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.  

A critical property of a wrapper leaf is elasticity.  The leaf is wet down to make it supple before being applied.  But, once wrapped around the bunch, the wrapper will then dry and must not split.  Watch a skilled roller apply wrappers to unfinished cigars and you will think that wrapper leaves are as strong as Kevlar.  Take that same resilient cigar and accidentally let it fall from your hands and prepare yourself to pick up a cigar with a cracked cap or a splintered foot.  Torcedors, or cigar rollers, know their materials well and know just what a particular leaf can withstand.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to handle your cigars and admire the textures and feel of the leaves.  They are works of art and should be experienced in all of their grandeur.  You can gently squeeze them, and you should to examine the quality of the bunch.  However, treat them with respect and they will not lead you astray.  The other critical matter, aside from never dropping a cigar if at all possible, is to always use a case.  Grab a Cigar Caddy for rugged all weather transport or a Xikar Envoy case for stylish good looks and protection.  At the very least, don’t toss a cigar into your shirt pocket unless it’s in cellophane because otherwise the wrapper will take the brunt that the cello would have and later you’ll find yourself trying to smoke a cigar without a wrapper.  I’ve done that.  It’s not pretty and you’ll ultimately ditch the cigar and learn a lasting lesson.

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