There’s very few activities I find more relaxing than settling down with a nice cigar after a long day of work. However, what should be a very simple process (cut one end, light the other, go) is filled with riddles and mysteries for many cigar enthusiasts.
Talk to any guy at a cigar gathering, and you’ll get tons of “tips” and “insider advice” on the cigar world. Here at Cigars International, we pride ourselves on walking the walk, and talking the talk, so we got our panel of experts together to address some of the biggest “cigar myths” out there.
Myth #1: “The Bigger, the Better”
Anyone who’s been to a cigar store knows this guy — he doesn’t care what he’s burning, as long as it’s the biggest, baddest looking cigar in the place. According to him, larger cigars have more flavor, and are a better bargain for your hard-earned dollar. To be fair, he’s technically correct on the second part. Typically the largest version of cigars (normally we’ll use the word size, or, ‘vitola’) is just a quarter or so more than its smaller companions. So you are actually getting “more cigar” per dollar than a smaller blend.
But what tobacco are you really getting more of? Cigars are made of three parts: wrapper, binder, and filler. To gloss over this quickly – wrappers are the single, outer leaf; binders are an inside leaf holding everything together, and filler tobaccos are bunches of leaves that fill out the vast majority of the cigar. With a large cigar, you’re getting more filler to wrapper ratio, so the flavors of the filler leaves come out more. With a smaller cigar, you’re not getting less flavor, you’re getting a more concentrated one. Wrapper leaves have to be the highest quality, since they are what makes up the appearance of the cigar. In addition, they normally have the most unique flavor. With a smaller cigar, you’re going to experience a lot of wrapper flavor, and the filler will just be complimentary.
So whether “bigger is better” really depends on the cigar. For my money, some blends perform beautifully in a skinny size, like the 5 Vegas Gold Nuggets. Other cigars, like the Diesel Unlimited d.7, do best when they’re bigger. The ultimate answer here: experiment. When you try a new cigar blend, try a few different sizes, and figure out what you think works best for that specific blend.
Myth #2: “You Gotta Burn ‘Em Fresh!”
Every single employee here at the Cigars International HQ has a story of someone refusing cigars because they weren’t “fresh.” In their eyes, cigars are like bread, and need to be enjoyed right when they’re created in order to ensure “peak flavor.” This actually couldn’t be more from true. When a cigar is rolled, it either needs to be lit immediately (as in the roller finishes it, and you grab it and light it). Or, it needs to sit for a few weeks (maybe even months). Factories across the world have special aging rooms just to let their cigars blend and mellow out after they’re rolled, in order to create the best experience for consumers. “Burning them fresh” is the equivalent of drinking a batch of beer that someone created the day before — you’ll certainly get a lot of flavor, but not the taste you want.
In fact, cigars that have been aged properly for a long period of time are considered some of the rarest treats in the world. Much like a fine wine, many cigars perform extraordinarily well after they’ve been “aging” for a while. But the conditions in which to age and store a cigar are important. These products need to be kept in an environment similar to the South American ecosystem. The standard rule here is that cigars should be kept at 70°F and 70% humidity.
Truth is, the 70/70 rule has some flexibility built into it. My humidor (a cedar lined, sealed box meant for storing cigars) is currently at 69°F and 63% humidity, and my cigars are just fine. As long as you’re staying between 62-70 degrees and humidity, your cigars will have a shelf life of decades, maybe more. Cigar manufacturers know this, and ensure that their cigars are aged before they hit the shelves. Our warehouse here at CI is all humidified, with every single cigar staying at peak conditions for its entire stay from our dock, to your doorstep.
Two myths, busted. Bust these myths for yourself by enjoying 10 handmade cigars that come with a humidor. Only $19.99
See more at Cigars International