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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cigar Fillers

Cigar Filler is the tobacco at the heart of the cigar. 98 percent of the cigar is made from this portion of tobacco, and most of its flavor comes from it as well.

What makes cigar fillers different from cigarette fillers?With cigars, you have a leaf wrapper wrapped around leaf fillings. With cigarettes, you have finely cut tobacco that has paper wrapped around it.

Are different kinds of fillers used in making cigars?Many cigars, especially the world-famous brands, use different kinds of tobacco for cigar filler and the cigar wrapper. High quality cigars are often called long filler cigars, meaning that they use long leaves throughout.

They also use a third kind of tobacco leaf called a binder that lies between the filler and the outer wrapper. This layer allows the makers to make wrappers out of more delicate and attractive leaves. Such cigars almost always blend different types of tobacco. Even Cuban cigars will use tobacco grown on different parts of the island to blend multiple flavors.

Lower-grade, machine-made cigars will often rely upon chopped tobacco leaves for filler. Long leaves or even a paper-like substance made from tobacco pulp is used for the wrapper that keeps the cigar together. This causes these cigars to burn differently, and they are therefore less sought out than hand-rolled cigars.

How are cigar fillers prepared?Cigar fillers and binders are removed from tobacco leaf bales and inspected. If necessary, they are aired on racks to get rid of excess moisture. They are then stored in wooden barrels until they are ready to be used.

How is the cigar filler rolled? In a hand-rolled cigar, the filler will be made of several different blends of long tobacco leaves. In machine made cigars, short filler is used, and it contains chemicals and other substances along with remnants of tobacco leaves.

The cigar filler creates about half of the overall flavor. The cigar wrapper leaf of tobacco creates the rest of the flavor. The binder itself has little or no flavor at all.

Where is cigar fillers grown?Filler tobaccos are grown throughout the world. In Cuba, cigar manufacturers only use filler that is grown in Cuba. Other cigar manufacturers will use filler that comes from several different countries.

There are tobacco fields throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. A great deal of cigar filler tobacco is also grown in Mexico. Of course, the most famous and beloved leaf comes from the Vuelto Abajo region of Cuba. Its volcanic soil produces a tobacco that is rich, smooth, spicy, and sweet.

Jamaican cigar fillers are known for being light in body and sweet in taste.

Dominican fillers feature a wide range of flavors because The Dominican Republic has so many different climates, altitudes, and soil types.

Honduran filler has something of a coffee tone to it. Nicaraguan cigar fillers are known for spicy and earthy tones.

Mexican filler is strong, sweet, and spicy. Much of it, in fact, is often blended with Jamaican and Dominican tobacco.

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Monday, October 26, 2009


What are cigars?
By definition, a cigar is a tight roll of cured, fermented tobacco leaves that can be ignited and smoked. The intention of smoking a cigar is to draw the smoke into the mouth only (not the lungs) so the flavor of the tobacco can be tasted and savored.

How are they different from cigarettes?
A cigar is different from a cigarette. Cigarettes are made of finely cut tobacco rolled up in thin pieces of paper. Cigars are made entirely from tobacco leaves (wrapper) and filler.

Cigarette tobacco contains all types of additives and is intended to be inhaled into the lungs as a stimulant.

Smoking a cigar is more like being a wine taster. You are after the palate—not the effect.

Where is cigar tobacco grown?
The tobacco used to make cigars is grown primarily in Latin America in countries such as Brazil, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. It is also grown in other parts of the world as well in nations such as Sumatra, The Philippines, Indonesia, and Cameroon.

Some cigar tobacco is also grown in the Easter portion of the United States.

What makes a good cigar?
Aficionados agree that the tobacco and the method of construction make a great cigar great.

First and foremost, it has to be handmade.

Next, it has to have the right amount of filler. Fewer leaves in the filler means it will burn more quickly and it will smoke faster. This may or may not be good depending on the point of view of the smoker. If it is under filled, that means it probably has too many air pockets in the filler and simply burns too quickly.

On the other hand, if the filler is overfilled, then it will be much harder to draw smoke. This is why a balanced amount of filler really needs to be carefully placed in each and every roll. This will ensure that when the cigar is let, it will burn evenly at the anticipated rate.

If there is an uneven burn, then the rolling process was probably not done correctly.

What are some other qualities of fine cigars?
Believe it or not, another sign of quality is the ash. There is nothing more annoying than ash falling off at inconvenient and unpredictable times. Instead, you should be able to move the cigar about without ashing all over your clothes or the floor.

The texture of a fine cigar feels both springy and firm to the touch. It also feels smooth and has only one shade of leaves in the wrapper.

What does cigar tobacco taste like?
It should be smooth and flavorful. It should never be harsh or burn the mouth. The flavor of the cigar is determined by a number of factors, such as the aging and curing of tobacco, and what is done to ferment it. Fermenting tobacco improves the flavor and also preserves it.

Additional flavors can also be added to the tobacco, as you can see by simply scrolling through the many brands advertised here on Serious Cigars.

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