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The History Of Cigars

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Cigar and a timepiece

Personally, I really enjoy looking into the history of things. I’m not sure why but I feel like when I understand the history of things and not just cigars that I appreciate them even more. So in this post I want to elaborate on the history of cigars. Time Magazine actually shared a really informative article about this so if you’d rather their version than mine then head over and have a read.

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First off let’s start with the definition of a cigar as provided on Wikipedia:

‘A cigar is a rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco leaves made to be smoked. They are produced in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Since the 20th century, almost all cigars are made up of three distinct components: the filler, the binder leaf which holds the filler together, and a wrapper leaf. Often the cigar will have band printed with the cigar manufacturer’s logo.’

When Were Cigars Created?

So from the definition we know that they have been around since the 10th century. It was believed that the Mayan people are the original inventors, wrapping tobacco in palm or plantain leaves. This dates back to a ceramic pot discovery in the area of Guatemala which has an image of a Mayan smoking what looks like tobacco leaves tied together with string.

Bringing it forward many years to 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered not only America but also tobacco. He brought the trend back to Europe and the popularity has risen exponentially. With the rise in popularity, the majority of European cigars were produced in Spain.

Cigar Manufacturing

After growing crops in Spain many moved to Florida and not long after Cuba was discovered as the ideal growing location. The climate here is ideal for tobacco and cigars, hence why humidors are required to mimic this exact climate.

So Why Cuba?

Cuba is the all in one location to grow the filler, binder and wrapper. The fertile lands and perfect climate make for the right growing conditions all year round. So what is the ideal climate? A humidity that fluctuates between 70% and 80% and temperatures ranging from 70°F to 73°F.

Types of Cigars

There are many different types of cigars but the most common is definitely the Parejo. Shaped in a cylinder and very similar to a modern cigarette these are the cigars depicted by the Mayans. Within the category of Parejo there are many others including the Churchill, Rothschild, Lonsdale, Toro, Corona and Carlota.

There are also another class called Figurados. These guys are not very common these days but once upon a time were. Cigars in this category are known as Presidente, Torpedo and Toscanos and if you find them savor them! They are definitely a collectors item as they have been phased out of production.

Stogies – What are They!?

Stogies was the nickname given to cigars so if you’ve heard this term being thrown around then read on for the explanation.

A stogie is a slang word for a cheap cigar that was pre-cut. Safe to assume that a stogie is a cheap cigar so don’t go throwing this word around. It can be offensive!

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Time for a New Cigar Lighter

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I very unceremoniously lost my cigar lighter to the lake this weekend. My favorite one at that! So the time has come for me to find a replacement. I was a bit skeptical about which to choose and how much to spend so I referred back to my favorite cigar website- Cigar Cigar Info and read through their Best Cigar Lighter article a few times while musing over my options.

I was actually quite interested in trying something different. I saw the most recent article on Ram Research called Best Torch Lighter and after reading through that I thought the Saber lighter could be very interesting to try out too. I was very intrigued by the claim that the plasma technology will produce more heat than a flame. Not only this but the lighter is powered by lithium cell batteries so it is simply recharged. It takes 1 hour to charge and will last for 3 hours once full! I’m pretty interested but not completely convinced that is it my new cigar lighter!

Choices

Figuring out what I want was actually quite a difficult task. I know I want a double flame at a minimum yet I want it to look stylish and elegant and fit into my other cigar accessories well too. Obviously the fuel has to be butane and refillable and I personally like to have a fuel window so I can know when to refill my lighter without ever getting caught out that it might not have enough fuel to light my cigars.

I also like the ability to adjust the flame size and strength. This gives me more choice and control over lighting my cigars. If I only have a thin cigar I don’t need a huge flame to light it, I like to be able to adjust the flame size to suit the cigar and the environment.

What Cigar Lighter Did I Buy?

I decided to treat myself and bought the Tonino Lamborghini lighter. Time will tell if I like it and how well it functions. I’ll be sure to share my results and thoughts on this lighter with due time on the blog. I got the black one with a little bit of red on it and at the moment am very impressed with how it looks and functions. I particularly like the honeycomb finish on the top surface of the lighter.

The lighter has a triple jet flame and is wind resistant. To me this lighter exudes style and luxury and the company itself is known for its high quality products. The lighter measures about 2.7inches high but fits comfortably in the palm of my hand.

Other Ways to Light a Cigar

There are a few choices when it comes to lighting cigars. One can also use cedar spills which are a very traditional cigar accessory and there are also cigar matches too. Everyone has their own opinions on what is best and what works for what cigar and situation however, I think the majority of the way you light a cigar boils down to what you personally like. Don’t feel you need to rush out and buy the best cigar lighter you can because  you read it somewhere. Feel free to explore and experiment and try different things! Ultimately it’s the best way to learn and become a cigar aficionado yourself!