Monday, August 19, 2013

Caution: Fragile! Really?

Premium cigars are hand crafted masterpieces of tobacco, skill, and just a smidge of vegetable paste to glue everything together.  They are painstakingly assembled from cured tobacco leaves.  They are one small jewel in Nature’s crown of wonderful discovery and creation.   Cigars are an all natural, centuries old product.

So how fragile are cigars?  The answer is: extremely fragile, and surprisingly tough.  Cigars are a lot like an egg.  All things considered, an egg is remarkably strong for being composed of a thin outer shell.  Cigars are bunched tobacco leaves bound in a binder leaf and finished with a generally very beautiful wrapper leaf.  The wrapper is a truly unique leaf.  It gets selected because it tastes good, it looks good, and it can stand up to the rigors of being the outermost layer of the cigar.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Who Broke the Seal?

Surely you have heard of counterfeit cigars.  Whether it is counterfeit bands that are placed on impostor cigars of inferior quality, or authentic bands that were stolen and placed on illegitimate product, the risk is out there.  The type of cigars most commonly counterfeited are Cuban brands that are illegally smuggled into the states and sold to unsuspecting buyers who fell prey not only to the notion that Cuban cigars deserve their somehow enduring mystique, but also to thinking their fake product was the real deal.  Non-Cuban brands are also often counterfeited.

For some fun, cruise on over to the Cigar Aficionado Counterfeit Gallery and take a look at just how impressive some of the counterfeit bands really are.  But, for every well made band there are probably dozens of dismal impostors that are almost comical, unless you bought the cigar that is.

A key way to ensure you have bought authentic product are the seals on the boxes.  Sure, these can be counterfeited as well, but, beyond that, what if you receive a box on which the seals are broken.  Take a deep breath.  Pick your heart off the floor, and relax.  In the vast majority of instances the seals will always be intact and unbroken on a box of cigars you purchase.  In quite limited occurrence will the seal be broken and for valid reasons.  A box of cigars that has security seals affixed and cellophane tightly enclosing the outside can only reveal some rather speculative details about the actual cigar provenance.