Our Collection for the Cigar Aficionado
A little bit of history
It is easy to say that Christopher Columbus discovered cigars. However, like America, cigars were around way before Columbus supposedly discovered them. Let’s put it this way, he simply helped introduce cigars to mainstream culture.
Eventually, cigar smoking became a wildly popular activity among men in the early 20th century. Masculine men such as Babe Ruth and John Wayne were continually depicted in the media smoking cigars. Orson Welles intentionally wrote cigar-smoking characters into his films, and it is said that Mark Twain smoked as little as 22 cigars a day. He was supposedly quoted as saying, “If smoking is not allowed in Heaven, I shall not go.”
History of Cigars
The largest of the islands Columbus would claim for Spain was named Isla Juana in honor of the ruler of Castile. Later it would be known as Fernandina. Native Taino Indians called it Colba, which Spanish tongues twisted into “Cuba.” They also had a name for the curious dried leaves they set on fire in order to inhale the smoke – cojoba or cohiba.
Cuba is probably the most famous cigar producing country in the world. Its tobacco is renowned for its flavor and high quality. Although it has been banned in the United States for more than half a century, it still has the reputation for making the best cigars in the world. Some famous brands crafted here include the original versions of Montecristo, Partagas, H. Upmann, and Cohiba.
Because of its fertile land and favorable climate, Cuba is the only country where all three types of tobacco leaves to be used in a cigar are harvested – the wrapper, filler and binder.
American retaliation against Castro took the form of an economic embargo but, according to JFK’s press secretary Pierre Salinger, not until Kennedy assured himself a stockpile of his favourite Habanos. Called into the Oval office one afternoon, Salinger was ordered to obtain a thousand Petit Upmanns by the next morning. He returned and proudly reported completion of the assignment. With a satisfied smile Kennedy opened his desk, took out a long sheet of paper, and signed his name to it. Therewith imposing by the stroke of his pen an embargo on all imports of Cuban cigars that would remain in effect for decades.
The embargo on importation of Havana cigars led directly to an exodus of Cuban cigar makers and the growth of competition in premium cigar manufacturing in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and other Latin American countries.
Although Cuba has the reputation and the original premium cigar maker, it was the Dominican Republic that first cultivated tobacco for cigars. It is known for its light and smooth flavor. However recently different strands have been grown that have been incredibly powerful. The Dominican has produced some amazing brands such as Arturo Fuente, the Dominican Montecristo, and La Flor Dominicana.
After the Cuban revolution, many of the finest cigar rollers left Cuba and many of them settled in the lush, humid nation of Nicaragua. Its tobacco is known for its power and great spicy flavor profile. If you look at some of the great Nicaraguan cigars, you will see that they had their roots in Cuba. These brands include Padron, My Father, and Perdomo.
Honduras is home to some very rich and powerful tobacco. Cigars here are known to be strong and dark, with a great earthy flavor to them. The famed Cuban seed Corojo tobacco was first grown here after leaving the island of Cuba. Camacho has laid its claim as one of the finest Honduran cigars. With newer companies Room 101 and CLE quickly rising up the charts.
Yes, the United States is famous for the mild and creamy Connecticut wrapper. This is the wrapper used on every mild cigar. And with a variation grown in Ecuador gaining popularity. However, The US has recently been producing some richer and more flavorful cigar tobaccos. First you have the Kentucky Fire Cured by Drew Estate, which uses homegrown Fire Cured tobaccos, giving it a very smoky flavor. More current was the release of the Camacho American Barrel Aged, which uses American broadleaf tobacco, and a dash of Pennsylvanian long filler.