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.
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.
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!