Oh the pleasure of an hour spent with a truly satisfying cigar, this hour is the product of months or even years of work. From planting the tiny seeds, caring for the plants, harvesting the tobacco, matching the flavors, and the skills involved in a hand made the cigar.There are many things that I enjoy, and one of them is taking some time to relax with a good cigar. Hopefully winter will end soon, and spring and summer will be upon us. This is when I get to enjoy my cigars, outside of course, because I can't smoke them in the house.A few years back my daughter decided that we should all go on a Caribbean cruise. Who am I to argue, just take me to the ship. One our stops was Puerto Rico, as we walked though this beautiful city we came upon this man you see in the picture, hand rolling and selling his cigars. I was amazed at watching his hands as he skillfully crafted these cigars.
Oh These Skillful Hands
These people are true craftsman, such as the artist with brush and canvas, and the sculpture's hands and clay, all creating something of beauty for others to enjoy, so goes the skill of a hand made cigar.Since I enjoy a good cigar, years ago I took an interest in how the were really made. I'm not an expert on the subject by any means, this is just knowledge that I've learned through my own research.The three components of a cigar are the filler, the binder and the wrapper. In the picture you see the hands of the craftsman known as the "buncher". This is the job that takes the filler and wraps it in the binder, there is much care taken here as the buncher has to make sure there is enough air space for a good draw and even burn of cigar. Then the cigars are placed in wooden molds and pressed into shape, once the cigars are shaped after several presses, they are turned over to most skillful master the "roller". This is where the cigar is trimmed, and the final wrapper is cut, just to the perfect size for the cigar. Then like the master that he is, the roller makes his final move to wrap the cigar and affix the cap to the head with natural tree gum.If you want to become a master roller you must start as an apprentice for two years, then if you're lucky enough to join the ranks, it will take another six years before you are proficient in all shapes and sizes.The Photo here is from my favorite cigar book featured below.
The Three Methods Of Making A cigar
There are three different methods of making cigars. The first method is a completely hand made cigar, this is the method you just read about. The second method is the machine bunched cigar, this is where a machine does the bundlers job. After the machine bundles, the skillful hands of the roller take over. By law these cigars can be marketed as hand made.The third method is the completely machine made cigar, these cigars are generally low-priced mass market cigars. This is not to say that they are not good cigars.There are good cigars made by all three methods, the most expensive will be the completely hand made cigar given all of the skill and labor involved in bringing it to the market.Pictured here is some of my collection; I have all three methods in my humidor. I guess you can say that I just enjoy a good cigar no matter what method was used to produce it