"I am the smoker of the fine Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne Torpedo cigar, they are a medium to mild smoke. I buy them at Doc James Cigar & Golf in Shrub Oaks NY...." Ira

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The Basics of Cigars

Learning about the basics of cigars is an important part of finding the best options for a personal budget and a preferred taste. Cigars are similar to fine wines because the development from the seed to the final sale takes time and the process is complicated. It is also important to know the basics of the different types of tobacco to get the best flavor for personal taste.

Common Regions where Cigars are Rolled

Although most individuals know that Cuba grows tobacco and rolls cigars, other regions are less well-known to the general public. Any connoisseur of cigars should learn about the different regions and the tobacco that is grown in those areas.

Although Cuba is a well-known growing area, tobacco for cigars is also grown in Connecticut, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean Islands, Honduras, Mexico, Indonesia and Cameroon.

Growing and Aging Process

As is the case with fine wine, tobacco is aged before it is sold to the public. The process of growing and aging the cigar depends slightly on the specific company involved but usually follows some basic guidelines.

Cigars are usually sold within two to three years, depending on the specific brand and tobacco. The growth of tobacco plants takes 18 weeks and then the tobacco is put through a fermentation process. Fermentation will take roughly six weeks before the tobacco is rolled into a cigar.

The cigar is then aged for a period of 18 to 24 months before it is sold. By the time the aging process is complete, the cigars will have a complex flavor that buyers can enjoy immediately.

Process of Rolling Cigars

Cigars are often hand-rolled in the country of origin. The filler for the cigar is usually two to four different tobaccos that are bunched together.

The filler is surrounded by an elastic and flexible tobacco leaf, which is called the binder. That binder is used to roll the blend of tobacco into a bunch and is then put into a cigar mold to provide the right shape. The tobacco will stay in the mold for a period of one hour or more before it is removed for wrapping.

The wrapping is put around the tobacco to provide the distinct color and look of the cigar. After the wrapper surrounds the tobacco, the cigar is trimmed and aged before it is sold. The aging will take three weeks to six months to allow the different types of tobacco in the filler to blend flavors.

Colors of Wrappers

Although the shades and colors of cigar wrappers can come in as many as 100 different options, only six are commonly distinguished and are considered the most relevant to the cigar buyer. The six shades are Double Claro, Claro, Colorado Claro, Claro, Colorado Maduro and Maduro.

Double Claro is a wrapper shade that is green. Although the actual name is Double Claro, the wrapper is sometimes called the American Market Selection, or Candela.

The Claro cigar wrapper is a very light shade that is commonly considered beige or light tan.

The Colorado Claro is a wrapper shade that is commonly found on cigars. The color is a medium brown, and it is often referred to as European Market Selection, or Natural.

The Colorado wrapper is a very distinct shade. The wrapper has an obvious red tint.

The Colorado Maduro wrapper has a dark brown that is commonly seen on African cigars.

The final wrapper that is commonly found on cigars is Maduro. Maduro is a very dark, almost black, shade.

Sizes and Shapes of Cigars

The sizes and shapes of cigars are a part of selecting the preferred options. The size and shape are defined based on the length of the cigar in inches and also based on the ring gauge. The ring gauge is determined by 1/64 of an inch.

The head of a cigar is the cut part and the foot is the area that is lighted. Straight cigars and figuados are the two common classifications of shapes. The figuados have shapes that are not straight down, such as a tapered head or bulge in the middle of the cigar.

Cigar Cuts

Three common ways to cut a cigar are the guillotine, the V-cut and the punch cut. The guillotine is a curved cut, the V-cut forms a V-shape at the head and the punch cut creates a circle at the head.

Lighting a Cigar

Ultimately, enjoying a cigar comes down to the lighting process. A cigar is lit by bringing the flame close to the cigar but not letting it touch the foot. It is turned while lighting until embers appear at the end of the cigar. Before drawing in a breath, blow out through the cigar to remove the flavors of a lighter or match.

Cigars are enjoyable when a little knowledge is obtained. Understanding the process of making the cigars will make it easier to choose one.