LATEST CUSTOMER REVIEWS
I have just picked up smoking cigars within the past month I would say, and I’m definitely hooked on these Montecristo No 3.
I’ve had one of these Sancho Panza Belicosos aging in my humidor for close to a year now and I thought I’d give it a try. I noticed a tougher draw of tobacco taste and some earthiness. It is great!
Overall the cigar was well constructed. The shiny wrapper had no visible flaws, with medium sized veins. Tastes excellent too! Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro is like the Don among cigars.
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The word of Cuban Cigars is derived from the Mayan word “sikar” which was translated to “cigarro in Spanish and means smoking tobacco. It is said that Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres first found the tobacco on the island of Hispaniola and the inhabitants offered two gentlemen, crewmembers of Christopher Columbus, these dried leaves that had an unusual smell. It then spread like wildfire throughout the Caribbean Islands and then come across in Cuba where Columbus and his crew established themselves. Cuban Cigars were made by twisting the dried leaves and rolling them in another leaf such as a palm. This spread to Spain and other European countries, including Portugal, France and Italy, and later spread to America and Britain. In the earlier centuries it is believed to have been grown and traded in America for financial gain. The tobacco was believed to have medicinal benefits, none the less some thought it to be evil. It was found that the Philippine soil and climatic conditions were highly favorable for growing superior tobacco. Cigar smoking was common practice in the 19th century. The Cuban Cigar industry contributed to improved employment until the manufactured was done manually. The Spanish cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his manufacturing center from Cuba to Key West, Florida to flee from the mayhem of the Ten Years’ War. Ybor then bought land in Tampa, Florida and moved his factory there. Friendly competitors followed suit after the Key West region was devastated by fire. Vast amounts of Cuban and Spanish inhabitants located in Key West invaded the region to generate million of cigars yearly. This operation peaked in the early 19th century and the inhabitants in Yorb City and West Tampa produced millions upon millions of cigars and the city was nicknamed Cigar Capital of the World.
It is found that that hundreds of families and thousands of individuals were manufacturing cigars in their homes in New York. The practice was eventually banned and the industry was moved to Brooklyn and other areas on Long Island.
In the beginning of the 19th century there were thousands of small cigar-making companies in the U.S, which hand-rolled and sold on demand. Although most cigars are produced by machines in our modern day and age, some, are still hand-rolled which displays a standard of status and excellence. This is especially found in Central America and Cuba and the cigars are appreciably different to those mass produced in factories. From the 1990’s to date this has caused controversy, as the machine-made, chemically altered products bear a resemblance to cigars and are subsequently called cigars. America exported large amounts of Cuban Cigars in the nineteen hundreds, with declining amounts due to wrapper crops being destroyed in the hurricane.Read More...
Cigar tobacco is harvested and ages leaves. The aging process we perform is with a combination of heat and shade to decrease the sugar and water substances and reduce rotting to the large leaves. The primary process is called curing which takes anything from 25 to 45 days and differs based on the climatic conditions and the methods of shed and barn construction in which the harvest tobacco leaves are stored. This process is controlled, depending on the type of tobacco and the required leaf color. The next step is regulated by the temperature and humidity and intended to dry the leaves slowly, without rotting or disintegrating, is called fermentation. This step determines the flavor, aroma and burning characteristic. After this stage the properly aged leaves are either used as filler or wrapper depend on the form and quality. The leaves on continually moistened and carefully handled to make sure they are best used according to the quality. The baling and un-baling process is repeated regular intervals to ensure the aging process continues. The leaves are matured in accordance to the manufacturers’ specifications. Handmade Cuban Cigars have still thought to be of a better quality. Cigar rollers can produce large amounts high quality cigars daily with the uses of specially designed equipment and it is critical that the tobacco is kept moist. Once rolled the furnished product is kept in wooden containers to dry, where after the uncapped end is cut to a consistent size. The finished product came be stored for many years in suitable climatic conditions. After buying a box of Cuban Cigars they can be kept for years in controlled conditions. In the event of the cigar drying out, it can be gradually re-humidified provided it is carefully handled. Unfortunately the taste will be affected due to the loss of original tobacco oils.
The premium Cuban Cigars filler and wrappers, we produce are from a variety of different tobacco. The higher quality is called the Long filler cigars and longer leaves are used. An additional variety of leaves are used in between the filler and wrapper which allows the manufacturer to make use of subtle and nice-looking leaves for the wrapper. Various tobacco blends are used for these superior cigars. Tobaccos from different regions of the Cuban Islands are mixed to add in a variety of flavors.
The filler of the low-grade/machine produced cigars is chopped leaves and the wrapper is large leaves or a man-made tobacco pulp. The affects the burning quality, thus handmade cigars are more popular.
Three variants of tobacco leaves are used to make cigars and this determines the flavor and smoking of the wrapper and filler. The fillers are a bunch of various rolled leaves that establishes various strengths and is known as the blend. We pride ourselves in making the perfect blend that is the most pleasant. The strength of Cuban Cigars, in general, are determine by the quantity and quality of the oil found in the leaves. The fatter the cigar the more complex the flavor is and this affects the “burn”, which a cooler burn. As a result of the cooler burn the full range of flavors is not always evident. Either long or short fillers are made; the long filler is made of whole leaves that produce better superiority and burn evenly and consistently, were as the shorter filler comprises of mixed, chopped tobacco leaves, stems, etc. The short filler burner hotter and release small pieces of leaves in the smoker’s mouth. In recent times manufacturers are making the medium filler, which comprises of larger leaves without stems and are a far better quality when it comes to the quality and burn. Another type is called the “Cuban sandwich” which is shorter rolled leaves in a long outer wrapper. Completely manufactured cigars (the filler, wrapper and binder) that comprise of tobacco from one origin, is known as “puro” which is a Spanish word which means “pure”. The wrapper determines the flavor and the color of the cigar. These wrappers are available in many colors, but the most popular are double Claro (slightly greenish), Claro (light tan), Colorado Claro (medium brown), Colorado (reddish brown), Colorado Maduro (brown brown), Maduro (dark brown to black) and Oscuro (very black). The color charts synonymous with the different countries are: American market – double Claro, the English market – Colorado Claro for the stronger flavor to Maduro for the milder flavor and the Spanish market – Maduro and Oscuro. The binders are the rejected leaves that hold the fillers together. These leaves are rejected due to discoloration, excess veins, holes or blemishes.
Cuban Cigars are manufactured in various shapes and sizes, i.e. Parejo, which is the most common and is known as coronas which is the standard on which other cigars are calculated and the Figurados, which is thought to be the better quality as they are more complex to manufacture. Then there are the Cigarillos, being much smaller in weight, length, packaging and they have a filter. These cigars are free from the Public Health Smoking Act and the sale thereof has increased substantially. As a matter of interest, it is believed that the Cuban Cigar rollers and manufacturers are the experts in the field.
Before smoking a Cuban Cigar must be cut. Some cigars need to be cut on both ends, but in general most of the good quality cigars are made with a straight cut on one end and a cap on the other. The capped end, which is the rounded end, must be cut to allow for proper smoking. If this is not done properly the cigar will not burn correctly and the smoke-able tobacco will be lost. This is the end that is put in the month and the other end is lit and smoke is inhaled into the mouth, but no into the lungs. This smoke will be kept in the mouth and twirl before exhaling. The Cigarillo smokers, on the other hand usually inhale the smoke into the lungs. Different types of leaves are rolled in to the entire length of the cigar to give the smoker the same consistence throughout the smoking experience. It can happen that the cigar is lit at the wrong end one can have an unpleasant event. There are three basic types of cutter, i.e. guillotine, punch cut and v-cut. As mentioned the section above, closest to the cigar band is lit by using a rotating movement and a slow draw followed by gentle puffs, to ensure an even burn. A wooden match, one which the head is completely burned off, is the preferred method, which enhances the flavor of the cigar.
The flavor of each brand of cigar differs. The flavor of the Cuban Cigar is not entirely determined by the wrapper, it has been found that the darker wrappers provide sweetness and the lighter wrappers provide for a drier flavor. The various flavors can be described as sweet, peppery, spicy, harsh, woody, earthy, nutty, creamy, fruity, leathery and oak. The aroma of cigars is determined by the tobacco types, the aging and humidity, the quality, added flavors and the manner in which the cigar was produced. Cigar smoking connoisseurs refer to the taste as having under and overtones similar to that of wine, coffee, tea, brandy and whisky.