You might think that only people who are very passionate about cigars would care about the details of how they are made. This is not the case! If you have ever wondered what makes Cuban cigars so special, this blog post is for you! After all, who doesn’t love a good cigar?
Cuban Cigars 101: Everything You Need to Know Table of Contents
Maybe you have heard of them before without really knowing anything about them.
Or maybe you want to know more about this fascinating topic and explore its many possibilities further. Either way, reading this blog post will help you get up to speed on the ins and outs of Cuban cigars, giving you all the information that you need in order to enjoy them even more.
What Are Cuban Cigars?
In Cuba, cigars are a national pastime. In fact, the country is home to some of the finest cigars in the world. The process used to make Cuban cigars is unique because tobacco leaves are wrapped in large bundles instead of being rolled in large tubes like many other countries.
This gives Cuban cigars their characteristic shape and size that people love so much. Cuban cigars have a special history and cultural significance that makes them a favorite among those who appreciate quality and luxury.
They are considered a gift from God if consumed slowly, savored over time, and taken seriously as an art form. The process for making these cigars can be pretty complex, but it’s worth it when you finally get your hands on one!
What Is The History of Cuban Cigars?
The history of Cuban cigars is fascinating. They actually go back as far as the 15th century, but there is a lot of speculation about how they were initially made. One story is that Spanish settlers to Cuba were looking for a way to make alternative currency, so they turned to cigar making.
Another one is that would-be pirates would leave behind their tobacco cargo upon boarding their ships, and they would then be picked up by local farmers who had to find a way to make it through the winter without running out of food or money.
Regardless of how they got started, Cuban cigars are still considered some of the world's most popular premium cigars.
Why Are Cuban Cigars So Popular?
The most common answer to this question is the taste. Cuban cigars are known for their distinct flavor and sweet scent, which makes them the perfect cigar for a good night out. They are also much less expensive than other types of cigars. This makes them an attractive purchase for many people who want to enjoy a cigar but don’t want to spend a lot of money on it.
How Are Cuban Cigars Made?
Cuban cigars are made from a blend of tobacco leaves that have been aged for a minimum of three years, with at least one year being the most common. The tobacco leaves are then rolled into a tight circle and wrapped in natural or synthetic wrappers.
The cigar is then hand-rolled into its final shape by skilled hands. Additionally, after it has been smoked, the cigar will be placed in a humidor to wait until it is ready to buy. How long they need to rest depends on the size of the cigar and the age of the tobacco leaves used in its construction.
The aging process takes place in two steps: first, the wet leaves are subject to fermentation; second, they are left untouched so they can dry out slowly while maintaining their distinctive flavor.
A good humidor should have humidity levels between 70-80% at all times and should be checked every day or so for signs of mold or other issues that could harm your cigars. After it has been aged, your Cuban cigar is finally ready for you to enjoy!
Who Are The Top Cuban Cigar Brands?
The climate and soil conditions of the island create an environment that is ideal for growing tobacco, which is why Cuban cigars are often considered the standard against which all others are measured. Here are some of the top brands that have contributed to Cuba's esteemed position in the cigar industry.
Cohiba is arguably the most famous and prestigious of all Cuban cigar brands. Established in 1966, it was originally created for Fidel Castro himself and was made at the then-secret but now world-famous El Laguito factory. The brand was publicly launched in 1982 and includes lines like the Cohiba Esplendidos and Cohiba Behike, which are widely regarded as some of the finest cigars ever produced.
Montecristo is one of the best-selling Cuban cigar brands and is highly respected among cigar enthusiasts. It was established in 1935 and offers a wide range of sizes and shapes to suit various preferences. The Montecristo No. 2, a torpedo-shaped cigar, is particularly renowned and has been a favorite among aficionados for decades.
Dating back to 1845, Partagás is one of the oldest and most well-known Cuban cigar brands. The factory in Havana is a landmark and draws visitors from all over the world. Cigars from Partagás are known for their rich, full-bodied flavors and include famous vitolas like the Partagás Serie D No. 4 and the Lusitania.
Romeo y Julieta
Romeo y Julieta has a storied history and a wide portfolio of cigars that cater to a range of tastes. Established in 1875, the brand has gained international fame, partly due to its association with the likes of Winston Churchill, whose name has been given to one of their most popular sizes, the Churchill.
H. Upmann is a brand with a rich history, having been founded by a German banker in Havana in 1844. The cigars are characterized by their smooth to medium flavor profiles, with the H. Upmann No. 2 being a particularly famous example, offering a lighter alternative to its Montecristo counterpart.
Bolívar, established in 1902, is named after the South American revolutionary Simon Bolívar. The cigars are known for their strength and robustness, appealing to those who prefer a powerful and full-flavored smoking experience. The Bolívar Belicosos Finos is a standout cigar from this brand.
Punch is one of the oldest Cuban cigar brands, dating back to the mid-19th century. It was named with the British market in mind, after the character Mr. Punch from the Punch and Judy show. The brand offers a wide range of sizes, with the Punch Punch being a notable example that delivers a complex and medium-bodied profile.
What Are The Best Cuban Cigars?
There are a lot of different Cuban cigar brands out there, but only a few are deemed the best. The most popular brands include Cohiba and Partagas. These cigars have been made by the same company and they were originally made in Cuba before being imported to the United States.
Partagas is considered one of the best because it has a rich, nutty flavor that will leave you wanting more.
Cohiba cigars are considered one of the best because they also have a rich flavor with notes of coffee, chocolate, and leather. But if you don’t like those two cigar brands, you can find plenty of other options on the market.
Other popular brands include Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and La Gloria Cubana. And just in case you're wondering what kind of tobacco is used in Cuban cigars, it's called Habano tobacco and it's grown from seedlings that are specially treated so that they grow larger leaves than normal leaves would grow. Cigars such as these often use four or five different types of leaves for their blends (some even use six!).
What Are The Tasting Notes of Cuban Cigars?
Cuban cigars are known for offering some really flavorful tasting notes. The flavors of the tobacco used to make these cigars vary depending on the type of tobacco leaves that are used, with the most popular varieties being Cuban seed wrapper and Connecticut shade wrapper.
For example, if you have a cigar flavored with Cuban seed wrapper tobacco, you will be able to taste a nutty flavor along with pepper in your smoke.
his is just one example; there are many different types of flavors that can be found in Cuban cigars. So what does it all mean? It means that each person who smokes a cigar will experience their own unique tasting notes from a cigar.
They might not always agree on which tastes better or worse, but they can agree that they love both! Another great thing about Cuban cigars is how affordable they are. Even though they may seem expensive because of the quality and taste, their cost-effectiveness makes them an attractive option for companies looking to grow their market share.
How Much Do Cuban Cigars Cost?
Cigars are something that everyone enjoys, but not everyone can afford. In fact, it seems like they are a little bit too expensive. But we promise you will enjoy them more if you know the secrets behind how they are made! Cubans have a reputation for being some of the most expensive cigars in the world.
This is because the labor involved in making these cigars is very intensive and requires dedicated individuals. It takes up to six years for Cuban tobacco farmers to grow enough leaves for one cigar, and it takes about 18 months for one cigar to be manufactured from leaf to finished product. However, many people find that those prices are worth paying if the end result is an enjoyable cigar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes Cuban Cigars So Special?
Cuban cigars are renowned worldwide for their quality and prestige. The unique combination of the Cuban climate, soil, and centuries-old cigar production techniques create a distinct flavor profile that is both rich and robust, with a smooth finish that cigar aficionados treasure.
Are Cuban Cigars Legal to Purchase and Smoke?
While Cuban cigars were long banned in the United States due to the trade embargo, recent changes in legislation now allow U.S. citizens to purchase Cuban cigars while abroad for personal consumption. However, selling Cuban cigars in the U.S. remains illegal.
How Can I Identify a Genuine Cuban Cigar?
Authentic Cuban cigars come with a holographic band and a unique serial number. The craftsmanship is high quality, with a seamless body and no visible imperfections. Be wary of counterfeits and always purchase from reputable sources.
What Is the Proper Way to Store Cuban Cigars?
Cuban cigars should be stored in a humidor at a relative humidity of about 65-70% and at a temperature of 18-21°C (64-70°F) to maintain their freshness and flavor.
Can You Recommend a Cuban Cigar for Beginners?
The Montecristo No. 4 is often recommended for those new to Cuban cigars. It offers a medium-bodied flavor that's not too overwhelming, providing a pleasant introduction to Cuban cigar flavors.
What Is the Difference Between Hand-Rolled and Machine-Rolled Cuban Cigars?
Hand-rolled cigars are crafted by skilled artisans and are considered superior in terms of flavor, draw, and overall smoking experience. Machine-rolled cigars, while consistent, lack the nuanced flavors that come from the traditional hand-rolling process.
How Long Does a Cuban Cigar Last Once Lit?
This can vary widely depending on the size of the cigar and how it's smoked. A smaller cigar may last about 30 minutes, while larger ones can provide an experience that lasts for over an hour.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Cuban Cigar Brands?
Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagás, Romeo y Julieta, and Hoyo de Monterrey are among the most celebrated Cuban cigar brands known for their exceptional quality.
How Do I Cut a Cuban Cigar Properly?
The cut should be made swiftly and confidently with a sharp cutter, just above the cap line, to ensure a clean cut that will give a good draw without damaging the cigar.
Is It True That Some Cuban Cigars Are Better With Age?
Yes, similar to fine wines, many Cuban cigars can improve with age. The flavors can become more complex and mellow, enhancing the smoking experience.
What Foods or Beverages Pair Well With Cuban Cigars?
Cuban cigars pair well with a variety of beverages, including strong coffee, aged rum, single malt scotch, or a full-bodied red wine. For food, chocolate or nuts can complement the flavors nicely.
How Should I Light a Cuban Cigar to Preserve Its Flavor?
Use a butane lighter or a wooden match for a clean burn. Light the foot of the cigar evenly while rotating it to avoid an uneven burn and to fully enjoy its complex flavors.
Why Are There Different Shapes and Sizes of Cuban Cigars?
The shape and size of a cigar, known as its vitola, can affect the smoking time and the intensity of flavor. Each vitola offers a unique experience and can cater to personal preference.
What Does 'Triple Fermented' Mean in the Context of Cuban Cigars?
Triple fermentation refers to the process where the tobacco leaves undergo three separate fermentations, which enhance the smoothness and richness of the flavor.
How Can I Tell if a Cuban Cigar Is of High Quality?
High-quality Cuban cigars have an even burn, consistent coloring, a smooth draw, and a complex flavor profile. The ash should hold well and have a white to gray color.
What Is the 'Ring Gauge' of a Cigar, and Why Does It Matter?
The ring gauge is the diameter of the cigar measured in 64ths of an inch. A larger ring gauge means a thicker cigar, which can provide a cooler smoke and potentially more complex flavors due to a greater blend of filler tobaccos.
Can I Bring Cuban Cigars Back to My Home Country?
This depends on your local customs regulations. Many countries allow a certain number of cigars for personal use without duty. Always check the laws before traveling.
How Are Cuban Cigars Rated or Ranked?
Cuban cigars are rated based on their construction, appearance, flavor, draw, and overall smoking experience by various cigar publications and aficionados.
Why Do Cuban Cigars Vary in Taste From Year to Year?
Just like a vintage in wine, Cuban cigars can vary from year to year due to changes in the weather and growing conditions affecting the tobacco crop.
Is It Possible to Visit Cigar Factories in Cuba?
Yes, several cigar factories in Cuba offer tours where you can witness the fascinating process of cigar making and even purchase cigars directly from the source.