What is a cigar band? Is it a little piece of paper you notice each time you smoke your cigar or make an inspection in your humidor? An accessory a cigar is almost impossible without (only in case it was given to you by a street roller)? It could be anything but only a few of us have ever wondered where that band custom came from. Have you?
There are several versions on the cigar bands appearance:
Version 1: The Russian Tsarina Catherine the Great was an avid cigar smoker and used to smoke dozens of cigars daily. Someone believes she has invented the first cigar bands that were made of silk ribbon - in order to protect her royal hands of burn and ash stains. However Cuban craftsmen say it's a fairy-tale for children; an experienced smoker would never believe that a czarina that was thousands of miles away could possibly have an impact on a small Cuban industry.
Version 2: They say English dandies who were always wearing white gloves, were afraid of staining them. Thus, Cubans decided they should spend extra $5 on a paper ring or something similar in order to protect gentlemen's gauntlets and keep their clients from quitting them.
However Cuban historians don't believe the idea of Cubans trying to invent a protective band for dandies because that would mean that Cuban cigars dirty, leaky or even chemically treated.
Version 3: This story seems to be the most faithful - the historians believe that Gustave Bock, a Dutch-based cigar manufacturer was the one to invent the band in 1830's after he has ordered paper rings with his signature on them intended for export to Europe. Thus, people would refer to the quality of his cigars, bringing them prestige and popularity, he believed.
Therefore, all Cuban manufacturers were putting bands on their cigars for export, registering their brands with the government and evoking their customers on insisting upon bands.
Some of these bands have been already discontinued, some of them are still active for current releases. Please note that Cuban manufacturers change them from time to time for a variety of reasons, including struggle against counterfeiting. Therefore, please dont be surprised next time you visit a store that sells Cuban cigars that the bands on them look in a different way than they were some time ago.
Cuban cigar bands: We're sorry for some imperfections.
EL REY DEL MUNDO
LA FLOR DE CANO
LA GLORIA CUBANA
HOYO DE MONTERREY
JOSE L. PIEDRA
EL REY DEL MUNDO
ROMEO Y JULIETA
SAINT LUIS REY