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Cigars: A Quick Lesson

1. Cigars Are a Natural Product

Premium handmade cigars are 100% tobacco leaves. The flavor & color is not enhanced by artificial means and chemicals and dyes are not added to the drying process. Weather, climate and crop variations all change how the tobacco is blended and no two premium cigars are completely alike.

2. Hundreds of Hands - Thousands of Jobs

Hundreds of hands are needed in the process of creating a premium cigar. Seed collection, greenhouse tending, transplanting to the fields, harvesting and hanging, curing, transporting to a fermentation facility, repacking, de-stemming, rolling, sorting, aging, banding, boxing and shipping.

3. Tobacco Fermentation

After tobacco is cured, the leaves are piled and water is added. The weight of the piles produce pressure and heat. This process affects the smell and flavor of the tobacco, reducing bitterness. Unfermented tobacco will often smell like ammonia and have an unpleasant aftertaste.

4. Aging is Key

Aging tobacco eliminates the raw “green” flavor, as it breaks down the carotenoids in the leaves. Further aging after the cigar is made helps stabilize the humidity levels and further blends the various tobacco flavors. Avoid over-aging that often produces a dusty bitter flavor.

5. The Anatomy of a Cigar

A cigar is made up of three major parts: wrapper, binder and filler. The wrapper is the visible outer cover leaf. The binder is a less standard quality wrapper leaf. It’s often the same tobacco as the wrapper, only not as smooth in appearance. A good-burning binder will often help the filler to burn more evenly. The filler can be different types of tobacco from various countries for desired flavor, strength and complexity. Long-filler tobaccos burn slowly.The foot is the end of the cigar where filler is usually visible. The head is the top, or tip and is finished with a cap, which helps to hold the wrapper in place.

6. Cutting and Lighting

You must cut the head off on handmade cigars, then light. Cutting too much off the top can cause the wrapper of your cigar to unravel. Don’t cut off so much of the head that you actually lose the taper on Torpedoes and pyramides. This taper allows the cigar to fit more comfortably in your mouth. Conversely, not cutting off enough can result in a firm draw and a build-up of tar in the head that will ooze into your mouth, something you want to avoid. Less is always better since you can always cut more. Lighting should be done with minimal direct contact of the flame to avoid a charcoal taste. Low wind is the best condition for lighting up.

7. Slow and Easy

Take your time and slow down. Over puffing will heat up the cigar too much, causing it to taste bitter. Only puff enough to keep your cigar lit to avoid having to relight it frequently which could result in char, and leave your ash on as long as you can.

8. Price v. Quality

“Standards of quality are determined by appearance, combustion, aroma and flavor. A highly aromatic, flavorful tobacco that is pristine in appearance and elastic to the touch is going to be more expensive than a coarse leaf that doesn’t have much smell or taste.” All tobaccos are not alike, and just because a cigar costs $35.00 and another only costs $10.00, doesn’t mean that the more expensive one is the best. Don’t let commercial hype about a cigar fool you into paying a higher price. Aging, fermenting, crop conditions and the expertise of the cigar manufacturer must be taken into account. The longer the process, the higher the price. Usually if a cigar is expensive, the cost is justified. Let your tastes be your guide. Splurge and decide if the $35 or the $10 is right for you.

9. Research & Choose your Cigar Carefully

Strong, medium or mild? Heavy or light flavor profiles? Dark oily wrappers are not always indicative of a strong or heavy flavor and light colored wrappers are not always a lighter smoke. Read or ask about the true flavor profiles of the wide range of handmade cigars available. Then choose based on your preferences. If one doesn’t fit the bill, then there is always tomorrow to experience another that just might be the one you have been waiting for.

10. Are Cubans the Best?

“Cuban Cigars are great, but they are not alone in their greatness - Cigar Aficionado". Sometimes Cubans win in a variety of Cigar of the Year awards, sometimes a Dominican cigar takes the prize. Let your own tastes be your guide.

Gil's Wholesale Distributors

322 W Oak Lane Glenolden PA 19032

Gil's Wholesale Distributors offers an exceptional variety of premium and domestic cigars and accessories, tobacco, cigarettes, and tobacco related products to convenience stores, cigar aficianados, private clubs, cigar and smoke shops, and redistributors.

Over 40 years of outstanding service & product expertise.

One Stop Shopping.  No Membership Required.

Call us today!


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