Hand Crafted Cigars
The indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands and Mesoamerica have smoked cigars since as early as the 10th century. A ceramic vessel decorated with the figure of a man smoking a primitive cigar was discovered at a Mayan archaeological site in Guatemala. However, it is Christopher Columbus who is generally credited with introducing smoking to Europe. During Columbus' journey in 1492, two of his crew disembarked in Cuba and are said to have taken puffs of tobacco wrapped in maize husks, thus making them the first European cigar smokers. Near the end of the 16th century, half a ton of tobacco seed was brought to the Philippines via the Acapulco-Manila trade route and distributed to the Roman Catholic missions, who found the climate excellent for growing high quality tobacco. In the 19th century, cigars were far more popular than cigarettes. Some manufacturers still roll cigars by hand today, and there is a wide range of flavored cigars now available.
The making of cigars is a lengthy process, as once the tobacco leaves are harvested they are aged using a combination of heat and shade to reduce the sugar and water content without causing the leaves to rot. This curing process takes between twenty-four and forty-five days, varying substantially according to the specific climate, as well as the type of shed or barn used. Fermentation is the next process, whereby temperature and humidity are controlled to ensure that the tobacco leaf dies slowly, without rotting or disintegrating. This is where the intense flavor, burning, and aromatic characteristics of the tobacco plant are brought out in the leaf. Once this is done, the tobacco is graded according to its appearance and overall quality, and is constantly baled, inspected and baled again throughout its aging cycle. Once it has matured to the manufacturer's specifications, it will be used in the production of cigars, both flavored and natural.
The creation of a quality cigar is still performed by hand, with an experienced cigar roller producing hundreds of exceptional, near identical cigars each day. It is important that the rollers keep the tobacco moist throughout this process, especially the wrapper and they use specially designed crescent-shaped knives to form the filler and wrapper leaves as efficiently as possible. It is during this process that the roller blends different varieties of tobacco and filler to create the flavored cigars. Once rolled, the cigars are stored in wooden forms as they dry, and their ends are capped to a uniform size. Once this stage is complete, the cigar can be aged for decades, some believing that the longer the cigar has aged, the better it tastes. In order to keep the cigars from drying out, they are usually stored in a special wooden box called a humidor, where conditions can be carefully controlled for long periods of time.
Surprisingly enough, cigars do not generally taste of smoke but rather of tobacco and nuances of other tastes associated with the wrapper. Some of the more common flavors associated with smoking cigars include spice, cocoa or chocolate, coffee, nut, wood, berry, and honey. Many different things affect the scent of the cigar, including the quality, the various added flavors, the type of tobacco, its age, the humidity, and the production method. The cigars from Willy Cigars are handmade by a Cuban born craftsman with nearly fifty years of experience. The tobacco leaves are hand-selected and aged for a minimum of three years. The filler has the most veins, giving the cigar a nicer taste. Only Connecticut shade wrappers are used, with the outer portions of the leaves giving a fine texture and elasticity to contribute to the cigar aroma. If you are interested in purchasing these incredible flavored cigars, please visit www.willycigars.com.
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