View Full Version : UseFull Info (Cigar-Glossary )

01-08-2008, 06:09 PM
Found this whilst browsing, so thought I would post...:confused:
Am I sad for thinking it was interesting???:(

"A" - A 24cm double corona made by Montecristo
Banda Volcano - A fast burning tobacco that is used as a binder
Belicoso - A shell shaped cigar made by Bolivar
Belvedere - A corona by Partagas
Binder - A large leaf layer between the filler tobacco and the wrapper
Blender - A device used to blend the leaves prior to rolling a the cigar
Body - The part of the cigar held in the hand that is lit
Bombone - A cigar made by La Escepcion de Jose Gener
Box - Cigar boxes are generally made of Cedar wood
Bunch - The filler part of the cigar which is enclosed in the binder
Caballeria - A unit of measure used in Cuban plantations
Canon - A rolled cigar with an unfinished head and foot
Capa - Wrapper plant
Capadura - The second harvest of the year
Capote - Binder
Casa de tobacco - A wooden hut used to dry the tobacco leaves on
Cedros - A cigar made by Romeo y Julieta
Centro Fin - The 5th part of the tobacco plant
Chaveta - A sharp tool used by cigar makers to cut and roll the cigars
Chico - A slim cigar (60-120mm long)
Churchill - (Double corona). Cigar measuring 17-18cm
Cigar Cellar - A room sized humidor
Cigar Cutter - A guillotine used to cut closed cigar heads
Cigarillo - A cigar made from shredded tobacco leaves
Cigarito - A cigarette with a tobacco leaf wrapper
Clarissimo -- The lightest colour of tobacco leaf
Claro - A light shaded Havana coloured leaf
Cohiba - Term used by the natives of the Caribbean Islands for tobacco
Colorado - A reddy-brown coloured tobacco leaf
Colorado claro - A light brown coloured tobacco leaf
Connaisseur - A very high quality range of cigar made by Partagas
Convicale - Cigar made by Rafael Gonzalez
Coprova - French importer of Cuban cigars
Corojo - A wrapper plant
Corona - A straight-bodied cigar with a closed rounded head
Corona gigante - Double corona by Bolivar
Corona grande - An alternative term for a double corona
Corona major - Upmann tubo
Corona senior - Partagas tubo
Criollo de sol - The plant used as a binder
Cubatabaco - A state controlled company that manufactures Cuban cigars
Culebras -- Small cigars made from three individual interwoven cigars
Curing - The method used to dry tobacco leaves
Degado - The smallest cigar (4cm) ever manufactured
Demi-Tasse - A cigar measuring 7-10cm
Diadema - Cigar by Punch
Doctor - Plantation managers in Cuba
Dom Perignon - The largest Davidoff cigar
Double claro - A very light coloured tobacco leaf
Double corona - A corona cigar measuring 17-24cm in length
Dulcinea - Cigar by Sancho Panza
Epicure - Very high quality cigars by Hoyo de Monterrey
Escogida - A festival held after the leaves are chosen and graded
Exhausting - A cigar that has suffered heat loss after fermentation
Fabrica - Factory where cigars are rolled
Fabuloso - The biggest cigar
Filler - The leaves that form the inner part of a cigar
Finca - A Cuban firm whose sole purpose is to produce tobacco
Foot - The end part of a cigar that is lit
Fumar crudo - Holding a cigar in the mouth before lighting
Gavilla - A sheaf of tobacco leaves
Guillotine - A straight bladed cigar cutter
Half corona - Short corona, measuring 7-8cm
Half-wheel - Another term for a bundle
Havana - A Cuban rolled cigar
Havana club - A giant double corona that was made by Dunhill
Hecho a mano -- Hand made
Head -The end of the cigar that is held in the mouth
Humidor - A hermetically sealed wooden box, used for storing cigars
Immenso - A non-standard very large cigar
Jaino - Cigar made by El Rey del Mundo
Koh-I-Noor - A cigar measuring 1.70m made in Cuba by Henry Clay
Lancero - The largest cigar made by Cohiba
Lancet - Tool used to pierce the closed head of a cigar
Leaf - The smokeable part of a tobacco plant
Legero - A fast burning filler tobacco
Libre de pied - (?free feet?). The two leaves at the bottom of a tobacco plant
Longo - Cigar made by Hoyo de Monterrey
Lonsdale - A corona measuring 150-170mm
Lunch Club - Corona by El Rey del Mundo
Lusitanias - A double corona made by Partagas
Machine rolled cigar - A cigar that is mechanically rolled as opposed to hand rolled
Maduro - A browny black coloured cigar leaf
Maduro colorado - A brown coloured tobacco leaf
Magnum - A large potbellied cigar
Matt cigar - A cigar with its wrapper coated in a fine film of tobacco
Matting - Coating cigarillos with a layer of tobacco powder
Medi tempo - Average burning speed for filler tobacco
Microscopio - Non standard size of small cigar
Mille Fleurs - Cigar by Ramon Allones
Minuto - Cigar by La Gloria Cubana
Moho azul - A disease that decimated the Cuban harvest in 1981
Moistening - Moistening solutions for the second fermentation of tobacco
Montecarlo - Pantella by Por Larrnaga
Oscuro - The darkest colour of tobacco leaf
Outer envelope - Another term for wrapper
Palmita - Cigar by Gispert
Pantela - A cigar with a straight slim body around 120-130mm
Perfecto - Cigar with a cylindrical body narrowing at the foot
Primero Ligero - The fifth stage of the tobacco plant
Puro - Spanish word for Cigar
Pyrmidos - Shell shaped cigar
Quijote -- Cigar by Sancho Panza
Regalia - Another term for wrapper
Ring- The printed paper ring placed around a cigar near the head
Roller - A cigar maker who rolls cigar
Sancho - -Cigar by Sancho Panza
San Juan y Martinez - A famous village in the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio
Seal of authenticity - A band placed on boxes of Havanas to guarantee origin
Seco - A slow burning filler tobacco
Semillero - A tobacco plant nursery
Small corona - A corona measuring 9-12cm in length
Stripper -- A female worker who removes the central veins of the leaves
Tobaco- Spanish word for tobacco
Tabla de torcer - The working surface of the roller
Tapado - A field of tobacco
Tercio - A sheaf of tobacco leaves during their treatment at the factory
Torcedo - A large potbellied cigar
Toscani - A very strong Italian cigar
Tripa - Filler plant
Uno y medio - A single leaf of tobacco plant on the third level of the plant
Vega - A growing plot
Veguero - Someone who plants the tobacco
Vista - -A decorative image placed on the lid of cigar boxes
Vitole - A wooden board used to grade cigars
Vitolphilia - The art of collecting Cigar rings
Volado - A fast burning tobacco filler
Wilde - A term used for bunch-like cigarillos
Wrapper - Outer leaf of a cigar

02-08-2008, 09:48 AM
Heh nice - I might add this to the FAQs or similar

02-08-2008, 07:39 PM
Phew....Thought i might be sad...hahahhhahaha

08-08-2008, 09:48 PM
Very interesting article......:cool:

Aging Cigar

Experienced cigar enthusiasts know well the pleasures of a well-aged cigar. The subtle flavors and complex constitution of a well-aged cigar is indescribably and unforgettable. Like wine, many cigar aficionados swear by the process of aging. A great cigar, the argument goes, is an aged one. All handmade long filler cigars improve with aging, so before you dismiss any cigar as "bad" you should allow it to rest untouched for a while. You will be genuinely surprised how many of those poor cigars blossom into enjoyable smokes. However, aging cannot improve cigars that are made from inferior or under cured tobacco. How can you attain a well-aged cigar that provides the mellow, complex flavors you crave? You can always fork over a good deal of your money and purchase a box of expensive vintage cigars. If you would rather save the money and experiment with aging on your own, here are a few tips to help you get started

How do we age the cigar?
In order to age your cigars, purchase a good quality humidor. Cigars must be stored in a constant and stable environment. Follow the 70-70 rules. That means the humidity must be at a constant humidity of 70%, and at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, the environment in which they are stored is crucial. Follow the usual 70-70 rules for temperature and humidity. Any more and your cigars will get moldy; any less and the aging process begins to be stunted. Maintaining a stable environment for your cigars is key - a constantly fluctuation environment can be disastrous. Swings in temperature and humidity cause cigars to expand and contract, cracking their wrappers and it may disrupt the aging process. Ideally, the space in the humidor should be about twice the volume of cigars. The lining should be cedar - cedar wood is highly aromatic wood, full of its own oils. With the passage of time, the interaction of the tobacco oils amongst themselves, and with the cedar oil of the wood it leads to a mellowing and blending of flavors resulting in that subtle complexity you can only get from proper aging. Typically, aging makes a smoother, more pleasant, ?round? cigar. Most experts agree that aging does not necessarily make a cigar better, but simply rounder, producing a mellower character with a less sharp tobacco taste. In fact, some cigar enthusiasts buy full boxes or bundles - not to smoke them right away, but to age or ?rest? in their humidor. Many have the patience to let them stay for a year or more! Patience is indeed a virtue when it comes to aging your cigars.

Aging time Period
The amount of time you age your cigars is a matter of personal preference. In general, age them at least a year for optimum effect. Assigning fixed blocks of time is impossible, each box of cigars is different, and it will respond differently to aging. With that said, here are some ballpark figures to use:
1 YEAR - Cigars should be smoked within a few weeks of being rolled if you desire that "Chincales" type flavor, otherwise they should be allowed to rest for a year without exception. All cigars are better a year later in my opinion.
1-2 YEARS - This is a good time to start smoking those Habanos and Hondurans. This is also the peak period for many Dominicans, and most light bodied smokes.
2-5 YEARS - These are the peak years for most other cigars. Typically the stronger fuller bodied cigars age better over a longer duration of time. This is why Havana Bolivars, Partagas, and Ramon Allones are all considered cigars that age beautifully. The same logic applies to all countries of origin
7-10 YEARS - is about the maximum aging time for me on almost all cigars. After this point, I find most cigars become too mellow and too pale in body for me to enjoy.
10+ YEARS - At this point we enter into the realm of "vintage" cigars in my book. Many of these cigars will be so flat and boring they are worthless to smoke, while others will take on unique characteristics that will make them enjoyable smokes. One such trait is a musty smell and a taste that is similar to snuff. Another rarer long-term aging trait is cigars taking on an odd scent that is commonly referred to as the "stinky cheese-like smell." This odd reference is due to their pre-light bouquet being similar in scent to a ripe wheel of Stilton Cheese. Though it may sound unappealing, these cigars are a delight to smoke and are highly prized by vintage cigar collectors worldwide. Many pay top dollar to secure these smokes. Regardless of the flavor characteristics of vintage vitlolas, very seldom do any of these cigars maintain any quantitative strength at this level of aging. Also, only the fullest bodied cigars have any chance of being worthwhile smokes after this many years.
The best way to determine the impact of time on your cigars is to smoke one occasionally from an aging box and to take detailed tasting notes. I am certain that you will see drastic improvement in the quality of your smoking experience as you allow your cigars to age

What kind of cigar should we age?
Certain cigars are just naturally better suited for aging. An example is larger ring-gauge cigars. The thicker the cigar, the greater the variety of tobacco leaves and hence, the more complex the final flavor of the aged cigar will be. The insides of larger cigars tend to be somewhat shielded from the outside environment, less apt to be affected by fluctuations in humidity and temperature. This added stability that larger cigars provide is highly desirable for long-term aging. On the other hand, since the wrapper provides the lion's share of a cigar's taste, aging may not significantly affect the taste of some Maduros. In particular, maduro-wrapped cigars which are artificially "cooked" or "cured" to achieve the dark coloration of the wrapper and the distinctively strong, sweet flavor are prone to this problem. Due to such curing, they have essentially been "fixed," and thus any further benefits of aging have been stunted.

Cigar's flavors "marrying"
The phenomenon called "marrying" is a common, and well-known fact of tobacco production. It's what makes LGC's taste "green" until the 3 tobaccos in the blend mix sufficiently. Some of this transfer is by smell (airborne ethers), but much of it is caused by direct contact - transfers of "essential oils" in the cigar's tobacco. These oils migrate through the cigar and can be transferred readily.
Marrying can be good or bad. If your humidor is full of the same (or very similar) types of smokes, it will guaranty a consistent smoke. If you inter-mix mild or spicy blends with strong or earthy blends, the mixing is quite noticeable.
Some smokers go a step further, and leave their Cuban's in a completely different box from their others....:D

All comments welcome:D:cool:

08-08-2008, 10:41 PM
Good source of info:)

15-08-2008, 07:41 PM
:D Another interesting article.........:cool:

So what is the best drink to accompany my cigar?
There is no straightforward answer to the question of what you should drink with a cigar. A lot of it is down to personal preference. You should drink what you feel comfortable with; after all, smoking a cigar is a very the cigar. But as we know, most of people who smoke cigaer prefer, to drink Spirits and wine, because it provides an ideal marriage with a premium hand-rolled cigar. Your choice of beverage depends on personal taste, but it can vary according personal thing, and everything about the ritual should contribute to the enjoyment. To drink something purely because it seems to be the done thing is to miss the point of to the time of the day and the event. Sometimes what you want with your after dinner cigar is the full-bodied, slightly sweet taste of a vintage Port; or maybe you made carefully to avoid a mismatch. The smoky, cedary bouquet of a strong cigar can linger on your palate for hours, and it will continue to want the palate cleansing sharpness of an aged Cognac.

So how would it taste like?
The immediate effect of a cigar on your taste buds is potent. If you plan to drink during or immediately after smoking a cigar, your choices need to be contributing to whatever you are eating or drinking. Paired properly with the right food and beverage, say a dark barley wine or a peaty single malt scotch, this match may be made in heaven. The peaty-rich nose and the finish of perfectly ripe apricots offered by a barley wine, in combination with a cigar's potent contribution of a creamy smooth taste with hints of cedar and spice, can be a wonderful combination.

Any basic rules for the matching?
When selecting a good drink to go with your cigar, in general you should try to match relative flavors and weights. A full-bodied cigar calls for a full-bodied drink, while more delicate drinks such as champagne, while they may still work, call for a far lighter cigar. There are two main problems with this rule: As a generalization, it is not always true, and it?s a rule that is more useful for avoiding mistakes than for discovering sublime new marriages of drink and cigar.
Truly great pairings come when complex flavors within a cigar and a spirit create synergy -- that is, attributes that were not evident come to the forefront. A dull cigar suddenly smacks of cocoa; whiskey tastes of orange peel. Both cigar and spirit develop a nuttiness where it previously hadn't been. Predicting or pinpointing the causes behind such good fortune is harder than simply matching body weights. A spicy, salty cigar might soar when paired with a sweeter spirit because the tastes complement and create overtones of toast or nuts.
So after all those lovely words, let?s get into the real business, and let me provide you a short guide to some of the more common drinks, in order to simplify the situation. Be aware that, the list will be rated from the first to the last.

Best drink to accompany your cigar
1. CognacCognac is the traditional, almost clich?d, drink to have with cigars. This is largely because of timing ? both were usually taken after meals, and so they naturally became linked. Arguably, there is no better drink to combine with a cigar after a meal.
When buying cognac, pay attention to the age designation of the bottle. VS (Very Special) is the lowest category of age, and should generally be ignored for pairing with cigars. The middle age bracket is designated VSOP (Very Special Old Pale), and indicates ageing of at least four and a half years. Mild and medium-bodied cigars go particularly well with this age of cognac. The highest age bracket is XO, standing for Extra Old, and has a minimum ageing requirement of six and a half years, although much older brandies can sometimes be part of the blend.

2. Bourbon/Scotch
In the world of spirits, small batch and single barrel Bourbons and single malt Scotches are super premium products that have the complexity and depth of flavor to stand up to a cigar. The smoky quality of a fine single malt, derived from the smoked peat used to filter the spirit, marries perfectly with a good cigar. The small batch Bourbons are bottled at a higher proof level, which gives them a backbone of strong flavors, and they marry well with medium- and full-bodied cigars. Kentucky straight Bourbons and Tennessee whisky, although often a bit lighter, also mix well with cigars because of the charred wood flavors that turn the liquors dark brown. Aged rums, with their slightly sweet profile and burned molasses flavors, can smooth out a cigar.

3. Port
Port is a traditional partner for a great cigar. The sweetness and alcoholic power of vintage Port blends perfectly with a full-bodied smoke; even younger vintage Ports are appropriate because their strong tannins stand up to a spicy smoke. Nonvintage styles such as tawny Port also complement a cigar nicely because of the woody characteristics they acquire during long barrel aging.

4. Wine
Popular wine tastings are frequently offered with pairings, usually something incredibly fabulous to eat whipped up in a 5-star kitchen by some celebrity chef. If you travel to the close-knit wine country town of Lodi, however, you will find pairings of a more smoky nature. No, we are not talking zinfandel and barbeque. One of the most popular wines to pair with the cigars has been Michael David Vineyards 7 Deadly Zins,. Other local favorites are the wines of Vino Con Brio and Jewel. In addition to wine and cigars, the Lounge has on hand pipe tobaccos and beers. The comfortable lounge has leather seats (a requirement?) and a pool table for other recreational fun.

5. Coffee Drinks
There are many variations and types of coffee drinks, including those which are non-alcoholic (such as Cappuccino, Cafe Mocha, Cafe con Leche, and Cuban Coffee). However, we are lumping them all into this one category. To recommend only one, try coffee with Irish Cream. It tastes great, and will greatly enhance your cigar smoking experience. And when using Bailey's, there's really no need to add sugar or cream. Delicious!

6. Rum
Traditionally, rum and cigars come from a similar geographical area. Whether we are talking Cuba or the Caribbean, the people who make cigars have also made rum. For this reason, the two things complement each other very well. The cigar makers make their cigars to go with the drink they know. This has changed somewhat in the modern world; cigar-makers are not necessarily limited to only drinking rum, and thus the cigars they produce might be better suited to other drinks. Rum in its cheapest and most basic form can ruin even the best cigar, accentuating any roughness of the smoke until all pleasure is lost completely. However, if you buy carefully, the right rum can be a perfect complement to a good cigar.

7. Kahlua Drinks
Kahlua drinks go great with cigars. As with coffee drinks, there are many variations, such as the Black Russian, Mud Slide and Nutty Irishman. To recommend just one, try smoking a cigar with a White Russian, which contains Kahlua, vodka, and cream.

8. Martini
Martinis come in many different flavors these days, but they all have one thing in common, they all contain lots of alcohol, which holds up very well with full flavored cigars.
With that in mind, it becomes simply a matter of testing different combinations until you find one that suits you. Some people still enjoy the traditional accompaniments of cognac or port, others prefer single-malt Scotch or rum. Even non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee have been found to go well with cigars. In fact, it turns out that almost any drink with a complex enough flavor can be a good match to a fine cigar.

30-09-2008, 08:25 PM
As more and more places adopt laws that prohibit smoking in public, crushing the hopes of cigar smokers with the ease of crushing a used cigarette, people everywhere are calling "foul," restraining themselves from telling lawmakers to kiss their ash. The laws, to the avid cigar smoker, are avidly ridiculous. But, ridiculous laws are a part of worldly culture. From a law in Denver that forbids people from loaning vacuum cleaners to other residences, to a law in Wyoming that prohibits people from taking photographs of rabbits during the month of June, many rules and regulations simply make no sense. There is even a law in Champaign, Illinois that makes it illegal for someone to pee in the mouth of their next door neighbor, undoubtedly ruining the weekend plans of innumerable Midwest citizens.
It was only a matter of time before this law lunacy filtered into the tobacco industry. Recently, they've become more obvious, branding our world with a "No Smoking" sign. Not limited to any one state, or any one country, strange smoking laws can be found almost anywhere.

Australia has a law that bans children from purchasing cigars or cigarettes. This isn't particularly strange as many countries have similar regulations. However, Australia stands out because children, though they can't purchase tobacco, are legally allowed to consume it. As long as they get an adult to buy it for them, Australian children are freely allowed to smoke a cigar in front of a policeman, a parent, a teacher, or even a kangaroo.

New Orleans, Louisiana:
In a city known for guilty pleasures - home to everything from Mardi Gras to extravagant casinos - cigar and cigarette smoking are a bit tamed. New Orleans possesses a law that prohibits anyone participating in a carnival or parade to use tobacco products while doing so. In addition to this, a "No Smoking" sign must be visibly attached to all parade floats, not that any onlookers, with troves of nearby women attempting to get beads, are really paying attention.

Zion, Illinois:
Just when you think you've heard it all in regards to rules, there is a law in Zion that prohibits owners from giving a lit cigar to any of their domesticated animals. While the law specifically names dogs and cats, it surely applies to any kind of pet: hamster, gerbil, and goldfish. None of these pets are allowed to smoke cigars, no matter how much they beg and plead.

Colonel Mustard, in the Boiler Room, with an ashtray. That's right, an ashtray. In France, ashtrays are considered deadly weapons. Perhaps this is because people can use ashtrays to hit others, or perhaps it's because ashtrays are known to prey on unsuspecting victims, jumping them in alleys and blinding them with a cloud of dust. But the most likely reason is simply because it's France. A nation reputed for passivity, some people may think the citizens of France are homicidally threatened by the cast from The Brady Bunch. We do hear that Marcia's packing.

New Jersey:
While a sign reading "Do Not Feed the Animals" is common in many zoos, New Jersey takes this notion one step further. Passing a law that prohibits people from giving local zoo animals cigars or whiskey, the creatures in this captivity obviously have no fun. But, being that whiskey is the only liquor specifically named, it leads one to wonder if providing the animals with a cold beer would be equally frowned upon. If not, perhaps the animals would be able to smoke a cigar on occasion. Ya know, socially.

South Bend, Indiana:
Keeping with the animal kingdom theme, in South Bend it is illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette. This law goes back to 1924 when a monkey was found guilty of the crime of smoking a cigarette and forced to pay a fine of 25 dollars, as well as trial costs. We're not sure what happened when the monkey, recently out of work, wasn't able to come up with the money. Perhaps, he was prohibited from partaking in any form of Evolution.

Newport, Rhode Island:
Resting on the East Coast, Newport has a law that prohibits people from smoking a pipe after sunset. Any other time is fine, but once the sun sets, this is one law the avid tobacco lover can not put in his pipe and smoke.

Marceline, Missouri:
In this Missouri town, minors are allowed to purchase rolling papers and tobacco, but they aren't allowed to purchase lighters. If only, if only, there was a way to get matches easily, perhaps from a local restaurant or caf?. Maybe in a perfect world, the ability to find matches would appear.
Obviously, this world contains a great number of laws that are founded with about as much reason as turning down a million dollars or volunteering to stay on the Titanic. But, the cigar smoker can rest assured that it's not just their luxury that falls victim to this madness. These kinds of laws are everywhere, from prohibiting humming to saying its illegal to drive in a housecoat, these kind of rules put the word "awful" in the word "lawful." And, they make one wonder if more laws can be passed, perhaps a rule that replaces every cigarette with its superior: a cigar.


11-10-2008, 12:24 PM
I have heard that to cheat the ageing process you can leave a shot glass with a shot of whisky inside your humidor, for a while and the sticks take on a rich earthy flavour to them, similar to that of ageing, has anyone tried this??


11-10-2008, 12:29 PM
New one on me, if it works I bet Rum or Brandy would be nice too..:biggrin1:

11-10-2008, 12:39 PM
sure would, i have an old cedar cigar box that could double up as a temp humidor, may have to give this a go, watch this space..........................

26-11-2008, 06:29 PM
The Havana cigar factory today is much as it was when the art of cigar making was standardized in the mid-19th century and the production of cigars became industrialized. There are only eight factories making handmade cigars in Cuba today (compared with 120 at the beginning of the century). The names of the factories were all officially changed after the revolution to what were considered more ideologically sound titles, but most of them are still commonly referred to by their pre-Revolutionary names, and still display their old signs outside. The best known are H. Upmann (now called Jose Marti), Partagas (Francisco Perez German), Romeo Y Julieta (Briones Montoto), La Corona (Fernando Roig), and the elite El Laguito, which originally opened in the mid-1960s as a training school. Each factory specializes in a number of brands of a particular flavor. The Partagas factory, for instance, specializes in full-bodied cigars, producing six brands including Bolivar, Ramon Allones, Gloria Cubana and, of course, Partagas. Factories also often specialize in making a particular range of sizes.

The procedures in the various factories are essentially the same, though the size and atmosphere of each factory differs. The grand El Laguito, for instance, is an Italianate mansion (built in 1910) and former home of the Marquez de Pinar del Rio. It is located in three buildings in a swanky residential suburb. The rather gloomy three-story Partagas factory, on the other hand, which was built in downtown Havana in 1845, is rather more down to earth. Laguito was the first factory to use female rollers, and even today the majority of the 94 rollers there are women. The 200 rollers at the Partagas factory, the biggest for export production, turn out 5 million cigars a year. No matter which factory you go to, the walls of all of them display revolutionary slogans and portraits of Castro, Che Guevara, and others. Other slogans announced "La calidades el respeto al pueblo" (Quality is respect for people) or "Tu tambien haces calidad" (You have to care about quality).

It has been estimated that a handmade Havana cigar goes through no fewer than 222 different stages from seedling to the finished product, before being ready for distribution. And the care and expertise shown at the factory is not only crucial to the final appearance of the cigar, but also affects how well it burns and what it actually tastes like. Not surprisingly, apprenticeship for the task of roller is a lengthy and competitive process, taking nine months. Even then, many fail, and those who succeed are confined to making small-sized cigars before being allowed to graduate to the larger, generally fuller-flavored, sizes.

The cigar rollers, or torcedores, work in large rooms where the old custom, dating from 1864, of reading aloud from books and newspapers continues to this day. The radio is also switched on, from time to time, to bring the news and important announcements. The worker who acts as reader (lector), selected by his peers for his expressive voice and literacy, is compensated by a small payment from each of the rollers, all of whom are paid piece work, according to the number of cigars they produce. Each roller is responsible for seeing a cigar through from the bunching stage until it is finally trimmed to size. The ready-blended combination of filler leaves and binder are prepared in advance by each roller and pressed in wooden molds of the appropriate size. The use of molds started in around 1958, before the Cuban revolution. As a result, the cigar rollers, sitting at benches rather like old-fashioned school desks, each start with a quota of filler appropriate to the size and brand of cigar being made that day. Everything is concentration: errors are costly. But the atmosphere is cheerful, the torcedores taking great pride in their work. If a visitor enters the room, the rollers greet him by tapping their chavetas in unison on their tables.

There are as many as 42 handmade cigar sizes made today, and a good cigar maker can usually roll around 120 medium-sized cigars (though exceptionally skilled rollers can make as many as 150) a day, an average of four to five minutes for a cigar. But the average for the Montecristo A size is only 56 cigars a day. Some star rollers, such as Jesus Ortiz at the H. Upmann factory, can do much better: he can produce a staggering 200 Montecristo As a day.

The torcedores work an eight-hour day, usually six days a week, for around 350-400 pesos ($350-400 at the official exchange rate) a month. They are allowed to take home five cigars a day and can smoke as many as they wish while they work.

There are seven grades of worker in the Havana factory, the least experienced rollers (in grade 4) making only cigars up to and including the petit corona size; those in grade 5 making corona size and above, and those in grades 6 and 7 (the latter consists of a handful of star rollers) making the difficult specialist sizes such as pyramides. The skill of the roller is reflected in the eventual cost per inch of the cigar. The smaller sizes are, in other words, cheaper than the larger ones.

Using colored ribbon, each roller ties his or her cigars into bundles (all of the same size and brand) of 50. Most of these bundles (media ruedas, or "half wheels") go into a vacuum fumigation chamber, where the cigars are treated against potential pests. A proportion of each roller's output is also taken to be checked for quality.

The man in charge of quality control at El Laguito, Fernando Valdez, tests a fifth of each roller's daily output (though only 10 percent of cigars are checked at the Partagas factory) according to no fewer than eight different criteria such as length, weight, firmness, smoothness of the wrappers, and whether or not the ends are well cut. Later, cigars from different batches are actually blind tasted by a team of six catadores, or professional smokers, themselves rigorously examined every six months, who must assess qualities such as a cigar's aroma, how well it burns, and how easily it draws. The importance of each category varies according to the type of cigar. When testing a fat robusto, for instance, the flavor is paramount, but in the slim panatela size, draw is more important. There is a standard for each type of cigar. The catadores do their tasting in the morning only, smoking about an inch of each cigar, and refreshing their palates with sugarless tea. By the end of any given week, every roller's work will have been tasted.

After being removed from the vacuum chamber, cigars are held in special cool cabinets (escaparates) for three weeks, in order to shed any excess moisture acquired in the factory and settle down any fermentation that is taking place. A cabinet might hold up to 18,000 cigars, all kept under careful supervision.

When they are ready, batches of 1,000 cigars from a particular brand and size are sent in wooden boxes to be graded according to appearance. The cigars are classified into as many as 65 different shades, and each selector must be familiar with all of them. First the selector takes into account the basic color of the cigar (hues given names such as sangre de toro, encendido, colorado encendido, colorado, colorado pajizo, and clarisimo), and then the shade within that particular color category. The color grader then puts the cigars into transit boxes, making sure that all the cigars in a particular box are the same color. The darkest cigar is placed on the left of the box, and the cigars arranged according to nuances of shade so that the lightest is on the right.

Once the cigars are color-graded, they go to the packing department, where bands are put on. The cigars are then put in the familiar cedar boxes in which they will be sold. The packers also watch out for cigars which have escaped the quality control department. Once the final box is filled, the cigars are checked again, and then a thin leaf of cedar wood is laid on top of them.

The box is then sealed with the essential label guaranteeing that it is a genuine box of Havanas or Habanos. The word "Habanos" in red on a chevron has been added to boxes since 1994.

The practice of making handmade cigars is essentially the same wherever they're made, but in the Dominican Republic, for instance, the arrangement between bunchers and rollers is sometimes different (the jobs usually being separated). The large, modern American-owned factories of the Dominican Republic have state-of-the-art quality-control methods, using machines (at the bunch stage, as well as later) to check suction, and thus how well a cigar will draw. Despite this, other manufacturers still prefer to do everything by hand, particularly checking for gaps in the bunch, which will make a cigar overheat. In the Philippines, there is a method of rolling in which leaves are spiraled around two thin wooden sticks, which are removed when the cigar is wrapped.

17-10-2009, 07:47 PM

17-10-2009, 09:11 PM
:confused: ?? Bumping your post-count?

17-10-2009, 09:22 PM
:confused: ?? Bumping your post-count?

So that's how it's done:rolleyes::smile:

Jeez Dale, you knew some stuff back in the day ay?:smoke:

17-10-2009, 09:25 PM
So that's how it's done:rolleyes::smile:

Jeez Dale, you knew some stuff back in the day ay?:smoke:

Aye - he's a master cutter-and-paster....well, he a master-something anyways :rolleyes:

17-10-2009, 10:04 PM
Aye - he's a master cutter-and-paster....well, he a master-something anyways :rolleyes:


They were the days....:cool: