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Surprising Countries That Produce Amazing Cigars

Surprising Countries That Produce Amazing Cigars

Cuba may be the most infamous, but there are plenty of surprising countries that make exceptional cigars. These lush tobacco growing countries have managed to stay under the radar. For better or worse, they don’t have the notoriety of Cuban tobacco. They didn’t have the world’s spotlight, but that didn’t stop them from creating something completely unique. Instead of relying on a stereotype, these countries were forced to make better products. In many ways, the cigars produced in these hidden oasis’s outdo many Cuban brands.

Thanks to Castro’s revolution, the world has been blessed with a slew of new tobacco strains. As soon as the controversial dictator seized power, he plunged the Caribbean nation into communism. This devastated many businesses, & the thriving cigar industry was no exception. Many of the country’s top tobacco producers fled the revolution, bringing Cuba’s finest tobacco strains with them. This paved the way for a new generation of hybrids, & they found their way into countries around the world.

It’s always good to avoid gimmicks, & this is exceptionally true when picking a new cigar brand. It’s shameful how people flock to the same brands, when the real adventure is trying something new. For this reason, discovering lesser known countries that produce tobacco is essential. They give users access to hidden gems that are some of the world’s best. Prepare to be blown away by the quality tobacco produced by these lesser known countries!

Surprising Countries That Make Great Cigars

Tobacco Producer #1: Ecuador – This country may be new to the cigar scene, but they are taking the industry by storm. They have only been producing cigars for 15 years, but it’s hard to tell by the quality of their products. Their climate is ideal for growing premium tobacco, since it’s exceptionally humid & covered in clouds.

This proved to be a winning combination, & today Ecuadorian tobacco is on par with the best in the world. It’s renown for producing cigars that are delightfully spicy. This burst of flavor is so unique that the major names in the industry couldn’t ignore it. Ecuadorian Habano wrappers have been used in Tatuaje, My Father, Montecristo & Rocky Patel. This is the perfect tobacco to liven up your palate, so get ready to jumpstart any occasion!

Tobacco Producer #2: Mexico – It’s easy to forget about this wild country, but seasoned cigar aficionados know its true potential. Back in the day Mexican tobacco growers stole the show with their wildly popular “Te Amo” line of cigars. This epic debut forced international companies to respect Mexican cigars. Despite this success, Mexico has generally gone unrecognized in the cigar industry.

Thanks to new endeavors, this misguided stereotype is starting to change. Mexico is now producing top notch Maduro wrappers that are known as the Mexican San Andres. Many experts claim that these are on par with Connecticut broadleaf, which is nothing to ignore. This claim is validated by the use of Mexican Maduro wrappers in a slew of premium cigars. From the Drew Estate Norteño to the Crowned Heads Jericho Hill, it’s safe to say that Mexican tobacco is making a comeback. Try out their new brand Black Abyss to discover the true potential of Mexican tobacco!

Tobacco Producer #3: Brazil – Everyone knows about Carnaval, but not many know about Brazilian cigars. Aficionados agree that this South American country produces some of the most powerful tobacco in the world. Their blends showcase the intensity of dark tobacco. This deep, delicious profile has made Brazilian tobacco too enticing to ignore. The first big brand to feature it was CAO Brazilia, but now a slew of companies are using Brazilian tobacco. From Liga Privada No. 9 to other new releases, plenty of industry heavyweights are jumping for this potent tobacco.

 

May 10, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
Top Tobacco Producing Countries Outside Cuba

Top Tobacco Producing Countries Outside Cuba

Even though Cuba has stolen the spotlight, there are plenty of other countries that grow amazing tobacco. This notorious island isn’t the only place with ideal micro-climates, so plenty of countries produce equally impressive tobacco. Their premium leaves make some of the best cigars in the world. Like Cuba, there are a slew of countries with a deep passion for producing cigars. These products are hand rolled works of art that are revered by aficionados around the world. They may not be as well known to new comers, but any seasoned smoker will instantly recognize these countries’ products.

Fidel Castro didn’t just revolutionize Cuba, he unintentionally caused the entire industry to migrate. As soon as he took power, many of the country’s top tobacco producers fled his oppressive regime. This caused Cuba’s best genetics to be taken to neighboring Central American countries. Their climates are eerily similar to Cuba’s, but the producers were forced to adapt to the subtle climate changes.

The following genetic modifications gave birth to a slew of hybrids. Many argue that these surpass Cuban tobacco, which isn’t as bold of a claim as it sounds. Even though Cuban cigars are the most notorious, there are countless international brands with equally potent products. It’s no longer a monopoly, which is a godsend for avid cigar smokers. For this reason, it’s essential to explore new options when picking up a new cigar brand. We have compiled a list of 3 countries that produce tobacco that’s on par with Cuba’s. Prepare to be blown away by these surprising tobacco oasis’s!

3 Countries That Produce Amazing Tobacco

Country #1: Dominican Republic – Cuba may be the most famous, but they can’t beat the long heritage of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. This illustrious history pre-dates Cuba’s cigar production, which makes the Dominican Republic the true pioneer of premium tobacco.

On top of doing it the longest, the taste of their tobacco is unmatched. It’s notoriously light & smooth, making it the perfect flavor for premium cigars. Out of all the Dominican cigar brands, heavy hitters such as Arturo Fuente & Montecristo steal the show. La Flor Dominicana is yet another Dominican brand that has earned the respect of cigar aficionados around the world. These brands are irreplaceable, so treat your palate with their unique flavors!

Country #2: Nicaragua – Like many Central American countries, Nicaragua owes its most potent tobacco genetics to Castro’s revolution. Right after Cuba became communist, Nicaragua was flooded with the country’s finest rollers. After escaping Cuba, they set up shop in Nicaragua’s lush, humid climate. They created some exceptional hybrids, & now the country is a tobacco producing powerhouse.

Nicaraguan tobacco isn’t just unique, it’s extremely powerful. They are renowned for their bold spicy flavors. The most beloved cigar brands from Nicaragua are My Father, Padron & Perdomo. Their roots may be in Cuba, but their flavor is undeniably Nicaraguan! Wind down a long day with a potent cigar from this tropical Central American country. 

Country #3: Honduras – Their thriving tobacco industry is yet another product of Castro’s takeover of Cuba. After leaving the island, this was the first place that embraced Cuba’s Corojo tobacco. It adapted marvelously to the climate, & gave birth to some of the best tobacco in the world.

Honduran tobacco is outrageously dark, making it a staple in dessert cigars. The flavors are equally exotic, with strong earthy notes. These unique characteristics have made Honduran cigars some of the most revered brands in the world. From established classics like Camacho to newer brands like Room 101, there’s something for everyone. This unmatched versatility helped Honduran tobacco earn its place in any respectable smoker’s humidor.

April 15, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
U.S. Presidents Who Smoked Cigars

U.S. Presidents Who Smoked Cigars

America’s love of cigars wasn’t limited to the population, it was pioneered by our presidents. Our country was built by cigar aficionados, which is why it’s an essential part of our heritage. From the booming fields in Connecticut to the plantations in the South, tobacco has been an essential plant for America. It helped build this country, so it’s no surprise that our early leaders adored cigars. Public opinion may have shifted over the years, but we can’t escape our roots.

Even though cigarettes have given tobacco a bad name, there’s still a special adoration for cigars. This is due to the fact that they are a work of art. To this day, some of the most influential people in America retain this appreciation. This wasn’t lost on our fore-fathers, & some of the most revered presidents shared this fascination. To understand who we are, it’s essential to uncover hidden facts of the past. For this reason, we have compiled a list of U.S. presidents who adored cigars. Prepare to be blown away by this surprising list! 

3 U.S. Presidents Who Loved Cigars 

U.S. President #1: Ulysses S. Grant – When it came to fiery presidents, Ulysses steals the show. Allegedly it took 20 cigars a day to keep him calm, which was no surprise given the circumstances of his presidency. Faced with the horrors of the Civil War, Ulysses turned to tobacco to get the job done. He even used his public cigar smoking persona to win two terms in office. His campaign song was called “A Smokin’ His Cigar”, which boasted about the joys of cigar smoking.

This public affair with cigars may have won him the people’s adoration, but it was also used against him. His rivals made coy public messages that said “I smoke my weed & drink my gin, playing with the people’s tin.”. Even though these statements were controversial, they didn’t stop Ulysses from winning two presidential elections. This courage to be controversial makes him one of the most passionate cigar smoking presidents America has ever had.

U.S. President #2: John F. Kennedy – Despite signing the infamous embargo against Cuba, Kennedy was obsessed with cigars. His love for smoking was notorious, & he even tried to make a loophole. According to a 2000 New York Times article, Kennedy’s embargo on Cuba was supposed to exclude cigars. The only reason cigars were added to the embargo was because of incessant lobbying by cigar manufacturers in Tampa. 

In the end they had their way, but Kennedy still figured out a way to get his stash. The last night before the embargo took effect, he had his press secretary buy 1,200 Cuban H. Upmann Petit Coronas. This may have held him over, but the effects of the embargo were felt for decades. It’s a shame what a few companies’ nefarious meddling did to the industry.

U.S. President #3: Bill Clinton – Even though his sexual escapades stole the show, Bill was equally passionate about cigars. He was regularly seen smoking fine cigars throughout his presidency. After nearly being kicked out of office, he was photographed buying an expensive Cuban cigar at Heathrow Airport in London. To top it off, recent “inside sources” have made some eye-opening claims about his most infamous sexual scandal. According to them, Bill was enjoying a Gurkha Grand Reserve during his fateful encounter with Ms. Lewinsky. Bill was an extremely controversial president, but everyone can appreciate his dedication to quality cigars.

April 07, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
Discover the Wildest Cigars Ever Made

Discover the Wildest Cigars Ever Made

Faced with stiff competition, some cigar producers decided to make cigars that defy all reason. These cigars are freaks of nature, but they are incredibly entertaining to examine. In an industry that prides itself on celebrating individuality, it’s no surprise that it’s created some outrageous products. From bejeweled accessories to larger-than-life sizes, these models prove that the sky is the limit when making a unique cigar. These sticks broke the mold, which is refreshing since they help revive the industry.

Cigar production was always based on creativity, but some producers went too far. They created novelty items that no normal aficionado can buy. Even though they are practically unattainable, these outlandish designs deserve to be showcased. For this reason, we compiled a list of the wildest cigars on the market. They all sport shocking features, so prepare to be blown away by these rebellious cigars!

Meet the Wildest Cigars on the Market

Wild Cigar #3: King of Denmark, The Royal Danish Cigar Company – Produced at a speed of 30 a day, these sticks carry a larger than life price tag. The Danish producer wanted to make a name for itself by creating something extraordinary, & innovation has its costs. Each one retails at $150, so getting your hands on one is a blessing. Even though the price is steep, it’s understandable since this stick is literally a work of art.

Unsurprisingly, this cigar is packed with luxurious amenities. On top of being rolled with premium tobacco, each one is customized with precious stones. They are all studded with multiple Swarovski crystals, wrapped in gold foil & embossed with the name of the buyer. These cigars are works of art, they put your local jeweler to shame!

Wild Cigar #2: Gran Habano No. 5 “El Gigante” – This larger than life cigar shattered records when it was released. On top of being the biggest cigar in the world, it’s also extremely expensive. Anyone who can afford to spend $185,000 can invite their friends to the smoking experience of a lifetime.

This gigantic cigar is 19 ft. long & made with 1,600 pounds of premium tobacco. Since it’s so huge, the cigar has to be smoked with a special tubing system. When hooked up properly, up to 40 people can help smoke this beast. Between the price & the challenges of properly smoking it, this is the definition of excess. It’s easily one of the most outrageous cigars ever created.

Wild Cigar #1: Mayan Sicars – While the other cigars on this list are works of art, these are part of history. Ever since the 12th century, the Mayans have perfected the art of making cigars. These hand-rolled sticks were known as sicars, & they paved the way for what we enjoy today. At the time, they were so groundbreaking that Christopher Columbus took Mayan sicars back to Europe in the 15th century.

Out of all the sikars created by the Mayans, one batch stands out from the rest. This was a small collection that was uncovered in a Guatemalan village in 2012. They are over 600 years old, but they have been miraculously well preserved. This anomaly was so stunning, that the collection sold for a whopping $507,000 at a private auction. These cigars are so impressive that smoking them should be a crime!

April 03, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
3 Cigars For New Smokers

3 Cigars For New Smokers

When people first start smoking cigars, picking the right types is key. These are going to be the ambassadors of a wildly complex industry, so they have to do it justice. There are plenty of flavors to try, so the first cigars need to cover all the bases. Since first impressions are everything, the first cigars can make or break a person’s career. These will give the smoker some invaluable insight on what’s available. There are countless different styles, so the possibilities are endless. Even more importantly, these cigars will allow the user to discover which tastes appeal to them.

At first, it’s hard to guide yourself without a developed palate. Once someone realizes what they like, they can explore more options. This is a groundbreaking moment, since it’s where the smoker takes control. There will still be surprises, but finding a favorite style puts the client in the driver’s seat. From there, they can experiment with more brands. Since the first cigars are so essential, we created a list of 5 cigars every new smoker should try. They will open up doors to a whole new world, so prepare to explore your options!

3 Cigars Every New Smoker Should Try

Cigar #3: CAO Gold Vintage – If you are having a hard time deciding between a mild or medium bodied smoke, this is for you. This cigar starts off light with a smooth, creamy flavor. As things progress, it slowly starts sporting medium-bodied characteristics. This is the best of both worlds, & it gives first time smokers something to celebrate.

CAO achieves this beautiful balance by wrapping this line in Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers. They were produced in 2004, so the taste stays consistent. While the wrapper is superb, the tobacco on the inside is just as impressive. It features a perfect mix of Nicaraguan & Cuban-seed Honduran tobacco. You can’t go wrong with CAO, so try this versatile release!

Cigar #2: Avo Classic – These mild cigars are the perfect introduction for first time smokers. This line is renowned for its enjoyable taste & consistent burn. Each classic is wrapped in a Connecticut wrapper, which amplifies its creamy taste. The smoke isn’t harsh at all, which makes it perfect for a novice.

This is a great preview of Avo’s impressive catalogue of cigars. The company was created by master pianist Avo Uvezian, so their attention to detail is unmatched. Over the years, they have made a name for themselves by consistently producing exceptional cigars. Don’t hesitate to try more of their inventory if the Classic wins you over!

Cigar #1: Ashton Aged Maduro – After trying this full-bodied cigar, it’s easy to see how it took the market by storm. It offers a burst of flavors that are perfect after wrapping up a good meal. Ashton wanted to create the ideal full-bodied experience, & many claim that they succeeded with this cigar.

It features hints of spice, leather, nuts & coffee. This combination of bold flavors creates a delightful experience. For this reason, this should be the first full-bodied cigar that anyone should smoke. It will set the standard, & let them know if full-bodied sticks are right for them. Wrap up your night with this surprisingly sophisticated cigar!

April 03, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
Exploring the Main Types of Cigars

Exploring the Main Types of Cigars

Just like the brand, the type of cigar is a key factor when choosing a new smoke. They can vary wildly, & the shape of a cigar can greatly affect the smoking experience. From the draw to the burning time, cigar types make an impact. This defining aspect of a cigar tells users what shape to expect when purchasing a cigar. There are plenty of industry standards, but many companies try to break the mold with creative designs. This is nothing new, & it has been used as a marketing ploy by producers for centuries.

Since standing out is the name of the game, the race to create memorable cigar shapes is in full swing. Since it can help sway hesitant buyers, plenty of money has been invested in creating new styles. Out all the wild releases, about 12 cigar types have been cemented in the industry. Over time they made the transition from fancy whims to respected cigar types.

Since there are countless variations, picking the proper cigar type can be daunting. To get the most out of your smoke, educating yourself on the different cigar types is essential. For this reason, we have compiled a list of the 10 most respected types of cigars. They have seduced connoisseurs around the world, so get ready to peak your curiosity with this list! 

Classic Types of Cigars

Out of all the variations most cigars will fall into one category, Parejos. These are straight-sided cigars that have an open foot that needs to be cut before lighting. Within this category, the cigars are either round or box-pressed. The latter variation is rare, since the sides have to be pressed into a square shape. This can be created during pre-packing or with the packing pressure inside the box of cigars. This method is definitely unique, but round Parejos are still the most embraced type of cigars.

Out of all the Parejos, 7 types steal the show:

  1. The Corona is the size from which all other sizes are measured. They are usually 5 ½ to 6 in length with a 42-44 ring gauge.
  1. The Petit Corona is a miniature corona about 4 ½ inches long with a 40-42 ring gauge.
  1. The Churchill is the largest of the corona’s, with 7 inches in length & a 47 ring gauge.
  1. The Robusto is the most popular cigar type in America. They are short & fat, measuring 4 ¾ to 5 ½ inches with a 48-52 ring gauge.
  1. The Corona Gorda also goes by the name Toro. They are normally 5 5/8 inches long with a 46-ring gauge. But they can also be 6 inches long with a 50-ring gauge. Recently, they have emerged from obscurity & are exploding in popularity.
  1. The Double Corona is 7 ½ to 8 ½ inches long with a 49-52 ring gauge.
  1. The Panetela is strikingly similar to a beefed-up cigarette. They are long & thin, measuring 5 to 7 ½ inches with a 34-38 ring gauge. Even though their popularity is fading, they are an iconic type of cigar.

While Parejos are more uniform, Figurados break the mold. This category of cigars includes anything that isn’t a straight sided cylinder. As cigar producers fought to broaden their portfolios, they ventured into creating Figurados. These exotic looking cigars are a fun burst of individuality in an industry plagued by conformity.

Out of all the different Figurados, 3 types are most recognized: 

  1. The Pyramid is a cigar that sports a head that tapers to a point. They have cut feet, & their unique shape provides an unmatched burst of flavor. They are usually 6 to 7 inches in length. The 40-ring gauge head widens to a 52 or 54 ring gauge at the foot.
  2. The Torpedo is easily confusable with a Pyramid, but it has a closed foot. They have a head that tapers to a point, with a noticeable bulge in the middle. Amidst rampant misrepresentation, finding a true Torpedo is rare.
  3. The Culebra is one of the most exotic shapes of cigars ever made. They are created by braiding three Panetelas together & tying them with string. They are usually 5 to 6 inches long, with a 38 ring gauge. To smoke them the string is untied & each braid is enjoyed separately. Their heyday is far from over, but they aren’t nearly as popular as they were 100 years ago.
April 03, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
Most Expensive Cigars in the World

Most Expensive Cigars in the World

Even though anyone can enjoy a cigar, not all of them are affordable for the common man. What once was a birth right has now turned into a luxury. In the last century, cigar smoking has inadvertently been associated with the wealthy. The US trade embargo with Cuba created an added allure that allowed some brand’s prices to skyrocket. The cigar production bonanza continued, but it had to evolve with the times. Castro’s revolution caused many great producers to migrate, which gave birth to some delightful hybrids. By luck or fate, these new creations captivated connoisseurs around the world.

While you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality cigar, trying an extremely rare release will. These hand-rolled masterpieces were rolled with the world’s best tobacco, & it’s reflected on the price tag. The jury is out on whether they are really worth the hefty price tags, but their mystique has made them legendary. Since many of us will never attain them, we decided to compile a list of these elusive sticks. Now everyone can at least get a glimpse of the world’s most expensive cigars!

The Most Expensive Cigars in the World

Cigar #3: Behike, Cohiba – Cuba is home to some of the finest cigars in the world, so it’s no surprise that they made our list. To this day, Cohiba is the most notorious producer of cigars in the world. It was Fidel Castro’s favorite, & the El Laguito rolling factory is a historic landmark. To celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2006, Cohiba released only 100 boxes of Behike cigars.

These hand rolled cigars are 7.5 inches long with a 52 inch ring gauge. They are rolled with the finest volado, seco & ligero leaves in Cuba, along with rare medio tiempo leaves. This proved to be a winning combination, & they have been praised by cigar aficionados worldwide. Unfortunately, perfection has its price. Each box retails for $18,000, making each cigar worth over $420.

Price: $420 each, $18,000 a box

Cigar #2: His Majesty’s Reserve, Gurkha – Made with a premium mix of tobacco that’s soaked in cognac, this cigar is extremely rare. Only 75 boxes are produced a year, with each one retailing for $15,000. With 20 cigars in a box, this gives them a terrifying price tag of $750 a stick. This mysterious cigar has enticed many political figures, but only a few normal people have gotten lucky enough to try it.

Unsurprisingly, it’s made exclusively with premium ingredients. The one-year-old Connecticut Maduro wrapper artfully contains a 12-year-old Dominican binder & filler. To make the flavor more sophisticated, each batch of cigars is infused with an entire bottle of Louis XIII Cognac. The bottle of cognac alone costs $2,500, so it’s no surprise that these cigars aren’t cheap.

Price: $750 each, $15,000 a box

Cigar #1: Black Dragon, Gurkha – If His Majesty’s Reserve was notorious, this line of cigars steals the show. In 2006, Gurkha made history with this limited-edition blend. Only 5 boxes were produced, making it one of the rarest cigars in the world. Each cigar retails at $1,150, while a box goes for $115,000.

This startling cost isn’t due to the unforgettable Honduran tobacco blend alone. Each box was hand carved out of camel bone, so there’s no box on the planet that’s more exotic. Since so little boxes were made, getting ahold of one is about as easy as taking a selfie with Obama.

Price: $1,150 each, $115,000 a box

April 03, 2017 by Aalap Shah
How to Pick the Perfect Cigar Size

How to Pick the Perfect Cigar Size

When choosing a cigar to smoke, picking the right size is essential. There are many different factors, but the first aspect to investigate is which size & shape you need. Lighting up an expensive double corona for a quick smoke break will likely lead to waste. For this reason, it’s good to have a game plan when you smoke.

Despite what people may think, there is no perfect cigar size. Determining what’s necessary depends entirely on your preferences & how long you will be smoking for. There are many types of cigars, & each one is advantageous in specific situations. Size will not only impact the draw, but it will also impact how much time you spend smoking it.

Picking the Right Cigar Size

When grabbing a cigar, the first point to focus on is the ring gauge. This is the diameter of the cigar measured in 1/64 inch increments. A 32 ring gauge is a half-inch, while a 64 ring gauge is a whole inch in diameter. While this is massive, most cigars fall between a 32 and 52 ring gauge. 

Surprisingly, the ring gauge has a huge effect on the coolness of the smoke. A larger gauge cigar will normally have an easier draw. This is because the filler leaves have more access to air, making it burn easier. The increased air flow makes the smoke cooler, which makes any session more enjoyable. If you like to gently smoke your cigar, a larger ring gauge will be more appealing.

On the other hand, smoking a smaller ring gauge will differ wildly. Many compare the draw to drinking a thick milkshake through a straw. The pull will be noticeably harder, & the smoke will be a bit harsher. This isn’t meant to discourage enjoying smaller ringed sticks. Some people prefer huffing & puffing during a smoke session, so let your preference be your guide.

Another factor to look for when picking a ring gauge is comfort. Holding a fat cigar between your teeth will make you drool, which will moisten the tobacco & ruin the taste. This means that the brunt of the weight will have to be supported by your lips. Not everyone has the same sized mouth, so size preference depends entirely on the person.

Some people can’t support the weight of a fat cigar without having their jaw ache. For this reason, a smaller ring cigar may be more appropriate for a petite smoker. This isn’t a written law, since some smokers prefer to light up cigars that dwarf them. Everyone’s mouth is unique, so test out how much weight you can comfortably hold.

The second most important quality to examine is the length of the cigar. This will determine how much time it takes to finish it, so pick accordingly. Putting out a cigar & relighting it later is possible, but everyone agrees that a fresh smoke can’t be beaten.

This makes it essential to plan ahead before you light up. If it’s a cold winter day, the last thing you want is to freeze to death on your porch. Picking a shorter sized stick for undesirable smoking situations will save your sanity. If you are in a hurry, go short. By the same principle, save the long cigars for social situations & enjoyable weather. This will give you more time to enjoy the experience with others.

These simple rules will help you get the most out of your cigars. Picking the right size will provide the ideal stick for any occasion. It’s always a good day to smoke a cigar, but picking the right cigar takes it to the next level. Smoking like a veteran isn’t just more enjoyable, it’s exactly what you deserve!

April 03, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
Why Are Cuban Cigars So Good?

Why Are Cuban Cigars So Good?

There are few commodities that have the same allure as Cuban cigars. During the last 50 years they have gone from indispensable accessories for the wealthy to the world’s ultimate forbidden fruit. Even though this infamy is worldwide, it was due to a strict embargo put on Cuba’s trade by America. Having a thriving cigar producing tradition & superb soil helped. But you can’t beat the mystique of something that’s illegal. However, now that the embargo has been lifted public opinion hasn’t changed. People around the world are still clamoring for Cuban cigars. This trend validates claims that Cuba actually produces superb cigars.

Cigar aficionados swear that nothing compares to the taste of Cuban tobacco. Many attribute this to Cuba’s top notch soil, micro-climates & national reverence for cigar production. Others claim that this is an artificial infamy that was created by the U.S. embargo. Either way one thing is clear, when it comes to cigars Cuba has stolen the show. In this article we will dive head first into Cuban cigars to see what makes them so special. Be prepared to be shocked by this brilliant tradition!

The Essence of Cuban Cigars

In Cuba cigars are more than a hobby, they are a vital part of the culture. Long before the Spaniards conquered the islands, Taino Indians were smoking bundles of tobacco called “cohiba”.  When Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, he was greeted by these mysterious natives who smoked cigars. He took this tradition back to Europe, where it caught on like wildfire. Soon every king & aristocrat were doing back flips to get their hands on these cigars.

Once Spain conquered Cuba, the race to produce cigars was on. King Phillip II pioneered the mass production of Cuban cigars from 1527 to 1598. These visionary steps allowed Cuba to dominate the cigar industry with their potent products. However, like every monopoly, eventually it came to an end. The “doomsday” for the Cuban cigar industry happened in 1960 when Fidel Castro’s soldiers raided the finest gems of Cuba’s cigar crown. Seeing that the communist revolution was going to be a disaster, many of Cuba’s expert growers fled the country. This gave birth to many competent cigar factories in Honduras, Nicaragua & the Dominican Republic.

By 1962, the relationship had already soured between the U.S. & Cuba. The American government placed a trade embargo on Cuba. This took away two thirds of their export business, but the cigar industry still survived. Allegedly the cigars were so delightful that JFK bought 1,200 H. Upmann Cuban cigars before he imposed the embargo. Even though the door was shut on Cuban cigars, they were far from forgotten.

Over the years, Soviet money helped sustain Cuba’s cigar industry. This cash flow paved the way for enhanced quality control, which preserved the legacy of Cuban cigars. The Western part of Cuba was home to many favorable micro climates for tobacco growing. Experts agree that their rich soil gives the cigars a unique flavor. These factors were compounded by the fact that the entire production process was revered by the Cuban people. A lot of love went into growing, curing & rolling this crop.

To this day Cuba’s cigar industry is under direct control of the government. They learned not to deviate from their winning combination of quality micro-climates, soil & tobacco strains. Even though Cuban cigars are a preference, their quality can’t be negated. You can’t beat a crop that’s grown in climates & soil that are completely unique. Throw in the fact they are nationally revered & you have an export that’s ready to take the world by storm. 

April 03, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield
Best Types of Wood for Humidors

Best Types of Wood for Humidors

Everyone knows about humidors, but few know how complex they can be. Even though they come in different sizes & are built with different materials, the same criteria must be met. On top of keeping cigars from drying out, humidors must also repel tobacco beetles. When picking a humidor, there are more options than you think. Each type of humidor has its strongpoints which are highlighted in the price.

One of the biggest factors in keeping your cigars safe is the type of wood used in the humidor. There are a lot of different types of wood used for humi’s, but not all of them provide adequate protection. As a rule of thumb, the inside environment of the humidor must maintain 70°F & 70% humidity. To keep this microclimate balanced, only high quality woods can be used. For this reason Spanish Cedar has become the standard for humidors, but American Red Cedar & Honduran Mahogany are also used.

Choosing the Best Wood for Your Humidor

As you browse through different humidor brands, you will quickly realize that Spanish Cedar reigns supreme. Pretty much every high end humidor will feature this exotic wood. This is due to the many favorable characteristics of Spanish Cedar. On top of looking elegant, it naturally prevents tobacco beetles from boring into your cigars. The strong odor emitted by Spanish Cedar creates an unfavorable environment for tobacco beetles.

It’s also the most effective wood for helping regulate the temperature & humidity levels of your cigars. This unmatched regulation helps prevent cigars from losing their tastes over time. So if you want your cigars to stay pungent, you can’t go wrong with Spanish Cedar.

Even though Spanish Cedar is the most effective wood for humidors, it’s far from perfect. Despite what the name implies, Spanish Cedar isn’t produced in Spain. Each plank is imported from Brazil & other parts of the Amazon rain forest. This leads to the biggest downside of Spanish Cedar, the price. Extracting this precious wood out of the rainforest & getting it to the factory comes at a cost. On top of nearly doubling the price of the humi, it can also fund illegal logging in the Amazon rainforest. That being said, it’s still the best choice if your budget allows.

Even though Spanish Cedar has stolen the show, other types of wood also work great for humidors. After Spanish Cedar, the two most popular types of wood are Honduran Mahogany & American Red Cedar. These woods provide budget friendly options, but each one has its downsides.

Honduran Mahogany has become a favorite since its absorption rate is strikingly similar to Spanish Cedar. It’s also a fraction of the cost, which makes it extremely attractive to new smokers. Unfortunately, it does little to deter tobacco beetles & worms.

The third most popular option is American Red Cedar. This wood has similar characteristics to Spanish Cedar, but what sets it apart is its smell. If you leave cigars in the humidor for too long they can acquire a “woody” taste. This makes most cigar aficionados shy away from this option, but its low price still makes it appealing.

Out of these three options there is one clear winner. However, all three of these woods will keep your cigars in excellent shape. In the end the deciding factor is your budget. If you have the money, purchasing a Spanish Cedar humidor is a wise investment. But not everyone has the capital needed for this purchase so there’s no shame in going with the other options. You can always pick up a cheap humi while you save up for a Spanish Cedar masterpiece!

April 03, 2017 by Nathaniel Mansfield