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28th November 2017How Is My Cigar Rolled?
While technology has improved various aspects of cigar making, it really makes no headway in a competition with the classic, tradition of hand rolling. The cigar industry is one of the few that remains intact when it comes to handcrafted consumables and it is showing no signs of shifting to a machine-powered business anytime soon. But how are cigars actually made?
There are 300 steps to making a premium hand-made cigar. These are far to extensive to cover in a single blog so we have selected key elements of the process to discuss in more detail. This will give you an overview of the process without too much focus on the nitty gritty.
Cigars are generally rolled by two people, a bunchero (the individual who bunches the tobacco) and the rollero (the one who rolls the tobacco). These two teammates may be seated together or apart because each roller will be ranked on consistency and the aesthetic of their produce and seated as appropriate thereafter. The best rollers will always sit in the front row of the factory. Apprentice rollers will begin their traineeship at the back of the pack and can take years to make their way forward to the front as their skills improve.
The buncher (bunuchero) is responsible for putting together the filler leaves and the binder layer. The buncher manipulates the leaves to create the correct size and shape for the cigar, while also providing an even spread of tobacco and ensuring there are no soft spots. They are also responsible for ensuring the air flows evenly through the body of the cigar.
The next process involves vetting the bunches. This occurs between the bunching and wrapping phases and involves a mechanical test to decide whether or not the bunch will provide optimal air flow through the cigar. Any cigar that fails this test will be eliminated prior to wrapping. Vetting also recurs after wrapping to deciphers whether the exterior leaf fits the bill for the manufacturer’s preferred wrapper hue and consistency. Any cigars that fall outside those standards will also be removed from the lot.
Wrapper leaves are sorted into colour variations, a job that is reserved exclusively for women as they are known for their better attention to detail. Then the wrappers are dampened to keep them flexible and to prevent any premature dryness. The leaves are stacked and cut to a specific shape, using a special, curved knife called a chaveta. The torcedor begins at the base of the bunch stretching and rolling the leaf. A true professional and master of his trade can roll any shape of cigar in 30 seconds flat!