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3rd April 2017Cigars 101: How Are Cigars Made?
The magic of cigars starts with growing the materials, namely the tobacco leaf. The composition of the soil, water, and sunlight affects this particular factor greatly, which is the reason why there are so many tobacco varieties. However, producing top-quality leaves is only the start of the journey that ends with the creation of a high-quality cigar. You should understand exactly how cigars are made in order to appreciate them fully.
- Growing the tobacco
In order to be of a suitable quality, tobacco plants must be cultivated in a very precise manner. They are seeded and stored indoors for about ten weeks before being planted into properly treated ground. As the wrappers of cigars require large even leaves, the plants are pruned by hand meticulously.
- Curing of the leaves
Once tobacco leaves are harvested, they must be strung in a well-aired barn to cure. As they are grown in hot regions, the majority of tobacco leaves are air-cured naturally. However, some cigars are made with flue-cured tobacco, which is ‘produced’ in small closed barns with temperature control (90-170F). In some cases, the curing is facilitated by burning hardwood or sawdust. This does not only speed up the process but also infuses the leaves with a delectable aroma.
- Sorting and fermenting
Cured leaves are sorted to determine which go for the filling and which for the inner and outer wrappers. This job is performed by specially trained professionals who tie up the leaves in small bundles and place them in hogsheads (special kind of cask). Tobacco leaves used for cigars are left in the casks to ferment for 2-5 years.
- Stripping the filling leaves
This process entails removing the stem from the leaves used for filling cigars, as the inconsistency in their structure would prevent even burning. The process is performed either by a machine or by hand. These leaves are fermented after stripping.
- Rolling by hand or machine
Now that all the elements of a cigar are fit to use, skilled workers combine them using a variety of techniques. This work can be done by a machine as well, and sometimes you really cannot tell the difference. Machine-rolled cigars can be produced much faster, which reflects on their cost.
- Applying the finishing touches
Once the cigars are rolled, the only thing left is to pack them. Manufacturers use various materials for this, such as cellophane or even metal foil. The final stage is branding and then the products are shipped to sellers.
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