Cuban Cigars: Myth or Reality?

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Cuban Cigars: Myth or Reality?

I never doubted the existence of Cuban cigars, of course, but often met some affirmations about these cigars which couldn't be taken seriously though some people did believe them. Today I feel it's time to reveal some secrets about these beautiful stogies and deny some information you thought was an absolute truth before.

My top-favorite legend (or myth, whatever you call it) - the cigars are rolled on the thighs of virgin rollers (women). Ever imagined a lot of women, the better half of Cuban nation sits under the sun and rolls the world's best cigars on their thighs?

I would like to reassure you (sorry if I disappointed you ;)), every person can roll cigars - be them men, women, virgins or any other usual people with some skills :) Also, it's almost impossible to roll cigars on someone's tights - very uncomfortable, if you ever try it, that's why there are a lot of factories in Cuba with furnished places where rollers create their cigars.

The second legend is sad enough for Americans but I need to tell it, otherwise you won't know the truth.

Everyone knows J F Kennedy was a passionate lover of Cuban cigars; of course he would do anything possible to have as many cigars as possible just before he signed the Embargo on Cuba. He asked his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, to get his favorite brand H. Upmann Petit Coronas just before the event, and this is one of the truest truths on Earth ;)

But the saddest part of this fact is that JFK, being a passionate smoker himself, wanted to exempt cigars from the Embargo but was confronted by tobacconists from Tampa who objected this attempt.

Just please do not try to kill these people from Tampa, they're all with Kennedy right now, I guess ;)

And a less shocking revelation right now - someone think the darker the wrapper (called Maduro), the stronger the cigar. And here we go with the legend #3 - it's not true, guys, the color of the wrapper solely won't help you determine the strength of your stogie, smoke it yourself and you'll understand it.

The fourth myth refers to cigar novices rather than aficionados. The thing is that a more or less experienced smoker knows that strength and body isn't a similar notion.

A strong cigar is not necessary full-bodied, and vice versa. The strength of a cigar depends on the nicotine level and spice, and not on the deep flavors a cigar could possess.

One more thing about stogies (just don't wanna be boring :)), someone believes that a good cigar should necessarily have a white ash when smoked - and that's a sign of a perfect cigar.

Nope, my friends, it's just a legend, beautiful, but still a legend remains. A white ash in a cigar means the tobacco it was rolled from was grown in a soil full of phosphorous and calcium. And the gray ash signifies the tobacco of that cigar was grown on a land with lots of magnesium. That's all, not a big science.

These myths are all very beautiful, of course, it's much easier to believe them than negate. So if you ever believed something which turned to be a big lie, you're welcome to comment on this article. We'll be glad to hear your stories and opinions. :)

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matthew
Nice article and nothing to disagree with, but you never told us if, or why, Cuban cigars are on the whole better than other cigars. Is there truth to the myth that the best cigar tobacco grows in Cuba?
Cigars4Dummies
Hello matthew!

We never touched upon this issue before - maybe because we thought everyone just knows it - Cuban cigars are the Best! But this statement needs an explanation:
Cuban soil and climate are considered to be the best for growing tobacco. Cuban tobacco and cigars have gained this high-quality reputation in the early 1600's - thanks to the great skill of Cuban rollers, ideal location and conditions for growing tobacco plant. It was the best from the very beginning and never worse. Other countries began growing their tobacco seeds much later when Cubans have already conquered the world with their masterpieces.
I hope this information helps you a little, and if not - you could always try a Cuban cigar yourself to understand the difference- it's simply impossible to find words to describe their splendour. :)
Good luck!
Darryl
You mentioned in this article the strength of a cigar is based upon the nicotine level and spice. It is this spice aspect I'm curious about. Is spice added during the curing/manufacturing process, or are "spices" naturally drawn from the soil and called such for the lack of a better term?
Sara
Hello Darryl,

I was trying to give you the best explanation for the term "spice" but decided to quote Dr. Mitch Fadem from About.Com. I think he has managed to give the exact definition: The "spice" in cigars is the result of multiple factors, such as "the soil of the growing region, the crops grown in tandem with the tobacco (such as coffee beans), the variety of leaves (from the hundreds of types of tobacco plants), where the leaf grows on the plants, the aging of these leaves after harvest, how they are aged, the blending of various tobaccos, the rolling process and finally the aging of the cigars. "

I hope this helps all our readers who had doubts in this term.
Billy Bob
I once heard from a random drunk guy that cigars are actually made from leather. I believe that is the truth now. Because I went to a lab with 50 cigars and they were all made out of dried cows skin.
Billy Bob
Also smoking tobacco is actually good for your general health, it makes your skin smooth and wrinkle free, whitens your teeth and prevents cancer. it's that damn flesh eating habit that causes cancer dag narn it.
Billy Bob
One last thing, on Saturdays I often smoke a stogie. And every time I do I hear Churchill's speeches in my mind. Churchill is sexy.
Roadrunner
It's the combination of climate, soil and the plant itself. You might have very similar conditions elsewhere in the Caribean and even if you have Havana seed tobacco, it won't get you anything close to a real Habanos because you don't have the right soil.

This unique combination gives you something that only very few non-Cuban cigars can achieve: a full bodied cigar WITHOUT a peppery oder bitter taste. A Dominican cigar usually isn't peppery but it tends to be very mild, a Nicaraguan cigar may be full bodied but there's a very good chance it'll be very harsh. Some people consider many non-Cuban cigars to be rather one dimensional, just less refined and somewhat monotonous compared to a good Cuban cigar. It'll be floral or leathery or spicy but it won't be earthy, leathery AND sweet like a well kept Bolivar.

Don't get me wrong, there are some very good non-Cuban cigars out there, I personally like Padrons and Arturo Fuentes, but the very best are in fact Cubans. Whether Cohiba, Partagas, Bolivar, Trinidad or some of the lesser known ones like Por Larranaga or Sancho Panza is a matter of personal opinion.

Some people will say that Cubans are in fact not the best ones in the world and that the Cuban is just hyped because it is illegal in the US (well, then ask a Euorpean who can just walk into the store and buy them) - and sadly this is true. However only as far as construction goes: there is a pretty high chance that you will run into a Habanos that is plugged or has a too light draw, will have a burn issue or something along that. It will rarely occur with a Cohiba but if you smoke through a box of Romeo y Julietta Mille Fleurs and you didn't have any issues with a single one you're either a big fat liar or you should play the lottery.
Yes, the quality can be surprisingoy shotty - European dealers will even let you return plugged Cubans and give you a refund, no questions asked.

Long story short: not every Cuban cigars are top notch (though usually always pretty decent) but the best cigars on this planet in fact are Cubans and that won't change untill somebody actually cuts a part out of Cuba.
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