My mate says that cigars are made only in Cuba, is he correct?
No, Although the cigar business was started 150 years ago in Cuba, cigars are now made in several other countries. Many Cuban nationals fled the country during the early years of president Castro’s regime and continued their trade in the surrounding countries such as Honduras, the Dominican republic, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Brazil.
Montecristo is one of the most coveted makes of hand made Havana cigars, and you can pay more than $400 for 25 with a ‘ring gauge’ of 52 and a length of 6.5″.
Just in case you were wondering, the ring gauge is the cigar’s diameter measured in units of 1/64th’s of an inch. So a ring gauge of 52 means a diameter of 52/64″. You can buy Montecristo cigars at lengths between 4″ to 7.5″ and at ring gauges of 26 to 52. The cigar’s outstanding flavor comes from the ‘ligero’ tobacco leaf.
Q1. Quality cigars are sold in special rooms at airports, is this just another sales gimmick?
The atmosphere in these shops is kept constant so that the cigars can keep their best flavor. A humidity of 70% and a temperature of 70 Farenheit (21oC) is maintained in these rooms. At low humidities and high temperatures, the cigar dries out and goes brittle. At high humidities, mildew can form to ruin the cigar. Some cigars have been kept in perfect condition for 50 years using the correct atmospheric conditions!
So, these rooms are not a sales gimmick,
Q2. I cannot carry an air conditioned room around with me, so how do I store my expensive cigars?
Use a carrying case called a Humidor. It has its own water vapor supply and a hygrometer to check the humidity. The best lining for a Humidor is made from Spanish cedarwood. If your cigar is losing its wrapper or crackling when you cut the cap, then its too dry. If there is a musty smell or it sizzles when you smoke it, then the cigar is too wet.
For use in the short term, tubes or finger cases can be used.
Q3. As well as the maker’s Brand name what do these other names mean?
Robusto, Toro, Presidente and Churchill are thick cigars.
Lonsdale and Pantela are thin and long.
Corona and Rothschilds are medium gauge cigars.
Others include Triangulo, Diadema, Perfecto, Torpedo and Culebra.
Q4. The BEST alternative to Cuban cigars are?? ?
Usually Dominican such as Corojo 2000 or Breton Corojo cigars.
Q5. As a general rule are ALL Cuban cigars the best?
No, Cuba makes a lot of mediocre cigars and there is a flourishing trade in counterfeits.