A barrage of opinions on storage, brand options, and accessories can overwhelm any new inductee of the cigar world. At times, you can’t tell which of these are true and which aren’t.
For instance, people can have a lot to say about how to cut cigars if you don’t have a cigar cutter.
Whose opinions do you base your decisions on? This is something that bothers both beginner and seasoned aficionados alike.
This isn’t a must-follow list by any means. It’s a compilation of essential highlights and pertinent issues that tell the story of the premium cigar industry. Included are some useful tips to boost your smoking experience in the ways that matter.
1. Cigars are Natural and Artisanal
“Artisanal” and “natural” may be overused buzzwords, but they perfectly describe today’s premium hand-crafted cigars. When used to address these intricate creations, these words aren’t mere exaggerations.
That’s because these products come from one and only one natural creation: tobacco. The purest and most flavorful tobacco is used to manufacture today’s premium cigars. No chemical treatment or artificial flavoring is used in the process.
When it comes to the leading brands, everything is natural. That’s the inherent beauty of these cigars and is what makes them so valuable and unique.
2. Cigars are the Work of Many
Cigars are the work of not one, not two but hundreds of skilled hands. You may never look at cigars the same way again after finding out that interesting tidbit.
The point is it takes a lot of incredible work to produce that smoking experience you love and have grown used to. When a premium cigar is lit, and the smoker’s eyes close from satisfaction, that’s when it all comes full circle.
3. Tobacco is Fermented
It’s not just wine or spirits that are fermented; tobacco is, too, when it’s used to create the finest handmade cigars.
Specifically, it’s a process called microbial fermentation, where water, oxygen, and pressure are used to break down tobacco leaves organically. The process does not produce alcohol, but it alters the chemical and physical components of the leaf via oxidation and humidification.
4. Cigar Anatomy Should be Studied or Understood at the Very Least
As an aficionado, it is in your best interest to know the three basic components of the traditional cigar: the binder, wrapper, and filler. Together, these elements produce the singular system that has become our favorite pastime.
There’s the wrapper or the visible outer leaf covering. In terms of component-per-pound, it’s the most expensive and has to look the best. After all, looks are part of why premium cigars are so sellable.
Apart from the appearance, the wrapper also adds to the flavor of the cigar. Thus, it’s crucial for it to have the right amount of “veins.” Too veiny, and it could create a rough, blemish-filled texture that would take it out of running as a premium cigar wrapper.
Next is the binder, otherwise known as the wrapper leaf, that was taken out of contention. It’s similar to the wrapper but is not as smooth. That’s okay because it’s not visible. The binder is directly under the wrapper and is the initial layer that keeps all that tobacco intact.
Binder combustion is crucial. A binder that burns well burns evenly and creates a “smoother” smoking experience as a result. A binder that’s oily or greasy doesn’t burn properly and may fail to deliver the intended experience.
Cigarmakes usually pour out all their creativity into the filler because of the different tobacco options coming from many different countries. Additionally, there are also various tobacco primings that provide different flavors and aromas.
The filler can be found on the foot of the cigar. The top, called the head, is covered with a cap that helps keep the wrapper in place. The neater and more symmetrical these parts are, the more skilled the cigar roller.
5. Age Matters
When it comes to tobacco, age can greatly influence flavor. This applies before and after the making of the cigar.
Not only are fresh leaves aged before they’re rolled, but some new cigars are sent to the aging room before they’re displayed in stores. These aging rooms bring out that magical, aged flavor in some of the best premium cigars.
As different tobacco flavors merge and become one and humidity levels stabilize, the purest, earthiest cigars are created.
Aging happens after fermentation. That’s when tobacco leaves are packed tightly into bales, where they are subjected to a slow and steady carotenoid breakdown that brings to the surface all the desired flavors and notes.
There you have five important things every cigar smoker should know. While these are not, by any means, the 10 (or should we say five) commandments of the tobacco industry, they do shed light on the things that make cigar smoking unique and special for some people.