Anyone who has ever smoked a cigarette knows that different countries have a way of manufacturing their tobacco in very different ways. From the country of origin to the type of machine used to process it, the taste will vary greatly from brand to brand. Luckily, a growing number of places are specializing in crafting premium cigars from specific countries instead of just rolling them out by any old machine. The result is a wide array of unique smoking experiences that can be enjoyed regardless of where you live or your experience level as a cigar smoker. A lot more people will probably be familiar with American tobacco brands like Marlboro and Camel, but there are several other countries that have established their own niche markets for premium cigars over the past few decades as well. In fact, the Dutch may just surprise you with some of their best products yet if you take the time to learn about Dutch cigar culture. Let’s take a look at what makes Dutch cigars so special so you know whether they’re worth trying out or not:
Dutch Cigars 101: Everything You Need To Know Table of Contents
What Are Dutch Cigars?
Dutch cigars are a type of premium cigar that originated in Holland. They are manufactured by various tobacco companies like General Cigar Company, Casa Magna, and Het Nieuwe Tabakkompas. These companies use organic tobacco leaves from Java and Sumatra, as well as other locally sourced ingredients to create a flavorful and satisfying smoking experience that is unmatched by many other brands on the market.
What Is The History of Dutch Cigars?
Dutch cigars were actually a result of Dutch tobacco companies that began manufacturing cigars in the mid-1800s. In 1869, they already had their own factory in Amsterdam with three other factories soon to follow. By 1904, there was a total of 22 cigar manufacturers in the Netherlands alone and it is estimated that by 1913, there were approximately 1,000 cigar manufacturers in Holland. This continued for several decades until, as is often the case with many countries’ industries, the market became saturated and led to the decline of Dutch cigar manufacturing.
Why Are Dutch Cigars So Popular?
Since the Dutch have been producing cigars for quite some time, they have established a strong culture around the smoking of them. A lot of people in the Netherlands still spend their days at work smoking cigars and enjoy the relaxation that accompanies it. This is why Dutch cigars are becoming so popular because they offer smokers like you a much-needed break from the rigors of everyday life. If you're looking for something new to try out, consider trying out a Dutch cigar.
How Are Dutch Cigars Made?
Dutch cigars are made from a combination of long, thin tobacco leaves and paper wrappers. They are then rolled up using tobacco leaf and wrapped in paper for an airtight seal. This process is done entirely by hand with no machines used. Dutch cigars are then hand-laid into boxes that signify the type of cigar they are, as well as the region they’re from, before being shipped out to be sold all over the world. The reason Dutch cigars have this charm is because they're literally handmade in small batches by highly skilled cigar workers who know how to take care of their tobacco leaves as if they were their own children. As a result, each box has its own unique character and flavor that can only be found in that particular batch of cigars. So, what does this mean for you? Though the process is time-consuming, it creates a level of quality control that doesn't exist with other brands because each cigar can only come from one region and one batch. You'll have a chance at tasting something truly unique when you light up your next Dutch cigar instead of just another brand's version on your local store shelf.
Who Are The Top Dutch Cigar Brands?
The Netherlands has a long history of cigar production, largely centered around dry-cured, machine-made cigars known as "Hollandse sigaren." These cigars are typically smaller, milder, and made without the need for humidification, making them convenient for smokers. Dutch cigars are known for their affordability and accessibility, and while they might not compete directly with the premium hand-rolled cigars from countries like Cuba and Nicaragua, they hold a significant place in the global tobacco industry.
Royal Agio Cigars
Royal Agio Cigars was one of the largest and most prominent Dutch cigar manufacturers until it was acquired by Scandinavian Tobacco Group in 2019. The brand was renowned for its "Balmoral" line of cigars, which included both premium handmade and machine-made options. Balmoral cigars, particularly the Añejo XO series, were well-respected in the cigar community for their quality and complexity.
Henri Wintermans is another leading Dutch cigar brand, known for producing a wide range of machine-made cigars that are popular in Europe and beyond. Their "Café Crème" series, small cigarillos with a mild flavor profile, are among the best-selling cigars worldwide. These convenient, quick smokes are synonymous with Dutch cigar-making.
De Olifant traces its roots back to the 19th century and distinguishes itself by making both machine and hand-made cigars in Kampen, a city with a rich cigar-making tradition. Their products often use a blend of tobaccos from Indonesia, Brazil, and the Caribbean, and they are known for their distinctive flavors and high-quality construction.
Panter, owned by Royal Agio Cigars before the acquisition, specializes in small, flavored cigarillos. These are popular for their variety of flavors, smooth draw, and the convenience of a quick smoke. The brand has established a strong presence in the cigarillo market with its sleek packaging and consistent quality.
What Are The Tasting Notes of Dutch Cigars?
To start, Dutch cigars have a distinct flavor that has been compared to strong coffee and black tea. These cigars are made from high-quality tobacco that is air dried for days before being rolled into the perfect cigar shape. Dutch cigars are sometimes described as having an earthy or slightly smoky taste with hints of pepper and nuts. Many aficionados would agree that these cigars offer a complex scent with a note of musk in the background. Besides their unique taste, Dutch cigars also have a reputation for being able to smoke all the way down to the end without ever burning out. This is because they’re made with long filler leaves that don't burn easily and are wrapped in a dark wrapper leaf to keep them fresh and flavorful throughout smoking time. The result is an open draw, which means it’s very easy for you to take in big puffs without any trouble at all.
How Much Do Dutch Cigars Cost?
As mentioned before, Dutch cigars cost slightly more than their American counterparts, but they’re worth the extra cost. Dutch cigars are a step above in quality and flavor, and these factors can be noticed right away when you’re smoking one. In fact, many people believe that Dutch cigars are simply superior to American tobacco products. Dutch cigar enthusiasts also tend to be passionate about their smoking habits. The Dutch are proud of the fact that they smoke premium cigars and do not want to let anyone down. For example, when someone asks how much a particular cigar costs, they will often respond with something along the lines of “Let me show you” so that they can take out their wallet and hand over the money themselves before lighting up. This is a sign of pride for the Dutch smokers; it shows that they know what they’re getting for their hard-earned money and feel no need to haggle with retailers or nudge around pricing structures to get a better deal. They also have an impressive knowledge of which brands produce which types of smokes, which makes it easy for them to pick out different flavors from certain manufacturers as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Dutch Cigars?
Dutch cigars, known as 'Hollandse sigaren', are premium cigars that are typically machine-made and known for their mild flavor and smooth smoke. They are crafted in the Netherlands, a country with a rich history in cigar production.
How Do Dutch Cigars Differ from Other Cigars?
Unlike most premium cigars that are hand-rolled, Dutch cigars are usually machine-made, allowing for consistent quality and a more uniform appearance. They also have a distinctive milder flavor profile compared to their Caribbean counterparts.
What Types of Tobacco Are Used in Dutch Cigars?
Dutch cigars commonly use a blend of tobaccos, often including varieties from Indonesia, Brazil, and the Caribbean, resulting in a unique and balanced flavor.
Are Dutch Cigars Flavored?
While traditional Dutch cigars focus on the natural tobacco taste, there is also a variety of flavored Dutch cigars available, offering hints of everything from vanilla to coffee.
What's the History Behind Dutch Cigars?
The Dutch cigar industry dates back to the 17th century, with the Netherlands having a long-standing tradition in trading and crafting cigars due to their historical connections with tobacco-producing colonies.
Can You Recommend a Dutch Cigar for Beginners?
For beginners, a mild-bodied Dutch cigar, such as a panatela or a coronita, would be ideal as it provides a gentle introduction to the flavors without being overwhelming.
How Should I Store Dutch Cigars?
Like all cigars, Dutch cigars should be stored in a humidor at a stable humidity level, ideally between 65% and 70%, to preserve their freshness and flavor.
What's the Correct Way to Light a Dutch Cigar?
To light a Dutch cigar correctly, use a butane lighter or a wooden match, and evenly toast the foot before taking gentle puffs to establish an even burn.
Do Dutch Cigars Need to Be Cut Before Smoking?
Most Dutch cigars come with a pre-cut head, which means they're ready to smoke right out of the box. However, some may require a small cut or punch before lighting.
What Are Some Notable Dutch Cigar Brands?
Famous Dutch cigar brands include Agio, Balmoral, and De Olifant, known for their quality and craftsmanship that have been refined over generations.
How Long Does a Dutch Cigar Last When Smoked?
The duration of a Dutch cigar depends on its size and how fast you smoke, but typically, a standard size can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
Is There a Particular Season That's Best for Smoking Dutch Cigars?
Dutch cigars can be enjoyed year-round, but their mild flavor profile makes them particularly enjoyable during the spring and summer months.
How Do I Choose the Right Dutch Cigar?
Choosing the right Dutch cigar depends on personal preference for size, strength, and flavor. Consulting with a tobacconist or starting with a sampler pack can be a great way to discover your preference.
What Are the Characteristics of a Well-Made Dutch Cigar?
A well-made Dutch cigar will have a smooth, clean wrapper, firm construction, and should provide a consistent burn and draw throughout the smoking experience.
How Have Dutch Cigars Impacted the Global Cigar Scene?
Dutch cigars have carved out a niche in the global market, praised for their craftsmanship and the unique use of Sumatran and Java tobaccos, contributing to the diversity of cigar options available to enthusiasts.
Are Dutch Cigars Strong?
Dutch cigars are typically milder than their Central American counterparts. However, there are stronger blends available for those who prefer a more robust smoking experience.
What Is a Dry Cigar, and Does It Apply to Dutch Cigars?
A dry cigar refers to cigars that do not require humidification. Many Dutch cigars are dry-cured, which makes them convenient for travel as they don’t need a humidor.
What Pairs Well with a Dutch Cigar?
A Dutch cigar pairs well with coffee, beer, or a light spirit such as genever, the Dutch juniper-flavored national liquor, which complements the cigar's mild flavor.
Can I Find Organic Dutch Cigars?
While less common, there are some manufacturers that produce organic Dutch cigars, using tobacco grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
How Can I Identify a Dutch Cigar by Its Packaging?
Dutch cigars are often distinguished by their packaging, featuring unique and intricate designs that can include wooden boxes, tin cases, or even paper-wrapped bundles with the Dutch touch.
Do Dutch Cigars Come in Different Shapes and Sizes?
Yes, Dutch cigars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small cigarillos to larger coronas, catering to different preferences and occasions.