Chris Topper of Topper Cigar Co. talks about the company’s 125th anniversary release, which began shipping to stores earlier this year.
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What Are Cigars?
Cigars are a tube-shaped tobacco product consisting of tightly rolled, cured, and flavor-infused leaves. They are often smoked for relaxation and social interaction, but smoke is not inhaled into the lungs as with cigarettes. Cigars have been linked to nicotine addiction and may cause diseases of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, and lung. Heavy cigar smoking increases the risk for heart disease and emphysema.
A cigar is made of several different primings and varieties of tobacco for flavor, strength, and complexity. These tobacco leaves are carefully arranged to create a tight, symmetrical roll that will burn slowly and offer a fine gustatory and aromatic experience. The cigar is finished with a band identifying the type and one of its ends, called the head or cap, is usually cut or pierced to be smoked.
The tobacco is arranged into enormous piles, called pilones, and fermented in order to transform the raw tobacco into a product that is smokeable and pleasant to enjoy. The fermentation process alters the tobacco and changes the taste from bitter to sweet. It also reintroduces nutrients and adds flavor to the tobacco that is not possible in raw form.
A quality cigar is an artisanal product that is handmade by a team of skilled artisans. It is said that 200 pairs of hands touch a single hand-rolled cigar before it is shipped. It is an expensive, time-consuming, and labor-intensive product. Smokers are attracted to the cigar lifestyle because it offers a social and cultural experience, and they believe that premium cigars are less harmful than cigarettes. However, many people are not aware that cigar smoking is addictive and can lead to serious health problems.