Fine Cigars Production
Like Fine Wines both depend for their qualities on critical factors in their production:
Geography – the tobacco used in Fine Cigars always comes from areas near to the
equator, Caribbean, Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Equador & Indonesia.
Soil type – A loam type soil is generally preferred.
The correct climate – Optimal tobacco growth is a 3 or 4 inches of rainfall a month during the main growing season and temperatures around 80 F (27 C). Optimal quality cigar tobacco, requires less rain and lower temperatures.
Inherited skills – which developed over the centuries since Columbus discovered the Cuban Native Indians smoking them in 1492. The zenith of Fine Cigar production was the mid 20th century.
Today Fine Cigar sales are once again increasing after several years of remaining static.
What is a Fine Cigar?
It is a cigar which is hand made with pure tobaccos (no additives) originates from the Caribbean area has three constituent parts –
1. Filler (always a long filler’, one using continuous leaves, not ‘chopped leaves’)
The Long Filler encourages ash retention as well as giving the cigar body while four different leaf types supply the aroma and flavour
2. Binder – this holds the filler in place and assists in the burning.
3. Wrapper – Connecticut Shade Grown. Shade Grown refers to the growing of the tobacco plants under a shelter of muslin nets which protect the plant from direct sunlight.
Smoking a Fine Cigar
DO NOT roll a cigar near your ear to listen to the crackle. All you will succeed in doing is to damage the wrapper and ruin the cigar.
To test the condition of a cigar press gently between thumb and forefinger. If the cigar feels firm but has a little give on the outside you then have a cigar of the quality espoused by Mark Twain when he said, “A woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke”.
Having ascertained the quality you are ready to prepare the cigar prior to smoking it.
The Band around the cigar should be left in place as it may be so tightly secured that removal may well damage the Wrapper. Leave the Band on the cigar until you have smoked approximately a quarter of the cigar.
Unlike a cigarette you do not simply pull out a cigar, stick it in your mouth and light it.
Hand made cigars have a closed head or cap that must be cut before smoking. The objective of cutting the end of the cigar is to create an ample, smooth opening for smoking without damaging the structure of the cigar.
To perform this next step in the ritual you will need a V-cutter, cigar scissors or a guillotine. The idea is to cut away just enough of the cap to smoke without the cigar unwrapping and to expose enough of an exposed surface of cleanly cut filler leaf to allow an equal draw from the core and rim of the cigar.
Once the cut has been made gently tap the end of the cigar to remove any fragments of tobacco resulting from the cut.
If you really want to ruin a Fine Cigar you can use your teeth, matchstick or nails, or a knife to cut the cap of the cigar.
Now and only now are you ready to light your cigar.
This is done by using a cigar match, wooden spill or a gas lighter.
It is not advisable to use a petrol lighter, sulphur matches or a candle as these utensils will adversely influence the taste and aroma of the cigar.
To light a cigar rotate it above or near the flame, never let them touch, unless you like hot cigars.
Wait until there is a glowing ring around the tip of the cigar, then gently blown the embers to create a smooth, rounded ash. For a cooler smoke the ash should be kept on the cigar for as long as possible.
Unlike cigarettes a Fine Cigar should be smoked at a leisurely pace and again, unlike cigarettes, cigars are not inhaled.
As the day draws to a close and your cigar has extended its flavour and aroma the time has come to think of the best method of despatch for what has become a dear and trusted friend. A Fine Cigar deserves to die with dignity! Not for the Fine Cigar the stubbing out or crushing beneath the heel. The cigar should be placed in an ashtray when you have finished with it and it will gradually pass away by gently extinguishing itself.