There are many things that reflect status and pleasure: cars, watches, wine. Cigars also belong in this list. With the world’s most exclusive ones demanding more than $1,000, it is no surprise that there has been rising interest in that tightly-rolled piece of dried tobacco leafs as a status symbol.
Rolling Out The History of Cigars
Cigars have not always been as perfectly processed as we know them now. Back in the days, tobacco has been wrapped in either palm or plantain leaves probably first by the ancient Mayans. Christopher Columbus, however, didn’t only discover the world, but also contributed to the spread of cigars in Europe. As tobacco was widespread among the islands he discovered, some of his men came across these dry leaves that spread a special fragrance. Smoking rolls of leaves soon turned into a hobby for European sailors. The trend then swapped over to Spain, Portugal and France. The commercial profit was already recognized earlier when the Spaniards established the first cigar factory in Cuba in 1542. Cuba’s cigars remained renowned and cherished for their quality for centuries, until Castro came to power in the 1950s. Many Cuban cigar makers reestablished their business in other Latin American countries, like the Dominican Republic or Honduras, which are leaders in cigars production now. Spanish manufacturers, meanwhile, had found better ways of wrapping the tobacco by using specialized papers instead of leaves. Rolling cigars more and more turned into a refined art.
What Shape Says About Cigars
Size (the diameter called the ring gauge) and shape are the two vital factors that determine a cigar.
Although cigars can vary greatly in size depending on the brand, there is no correlation between the size of a cigar and its strength. The strength is rather determined by the tobacco. However, thin cigars are more likely to burn hotter than fatter ones. In general, the stereotype is the bigger the better as that reflects a certain level of masculinity or machismo.
Created by the Mayan Indians, the Parejo is believed to be the original cigar shape. The simple cylinder with straight sides and one open end includes types like the well-known Corona, Carlota or Cigarillo. In honor of celebrities smoking cigars in public and therefore contributing to the popularity, some Parejo types have been named after famous people such as Churchill or Rothschild.
Figurados may not be as common nowadays. Their irregular shape makes them hard to manufacture and therefore expensive. They are considered to be of higher quality and are popular among collectors as a valuable cigar.
Only the sky is the limit when making cigars. Unusual shapes such as the Culebra – three intertwined cigars tied together at both ends – came up in recent years. What creative surprises will cigar makers have in store in the future?
The Best Cigars Require The Best Storage
Cigars need to be stored at an even and constant level of humidity, which is 68 – 75 %, at an interior temperature of between 61 and 68°F. These climatic conditions allow the characteristic flavors to unfold. The cigar will burn evenly and and its aroma will be enhanced. However, different temperatures require a different amount of moisture. In warm places, it is advised to continuously add water to the humidifier. The rule of thumb: If the air temperature is reduced from 68 degrees by one degree, the humidity should increase by 1% and vice versa.
A humidor recreates the mild, humid climate of the Caribbean, which makes it the best way to store cigars. It is essential to use distilled water instead of tap water. However, don’t worry about a light-gray dusting of bloom on the wrapper. This is a sign of proper aging, another benefit a humidor offers. For our humidor, Liebherr uses Spanish cedar wood, which ensures an even climate inside the appliance. This top quality wood helps with the maturing process and its aroma enhances the unique flavor of exclusive cigars. The perfectly designed XS 200 humidor, with its presentation boxes and LED lighting, is perfect for showcasing – and having ready for enjoyment – your valuable collection.
What’s the best cigar you’ve ever smoked? Leave a comment and tell us about your preferences.