Cigars Guide

 

A few words about enjoying and caring about your Cigars.


Many regard the experience of smoking a cigar as an art form. Connoisseurs slowly draw the cooled, tasteful smoke as one might sip a glass of vintage wine or a fine brandy. A well manufactured cigar will provide a flavorful bouquet of aromas and give the smoker a relaxing experience.

There is a philosophy behind the ability to select the right cigar for a given moment. And, like any philosophy, it is subject to interpretation - even debate. Some believe in certain strengths and/or shapes of cigars depending on the time of day the cigar is smoked. Others feel that only particular shapes go with certain body or facial types. And yet others suggest that a cigar should be smoked only when one has the time to savor it to the fullest.

In general smaller, milder cigars be smoked in the morning, cigars of medium strength and size go well in the afternoon, and the more full-bodied larger sized cigars should be savored after dinner.

What's more important than basic guidelines is to contemplate your own smoking tastes and preferences. Once familiar with various sizes and types of cigars, you'll be able to determine what cigar is best for your own special smoking scenarios.

 


 





How to check the authenticity of a cigar

 
The simpler way to be sure that your cigars are authentic is to always buy from official HABANOS SA importers or resellers who make their purchases from those importers. 

 

There is no such thing as an authentic cheap Cuban cigar.  Although, it is true that due to the different taxation policys of each country the prices may vary but still differences of more than 15 - 20% should make you skeptical.

Always choose suppliers who operate in legitimate ways.  It is common sense and experience that one cannot be legit and sincere in some aspects of his bussiness and not in some others.  Suppliers who pay all the required taxes in their country do not have any interest in importing fake cigars.



How to judge a cigar (the 3 C's)

 
Construction - How well is the cigar made? How does it feel to the touch? With a firm, but soft grip feel it from end to end. Does it feel consistent all the way through? Are there any hard or soft spots? A cigar that is too hard, too soft, or inconsistent will not draw properly.
 

Condition - Cigars should be well conditioned before smoking. Cigars should be aged for several months to several years at the proper humidity (65 - 75% RH) and temperature (16 - 18 °C). A dry cigar will burn hot, fast and can taste harsh. A damp cigar will be hard to light and can be hard to draw.

Causality (cause and effect) - How does the cigar taste? How does the cigar make you feel? Does the cigar build in taste, flavor and complexity as it burns? Or is it the same all the way through? Do you feel relaxed and calm after finishing it?



How to cut a cigar

 
The first step involved in preparing a cigar for use is to open a passage way allowing air to circulate from one end to the other. Some smokers elect to bite the tip off the cigar; its quick and easy solution and there is no need to carry around any tools along. Most cigar connoisseurs however use specialized clipper that provide a clean, manicured cut.
 

If a cutter is used, the incision should be made quickly and decisively. The cutter should be placed just above the cigar's cap line (the curved area that covers the head of the cigar) and clipped in one swift motion. This produces a clean cut which is desirable for smoking a cigar.

Once the cigar has been clipped using the smokers preferred method, it is ready to be lit.



Types of cutters

 
The "Guillotine" or "Traditional" Cut This cutter takes a straight slice across the cigars cap line. It is the best cut to create an easy, well circulated draw; however residue and tar from the burning tobacco will come in direct contact with the smoker's mouth.

The "Bullet" or "Punch" Cut A bullet cutter pierces a small hole into the cigars cap. Depending on the diameter of the cutter, air circulation may be restricted and the smokes tar and residue can accumulate around the opening.

The "V" Cut The V cutter creates a wedge shaped notice in the cigars cap. This cut allows proper air circulation to occur. The smokes tar and residue accumulate on the sides of the wedge keeping the bitter taste away from the smoker's mouth. It can be difficult to keep a V cutter sharp because of its unique shape.


 

How to light a cigar

 
Tobacco will absorb any aroma or fragrance that it comes in contact with. Paper and sulfur based matches or the use of a fluid based lighter can leave the cigar with an unpleasant taste. The preferred method to light a cigar is the use of a butane based lighter. A lit wooden match can be used once it has burned off the chemicals used in the ignition process.
 

Once the cigar is cut, hold the open end of the cigar over your flame and slowly rotate it. This will "Toast" the cigar and prime it for lighting. While it is still warm, place the cigar in your mouth and hold it at a 45° angle over the flame. Slowly puff and rotate the cigar while maintaining slight contact with the flame. A Good cigar will light easy and burn evenly.



How to store cigars

 
Cigars should be kept in a controlled environment. A cedar lined box, called a humidor is traditionally used for storage. The cedar helps flavor and age the cigar. Cedar also holds moisture well which helps keep humidity at a constant level.

Cigars kept at 65 - 75% RH and 16 - 18°C offer the best smoking experience. Tobacco burns smoothly and tastes the best when kept with in this range. A dry cigar burns fast and has a harsh flavor. A damp cigar will be hard to keep lit and can grow mold while in storage.  Note that maintaining the correct humidity levels is much more important than temperature.  Since it is difficult to maintain the desired, relatively low, temperature in your house, you should at least try to store your cigars in the coolest area.  Temperatures of up to 24°C will not harm your cigars.   

Humidors should always close tightly, providing a seal that keeps the atmosphere inside at a constant level. A reusable moisturizer should be used to aid in the humidification. A gauge that monitors temperature and humidity can be helpful to keep optimal conditions constant.


 

Recognizing different Vitolas

The following table shows the different Vitolas de Galera (Factory names) under which all cigars can be categorised.  We tried to simplify the table by grouping similar Vitolas.  In fact one could say that the table mentions the "common names" with which we refer to our cigars everyday, rather that the exact official names.
 
Common NameRing GaugeLengthRing & Length rangesVitolas de Galera that belong in the category
 Figuradoany any 

 any

Exquisito, campana, Pyramide, Torpedo, perfecto, culebras, Double perfecto 
 Special 52 22950-up & 203-up                     Gran Corona Long (Monte A), coloniales, Hermoso No3, Cepo, No109, Robusto especiale, Romeo, Rodolfo, Diadema, Gran Piramide, Salomones. 
 Robusto 50 12748-54 & 114-140  Edmundo,Hermoso No4, Petit robusto, gordito 
 Toro

 50

 15248-54 & 143-168  Hermoso No2, Hermoso No1, doble, robusto extra, Canonazo, sublime 
Double Corona                                      49 19449-54 & 171-197   Prominente, Paco, Fabuloso 
 Churchill 47 17846-48 & 171-200 Julieta No2
Corona Gorda4616545-47 & 114-168   Gran corona, Especiales, Britanicas
Petit Corona4212740-44 & 102-130Marevas, minuto, perla, reyes, franciscanos, coronitas, standard, Londres, Petit cetros, almuerzos, petit coronas 
Corona4214040-44 & 133-146Cremas, Nacionales, Cristales, Eminentes, Brecas, Cosacos, Coronas, Conservas, Coloniales, Franciscos 
Corona Grande4215240-44 & 149-162Long Corona,Cazadores 
Lonsdale4216540-44 & 165-up Cervantes, Fundadores, dalias
Panetela3815235-39 & 102-175 tas, Media corona, Laguito No.2, No2, Parejos, Short panetela, conchitas, cadetes, vegueritos, trabucos, petit cetros. Belvederes, epicures, sports, seoane, universales
Gran panetela3819235-39 & 178-upLaguito No.1, Lancero, delicados, delicados extra, No1 
Petit panetela3415230-34 & 102-upslim & small panetela, entractos, palmitas, seoane, deliciosos, palmas, ninfas, placeras, petit, demi-tasse 

 


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