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How Cigars are Made

How Cigars are Made

Last Updated on March 28, 2021

Cigars are enjoyed by aficionados all over the world, as it is the best way to smoke tobacco. Cigars came from Cuba, from where Columbus noticed Mayans smoking rudimentary cigars rolled in palm leaves. Today, they are manufactured all over the world. The finest cigars continue to be hand-made while machines helped in mass production. They come in different sizes and shapes, also the darker the cigar the stronger the tobacco.

Here’s an article that discusses the most interesting topic – how cigars are made. We will be talking about both machine-rolled and hand-rolled cigars. After all a cigar aficionado should be aware of the different steps of making a cigar.

Making of Cigar

You would notice that a cigar is much thicker than a regular cigarette. Tobacco leaves are used to wrap the filling of the cigar. It’s an interesting process, but we have some facts to share.

Cigars are made from the leaves of Nicotiana tabacum, that is, the tobacco plant. Today, the plant grows in many parts of the world, but the best ones still grow in the climate of Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, etc.

To make a cigar, we need three types of tobacco leaves – a filler, a binder, and a wrapper. Some broken tobacco leaves serve the purpose of fillers. A large, whole leaf, sometimes of second quality is used as a middle binder layer. The third layer is of superior quality and should be a large fine-looking leaf. The wrapper leaves are separately picked from those leaves that are covered in clothes during cultivation.

The rolling is either done by hand or using a machine. Either way, we need all three types of tobacco leaves. Sometimes all three layers of leaves come from the same place and some brands use inferior quality binders cultivated elsewhere. The whole process of making a cigar gives a faint idea of why the product is expensive. They are like fine wine, and each cigar is carefully manufactured. It gets an ample amount of attention at every stage of production right from cultivation till the last wrapping and packaging step.

The Step-by-step Method

Here’s a step-by-step method for you. Although you would totally skip the step of making cigars at home, but we thought of sharing the process.

  • Tobacco cultivation – Tobacco seeds are kept in indoor farms for the initial few days and later they are transplanted outdoors. The leaves suitable to become the third wrapper layer are selected and they are covered with a cloth to protect them from the sun. The plants will mature after a few more months.
  • Curing – After harvesting, curing will impart an aroma to the leaves. The process involves keeping the tobacco leaves in wooden laths and hung in a barn. They will slowly lose all the chlorophyll and turn brownish or yellowish. There are two ways in which the leaves are cured. Air curing is the simple process of hanging the leaves in the barn. Flue-curing involves curing the leaves in a barn with a carefully monitored temperature. It will prevent the leaves from excessively drying up. They also burn sawdust in the barn to help in drying and imparting an aroma to the leaves.
  • Fermentation – The cured leaves are sorted into fillers, binders, and wrappers. They are then tied into bundles and left to ferment. The process can go up to 5 years. Higher the quality of the cigar, the more it is fermented. The process gives a characteristic aroma to the leaf.
  • Stripping – It is the process of removing the mid vein of the leaf. A seasoned worker cuts the midvein with the help of a thimble knife. Alternatively, machine cutters are also used for the purpose. After stripping, the leaves are ready for rolling.
  • Rolling – Initially, the worker will take few filler leaves which are stacked together as a bunch. Then he rolls the binder leaves cylindrically over the fillers. They are then kept in open molds to maintain their shape.
  • Wrapping – it is the most important step and required a skilled worker. The wrapper is spiraled around the cigar three and a half times. Then the vegetable paste is applied to secure it at the end. A circular piece is also attached at the end of the cigar.
  • Inspection – Appearance matters the most when it comes to cigars. Each cigar is carefully inspected for any minor defects. The wrapping has to be uniform and spotless. After each step of cigar-making, the product is checked for errors. But the final inspection is critical. It has to make sure that the cigar is perfect in all manner. The wrapper has to be shiny and smoothly wrapped. The measurements of the cigar have to be correct as well.
  • Packing – After inspection, the cigars are packed according to minor shade differences in separate boxes.

Machine-rolling

Nowadays, lots of cigars are made using machines. Premium cigars continue to be hand-made, but machine-rolled cigars are also prevalent in the market. In this, the workers place tobacco leaves on respective machines to wrap the binders and wrappers around each layer. Finally, a worker will inspect the cigar for defects before placing them in trays.

Concluding Thoughts

Now that you have read about the elaborate process of making a cigar, you will realize why people say cigars should be enjoyed slowly. The process is quite elaborate and you shouldn’t be in a rush while you are having a cigar. Perhaps that’s also the reason why cigars are much more expensive than a mere cigarette.

You should not rush to finish a cigar to go for the next one. Take time and savor the taste of the cigar. In fact, beginners should just enjoy one cigar a day. Too much of it is not recommended anyway! Cigars are like aged fine wine; you must have it once in a while. If you are a cigar aficionado, you can take two to three a day. Limit consumption, and keep the cigars fresh. After all, it passed all these delicate steps to finally reach your hands. Give it the appreciation it requires!

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