25 July 2014
Cuban Cigars: What’s the Big Appeal?
Whenever you think of cigars, the first image to spring to mind will no doubt be of a ‘made person’, lighting up and taking a puff with the utmost panache and style. Pacino in Scarface, for example.
The cigar they’re smoking is more often than not one of the many Cuban cigars that are acclaimed and revered throughout the whole smoking world. So why are they held in such high esteem?
As well as oozing style, having your own Cuban cigars gives you a sense of exclusivity as they are relatively difficult to find and even more so in the rarer blends. Only a finite amount is produced a year and even less of it is exported and this is down to historical reasons, relating to a breakdown in trade relations.
When John F. Kennedy, or JFK if you prefer, started an embargo against Cuba during the infamous missile crisis of 1962, all import/export between the U.S and the Caribbean country was halted and is still in place today although it has been regulated less strictly since then. As a sign of how many Americans were big fans of Cuban cigars, it’s widely-reported that JFK himself bought 1200 Cuban cigars the night before the embargo took place!
However, the embargo only drove people to find more ways of getting their hands on the cigars of Cuba and it doesn’t just come down to style – the cigars are so meticulously prepared that it tells with each and every puff. So what goes into the method to make them so refined? Practice, practice, practice and plenty of inspections!
The immaculate taste of a Cuban cigar is because it’s actually all Cuban tobacco. Though this may sound like an obvious prerequisite for a regional cigar, you may be surprised to learn that most cigars are made of many different blends and forms of tobacco. This is a money-saving exercise by most companies that can seriously impair the quality and purity of your cigar. Cubans are only made of actual Cuban tobacco and are extensively checked before being packed – no duds or less than perfect cigars leave the factory.
In fact, it is believed that there are a hundred steps that go into the making of a Cuban cigar with each being performed by only professionals. There are many dedicated rituals that go into the making of a single Cuban and if you aren’t amazed by the one you buy, odds are that it isn’t an authentic one.
It has to be said however that Cubans are very strong and can prove overwhelming for first time smokers. Therefore, it might be a good idea to try a mild blend before you tuck in to the good stuff to build up your tolerance, otherwise you may find that a powerful puff on a Cuban can put you off for good.
"cuban cigars making" by www.flickr.com/photos/breezy421, license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0