From The Lounge: 25 Years Of Cigarmaking With Rocky Patel (2020)

Rocky Patel, owner of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, talks with executive editor David Savona about why he still considers his company a boutique operation and where he will take the renowned name into the future in this early 2020 interview.


What is a Cigar?

Cigars are a popular pastime, allowing people to unwind and relax. It can also be a great social activity and help create bonds between friends.

A cigar is a cylindrical roll of tobacco leaves that are used for smoking. It has a binder leaf that holds the filler leaves together and a wrapper leaf that decorates the cigar. The most expensive and finest cigars are made with a wrapper leaf that is strong, elastic, silky in texture, and has pleasant flavor.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are made entirely from tobacco, beginning with the filler, which is composed of many different varieties of tobacco, varying by size and shape. The type of filler is a major factor in the strength, aroma, and flavor of cigars.

The filler of cigars can come from any country, with the most common being Cuba. The variety of tobaccos grown in a particular region can also be a factor, with the different growing environments of various countries producing distinct flavors.

Tobacco for cigars can be aged for a range of lengths, ranging from two years to over four decades. During the aging process, the cigar is exposed to oxygen and moisture to remove undesirable properties like bitterness.

Cigars that are aged for longer than five years are referred to as “premium.” They are usually stronger and fuller bodied. They are the most sought-after by smokers.

The process of making a premium cigar is a labor-intensive and complicated one. The countless steps involved from the cultivation of the tobacco leaf to the aging and packaging of the finished product make for a large human investment that is only possible with the expertise of skilled workers. Despite the high cost, many cigar lovers find it to be well worth the effort.

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