With more than half of the world’s population residing in Latin America, you might assume that the region would be producing a steady stream of great cigars and vice versa. While there are some high-quality cigars being produced in every country, it is fair to say that Mexico excels at this area.
Mexican Cigars 101: Everything You Need To Know Table of Contents
If you love rich, full-bodied cigars and appreciate an exquisite level of craftsmanship, then Mexican cigars are absolutely perfect for you! In this article we'll cover everything you need to know about buying excellent quality Mexican cigars.
We'll also discuss some of the most popular types of Mexican cigar so that you can start exploring them today!
What Are Mexican Cigars?
Mexican cigars are made in the Mexican state of Puebla, Mexico. There are three major types of cigars that come from this region:
These cigars are made with a rolled tobacco leaf wrapper and a binder and filler of both natural and/or reconstituted tobacco.
These cigars use a Connecticut-seed long-fillers for their wrappers, which is then aged in oak barrels for several months.
These cigars feature an oily Habano-seed Connecticut-seed long filler. They're then aged in oak barrels, too!
What Is The History of Mexican Cigars?
When you hear the term Mexican cigar, you probably think of "Cohiba." But really, there are a lot of types of Mexican cigars! The history of Mexican cigars dates back to the mid-19th century when they became the first cigar produced in Mexico. In 1838, Ignacio Ayme and Manuel Aranda Torrado started a cigar company called "La Casa del Habano" in Mexico City. That same year, they introduced their first cigar: "Habanos de Bogota."By 1890, Mexican cigars were so popular that they were being exported all over the world. The industry is now expanding: today there are more than 3,200 brands and in excess of 300 million cigars produced each year.
Why Are Mexican Cigars So Popular?
There are a lot of reasons why Mexican cigars are so popular! Mexican cigars have a reputed reputation for being full-bodied, well-constructed, and affordable. These three aspects in particular are what make these cigars so popular with smokers across the globe.
The rich, full body of a Mexican cigar is due to the high level of tobacco used throughout its production process. It’s also one of the main reasons why Mexican cigars have such an excellent flavor profile—a characteristic that is hard to find in many cheaper cigars on the market today. Additionally, Mexican cigars are made using aged tobaccos carefully selected from different regions across Mexico.
These tobaccos are aged in order to provide a complex and unique taste profile. In contrast, other countries often use lower quality tobacco or tobacco scraps that come up during processing operations which lead to inferior flavor profiles when finished products hit the market.
How Are Mexican Cigars Made?
Traditional Mexican cigars are traditionally made by rolling the leaves of tobacco with their hands. These cigars are put under a mixture of pressure and heat to bind the leaves together into a long, thin tube.
The tobacco is then rolled inside this tube to create the cigar shape. To ensure that the cigar can stand up to the pressure, it is wrapped in a type of paper called puro. In recent years, though, Mexican manufacturers have begun turning away from traditional methods and using machines for making cigars. As you might expect, these machines allow for production speeds that are twice as fast and require less manpower than traditional methods. They also produce better quality cigars!
Which Type Of Mexican Cigars Are Right For You?
If you're interested in trying out some really high-quality smoke then you should be sure to give maduro cigars a try. Maduros are typically produced by aging tobacco leaves in barrels or boxes for over six months before they're delivered to consumers. Maduros offer an intensely rich taste that lasts on your palate well after you've smoked them down to their last inch!
If you want something more mild and easy-going then expectorados are perfect for you. Expectorado literally means 'exhale' in Spanish so it's not surprising how these light-bodied cigars taste like air when they're smoked! Expectorados also make excellent novices’ smokes because they're gentle on the throat while still offering plenty of flavor and depth. Finally
Who Are The Top Mexican Cigar Brands?
Despite being overshadowed by the cigar industries in countries like Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, Mexico has its own respectable lineup of cigar brands.
The Te-Amo brand is perhaps one of the most famous Mexican cigar names, with a history dating back to the 1960s. As a family-run business, Te-Amo is dedicated to creating cigars that fully embody the taste of Mexican tobacco. Their cigars are typically medium to full-bodied with a distinctive earthy flavor, and the Te-Amo World Selection Series showcases tobaccos from different countries, including a blend featuring the native San Andrés tobacco.
Casa Turrent is another prominent name in Mexican cigars, produced by the Turrent family, which has been involved in tobacco growing for generations. The Turrents are particularly famous for their San Andrés Maduro wrapper. Casa Turrent cigars, such as the "Casa Turrent 1880" series, are known for their complexity and depth of flavor, representing some of the finest cigars Mexico has to offer.
Not to be confused with the name of the wrapper leaf, the San Andrés brand is a lesser-known but high-quality cigar producer from Mexico. Their products often emphasize the rich, spicy, and chocolate notes that Mexican tobacco is known for. They provide an authentic Mexican smoking experience, catering to those who appreciate the unique characteristics of the region's tobacco.
The A. Turrent cigar line, another offshoot of the Turrent family's endeavors, focuses on creating premium cigars that often blend Mexican tobacco with tobaccos from other countries to achieve a balance of flavors. The "A. Turrent Triple Play" is a notable example, featuring a combination of tobaccos that include the Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper, which adds a distinctive sweetness and spice to the blend.
Los Statos Deluxe
A brand that has seen a resurgence in recent years, Los Statos Deluxe offers a range of cigars that aim to cater to various palates. Owned by Habanos S.A., the brand has its roots in Cuban cigar heritage but operates in Mexico, producing cigars that are often noted for their balance and approachable flavor profiles, making them suitable for both new and experienced cigar smokers.
What Are The Tasting Notes of Mexican Cigars?
With Mexican cigars, you'll find a wide range of flavors and tastes. These usually include earthy, spicy, nutty and sweet notes that contribute to the full-bodied nature of the cigar. Mexican cigars also have a very particular flavor profile that is derived from tobacco leaves grown in Mexico.
Tobacco leaves are created by planting seeds on top of old tobacco leaf compost mixed with soil and water. This process creates a unique flavor that's both sweet and earthy (similar to wine).
The best part: these flavors remain throughout the entire life cycle of the tobacco plant from when it is planted until it is harvested! Another thing to note about Mexican cigars is their ring gauge size.
Ring gauge refers to the measurement of how wide the diameter of each cigar is, ranging between 38-60 millimeters in diameter.
Usually, 45-50 millimeters will be found as standard ring gauge sizes for Mexican cigars. Some other key factors to look out for when buying Mexican cigars are: wrapper color, construction type, shape (straight or "figure 8"), and country of origin.
The most popular types of Mexican cigars are: Coronas - usually non-premium cigars blended with other tobaccos like Dominican Republic Coronas Bolivar - premium stogies made from 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos Maduro - long filler cigars that are typically wrapped in a dark brown or black colorado Colorado - shorter filler length with a thicker body made from 100%
How Much Do Mexican Cigars Cost?
The cost of a good quality cigar can be quite steep. It's not uncommon to pay up to $40 for a single cigar. Of course, you'll find some cheaper options on the market, but these are often sourced from lesser-known regions and are therefore a lower quality. Of course, this does not mean that all Mexican cigars are expensive. There are many excellent cigars produced in Mexico at more affordable prices!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Defines a Mexican Cigar?
Mexican cigars are defined by their rich, earthy flavors, often with a distinctive sweetness and notes of spice. They are typically made with a blend of domestic and imported tobaccos, with a special emphasis on the renowned San Andrés wrapper.
Are Mexican Cigars Made Entirely with Mexican Tobacco?
Not always. While some Mexican cigars, known as "puros," are made exclusively with Mexican tobacco, many others blend local leaves with tobaccos from countries like Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to create unique flavor profiles.
What Is the San Andrés Wrapper?
The San Andrés wrapper is a dark, oily tobacco leaf grown in the San Andrés Valley in Mexico. It's prized for its rich, chocolatey flavor and is used in many premium cigars worldwide.
How Does the Flavor of Mexican Cigars Compare to Cuban Cigars?
Mexican cigars tend to be bolder and spicier than Cuban cigars. While Cubans are known for their complexity and smoothness, Mexican cigars offer a more robust and straightforward flavor profile that's equally satisfying.
Can Beginners Enjoy Mexican Cigars?
Certainly! There are Mexican cigars with milder flavors that are perfect for beginners. The key is to start with a smaller size and a milder blend to acclimate to the flavors.
What Are Some Well-Known Mexican Cigar Brands?
Brands like Te-Amo, A. Turrent, and Casa Turrent are some of the most famous Mexican cigar producers, known for their quality craftsmanship and delicious blends.
What's the History Behind Mexican Cigar Making?
Mexico's cigar industry dates back to the 19th century, but it saw a significant rise in the 1960s. The Turrent family, in particular, has been instrumental in shaping the Mexican cigar industry over generations.
Are Mexican Cigars Hand-rolled or Machine-made?
Many Mexican cigars are hand-rolled, following traditional cigar-making methods. However, machine-made cigars are also available and offer a more budget-friendly option.
How Should I Store My Mexican Cigars?
Mexican cigars, like all premium cigars, should be stored in a humidor at about 68-72% humidity. This ensures they remain fresh and maintain their distinctive flavor.
What Is the Proper Way to Light a Mexican Cigar?
Use a butane lighter or a cedar match for the best experience. Avoid petrol lighters as they can affect the taste. Gently toast the foot of the cigar before drawing the flame to it, ensuring an even light.
What Beverages Pair Well with Mexican Cigars?
A rich coffee or an aged tequila makes excellent pairings with Mexican cigars. The robust flavors of Mexican tobacco blend beautifully with the smoothness of these drinks.
How Does Aging Affect Mexican Cigars?
Aging can mellow the boldness of Mexican cigars, often enhancing the complexity of the flavors. A well-aged Mexican cigar can offer a more nuanced smoking experience.
What Should I Look for When Selecting a Mexican Cigar?
Look for a firm cigar with an even fill and a smooth, lustrous wrapper. The cigar should have no hard or soft spots and should smell pleasant and rich.
Can I Age Mexican Cigars at Home?
Yes, with a properly maintained humidor, you can age Mexican cigars at home, allowing their flavors to deepen and mature over time.
How Long Do Mexican Cigars Last Once Lit?
Depending on the size, Mexican cigars can last from 30 minutes to over an hour. Enjoy them slowly to appreciate the full range of flavors.
How Does the Soil in Mexico Influence Cigar Flavor?
The volcanic soil in regions like the San Andrés Valley imparts a unique minerality to the tobacco, contributing to the distinct taste profile of Mexican cigars.
What Are the Health Risks of Smoking Mexican Cigars?
Like all cigars, smoking Mexican cigars carries health risks, including heart disease and cancer. They should be enjoyed in moderation and responsibly.
How Do I Cut a Mexican Cigar?
Using a sharp cigar cutter, make a quick, decisive cut about 1/16 to 1/8 inch from the cap to avoid unraveling and to ensure a smooth draw.
Is It Necessary to Inhale the Smoke from Mexican Cigars?
No, unlike cigarettes, the complex flavors of cigars are meant to be savored in the mouth. Inhaling is not recommended and can be quite harsh due to the full flavors of Mexican tobaccos.
What Is the Best Time to Enjoy a Mexican Cigar?
Mexican cigars are versatile. Enjoy a lighter cigar in the day and save the more robust, fuller-bodied ones for evening relaxation or after a hearty meal.
Are There Seasonal Varieties of Mexican Cigars?
While there aren't specific seasonal releases, variations in weather and soil conditions can affect the tobacco crop each year, leading to subtle differences in flavor among vintages.
What Should I Do with the Cigar Once I Can't Smoke It Anymore?
Once you're finished, lay the cigar in the ashtray and let it extinguish on its own. Avoid stubbing it out as this can release unpleasant odors.
Exploring the world of Mexican cigars is an adventure into a culture rich with tradition, passion, and pride in craftsmanship. Every puff is a story of the land and the people who have dedicated their lives to creating these bold and beautiful smokes. Enjoy your journey through the depths of Mexico's cigar heritage, and may each cigar you choose bring a new appreciation for the art of cigar making!