Written By: Zach Champ, Connect with me on LinkedIn
What Is a Cigar?
Cigars are a form of rolled tobacco. The typical cigar is a bundle of cured and fermented tobacco that is smoked.
Cigars are made to be enjoyed while being smoked slowly- they are a leisure item!
The three main components to any cigar: the wrapper, the filler, and the binder.
The Filler is the interior part of the cigar and can consist of a special blend of different tobacco leaves or simply one specific variety. The Filler is either longleaf or cut-shortleaf. A single cigar can feature a blend of multiple cuts of tobacco leaf.
The Binder is what keeps the cigar together. The Binder generally has the name of the company that manufactured the cigar, as well as any logos or identifying marks that specify the cigars make and origin.
The Wrapper is the outermost leaf that the cigar is wrapped in. It is the most flavorful part of the cigar. When picking a cigar you should look at the wrapper first as this will give you an indication of how the cigar will taste and smoke.
Types of Cigars
Choosing a cigar at a smoke shop can be tricky at times since there are numerous varieties to choose from. It can be difficult to decide without some background knowledge of what you are looking at in the humidor.
Luckily, by the end of this article, you will have all the information you need to know to make the right selection!
When choosing a cigar there are three main aspects to consider: size, shape, and leaf wrapper color. Knowing a little bit about each of these typical characteristics can aid you in picking a cigar like a pro!
By Size: The size of a cigar reflects how long it will take to smoke and consume the whole product. Smaller sizes are for shorter smoking sessions, whereas longer sizes are for longer moments of relaxation and contemplation. The cigar’s thickness is measured by the width of the ring gauge. Occasionally, you will hear cigar experts ask about the size of a cigar by referring to its ring gauge size.
By Shape: The shape of a cigar plays a factor in how long the cigar will burn for when smoked. The size and shape of a cigar do not influence how strong a cigar is. The most common cigar shapes include:
- Parejo (Most common)
By Color: (Leaf Wrapper) The leaf wrapper is often harvested from the lower stalk of the tobacco plant where the leaves are larger. These leaves must be blemish-free as they make up the outer layer of the cigar. Several types of cigar leaf wrapper exist including:
- Connecticut Leaf Wrapper (Light-Bodied)
- Sumatra Wrapper
- Habano (Medium to Full Bodied “Spicy”)
- Corojo (Medium to Full Bodied “Spicy”)
- Maduro (Full-Bodied “Chocolate”)
When smoking cigars there are primarily three natural types of ‘flavors’ you can taste with the tobacco. They are mild, medium, and full-bodied. All of these flavors can come in their own varying degrees of ‘strength’ (essentially nicotine content) which is referred to as either mild or strong. Smoking a mild cigar will give you a slight pleasant buzz whereas a strong cigar can be dizzying for someone inexperienced with the effects of nicotine.
The History of Cigars
Indigenous people have smoked tobacco ceremoniously and recreationally for thousands of years.
Europeans were first introduced to Tobacco shortly after Christopher Columbus’s expedition to America. Tobacco soon grew in popularity eventually becoming a key export crop that played a significant role in the rise of transatlantic trade between America, Europe, and Africa.
The Caribbean would continue to play an instrumental role in the Tobacco trade, particularly on the island of Cuba where the climate is perfectly suited for the cultivation of tobacco. Even today many people recognize Cuba as the home of world-class cigars.
How to Properly Enjoy a Cigar
When smoking a Cigar you should never inhale the smoke like with cigarettes or marijuana.
Rather you want to ‘taste’ or puff on the smoke while exhaling from the mouth. This method of smoking allows you to fully enjoy the rich experience of the cigar’s taste and aroma while still providing a pleasant nicotine buzz.
If you inhaled cigar smoke you would more than likely cough and have an unpleasant time. It’s not advised to inhale cigar smoke either, as it takes an enormous toll on the lungs and can be quite harmful.
When you light the cigar you need to light it evenly on the cut end of the roll, while rotating the cigar slowly. This ensures a smooth yet even ignition across the whole surface of the cut end, and therefore a pleasant smoking experience.
While lighting the cigar you want to take short successive puffs while rotating the cigar your hand to ensure it starts burning correctly.
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