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"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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Unique Leaf Wrappers and Other Upscale Cigar Trends

In order to gain and keep new clients, an industry must constantly develop new strategies, and this rule of thumb also applies to the cigar industry. New products, sizes and blends serve to make some of the older cigar products obsolete while other traditional products continue to retain their popularity. One positive aspect of the cigar boom that occurred in the mid-1990s centers on the fact that a number of new fans began to buy cigar products. A large majority of these new cigar smokers have developed stronger tastes over the years, and they currently seek out any types of innovative formulas. Because of the booming consumer base in the cigar industry, manufacturers can afford to introduce newer and more unusual cigar brands to consumers while continuing to develop improvements in historically popular products.

Numerous individuals who were smoking their favorite brands of cigars before the cigar boom agree that cigar companies offer consumers excellent opportunities today. Manufacturers continue to respond to the tastes and particular penchants of cigar smokers who want more ingenious products that include different shapes, sizes, aromas, distinctive tastes and exclusive packages. Even though these newer preferences are not favored by all aficionados, the preferences reflect a significant change within the marketplace. Consumers have taken lead roles. Prices are not any higher than they were a decade ago yet the quality of the products is superior.

Irony of the Corojo Leaf

Cuban cigars have their own unique flavors and aromas. Manufacturers have attempted to duplicate the uniqueness found in Cuban cigars for over 40 years, only to have experienced failure. New efforts over the past several years center on Corojo leaf tobacco, a product that is used to manufacture wrappers and fillers. Named for El Corojo Vega, a Cuban tobacco plantation that developed Coroju Leaf tobacco in the 1930s, this type of tobacco plant was used to wrap cigars manufactured in Cuba. An ironic aspect of this history is that Cuba no longer manufactures El Coroju tobacco because it is too vulnerable to contracting diseases.

In modern Cuba, the Habana 2000 or Criollo Especial is used as a cigar wrapper instead of the Coroju Leaf. This wrapper gained ardent enthusiasts in the middle of the 20th century, and it is currently grown by tobacco farmers located in the following countries: Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The Corojo uses the Habana 2000 for a wrapper and a filler. The Camacho Corojo, a product of Honduras, is an extremely popular product that is respected for its intense flavor. Cigars made with the Corojo leaf do not appeal to all cigar smokers, but they do find favor with those who look for the strongest and fullest varieties.

Criollo Leaf Products Offer Discerning Consumers Spicy Flavors

A consumer who wants to smoke a product with a strong, spicy flavor will enjoy a cigar wrapped in the Criollo leaf. Its name derives from the 17th century during the period when Cuba was colonized by Spain, which resulted in distinct class and color demarcations of the general populace. Caucasians whose ancestors were from Spain were known as either criollos, meaning Cuban-born, or as peninsulares, meaning Spanish-born. Both of these groups were involved in frequent confrontations. The Criollo eventually gained repute as a tobacco strain that grew in direct sunlight. This is the opposite of the Corojo leaf that thrives best when grown under the protection of muslin cloths. Exposure to the sun's rays creates a vast array of tobacco plants that yield intensely flavorful blends.

The deep, reddish-brown Criollo leaf wrapper's heavy texture, which is similar to the majority of the wrappers of Cuban cigars, features a unique oily surface. A cigar only tastes as good as its wrapper, and the Criollo leaf certainly satisfies the consumer who wants a cigar with a magnificent appearance and intense essence. The Cupido Criollo is a good example. This product line stems from Kiki Berger, a master blender who provides consumers with greater experiences than those found in his standard Cupido line of products. The Cigar Pequenos by Perdomo is another type of cigar that makes use of this type of wrapper, and the newer CAO Criollo series is expected to appear in the marketplace in the near future.

Candela Wrappers are No Longer Favored by Many Americans

Candela wrappers have lost favor with the populace over the last decade, mainly because of crop scantiness. Americans have enjoyed smoking Candela cigars, which are also known as American Market Selection of AMS cigars, from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. Featuring a brightly colored green wrapper, the color of the Candela is from a manufacturing process that captures the chlorophyll within the leaf before the product is fermented. This wrapper offers a smoker the experience of mildness combined with a smooth flavor. A few respected wrapper brands featuring Candela wrappers include the Don Tomas Candela and the Camacho Candela.

Sun-Grown Wrappers from Equador

Sun-grown wrappers that grow in sunlight without the need of muslin cloth covers are known as Sun-Grown, Virgin Sun-Grown and Havana Sun-Grown wrappers. Ecuador is now famous for its manufacturing of this wrapper variety that does not require coverage during the rainy season because the clouds overshadow the sky. Sun-grown wrappers offer smokers hearty, full-bodied smoking experiences that are not typically found in the majority of wrappers. The Olivia "O" cigar series offers sun-grown wrappers that render a certain heartiness to the cigars, even though the flavors retain their smoothness. The "Original Cubans" brand is another variety of this type of wrapper. This type of cigar is reminiscent of the period when cigars manufactured in Cuba were the most exemplary tobacco products.

Rosado or Red Wrappers

The word "rosado" means "pink" in the Spanish language, and these wrappers feature a red hue. The Rosado wrapper is known for its full, spicy aroma. The Rosado wrapper is not commonly used, but it does have its small percentage of adherents. The red hue derives from different tobacco strains and various types of climates. The Cuban Parejo by Perdoma grows from Nicaraguan seed and is available with a Maduro or Rosado wrap. Large ring gauges permit this variety to use the Rosado wrapper in order to give consumers rich, intricate flavors.

Dos Rios, a product offered by Perdomo, is another type of Rosado wrapper that grows in Ecuador from an Indonesian seed. Dos Rios features spicy flavoring, is sold in a box-press and is offered to consumers at bargain prices. La Estrella Cubana takes the Rosado wrap to a new level of intensity with its usage of Sangria wine during the aging process. The Sangria wine makes the spicy overtones less noticeable.

Shapes and Ring Gauges

Manufacturers are producing cigars that come in figurado shapes and in thicker ring gauges. People can find cigars that look similar to carrots or torpedos, "torbustos" and reverse topedos, double perfectos and giant ones like the newer 10 by 100 inch Cuban Parejo Galaxia size, courtesy of Perdomo. Consumers can experiment with various sizes that serve to stimulate their taste buds. Some of these sizes, such as the Egg by Drew Estate and the baseball bat shape by Don Juan, are manufactured strictly as novelty items. Nevertheless, consumers readily find access to thick ring gauges. The Brazilia is a current addition to the CAO stable, and it is available in ring guages ranging from 54 to 60 inches. These gauges enable greater complexities of aromas.

Alec Bradley has recently introduced the Trilogy Native Cameroon, which looks like a triangle. The Bohemian Red Corojos and the Vega Talanga Tercio introduce innovative "pig-tail" caps and ragged feet. Even though it is interesting to try cigars that come in various sizes or designs, excellent products derive from superior tobacco combined with the ways in which they are manufactured. The traditional and well-received Lonsdale shape, which features a 40 to 44 ring gauge and only measures approximately 7 inches, is no longer easy to procure. Consumers today prefer longer, thicker cigars over the previously desired Lonsdale size.

Miniatures or Cigarillos Gain in Popularity

These cigars are known as miniatures, or cigarillos, and even though the products did not exist a decade ago, they are now gaining in popularity. People who enjoy smoking smaller cigars appreciate these miniature versions of their larger peers, along with the fact that cigarillos offer the same quality. Miniatures are sometimes made by hand, but they are also made with machinery. One reason that the cigarillo is currently popular is its extremely moderate price tag. Additionally, as newer laws continue to prohibit people from smoking cigars in public, the option of smoking smaller cigars during short work breaks offers an attractive aspect in comparison to larger facsimiles such as the Churchill. A few of the most popular cigarillo brands include the Nat Sherman Nats cigarillos, Hoyo Excalibur Miniatures, Don Tomas Coronitas and CAO Petites.

Shopping for Cigar Brand Bargains

The cigar boom that occurred in the mid-1990s still affects consumers. It is increasingly difficult to find closeout prices for favorite brands. Closeout bargains can offer consumers tremendous discounts, but they may also reflect lower prices because they are no longer popular products. Numerous cigar manufacturers filed for bankruptcy shortly after the cigar boom took place, which resulted in massive numbers of cigar products. Even though every brand features a different type of quality, a smart consumer can still find a real bargain. Since cigars improve with age, older products that have been patiently sitting in warehouses for many years may offer superior and smoother flavors.