use as filler or wrapper based upon their appearance and overall quality. During this process, the leaves are continually moistened and handled carefully to ensure each leaf is best used according to its individual qualities. The leaf will continue to be baled, inspected, un-baled, re-inspected, and baled again repeatedly as it continues its aging cycle. When the leaf has matured according to the manufacturer’s specifications, it will be used in the production of a cigar.

Quality cigars are still handmade. An experienced cigar-roller can produce hundreds of very good, nearly identical, cigars per day. The rollers keep the tobacco moist — especially the wrapper — and use specially designed crescent-shaped knives, called chavetas, to form the filler and wrapper leaves quickly and accurately. Once rolled, the cigars are stored in wooden forms as they dry, in which their uncapped ends are cut to a uniform size. From this stage, the cigar is a complete product that can be “laid down” and aged for decades if kept as close to 21 °C (70 °F), and 70% relative humidity, as the environment will allow. Once cigars have been purchased, proper storage is usually accomplished by keeping the cigars in a specialized wooden box, or humidor, where conditions can be carefully controlled for long periods of time. Even if a cigar becomes dry, it can be successfully re-humidified so long as it has not been handled carelessly and done so gradually. The loss of original tobacco oils, however, will greatly affect the taste.

 Some cigars, especially premium brands, use different varieties of tobacco for the filler and the wrapper. Long filler cigars are a far higher quality of cigar, using long leaves throughout. These cigars also use a third variety of tobacco leaf, called a “binder”, between the filler and the outer wrapper. This permits the makers to use more delicate and attractive leaves as a wrapper. These high-quality cigars almost always blend varieties of tobacco. Even Cuban long-filler cigars will combine tobaccos from different parts of the island to incorporate several different flavors.

In low-grade and machine-made cigars, chopped tobacco leaves are used for the filler, and long leaves or a type of “paper” made from tobacco pulp is used for the wrapper which binds the cigar together.This alters the burning characteristics of the cigar, causing handmade cigars to be sought-after.

Historically, a lector or reader was always employed to entertain cigar factory workers. This practice became obsolete once audiobooks for portable music players became available, but it is still practiced in some Cuban factories. The name for the Montecristo cigar brand may have arisen from this practice.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Cigar”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Big Size

Salomon

Ring 57 (23,00 mm), Length 184 mm

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Laguito No. 6

Ring 56 (22,23 mm), Length166 mm

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Diadema

Ring 55 (21,83 mm), Length 233 mm

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Montesco

Ring 55 (21,83 mm) Length 130 mm

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Geniales

Ring 54 (21,3 mm) Length 150 mm

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Laguito No. 5

Ring 54 (21,43 mm), Length 144 mm

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Romeo

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 162 mm

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Piramide

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 156 mm

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Cañonazo

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 150 mm

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Campana

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 140 mm

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Edmundo

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 135 mm

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Estupendo

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 140 mm

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Laguito No. 4

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 119 mm

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Magico

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 115 mm

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Petit Edmundo

Ring 52 (20,64 mm), Length 115 mm

Petit edmundo 69.jpg

Del Valle

Ring 50 (19,84 mm) Length 124 mm

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Doble

Ring 50 (29,84 mm) Length 155 mm

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Gordito

Ring 50 (19,84 mm), Length 141 mm

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Magnum 50

Ring 50 (19,84 mm) Length 160 mm

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Robusto

Ring 50 (19,84 mm), Length 124 mm

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Petit Robusto

Ring 50 (19,84 mm), Length 102 mm

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Prominente (Double Coronas)

Ring 49 (19,45 mm), Length 194 mm

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Paco

Ring 49 (19,45 mm), Length 180 mm

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Hermoso Nr. 4

Ring 48 (19,05 mm), Length 127 mm

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Gran Corona

Ring 47 (18,65 mm), Length 235 mm

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Julieta (Churchill)

Ring 47 (18,65 mm), Length 178 mm

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Taco

Ring 47 (18,65 mm), Length 158 mm

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Exquisito

Ring 46 (18,26 mm), Length 145 mm

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Corona Gorda

Ring 46 (18,26 mm), Length 143 mm

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Forum

Ring 46 (18,26 mm) Length 135 mm

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Mid Size

Cazadore

Ring 44 (17,46 mm), Length 162 mm

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Francisco

Ring 44 (17,46 mm), Length 143 mm

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Conserva JLP

Ring 44 (17,46 mm), Length 140 mm

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Coloniales

Ring 44 (17,5 mm), Length 132 mm

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Dalia

Ring 43 (17,07 mm), Length 170 mm

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Cazadore JLP

Ring 43 (17,07 mm), Length 152 mm

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Petit Bouquet

Ring 43 (17,03 mm), Length 101 mm

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Cervante (Lonsdale)

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 165 mm

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Corona Grande

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 155 mm

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Corona

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 142 mm

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Cosaco

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 135 mm

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Nacionale JLP

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 134 mm

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Breva JLP

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 133 mm

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Eminente

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 132 mm

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Generoso

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 132 mm

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Petit Corona

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 129 mm

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Mareva

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 129 mm

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Favorito

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 120 mm

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Minuto

Ring 42 (16,67 mm), Length 110 mm

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Cristale

Ring 41 (16,27 mm), Length 150 mm

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Laguito Especial No. 2

Ring 40 (15,87 mm) Length 192 mm

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Nacional

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 140 mm

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Crema

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 140 mm

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Almuerzo

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 130 mm

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Petit Cetro

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 129 mm

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Standardt

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 123 mm

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Conchita

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 117 mm

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Coronita

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 117 mm

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Franciscano

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 116 mm

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Reyes

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 110 mm

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Perla

Ring 40 (15,87 mm), Length 102 mm

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Small Size

Crema JLP

Ring 39 (15,57 mm), Length 134 mm

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Belvedere

Ring 39 (15,57 mm), Length 125 mm

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Laguito Nr. 1

Ring 38 (15,08 mm), Length 192 mm

Laguito Nr. 1 e.jpg

Parejo

Ring 38 (15,08 mm), Length 166 mm

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Laguito Nr. 2

Ring 38 (15,08 mm), Length 152 mm

Laguito Nr. 2 e.jpg

Petit Cetro JLP

Ring 38 (15,08 mm), Length 127 mm

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Trabuco

Ring 38 (15,08 mm), Length 110 mm

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Veguerito (Panetelas)

Ring 37 (14,69 mm), Length 127 mm

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Delicado

Ring 36 (14,29 mm), Length 185 mm

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Cadete

Ring 36 (14,29 mm), Length 115 mm

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Delicioso

Ring 35 (13,89 mm), Length 159 mm

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Carlota

Ring 35 (13,89 mm), Length 143 mm

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Sport

Ring 35 (13,89 mm), Length 117 mm

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Placera

Ring 34 (13,49 mm), Length 129 mm

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Seoane

Ring 33 (13,10 mm) Length 126 mm

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Entreacto

Ring 30 (11,91 mm) Length 100 mm

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Laguito No. 3

Ring 26 (10,32 mm) Length 115 mm

No3 01.jpg

This article uses material from the Cigar Wiki article “Shapes”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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