четверг, 28 июня 2007 г.

Cigar Construction

Creating a premium cigar: is much the same as a master wine maker blending a fine bordeaux - each must have the skills to grow and create their own blends.

Growing tobacco requires exceptional artistry and experience. Plants are nurtured in nurseries and the seedlings are transported to fields. Two tablespoons of seed can produce 10 acres of cigar tobacco.

During harvesting, leaves are picked beginning at the bottom. Valdo, the bottom leaf has the mildest taste. Seco, in the middle, has a medium flavor. Ligero, at the top, has the strongest taste.

Curing is the next step. The chosen leaves are bundled according to size and texture and are hung to dry in curing barns for six to eight weeks.

Tobacco must ferment, "sweat" properly in order to smoke with good taste and aroma. Fermentation removes ammonia and other chemical components. Improperly fermented tobacco causes harshness or bitterness, and will not stay lit.

The filler, the binder, and the wrapper are the three parts that make up a cigar. In premium cigars, each has to go through meticulous preparation, including sorting and stripping.

After this preparation, the master blender is now ready to create the "recipe." He pre-blends the filler, selecting the special combination of tobacco leaves. Depending on the ring gauge and type of cigar, a cigar will contain a blend of two to four different tobaccos.

Expert hands make the difference in a fine cigar. The "buncher" forms the filler into a cylindrical shape. This is rolled into a binder leaf and placed in a mold to coax it into a cigar shape. The "roller" then skillfully applies the outer wrapper tobacco leaf.

After rolling, cigars are placed in the "marrying room" for a minimum of three weeks. This is a temperature and humidity-controlled Cedar room. This gives the selected tobaccos time to meld their tastes and for the moisture to equilibrate.

Sizing Up Cigars

Cigars come in many sizes and different shapes. Some are straight-sided cigars (parejos), but there are also several unusually shaped cigars (Figurados), including Pyramids and Torpedoes.

Cigar size is described in terms of diameter and length. Diameter is designated in "ring gauge" - a measurement divided into a 64th of an inch (or centimeters). A cigar with a ring gauge of 42, for example, has a diameter of 42 / 64ths of an inch. Length is measured in inches.

One of the things you will notice is that there is no correspondence between the size of a cigar and its flavor and strength. A Romeo y Julieta Churchill tastes very different from a Montecristo Churchill. A big cigar can be mild, and a small cigar can be strong.

Sizing Up Cigars

CHURCHILL: Large straight-sided cigars with a hefty ring gauge are generally called Churchills in honor of Sir Winston Churchill.

LONSDALE: Relatively long cigars of medium ring gauge are most often referred to as Lonsdales. Ranging in size from 44 x 6 1/2" to 44 x 6 3/4", Lonsdales are often referred to by other names such as H. Upmann 2000 Corona Larga and the Montecristo #1.

FIGURADO: All cigars which do not have parallel or straight sides are Figurados. They include Pyramids, Torpedoes, Belicosos, Perfectos and a new variation: a Torbusto.

ROBUSTO: Shorter cigars are the same diameter as a Churchill are generally called Robustos, but in some brands they are called Bullies or Rothchilds.

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