Category: Buying Guides


During the Holiday Season it’s so hard to keep from tripping over ads and articles on “Great Gift Ideas!” I figured I might as well get in on it too, with my own guide to finding the perfect cigar gift. So, I’ve kept it simple. Here are five great gift ideas in five respective categories and various price points, that you can hint at to your wife, girlfriend, best friend, business colleagues or, you can tie a string around your finger like Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life, so you can remember to buy them for yourself. These are just suggestions, there are plenty more great gift ideas and deals to be found as well. I left the prices out, because they are subject to change and may even be on sale or include offers.

cigar gift

Cigars: “Father & Sons” Buying Guide #11 Sampler

A sampler always makes a great gift. Here’s a dynamite collection for the cigar smoker who’s just starting out or has been smoking cigars for decades. I like this sampler because it’s got lots of cigars (16 in all!), big brand variety, and the price is extremely reasonable. Plus, they’re all made by the best in the business like The Fuentes, Eiroas, Garcias, Ozgeners, Toraños, Padróns, Perdomos, and Plasencias. Ranging from mild to muscular, these are “must-smokes” no cigar smoker should be without.

 

Xikar Xi2 Fiberglass cutter

Cutters: Xikar Xi2 Fiberglass Cigar Cutters

CLACK! That’s the sound of a Xikar Xi cutter opening. When it comes to cutters, I’ve seen more Xikars in the hands of cigar smokers than any other make. That’s because they’re cool-looking, ultra sharp, guaranteed for the life of the cutter, and most importantly, they work! The Xi2 fiberglass series is very affordable, and the tear-drop shape provides maximum grip strength for the cleanest cuts ever – even up to a 56 ring. Don’t fiddle with the cheapo cutters. Get yourself or your giftee something they’ll appreciate for years to come.

 

Vector Heatran Triple Flame Lighter

Lighters: Vector Heatran Triple Flame Cigar Lighter

I recently purchased this Vector Heatran lighter for myself and I love it. IMO, Vector has proven to be one of the more reliable makers of cigar lighters, and this triple flame is especially good for toasting and lighting cigars from a 50 to 60 ring gauge. It comes in several colors, is very affordable, and it has a fuel viewing window, which I would suggest you look for in any cigar lighter you buy. It really comes in handy. This lighter also has a handy cigar punch on the bottom, in case you forget your regular cutter.

 

Deauville Tobacco Leaf Inlay Humidor

Humidors: Deauville Tobacco Leaf Inlay Cigar Humidor

Here’s a humidor that says, “I love the leaf.” The tobacco leaf on this well-made, dark maple humidor is bordered by hand inlays, that add an attractive touch of class to this case. Features include Spanish cedar lining, brass hardware, quadrant hinges, a large rectangular oasis foam humidifier, brass/glass analog hygrometer, top tray, plus a lock & key with a yellow tassel. Its affordable price and 125 cigar capacity also make it a great value. Cigar smokers always need more room eventually, and this humidor will allow you or your giftee’s collection to grow without having to buy another humidor sooner than you wanted.

 

Cigar & Accessory Kits: Horn of Plenty Super Sampler

cigar gift set

For the cigar smoker who wants it all, THIS is a very cool gift at a ridiculously low price. Perfect for the new cigar smoker, this item comes with just about everything but the kitchen sink. You get our bestselling Capri humidor plus 20 cigars chosen from among the world’s best-known brands such as Alec Bradley, CAO, E.P. Carrillo, Oliva, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Tatuaje, Cohiba, and too many more to mention. But that’s not all! You also get a guillotine cutter, torch lighter, seasoning kit, humidifier, humidifying solution, and much more. This is a fantastic gift idea valued at over $296, for way less than you’d expect to pay.

 

So, check your list twice, take a look at these items, and browse around. There’s something for every cigar smoker at affordable prices, and you can do all your cigar gift shopping without having to deal with mall mania.

Happy hunting!

Note: Thanks for visiting our 2011 holiday gift guide – but you need to get with the times! Check out our cigar gifts guide for over 15 ideas perfect for any cigar smoker on your list!

Famous Smoke Shop

Author:

The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.

Smoking Guide
big cigars
Famous Buyer’s Guide
15-cigar sampler #16
Open Wide
and SAVE!

Wide ring cigars have suddenly become all the rage. What’s the reason? Maybe cigar smokers just want more for their money, especially these days. Now you can get even more for your money in this very affordable all-star sampler with 15 voluptuous cigars ranging from 56 to 66 ring. Add this bevy of buxom beauties to your cart now.

A $99.74 value,
NOW YOURS for ONLY
$49.95
Buy Now

777 By Jesus Fuego Grande Maduro
CAO America Potomac
Conuco Sixty
Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Grande Robusto
Gran Habano Corojo #5 Imperiales
Antaño 1970 Gran Consul
La Floridita Limited Edition Magnum Maduro
Maxx The Freak
Nub Cameroon 466BPT
Oliva Cain F 660
Olor Fuerte Magnum
Perdomo Cuban Parejo Epicure Maduro
Romeo Habana Reserve Toro
Rocky Patel Rosado Sixty
Saint Luis Rey Serie G No. 6
 

Big Beefy Cigars Are “In”

By Gary KorbFirst it was skinny Lanceros that offered more wrapper flavor. Now it’s long, wide-ring cigars that offer more filler flavors. (Coincidentally, I’m currently working on an article for CigarAdvisor.com about how this 60-ring trend has come about.)

The 6″ x 60 format is called a “Double Toro” or “Grand Toro” due to their mostly six-inch length and extra wide diameter. Looking at this month’s sampler, the largest ring cigar is a 66 – that’s just over an inch wide. If you think those are big cigars, you should have seen the Galaxia from Perdomo’s original Cuban Parejo series. Rolled to 10″ x 100 ring, Perdomo was also one of the first brands to market an all extra-wide-ring edition. Big cigars would rear their chubby heads occasionally as manufacturers like Rocky Patel, Oliva, and CAO began adding Grand Toros to some of their lines. Then, in 2006, Alec Bradley Cigars launched their MAXX line which had two Grand Toros: “The Freak” at 6 3/8″ x 60 and “The Vice” at 6 1/2″ x 62. More recently, Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real has added a 6 x 60 “Magnum,” and E.P.C. Cigars has the “El Decano” in their New Wave Connecticut series.

 

One of the reasons for this big fat cigar trend is, extra-large cigars provide more tobacco and smoking time for the money. Plus, some cigar smokers believe big cigars are stronger, though this is not necessarily the case; for as one manufacturer told me, “Large ring cigars offer a large volume of smoke, thus increasing the flavor profile.” If there’s any one advantage at all to smoking a Gran Toro, it’s that the blenders are able to experiment with more types of filler tobaccos, which translates to producing more complex cigars.

Tip

Some wrapper attributes that make a difference in flavor

wrapperCigars are sorted in the factory by color. The reason for this is so when you open the box, each cigar’s wrapper is virtually the same shade, which makes the cigars more appealing to your eye. But there are a couple of other things about the wrapper you may find interesting: If the wrapper is darker, thicker, or has more noticeable seams, the cigar will be somewhat stronger in flavor.

 

Prices effective 9/18/2011 through 10/31/2011.

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Smoking Guide
summer cigars sampler pack Buyer’s Guide Sampler #1410 Super Summer Smokes
at 1 Low Price!
Better than a bottle of sun block, and much tastier, too, this month’s Buyer’s Guide Sampler #14 includes 10 of the bestselling Summer cigars at a great price. Handcrafted by the leading manufacturers, these “boys of summer” cover the entire range of strengths, a big variety of wrappers, and a good assortment of shapes. So, grab a beach chair, a cooler, your cigar cutter & lighter and ride this big wave of flavor. Certain to make all your Summer days bright, sunny, and delicious, order yours now while they last.

$34.95
Buy Now
A $59.32 value

601 Maduro BP (Blue) Robusto Maduro
Baccarat Rothschild
Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Grande Robusto
H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Belicoso
Antano 1970 Gran ConsulLa Floridita Fuerte RobustoOliva Serie G RobustoPerdomo 10th Champagne RobustoRomeo y Julieta Reserva Real ToroTatuaje Havana VI Nobles

Hot Fun In the Summertime

By Gary KorbAhhh…Summertime. Baseball, beaches, mini-golf, adventure parks, barbeques, cold beer, iced-tea, convertibles, motorcycles, camping, the din of the neighborhood ice-cream truck combing the streets, and of course, great cigars to while away the hours of those long summer days and warm summer nights. This is the time of year that cigar smokers, especially those who’ve had to wait out the winter, can take advantage of some great deals and stock up. Plus, there’s nothing like being able to sit outside with good friends and share the pleasure of smoking your favorite cigars. 

So, is there such a thing as a “summer cigar.” Maybe…maybe not. According to a recent CigarAdvisor.com survey, Do the cigars you smoke change depending on the season?, about 73% responded that they did not change the cigars they smoke. Perhaps a summer cigar is a cigar that’s longer than what you normally smoke because you have more time for cigars like Churchills, Presidentes, Torpedoes, etc. during the summer months.

I’m pretty certain that a lot of cigar smokers have specific cigars that they prefer only for the beach, the golf course, or sitting out by the pool, whatever. But even if most cigar smokers prefer to stick with their regular cigar regime year-round, chances are they’re also looking for something new and different to smoke. That’s where summertime can also play an important role in educating your palate. When you’re more relaxed it’s easier to appreciate the nuances of your new discoveries. I hope you find some great new cigars this summer to add to your regular rotation. In the meantime, see you in September!

Tip

Are you a “fast smoker?”

Do you find that you smoke through your cigars rather quickly? If you notice that your cigars often turn bitter, it could be that you’re puffing too hard and/or too fast. If so, here’s a good solution: SLOW DOWN! A good rule of thumb is to puff on the cigar about once a minute. I refer to this as letting the cigar “smoke itself” between puffs. It helps the cigar burn cooler, and helps you appreciate the cigar’s aroma, too. Taking fewer puffs can also help make more full-bodied cigars a little more manageable. Finally, allowing even more time between puffs during the last third will also help keep your cigar from turning prematurely bitter.

 

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Smoking Guide
CI-FAM-GUIDE12 Buyer’s Guide Sampler #12

12 of the best cigars you
should be smoking

Our Famous Buying Guide sampler #12 consists of “Sleepers,” or great cigars that tend to fly under the radar. The names alone tell you this mouthwatering set is in a league of its own. You get 12 cigars in all, some which you may have missed over the years, plus some new discoveries. Valued at over $69, this “underground” collection is designed to edify your palate and open your mind. Order yours now!

$29.95
Buy Now

Alec Bradley Overture Robusto
Conuco Robusto
Capoeira Professor
Carlos Torano Signature Robusto
El Cobre Double Fuerte 5x50
El Triunfador #4
E.P. Carrillo Encantos
Famous Nicaraguan 6000 Robusto
H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Robusto
La Floridita Fuerte Robusto
Perdomo Patriarch Robusto
Famous VSL Nicaraguan Robusto
Sleeper Cigars – What’s up with that?
By Gary Korb

As I define them, “Sleepers” are good cigars that have caught the attention of a few, but for the most part have been overlooked by the majority of cigar smokers. There could be any number of reasons these cigars have gone unnoticed, but rather than speculate as to why, let’s focus on how to find a good Sleeper cigar. (Of course, you could order this month’s cigar Buying Guide sampler #12.)

Shameless self-promotion aside, cigar samplers are most often the source of a good Sleeper, since many cigar samplers have a few “unknowns” among them. It seems that cigar smokers tend to compromise when it comes to variety samplers, too. They’ll take a couple of unknowns because, 1) most of the cigars in the pack are those that they already recognize, and 2) the pack is usually discounted enough to justify the purchase. Ironically, this is usually how they find that outlying Sleeper, too.

 

Experienced cigar smokers know they can find good cigars at well below prices they would pay for luxury-priced selections. That alone speaks to something I’ve pointed out time and again: experiment, experiment, experiment. That said, price isn’t always the issue. As you experiment, you may just as easily find a $10 Sleeper as a $3 Sleeper.

 

Another thing Sleepers have in common is, most of them are made by many of the world’s leading blenders. If a cigar smoker has enjoyed certain name brands in the past, they’re more likely to try a stick made by say, Pepin Garcia, Nick Perdomo, Rocky Patel, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, or Carlos Torano, to name a handful, even if the cigar is a private blend.

 

Finally, by finding these undiscovered gems, it’s very likely you’ll tell your friends, and in turn, you can actually help the brand find an audience.

tip

cigarcap

How much of a cigar’s cap should you cut?

You only need to slice off the cap itself, about 1/16th of an inch, and generally no more than 1/8th will do it, and should result in a little round disc. Even if you don’t get the entire cap, as you smoke the cigar and the head gets more saturated, it will open wider naturally. If you feel it necessary to cut a little deeper for draw purposes, note that triple capped cigars tend to hold up better because they also protect the cigar’s shoulders. Moreover, never clip a cigar below its shoulders as the wrapper may unravel on you.

 

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

cuban heritage cigars
CI-FAM-GUIDE10 Buyer’s Guide Sampler #10
A “fair and balanced” sampler! 15 of Cuba’s best legal cigars, and more.One of THE BEST collections we’ve ever assembled for our buying guides! An affordable 15-cigar sampler featuring classic “Cuban Heritage Cigars” brands that were taken from the island and made abroad after the Communist Revolution. It includes names you know and love, like Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Trinidad, Gispert, Punch, Cohiba and many more. Get yours now!
$59.95Buy Now
* While supplies last! A $102.56 value
Cohiba RobustoFonseca 5-50Gispert RobustoH. Upmann Vintage BelicosoHoyo De Monterrey Sabrosos MaduroLa Gloria Cubana WavellMontecristo #2 TorpedoPartagas RobustoPunch RothschildRafael Gonzalez RobustoRomeo y Julieta BullySaint Luis Rey Rothchilde (no cello) MaduroSan Cristobal SupremoSancho Panza ValienteTrinidad Toro While you’re at it, add this to your order and SAVE!

BK-PRL-2005HAVAPerelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars – Third Edition
A $12.95 value! Now only $1.00 with your Buyer’s Guide Sampler purchase!
Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars Third Edition provides complete coverage of Cuban brands, shapes, sizes, history and more! One day, you might just be in a position to buy some genuine Cuban cigars. Get this guide and be prepared. A must-have, especially if you travel extensively.


How Castro created a new cigar industry
By Gary Korb

The names are familiar. Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Hoyo De Monterrey, Punch, Partagas, and more, all of which are identified with Cuba’s “Golden Age,” when cigars were king and Havana was the brightest star in the Caribbean. Then, in January 1959, came the ultimate buzzkill. Fidel Castro and his Communist regime force Batista out, and shortly thereafter begin nationalizing the tobacco farms. Families such as the Tora?os, the Plasencias, the Perdomos, Olivas, Padr?ns, and others had little choice but to leave their native country, some with nothing more than the shirts on their backs and some loose change in their pockets. Generations of master tobacco growers and cigar makers were uprooted taking their talent, and thankfully, their seeds, not only to the United States, but to other Caribbean nations such as The Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. However, these weren’t any ordinary ?migr?s; they had an undying passion for what they did.

They had the last laugh, too. Not only did they build a new cigar industry, but they took it to new heights. Today they all produce cigars that have not only equaled the quality and flavor of Cuban cigars, but far exceeded their expectations. As a result, many of the classic brands listed above have been reinvented, and in most cases become as lauded and coveted as their Cuban originals. But don’t thank Fidel. Thank the families who, through their sheer determination and innate resourcefulness found a way to continue their fine tradition of growing great tobacco and producing great cigars.

How to help keep your cigars from turning bitter in the last act

Some cigars start out great, but turn bitter near the end. Often it’s just the nature of the cigar, but if it happens a lot, it may be more about your smoking technique. Cigars naturally build up bitter-tasting tars as they burn. If you draw too hard and/or too often, even more tars will build up in that last section. So here’s one solution: When you get down toward the band, let your cigar rest longer between puffs. About two minutes should do it. By taking it slow during that last act, you’ll preserve more of your cigar’s core flavors, and get more cigar for your money, too.

 

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Smoking Guide

CI-FAM-GUIDE6

Buyer’s Guide Sampler #6

11 of the best cigar values for your buck!
GARY: Why don’t you just make it ten cigars and make ten be the top number and make that a great deal?
HUMBERTO: [pause]. .
.These go to eleven.
That’s right. 11 cigars – each a fantastic buy on its own – yet now you
can enjoy them all in one sampler at a great price. You get cigars from
the top names in the business, plus cigars from such illustrious
blenders as Don Pepin Garcia, Jesus Fuego, Nestor Plasencia, Abe Flores
& Juan Rodriguez, and more. Order yours now and give yourself a
great gift for the Holidays.

$39.95
Everyday Price: $48.99 • Retail Price: $65.07

Buy Now

Arturo Fuente 858 Flor Fina MaduroArtorius Grand RobustoCapoeira ProfessorCAO CX2 RobustoFinal Blend Robusto MaduroLa Floridita Fuerte RobustoMi Barrio El BilleteroOliva Serie G RobustoPadron 3000Rocky Patel American Market RobustoFamous VSL Dominican Robusto

Tips

Clipping your cigars: Make sure you get enough cap

Every
cigar smoker has a preference in terms of how they clip their cigars.
The key is, try to expose as much of the cap as possible without taking
out the shoulders. Not doing so may lead to an uneven burn due to
irregular air flow. Removing too much could cause the cigar to unravel.
Therefore, don’t just snip the head of your cigar with the speed of a
bartender opening a beer bottle on a busy night. Instead, clip the cap
carefully by slowly squeezing and gently twisting the cutter. If you
position the blades in just the right spot, the cap should literally pop
off in a near perfect circle.

 

What makes a cigar a
“best buy?”

By Gary Korb

For this December
issue of our Buying Guide, we thought it would be fitting to bring you
some of the best buys, and arguably, some of the best cigars of the
year. That said, you can argue ad-infinitum over what makes a cigar “the
best,” but it’s a lot easier to agree on “value.” Therefore, a “best
buy” isn’t necessarily the best cigar; it’s a cigar that offers
consistently good quality and flavor at a reasonable price.

Take this Buyer’s
Guide Sampler #6 for example. Five of the cigars are by Arturo Fuente,
CAO, Oliva, Padron, and Rocky Patel. Most experienced cigar smokers
would recognize these names instantly. Why? Because, high-rating scores
and awards aside, they have proven to be companies that consumers trust
to produce well-made and flavorful cigars year after year. Of the
remaining cigars, five were released within the last year. They may not
have instantly recognizable brands on their collars, but they’ve been
blended by tabaqueros who have earned the respect of their peers, and
some of the blenders, such as Don Pepin, Jesus Fuego and Nestor
Plasencia, market cigars under their own names. That reason alone makes
them at least worth trying. The point is, you don’t have to spend a lot
of money or go with a “name brand” to get a good or even a great cigar.

Most cigar smokers
start out by choosing name brands for the reason I noted above –
reputation. However, some name brands can take a big bite out of your
budget, and like most consumers, cigar smokers want the most for their
money, too.

By educating yourself
about “alternative” cigars, you can buy cigars which, for the most part,
have the same high quality tobaccos, craftsmanship and flavor with
confidence. After all, when you think about it, you’re getting name
brand cigars without the name brand price. Plus, in this case, you’re
getting the best buys of both worlds. And so it goes…

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Hayward TenneyI’ve received my fair share of cigars for Christmas. Some of been absolute winners, and others have missed the mark. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

Right?

Sure, while the act of giving a gift is certainly worth something, a thoughtful gift giver will consider whether the recipient will actually enjoy it. With that in mind, I’d like to offer a little primer on cigar gift-buying. If you hope to be the recipient of a cigar gift this holiday season, please feel free to print this out and leave it somewhere conspicuous.

Well-meaning gift-buyers will sometimes let price and ratings be their guide. But absent an understanding of what your gift recipient likes, you may as well be shooting in the dark. Cigars come in so many configurations, one can easily feel overwhelmed.

After all, there are mild to full-strength cigars, light to heavy-bodied cigars, and mellow to full-flavored cigars. There are also more combinations of wrapper/filler/binder tobacco than you could ever get to in a lifetime. All this can leave one feeling confused and overwhelmed. Here’s some useful advice for making the most of your gift:

  1. Ascertain what brand(s) the intended recipient prefers, and give those.
  2. If the recipient enjoys trying new cigars, enlist Famous Smoke Shop’s Customer Service team (800-564-2486) or the Famous Smoke Shop Retail Store for expert cigar suggestions.
  3. Still uncertain? Consider giving a cigar accessory. Lighters, cutters, cigar swag, ashtrays and humidors are always appreciated!
  4. Give the gift of choice with a Famous Smoke Shop gift certificate.

Take my word for it: your giftee’s eyes will light up like a cigar when he receives a gift that obviously took some consideration.

Hayward Tenney

Author:

When he's not busy writing, editing, smoking cigars, or raising his many, many children, Hayward "It's Lou, not Hayward" Tenney spends his days combating confusion about his real name (it's Hayward, but please - call him "Lou") and mourning the matrimonially-induced loss of his moustache (what's he gonna do with all that moustache wax he made?).


Smoking Guide
CI-FAM-BESTOFM

Famous ‘Best of Maduros’ Sampler
Explore the rich-tasting world of Maduro wrappers with the Best Of Maduros Sampler. Maduro is not a color, but a process of aging leaf under specific heat and pressure conditions to bring out its natural sweetness. Submitted for your enjoyment, you get two-each of these 10 exquisite smokes made by the leading manufacturers.

$69.95
Everyday Price: $83.99 • Retail Price: $129.28

Buy Now

601 Habano Oscuro Green TroncoCAO Brazilia Gol! MaduroCuvee 151 Robusto MaduroFlor De Gonzalez Selection Robusto MaduroFinal Blend Robusto MaduroLa Floridita Limited Robusto MaduroOlde World Reserve Toro MaduroOlor Fuerte Robusto Dark NaturalPadron 2000 MaduroRocky Patel Cuban Blend Robusto Maduro

Tips

What makes a cigar
wrapper so oily?

A shimmering wrapper leaf, usually more apparent on a maduro cigar, can often be the difference between a sale and a pass. As my colleague Humberto Gonzalez says, “Oily cigar wrappers are attractive to the American eye because Americans love big shiny things.” Actually, the oils secreted from the leaf are a product of the curing process. However, an oily wrapper is a sign that the leaf was not completely fermented. Moreover, some factories will use ethylene glycol to make their cigars look oilier. According to Jorge Padron, that’s a serious no-no.

“At Padron we would never even consider doing something like this. Much has been said about oily wrappers and how consumers should look upon this as a positive attribute of a cigar. During fermentation, the idea is to remove as much oil from the wrapper leaf as possible without entirely drying it out.”

 

The 411 on Maduro Cigars
By Gary Korb

There is so much material on the various processes for making Maduro wrapper it would take up a lot more space than I’m afforded here, so, I’ve tried to distill it down to the basics:

Let’s start with the first misconception about Maduro cigars. “Maduro cigars are stronger than ‘natural’ or lighter-colored cigars.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. First of all, “maduro” is Spanish for “ripe,” not “strong.” For that we use “fuerte.” Ironically, the longer the leaf is fermented, the darker the leaf will be and the milder it will taste. Generally speaking, Maduro wrapper tends to be sweeter in flavor. This is due to the extra amount of sunlight that leaves used for Maduro get. The more sun, the more sugars and oils the leaf will produce. And because sunlight plays an important part in the process, the leaves used for curing most maduro come from the top two-thirds of the plant. However, Maduro can be as spicy as a jalapeno with the right curing method.

Secondly, there is no actual “Maduro leaf.” As noted above, Maduro is created via a number of fermentation processes depending on what the blender is trying to achieve in terms of color, flavor and strength. The most commonly used leaves for curing Maduro are Connecticut Broadleaf, Habano, and Mexican-grown Sumatra, although Brazilian Mata Fina has become popular in recent years for its spicy properties.

In order to achieve the dark color associated with Maduro wrappers, in addition to extra sunlight, the leaves must also be fermented longer and at a higher temperature, usually as high as 150 degrees. (“Natural” wrappers are fermented at an average of 110 degrees.)

Another way to achieve a dark colored leaf is by using a method called “cooking.” Using a steam chamber that can reach temperatures of over 180 degrees, this process is known to produce some of the darkest and mildest maduro leaves.

Speaking of color, “Oscuro” is the darkest of all the maduro varieties. But not unlike the misconception for strength, oscuro simply means the leaf is virtually “black” in color and nothing more.

Some factories even use dyes and sugar to darken and sweeten the leaf. If you notice some stain on your fingers or lips, the wrapper was most likely made using this process, which most maestro tabaqueros are loathe to do.

I can assure you that all of the cigars featured in this month’s sampler are cured naturally. Check ‘em out and discover the wonderful array of flavors and aromas that they can produce when done right.

 

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.


Site Features

Connecticut-seed wrapper is arguably the most commonly used leaf for premium cigars and comes mostly in two varieties. The “U.S. Connecticut Shade” variety is grown in the Windsor valley along the Connecticut River under tapados – large cheesecloth tents that prevent the sun from darkening and thickening the leaves. The “Ecuadorian Connecticut” variety is grown in Ecuador, where an ever-present cloud cover acts as a natural shade tent.

U.S. Connecticut is delicately thin, yet very pliable. When cured right, it has a golden brown color, very few veins, and is silky to the touch. The flavor is mild and subtly spicy with sweet, floral notes on the finish. The Ecuadorian-grown variety is usually a little darker in hue, has fewer veins, and offers a slightly richer flavor. However, both varieties have excellent burn properties, and when lit expose a fine, grey-white ash.

 

The cigars featured in this month’s Guide sampler are a good illustration of how Connecticut wrapper enhances the flavor of a cigar. They all have “natural” Connecticut wrappers, yet due to their filler & binder blends, present an impressive array of flavors and strength profiles.

601 Connecticut Black RobustoCAO Gold RobustoDon Tomas Special Edition CT #300Famous 70th La Aurora ChurchillGran Habano Connecticut #1 RothschildLa Campina RobustoMontecristo #2 TorpedoNub Connecticut 358Perdomo Habano CT RobustoRocky Patel American Market Robusto

Tips

Wrapper attributes that make a difference in flavor

Cigars are sorted in the factory by color. The reason for this is so when you open the box there is a consistency to each cigar’s wrapper color, making the cigars more appealing to the consumer’s eye. Additionally, if the wrapper is darker, thicker, or has more noticeable seams, the cigar will be somewhat stronger in flavor.


Some useful Connecticut leaf history


? The sandy soil of the Connecticut River Valley is very similar to the soil in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba. The growing temperature is also similar to that found in Cuba during the winter growing season when fine tobacco is produced.

? Valley farmers have been growing tobacco for binder and wrapper leaves since the early 1800′s from varieties of “Shoestring,” then Broadleaf, and Havana Seed. In the late1800′s a fine grained leaf imported from Sumatra began to replace wrapper from the valley.

? In the early 1900′s Joseph Cullman Jr. created the Connecticut Shade variety from the Hazelwood strain of Cuban tobacco crossed with Sumatran seed tobacco varieties. As in the reference above to tapados which protect the leaves from direct sunlight, the idea was to duplicate the perpetually cloudy skies found in Sumatra. (This is one of the reasons Connecticut-seed leaf is grown so successfully in Ecuador.)

 

Buyer's Guide Sampler #4
Buyer’s Guide Sampler #4: “Connecticut wrappers”
Connecticut wrapper is sought for its milder flavor and naturally sweet aroma. That’s just one of the things that makes this sampler with 10 cigars so inviting. All of the labels are first-class and boast a multitude of blends. Plus the price is ‘closer than you think’ to affordable. Get yours now at a very special Famous Smoke Shop price!

$37.99
Everyday Price: $47.99 • Retail Price: $68.34

Buy Now

 

Famous Smoke Shop

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The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.

Cigars at Famous Smoke Shop come in so many different configurations that you could easily find yourself overwhelmed. That’s especially true of our sampler programs, each of which is driven by its own unique concept.

In this next series of blogs, I’ll explain how these sampler programs work, what the benefits are, and hopefully, make the case for you to give them a try.

Samplers by Strength Samplers by Strength is one of the coolest programs we’ve come up with recently. The idea is simple: cigar samplers are arranged by strength into an easy-to-use interface.

Start by deciding what suits you best: mild-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied cigars. From there, you can scroll through until you find a sampler that suits you, and even sort them by popularity, price, and name.

They come in a wide range of prices, from the Famous Mild Body Sampler ‘N’ to the Famous Full Body Sampler ‘J’. There are currently 5-cigar and 10-cigar samplers available.

Because our crack team of cigar-lovers created samplers with cigars that “make sense” together, the benefit of Samplers by Strength is twofold:

  • You have a sense of what to expect, even from cigars you’ve never tried
  • You can focus on trying cigars that are “right in your wheelhouse”

We’ve already heard a chorus of praise from our customers. Go ahead…check out the Samplers by Strength page, and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Famous Smoke Shop

Author:

The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.