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Why Use a Humidor,



If you are not an experienced cigar smoker, you may be wondering why cigar aficionados use humidors. Humidors are used to store and protect cigars so that they are kept at their peak flavor. A humidor works by keeping a cigar at a constant temperature, somewhere between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and about 70-72% humidity.

Many cigar aficionados claim that the ideal temperature for storing cigars is 70 degree F. Any lower will tend to age the cigar, rather than keep it at a constant level. Humidors are not meant to age, but rather to preserve the integrity, flavor, and color of the cigar.

What should you look for when purchasing a humidor, The good humidor should close completely, with a tight fitting lid that will keep the cigars well kept from the elements and prevent any exchange of moisture. Seams should be smooth and well fitted for cigars. Cedar, especially Spanish cedar is ideal for the interior of the humidor. Of course, make certain your brand of cigars fits well into any humidor you are considering purchasing.

The Parts of a Cigar

What are the different parts of a cigar, Many long-time smokers enjoy their stogies without learning the basic parts of their cigar. While it’s true that you can enjoy a cigar without knowing how it was put together, learning the basic parts of a cigar can be instrumental in helping you choose the best quality cigars.



The first thing many smokers notice about a cigar is the wrapper, the layer of tobacco on the outside of a cigar. A cigar’s wrapper is very important because it provides much of the flavor of the cigar. The best quality tobacco leaves are usually used to construct the wrapper. They range in color from very clear (claro) to very dark (oscuro).

Binders are known as the ‘intermediate leaves.’ They are used to hold the tobacco filler together. Binders can vary considerably.

Last but certainly not least is the filler used to make a cigar. The filler is the tobacco. Generally, filler can be either long or short. Long filler consists of whole tobacco leaves, while short filler consists of scraps.

The Health Risks of Cigar Smoking

We have all heard of the risks associated with smoking cigarettes, but what are the risks of cigar smoking, Are the risks of smoking cigars just as dangerous, or more so, According to the National Cancer Instituted, regular cigar smoking can result in a major health threat. Scientific research has linked cigar smoking with cancers of the larynx, lungs, esophagus, and oral cavity. Newer research also indicates that cigar smoking may be strongly linked to the development of cancer in the pancreas. Doctors also caution that individuals who regularly inhale while enjoying a cigar are also at greater risk of developing lung disease and heart problems.

The health threats of cigar smoking appear to increase dramatically in those individuals who smoke regularly and inhale while smoking. Someone who smokes three to four cigars each day will him or herself at eight times the risk of developing some kind of oral cancer than a nonsmoker. Unfortunately, we do not yet know the health risks of smoking the occasional cigar. It seems clear however that smoking cigars on a daily basis can pose serious health risks.

Many individuals wonder if cigars are as addictive as cigarettes. Many wonder why, for instance, so many people become addicted to cigarettes, and not cigars, The truth is that any tobacco product can become addictive because it contains nicotine. Witness the effects of smokeless tobacco products on individuals. These products, such as chewing tobacco, can become very addictive, simply because they contain tobacco, which in turn contains nicotine. Many cigar smokers do not inhale deeply, thus causing the nicotine to be inhaled superficially. Cigarette smokers tend to inhale, causing the nicotine to be absorbed faster and more readily by the lungs. Even though most cigar smokers inhale the nicotine more superficially, it is still possible to become addicted if the user smokes cigars on a regular basis.

If nicotine is so addictive, why don’t more cigar smokers smoke more often, It appears that more people avoid becoming ‘hooked’ on cigars for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that the nicotine is inhaled much more superficially than in regular cigarette smoking, causing less nicotine to be absorbed by the body. Also, cigars are not as readily accessible as cigarettes. They are viewed by most as a luxury item, saved for special occasions and used infrequently. However, when cigars are smoked on a regular basis, they can become addictive. The health risks of any kind of smoking increase dramatically as frequency of use increases.


The Dangers of Being Exposed to Cigar Smoke

We have all heard about the dangers of inhaling second hand smoke. Many people wonder if the dangers of inhaling cigar smoke are just as dangerous, or more. Unfortunately, it appears that being exposed to secondhand smoke from a lit cigar can be just as dangerousor morethan regular cigarette smoke.

All secondhand smoke emitted by tobacco products are classified as environmental tobacco smoke. Environmental tobacco smoke refers to all the secondhand smoke released from tobacco products that are lit, such as cigars or cigarettes. Research indicates that the smoke from cigars and cigarettes releases many of the same types of irritants. Both cigar and cigarette environmental tobacco smoke contain nicotine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia. The environmental tobacco smoke from cigars and cigarettes also releases well-known carcinogens such as vinyl chlorine, benzene, arsenic, hydrocarbons, and nitrosamines. Cigars, because of their size, usually release more environmental tobacco smoke than cigarettes. Being around cigar smoke, then, can pose more of a health threat than inhaling secondhand smoke from a lit cigarette.

Even though both cigars and cigarettes release similarly toxic environmental tobacco smoke, there are some key differences between the two. These differences are related to the very different ways that cigars and cigarettes are manufactured. The production of cigars consists of a long process of fermentation and aging. During the production and fermentation process, large amounts of carcinogens are produced. Once a cigar has been fermented and aged, they are wrapped in a nonporous wrapper that keeps the cigar from burning too quickly. The fermentation process and nonporous wrapper both contribute to the high concentrations of carcinogens in the smoke of al it cigar. When a cigar is lit, the carcinogenic compounds produced during the fermentation process are released. The nonporous wrapper also contributes to an unclean burn that is high in carcinogens.



Another reason why cigars produce greater amounts of carcinogens is in their girth and length. Cigars are simply bigger than cigarettes. Their size allows them to release much more smoke, and in turn, much higher concentrations of toxins and irritants. Also, cigars are designed to be smoked much more slowly than regular cigarettes, and cigar smokers are encouraged to take their time and enjoy the relaxing experience. This results in longer smoke times, and obviously, the creation of much more smoke. It is advised for all non-smokers to avoid areas where cigars are being smoked. If you smoke cigars, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area.

Tasting the World: Cigar’s From Different Countries

Most everyone is familiar with the much-lauded flavor of Cuban cigars. But how do you know if you’re smoking a Cuban cigar, or a cigar from any other country for that matter, For those new to the world of cigar smoking, you should know that every cigar-producing country has its own unique flavor and character. The soil quality and the way the tobacco is produced and rolled contribute to the overall flavor of the finished product.

One must of course allow for significant regional variety, here are some very basic guidelines for getting to know the world’s flavors.
The famous Cuban cigars are renowned for their smoothness and ‘creamy’ flavors. They are applauded for their rich flavors and overall premium quality. Cigars from Central American countries like Honduras and Nicaragua are known to be strong and rich in flavor. Caribbean countries like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are known for their milder flavors.

Whatever country you purchase from, remember that a good way to gauge the overall flavor of a cigar is to note its diameter and length. In general, cigars with a thicker diameter will have a richer flavor. Longer cigars are generally cooler.


Old vs. New: Choosing the Right Cigar

Are you confused about old cigars versus fresh cigars, What does this mean, exactly, If you’re new to the world of cigar smoking, these terms can be a little perplexing. Basically, know that cigars are never really fresh. That is, you generally can’t purchase a cigar just after it has been produced. Most tobacconists store their cigars at the proper temperature and humidity before they are stored. Also, the tobacco in most premium cigars is usually aged for about one to two years before it is rolled into a cigar.

Many smokers prefer old or vintage cigars. Why, Older cigars are not inherently better than newer cigars. This is simply a matter of personal taste and preference. How long can vintage cigars last before they lose flavor and integrity, Cigars that are properly stored at a constant temperature of approximately 70 degrees, and about 70% humidity, can be stored indefinitely.

What happens if an old cigar is not stored properly, and begins to dry out, Although the integrity of the cigar will probably be damaged, it can be restored significantly by re-humidifying it. This process must be done slowly and with great care to restore the cigar’s flavor and consistency


Making the Perfect Cut on Your Cigar

How to clip a cigar properly, Although every cigar aficionado has their own proven method, here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

First, examine the head, or closed end, of the cigar. This is the part of the cigar that will need to be clipped. Determine where the ‘cap’ is. The cap refers to the part of the cigar where the tobacco leaf was used to close the cigar. Once you’ve found the cap, determine its length. As a general rule, you should not cut any further than the end of the cap. If you cut further than the cap, there’s a good chance your cigar will unravel!

Use a good quality clipper to cut the head at the cap. You don’t want a cheap cutter that will result in frayed or split cuts. You can purchase a special cigar cutter at your local tobacco shop that is designed to make clean cuts. Once you have your cutter, hold your cigar at eye level and make a fast and decisive cut just above the cap. Less is more when cuttingif you find your cut is too superficial, simply cut down a bit more.


How to Spot Fake Cuban Cigars

Everyone knows that Cuban cigars are the most coveted cigars, renown worldwide for their smoothness and rich flavors. Indeed, Cuban cigars are so prized that many illegitimate dealers have been known to sell fake Cubans to unsuspecting cigar smokers. How do you tell if what you have is a fake or the real thing, First, make certain that you purchase your cigars from a legitimate dealer. Buying from your local tobacconist or a reputable mail order business can protect you from forking your money over for a box of fake cigars.



If you have an opportunity to purchase a box of purported Cuban cigars, but have your doubts, take the time to examine the box before purchasing it. Here are a few tips to help you spot the fakes from the real thing.

The most important thing to examine is the box. Authentic Cuban cigars will contain a green and white warranty seal on the left front side of the box. The seal will contain an insignia that has a picture of a shield and a hat. On the upper right hand corner of the box, you should find a white sticker that is placed diagonally with the word ‘Habanos’ printed on it. The overall appearance of the box should be neat and clean. If the box appears damaged, smudged, frayed, or marked, avoid it. If the color of the box is dull, don’t buy it. Even if the cigars are the real things, their quality may have suffered in transport. If you are in the market for Cohiba, Trinidad, or Q’dorsay brand cigars, know that all authentic Cohiba’s will contain the green and white warranty seal on the right hand side of the box.

On the bottom of the box of cigars, you should find a heat stamp with the words ‘Habanos.’ The heat stamp should be impressed onto the bottom of the box. Fake Cuban cigar boxes often find other ways to imprint this label, such as using rubber stamps or paper labels. You should also find a factory code stamp at the bottom that is stamped in green, blue or black ink. This stamp will tell you when and where the cigars were rolled.

If you can open the box, take the time to smell the tobacco. Cuban cigars will have a deep, rich aroma, unmistakable to dedicated cigar aficionados. If the smell is off, or very weak, chances are you do not have a box of authentic Cuban cigars in your hands. The cigars should be facing the same way, and the top row may appear slightly flattened. The caps on all the cigars should appear identical, and the foot of each cigar should be cut clean. The bands on all the cigars should also be identical, and should be arranged so that they face the same direction. If allowed, test the cigars out by pressing down on them. Feel along the entire length of each cigar, checking for soft or hard spots. The cigars should feel firm yet pliable.


How to Purchase Cigars from Cuba



Every cigar aficionado knows that the very best cigars come from Cuba. Unfortunately, buying the best can often be a risky proposition. But many cigar enthusiasts are willing to take the risk to get a taste of the very best. If you’re wondering just how one would get their hands on a box of Cubans, read on. Because of the relationship between the United States and Cuba, know that there are a lot of people looking to take advantage of cigar aficionados. Purchasing Cuban cigars should be done with great caution in order to avoid getting duped.

First, know that importing cigars from Cuba is considered illegal. The United States placed economic sanctions on the Cuban government in 1963. Ever since then, Cuban cigars have become the holy grail of cigar enthusiasts. There is, however, one loophole: visitors to Cuba who return from a sanctioned and licensed visit are allowed to bring back cigars. However, visitors are not able to bring back more than $100 worth of cigars, and they must be intended for personal use, and not for resale.

Any other ways of obtaining Cuban cigars is considered illegal. It is in fact illegal to buy, sell or trade Cuban cigars in the United States. Fines for illegal trading, buying or selling of Cuban cigars may face up to $55,000 in civil fines. This type of fine, however, is quite rare. The more likely scenario is that you’ll have your cigars confiscated.

When purchasing a box of Cuban cigars, be prepared to fork over quite a bit of your cash. Prices can range from about $150 to $500 or more. If you’re offered a box below these prices, chances are it may not be the real thing. Most Internet businesses that sell purportedly genuine Cuban cigars tend to be imitations. Always avoid shops or retailers that offer “discounted” Cuban cigars.

How to get your hands on the real thing, The easiest way to get a box of authentic Cuban cigars is to head north to Canada. Buy them in Canada and repackage them so that they are not in their original Cuba packaging. Remove the rings and place the cigars in a different box. Customs agents tend to not inspect cigars carefully, and it is generally not considered a serious offense to bring Cuban cigars into the United States. In fact, many clerks at tobacco shops will even offer to repackage Cuban cigars for you.

How To Properly Age A Cigar

Experienced cigar enthusiasts know well the pleasures of a well-aged cigar. The subtle flavors and complex constitution of a well-aged cigar is indescribably and unforgettable. Like wine, many cigar aficionados swear by the process of aging. A great cigar, the argument goes, is an aged one. How can you attain a well-aged cigar that provides the mellow, complex flavors you crave, You can always fork over a good deal of your money and purchase a box of expensive vintage cigars. If you would rather save the money and experiment with aging on your own, here are a few tips to help you get started.

First, know that you will have to be patient if you want a properly aged cigar. You will have to age your cigars for about a year in order to achieve the flavors and complex subtleties of a well-aged cigar. Also, know that in order to achieve the rewards of a well-aged cigar; you must begin the process with a high quality cigar. If you try to age a lower quality cigar, chances are any amount of aging won’t improve their flavor significantly. Many high quality cigars that you find too strong or odorous are perfect candidates for aging. In fact, almost all high quality cigars can be improved through the process of aging.



To age your cigars, purchase a good quality humidor. Cigars must be stored in a constant and stable environment. Follow the 70-70 rules. That means the humidity must be at a constant humidity of 70%, and at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Of course, the environment in which they are stored is crucial. Follow the usual 70-70 rules for temperature and humidity. Any more and your cigars will get moldy; any less and the aging process begins to be stunted. Maintaining a stable environment for your cigars is key – a constantly fluctuation environment can be disastrous. Swings in temperature and humidity cause cigars to expand and contract, cracking their wrappers and it may disrupt the aging process. Ideally, the space in the humidor should be about twice the volume of cigars. The lining should be cedar – cedar wood is highly aromatic wood, full of its own oils. With the passage of time, the interaction of the tobacco oils amongst themselves, and with the cedar oil of the wood it leads to a mellowing and blending of flavors resulting in that subtle complexity you can only get from proper aging.

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