This Article is About
tobacco leaves
shapes and sizes
fermentation process
flavors
christopher columbus
After Dinner Smoke - The Cigar
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After Dinner Smoke  -  the Cigar

Tobacco was introduced in Europe by Christopher Columbus after he returned from the New World. Cigar originated from the word sikar a Yucatec Mayan word for smoking.

Cigars are made by harvesting tobacco leaves and aging them with heat and shade to reduce the sugar and water which is controlled so that the leaves do not rot. The curing process normally takes 24 to 45 days after which a fermentation process is used to ferment the leaves without them rotting.

When the leaves have aged correctly they are sorted for use as filler or wrapper and are moistened to insure their quality. Each leaf is handled carefully and inspected through out its aging period.

Good cigars are still hand made and can be produced by the hundreds from an experienced cigar roller. They keep the cigars moist and store them in wooden forms for them to dry. Higher quality cigars blend different types of tobacco to give the cigars different flavors.

The cigar wrapper determines the cigar’s character and flavor. There are more than 100 wrapper types. The filler is wrapped up cigar leaves inside the wrapper and are blended to give the cigar a desired flavor.

Binders are special leaves (undesirable) that hold together the bunches of filler leaves, they are wrappers that were rejected because of defects.

Cigars come in all shapes and sizes. They are measured by their "ring gauge" (diameter) and length. Coronas are the typical shape that most associate with cigars, but there are also irregularly shaped cigars Figurados which include; torpedos, pyramids, perfecto, presidente, culebras and tuscan shaped cigars.

There are also little cigars that are more like a cigarette which have become popular because they have a lower tax than a cigarette, a glich in the tax laws.

There is a special way to light a cigar that probably is not noticed by the casual obeserver. The cigar should be rotated as it is being lit and should be slowly drawn with gentle puffs. The tip of the cigar should just touch the flame and it is recommended to use care if a butane lighter is used as it can burn the tobacco too hot and cause a bad flavor from the cigar. It is not recommended to use paper matches or lighters with liquid fluid as they will leave a bad taste from the cigar.

You may have noticed some cigars are sold in tubes with a cedar wrapping. This wrapping can also be used to light a cigar without damaging the taste of the cigar.

These measures may appear extreme but cigars are like fine wine, you have to experience them in a way that you get the most for what they offer.

Most cigar users do not inhale the cigar to get the best aroma and taste.


Street Talk

Joan S  

Thanks for the background on cigars. I've never picked up the habit, but my uncle smoked them all the time. When I was a kid, he used to bury his cigar butts in my handbag as a joke. As you know, the butts are not fun to smell. I went to school with cigar butts in my handbag. Try explaining that to a nun who was my teacher at the time. Lol, that cured me of cigars.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Yes, the butts do have a strong odor! Thanks for the comment. I'll have to remember to save my butts to put in someone's bag. Ha!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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