Written by Puff Staff

Sunday, 05 May 2013

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While the more expensive premium cigars are usually sold in boxes, the less pricey sticks and seconds of premium brands are packaged into a “Bundle,” which consists of either 25 or 50 cigars encased in a cellophane overwrap.


A “Cabinet Selection” means that the cigars come packed in a wooden box instead of the more common cardboard cigar box. The wooden box is preferred if you’re planning to age the cigars.

A “Candela” or “Double Claro” is a wrapper that owes its bright green color to a heat-curing process that seals the chlorophyll content before it leaves the barn. An “Amarillo” is a yellow wrapper leaf that gets its color from being grown in the shade. “Maduro” is a very dark wrapper shade, ranging from reddish-brown to almost black achieved by sun exposure, extended fermentation or cooking. The darkest shade of wrapper, “Oscuro,” is black and usually from Brazil and Mexico. A “Viso” is a glossy wrapper leaf that has been grown under cover.

A “Clear Havana” is a cigar that was made from tobacco imported from Cuba prior to the trade embargo. For the last 52 years, neither cigars nor tobacco from Cuba have been allowed into the U.S. That makes pre-embargo Cuban cigars very rare and expensive. A “Pre-Castro Cigar” is one that was made in Cuba prior to Fidel Castro seizing power in 1959. A “Pre-Embargo Cigar” is a Cuban cigar made before the 1962 U.S. trade embargo against Cuba took effect.

While you can’t get fresh Cuban cigars in the U.S., at least not legally, you can get cigars from “Cuban Seed,” which refers to plants grown in other countries using seeds from Cuba. Prominent tobacco growing countries include Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The amount of air that gets pulled through a lit cigar is called the “Draw.” The draw can be too easy (“hot”) or too tight (“plugged.”)

“Finish” is a term that refers to the taste of a cigar, more specifically to the taste that lingers on the palate following a puff. The mildest cigars lack finish, while the more full-bodied and stronger smokes have unique flavors that stick around for a while.

A cigar made entirely by hand with high-quality materials and long filler is “Handmade.” Hand-rollers are able to handle more fragile wrapper leaves than machines, and premium cigars are always handmade.

The “Head” is the closed end of a cigar. This is the end you smoke. Nothing marks you as a newbie like lighting the wrong end.

“Tubos” are cigars packed in individual tubes of glass, wood or metal for freshness.

“Tunneling” means having your cigar burn unevenly. Avoid this by rotating your cigar regularly.

The “Shoulder” is the part of a cigar where the cap meets the body. Avoid cutting into the shoulder, since this can cause the cigar to unravel.

“Totalamente a Mano” means made totally by hand. This description on a cigar box means that the smokes within are superior to those marked “Hecho a Mano,” which means made by hand but the cigars may contain machine-bunched filler. “Envuelto a Mano” means packed by hand.

Next week, we’ll be looking at the various sizes and types of cigars, plus how they’re made. For more info and conversation with other cigar lovers, check out our forums.

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