Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Week for the week of May 8. Read the full tasting note:
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How Cigars Are Made
Cigars are a premium tobacco product that is generally consumed in the company of friends and colleagues. They are often smoked to celebrate an occasion such as the birth of a child or a successful business deal. This social aspect of cigar smoking builds an association between good times and the pleasure of enjoying a premium smoke, and can encourage regular smoking habits.
The most distinctive thing about a cigar is that it is almost always hand-rolled, and is not a mass-produced product. The cigar manufacturing process is a complex, time-consuming operation that requires the attention of highly trained artisans at every level of production.
A cigar is comprised of tobacco filler leaves arranged in a binder leaf, then wrapped with a wrapper leaf. The wrapper is the most expensive component per pound of tobacco, because it must be both strong and flavorful. The filler and binder leaves are then rolled together into a cigar shape, and cured in a humidor until they reach the right level of humidity for the final smokability.
There are many different types of cigars available, with differences in strength and body. Stronger cigars typically contain ligero tobacco, which are the darkest and thickest leaves from higher up on the plant. Medium-bodied cigars include a mix of ligeros and visos, which are lighter in color and less powerful.
The best cigars are crafted from the finest raw materials, and well-made cigars will have a smooth, even burn with a long, clean draw. It is important to understand the basics of cigar construction, so you can recognize a quality cigar when you see it.