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The Men and Women That Make Cigars
Written by James Payne

Friday, 13 November 2009

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They See Me Rollin, They Hatin

Rollers come in many shapes and sizes. There are apprentice rollers (often used as bunchers), Plain Jane rollers, and then the granddaddy of them all, the Torcedor, or master roller.

The apprentice roller and Plain Jane rollers are typically allowed to roll the smaller cigars and lower grade cigars. Plain Jane rollers are also known as a tabaquero (technically all rollers could be called that).

An average roller can do anywhere from fifty to one hundred and fifty cigars a day, with the more experienced rollers producing in the higher numbers. Most factories pay per cigar, so rolling is a serious job. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake.

In addition to actually rolling the cigars, the roller also is responsible for cutting and creating the cap and “gluing” it on with some tree gum.

Catching the Mistakes

Once a roller gets older, arthritis, loses site, or gets tired of rolling cigars, they become quality control. There job is to monitor the rolling process and ensure that all is well. They move up and down the rows of bunchers and rollers with eagle-like eyes, scoping out the slightest discrepancies.

Breaking the Mold (Hopefully Not!)

Once a cigar is rolled, it needs to fit the mold. The cigars are given to the molder, who places the cigar into a tray or mold, where they are pressed to form the cigar. The cigars are pressed numerous times, being turned and rolled slightly each time, to ensure that perfect round shape (or whatever shape they are supposed to have).

Note that molding occurs prior to the wrapper being placed on the cigar.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at the unique people that make your cigars. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. We didn’t talk about the farmers, the pickers, the balers, the shop owners, the marketers – the list goes on and on. At the end of the day, it takes a virtual army to create that perfect cigar you are sitting there smoking, and I hope every once in a while you pause and take a moment to reflect on the skill, the hard work, the sweat – and the magic that goes into making it.






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