Cigars 101

Cigar Hotline: Moving From Machine-Made to Premium Cigars

OPERATOR: Hello, Cigar Order Hotline. How may I help you?

CALLER: What would you suggest for a new cigar smoker who wants to move up to something better than the cheap gas station cigars available near my home?

OPERATOR: Certainly. Can you tell me what cigars you’ve been smoking?

CALLER: Swisher Sweets, Garcia and Vega, Phillies; whatever they have at the time.

OPERATOR: I see. Those are machine-made cigars.

CALLER: What does that mean?

OPERATOR: The cigars are made with tobacco scraps that are mixed together to form the shape of the cigar. Then, the cigars are finished with a wrapper made of homogenized tobacco, which is very similar to paper.

CALLER: Are you saying I’ve been smoking PAPER all these years?

OPERATOR: Not exactly. The tobacco is genuine, but the wrapper is made from scraps of tobacco that have been homogenized to remove any bacteria, then pressed into very thin sheets that are coiled into huge, paper-like rolls.

CALLER: Wow. I’m glad I called.

OPERATOR: Actually, machine-made cigars are very popular. They even outsell the handmade premium cigars every year. But since you’re looking to move up to a higher quality cigar, how many cigars would you like to purchase?

CALLER: I guess a box would do. That would last me awhile.

OPERATOR: Very good. Do you have an idea of how much you’d like to spend? That will help determine which premium cigar might be best for your budget.

CALLER: I don’t want to spend over fifty dollars.

OPERATOR: Certainly. In your case, rather than a boxed brand, I suggest you try a good bundle cigar. Many of them offer high-quality and flavor within your price range.

CALLER: Do I have to keep them in a humidor?

OPERATOR: Yes. Bundle cigars are handmade, so they must be kept in a humidor. They’re packaged in cello over-wrap instead of a box. That’s another reason why they cost less than many boxed cigars. Plus, many bundle cigars don’t come with bands, which also lessens the cost.

CALLER: So, back to my first question. What can you suggest for me?

OPERATOR: Well, most machine-made cigars are mild, so I would suggest a mild to medium strength bundled cigar. This way you’ll get a better-made and more flavorful cigar while keeping your cost down. For your experience and price range, I would suggest starting with a cigar like Flor de Oliva Gold. They have Nicaraguan long-fillers that by nature have a lot of flavor, and a Connecticut wrapper which is much milder. The smoke is sweet and spicy. You might also want to try the Honduran Factory Seconds. They’re very affordable, creamy and a little nutty. And one more; La Floridita bundles. This is one of our best-selling bundle premium cigars. They are very smooth, creamy and have a nice, toasty character. If you like a very dark wrapper that’s a bit sweeter, they’re also available in Maduro.

CALLER: Gee, they all sound so good.

OPERATOR: That’s one of the best things about smoking handmade premium cigars. There are plenty of good, affordable cigars out there to try. Eventually, you’ll find the one that’s right for you.

John Pullo

John Pullo

Editor in Chief

This is not his picture, nor does he even have a beard. A solid 'B' student and occasional low-fi musician, John is a medley of cynicism and sarcasm crammed into a wrinkled Oxford shirt who makes it nearly intolerable to watch reality television with him in the same room. Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones.

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