A tightly rolled cylinder or barrel of fermented tobacco and meant for smoking is called a cigar. Cigar tobacco is grown in Cuba, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, United States, and several other countries.
Manually rolled cigars are generally made of three parts; filler. binder, and wrapper. Each part of a cigar can contain tobacco from different growing areas or countries. The wrapper gives the cigar it’s color, aroma, and appearance. Wrapper leaves are selected separately and fermented apart from tobacco used in the binder and filler. The binder serves to bind or hold the cigar together. Binder tobacco is normally stronger than filler and wrapper tobacco and is harvested from top of the tobacco plant. The filler is a bit more complicated than the binder and wrapper. The filler is what gives the cigar it’s flavor and strength. There are normally more than 1 type of tobacco used in a filler; Oil or long burning leaves, lighter leaves, and finally leaves that add flavor or help to provide a nice even burn.
Some believe the word “cigar” originated from the Mayan word “sikar”, or smoking. The spanish explorers interpreted the word into the spanish word cigarra. The use of the word cigar probably didn’t become a popular word until the 17th century
It is recognized that Christopher Columbus first introduced tobacco to Europe. His crew were thought to have encountered tobacco for the first time on the island of Hispaniola. However tobacco was widely used for a variety of purposes, including smoking, throughout the Caribbean. The Columbus crew would have also encountered tobacco when they settled on the island of Cuba. His sailors reported that the inhabitants on the Cuba island smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.
Vicente Martinez Ybor, a cuban cigar manufacturer, moved his cigar plant from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida to escape the Ten Years War in 1869. Additional cigar plants moved to Key West shortly after. Then, in 1885, Vicente bought a small tract of land outside of a small Florida city named Tampa and moved his plant from Key West. The land is now Ybor City.
Cigar manufacturing became very popular in the mid to late 1800’s. It is said that cigars were being manufactured in New York City in over 127 apartment houses and employing close to 8,000 people. A law was passed, at the urging of the trade union, that banned the manufacturing of cigars in apartment houses. The cigar manufacturers then moved their operations to Brooklyn and Long Island while the law was in effect. Only after the law was deemed unconstitutional did they return to New York.
There are basically three different types of cigars and many more flavors. Here are the three basic types of cigars:
Hand Made – Is a cigar that is totally made by hand with hand selected tobacco.
Machine Made – Is totally rolled or assembled by a machine using a batch loading of tobacco. These cigars are generally dryer, less taste, and a shorter burn time.
Hand Rolled – Uses a tobacco core that was produced by a machine and has the outer wrapper manually applied or rolled.
Check out our other Origins and Types Pages…read more.