Ancillary products that add to the experience of fine cigars including: ash trays, lighters, cutters, punches, etc. Also included are the attachable, insertable, removable and modifiable parts of a humidor as well as products that maintain or modify them. These might include the following: HUMIDIFIERS, HYGROMETERS, HYGROSTATS and WETTING SOLUTIONS.
See ELECTRONIC HUMIDIFIERS.
The smell of a burning cigar. Also includes the smell of the wrapper and filler leaves prior to lighting the cigar. Aroma is one of the more important aspects of enjoying a fine smoke and is integral to the full experience of flavor.
The middle layer of tobacco used to hold together the filler tobacco. The binder lies just below the outer wrapper. One of the three main components that makes up a hand-made cigar. See also FILLER and WRAPPER.
The combination of tobaccos used as the recipe for a given cigar. The FILLER and BINDER join in harmony with the WRAPPER tobacco to give a cigar its unique flavor signature. The blend of tobaccos in a cigar create its unique flavor, similar to the concept of blending wine grapes, tea leaves, coffee beans, etc.
Also, called Plume. A white film or spots on the wrapper caused by oileoresins in the tobacco drying on the surface. This generally indicates a cigar that is aging gracefully and will likely taste its best. Bloom is distinguishable from fungus or MOLD, which shows up as patchy and fuzzy areas on your cigar. If left alone, mold will ruin your goods. Check out the photo of bloom below.
Above Right: Cigars with bloom
Body is the texture or feel of the tobacco and the smoke on our palate and respiratory mucosa when we smoke a cigar. These textures or the sensations they produce in the mouth and nose can be either more or less prominent, representing fuller or lighter body. Spicy cigars may tingle the tongue or savory ones may feel "heavy" on the palate. See also FLAVOR and STRENGTH.
Can refer to a HUMIDOR (i.e., "A good box will maintain a constant internal environment."), or the container used to package cigars. (i.e., "Let's buy another box of stogies.")
Boncheros are trained workers who roll the filler tobacco into the BINDER leaf. After the bonchero rolls the BUNCH, he or she then puts the cigars into a cigar press, which will help the cigars to keep their shape. Boncheros work together with a ROLLERwho puts the WRAPPER leaf on the bunch.
The combination of the binder and filler tobacco is called the bunch. The bunch is created by workers known as "boncheros." Boncheros prepare the bunch so that the rollers or torcedores can finish the cigar by putting the wrapper over the bunch. Boncheros will often use a Lieberman machine to form a more consistent bunch. See LIEBERMAN MACHINE. In photo below: 1. Forming the bunch; 2. Positioning the filler in Lieberman machine; 3. Rolling filler into binder leaf.
Adjusting the accuracy of your HYGROMETER, so that you know with greater accuracy the humidity inside your box. Checking your hygrometer against something with a known, constant humidity will tell you whether your hygrometer needs calibration. This is an inexact science since all hygros estimate humidity and have an error factor that can range from 5 to 15 percent.
The cigar boom was the period from late 1992 to 1997, when cigar demand was much, much greater than cigar supply, and virtually anything brown and cylindrical would sell for big bucks. (I know what you're thinking, but I said VIRTUALLY anything.) America was cigar crazy during that time.
The layers and combination of flavors, whether full or delicate, that contribute to a pleasurable smoke. Complex cigars display several different flavors or nuances that make the cigar take on depth and make it an interesting smoke. Complexity is more common in cigars that are blended medium to medium-full in BODY and STRENGTH.
Below: Seasoning (Conditioning) a Travel Humidor
(Preparing a new humidor to receive cigars. See SEASON/SEASONING)
Filler tobacco consisting of chopped pieces most common in machine-made cigars. See also SHORT FILLER.
H2O that is free of minerals. Keeps your humidifying device and the Spanish cedar wood lining of your box healthy, as it leaves no mineral deposits when it evaporates. Tap water or even filtered water contains dissolved minerals that will eventually clog the pores in the humidifier and wood.
Powered by electrical current, these humidifiers usually are made up of a fluid tank for water, a wicking element and a fan. When the HUMIDITY of your humidor falls below a preset value, the HYGROSTAT will power up the electronic humidifier to increase humidity. Also called "active" humidifiers.
The tobacco that makes up the center of the cigar, covered by the binder and then the wrapper. There are two main types of filler, short filler that is found in lower cost cigars and long filler that is used in premium cigars. See also LONG FILLER.
Our perception of the taste and smell of a cigar taste of the cigar when smoked. Full flavored cigars have distinct and easily perceived flavors, while mild flavored cigars are subtly and delicately flavored. Descriptors like "bittersweet," "charred oak," or "barnyard," are descriptions of either aroma or taste or both. See also BODY and STRENGTH.
A cigar that has not been aged sufficiently after construction. It can also refer to the tobacco that is not properly fermented. Thus any cigar that you buy that has not been cured, fermented or aged sufficiently is “green” and will benefit if laid down for at least a few weeks in a proper environment.
HANDMADE [Spanish HECHO
A cigar that is made by hand, but that have a machine-bunched filler. See LIEBERMAN MACHINE.
In a humidor, hardware refers mainly to hinges, but can include mortise, locks, keys, latches, lid supports and other metal parts. Hinges receive heavy use over time and need to be of high quality and sized appropriate to the heft of the box. Most high-quality humidor hinges are made from solid brass and often coated with protective "gold tinted" lacquer. This coating assures that your hinges will stay lustrous and beautiful for years.
= CONSTANT INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
The inside of a cigar humidor must preserve an environment much like the one where the cigar tobacco came from. This is typically warm and moist. Thus, a humidor must be able to keep a consistently warm, moist environment. Temperature should be kept at approximately 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity should also be kept at about 65-70%.
Homogenized tobacco is pulverized and mixed with fibers, pure cellulose, and water to create a pulp. The pulp is used to produce a uniform sheet of tobacco. The sheet is then used for the high-speed production of machine made cigars. Homogenized wrappers mainly are used with SHORT FILLER tobacco, the lower quality scraps left over from tobacco products. This having been said, homogenized tobacco is synonymous with cheap cigars that will not benefit from aging. Though many machine-made cigars are palatable, they are certainly not the great cigars that commend collection, storing, aging, and the enjoyment that only a fine cigar can bring.
A device that is placed inside a humidor to emit moisture into the air and wood of the humidor. These can come in two types. The first type is a MECHANICAL HUMIDIFIER (also called a passive humidifier), which is usually a piece of sponge, foam, polymer or crystal, that is placed into a humidifying cassette made of plastic or metal and placed into the humidor. A second type, an ELECTRONIC HUMIDIFIER, consists of a moisture holding tank, a wicking element and a fan. Coupled with a HYGROSTAT, the electronic humidifier automatically turns on when humidity falls below a preset level.
A box (but actually an environment), that can vary in size from a desktop type to a walk in cabinet, used to store or age cigars. Like a wine cellar, the humidor is fitted with devices to control and/or measure TEMPERATURE and HUMIDITY. The ideal environment should be approximately 65-70°F and 65-70% relative humidity.
Items that you add to your humidor to keep it functioning optimally. (See also ACCESSORIES)
A device that records the relative percentage HUMIDITY (and sometimes the temperature) of the air inside your humidor. Hygrometers can be analog or digital. Analog hygrometers are generally less reliable (+ or - 10%), while digital are more reliable (+ or - 5%).
A hygrostat controls HUMIDITY in the same way a thermostat controls temperature in your home. As soon as humidity falls to lower than acceptable levels, the hygrostat detects it and sends out a signal to the electronic humidifier, which starts operating. Air is drawn from openings provided in the unit and channeled into a water cartridge where it is humidified and drawn through the wick system and exhausted into the humidor. When the humidity in the cigar-storage area returns to normal, the hygrostat sends out another signal, and the ventilator stops.
Refers to the fit of the wooden components of a cigar HUMIDOR. More specifically, joinery can refer to the joints that connect the walls of the humidor and the quality of the seal or fit. The joints of a quality humidor must be strong to withstand the test of time. "Box," "Dovetail," and "Tongue and Groove" are common joinery techniques used in humidors. The important thing is the the joints are precise and true.
Whole tobacco leaves selected and rolled by hand to create an ideal DRAW of smoke. The leaves are positioned to run the length of the cigar, thereby creating channels through which the smoke can flow. Long filler will usually hold an ash longer than short filler
The lieberman machine was developed to increase productivity by helping boncheros to make a more consistent bunch. With the use of this machine, less experienced boncheros could be more easily trained and progress more quickly in their expertise of crafting a good "bunch." See video below.
Cigars made entirely by machine. Heavier weight BINDERS and wrappers than those in hand made cigars are generally used and cut- or short-filler is used in place of long filler.
Blending of the oleoresins and moisture levels within the tobacco of a cigar. This occurs within a cigar as the oleoresins in the filler, binder and wrapper tobaccos mix and blend as they are allowed to age in a humidor for a period of time. The moisture levels across the filler, binder and wrapper also reach an equilibrium, helping the cigar to burn more evenly. Marrying occurs within a single cigar, but can also occur across cigars that are stored in direct contact with one another within a humidor; the tobacco's essential oils and flavors mix through direct contact. Obviously, the cigars must have their cellophane wrappers removed for the marrying process to occur across cigars in a batch. Marrying produces a cigar with a consistent flavor and burn.
A passive humidifier usually consists of a type of foam, sponge or crystals that you soak with water. When placed in a plastic or metal cassette, the humidifier emits moisture into the air of your humidor.
Patchy, fuzzy growth that develops on cigars stored in conditions that are too damp. Mold can be white or green and can grow on the wrapper or appear at the foot of the cigar. It is usually distinguished by its three-dimensional appearance. When mold appears on your cigars, you should wipe them off carefully and remove them from the humidor until optimal conditions are restored. Mold often is created by an oversaturated humidifier, so you should check the humidifier for signs of mold and either replace it, or allow it to air dry. Use a mold-resistant WETTING SOLUTION.
Foam is often used inside of travel humidors to pretect the cigars and insulate them from temperature and humidity changes. Sometimes packing foam will be treated with different chemicals. If you use this type of foam in a travel humidor, it will impart a nasty flavor to your stogies and probably ruin them. If you purchase foam for a do-it-yourself humidor, ask your vendor whether it is chemically treated, or better, take a whiff. You will probably be able to smell the chemicals. Camera case foam is normally not chemically treated.
A compound that mixes completely and evenly with water and dissolves in many essential oils. It is used in the humidification of tobacco products. Usually DISTILLED WATER is mixed with propylene glycol to preserve the HUMIDITY in the HUMIDOR. Propylene Glycol does not evaporate as quickly as water and, thus, needs to be added less frequently. Often, WETTING SOLUTIONS will contain a mixture of Propylene Glycol and water. Over time, your HUMIDIFIER may become saturated with Propylene Glycol and may need to be rinsed thoroughly or changed.
Concentration of water vapor in the air. It is expressed as the ratio of the partial pressure of the water vapor to its saturated vapor pressure at the same temperature. The higher the temperature, the higher the saturated vapor pressure. See also HUMIDITY.
The diameter of a cigar is referred to as the ring gauge. It is a measurement equal to 1/64 of an inch. A 64 ring gauge would be one inch in thickness and a 32 ring gauge would be 1/2 inch thick.
Highly skilled artisans who apply the wrapper to the tobacco bunch used to make a cigar. See also TORCEDOR.
When you purchase a new HUMIDOR, you will need to prepare it to receive your smokes. This is called "seasoning" or "conditioning" your humidor. Basically, it means that you need to put a HUMIDIFIER in the box and allow a few days for the inner box to soak up enough water to maintain HOMEOSTASIS. For more details, listen to Stogie Fresh 5 podcast #9: How to Season a Humidor.
Below: Cabinet sealing material
In a cabinet humidor, you need to have a strip of material that is used to seal the door and prevent air escaping from the cabinet (see photo at left). Often, a rubberized weather stripping is used.
Chopped scraps of leaves sometimes used in hand made, but more likely in machine-made, cigars. Short filler tobacco burns hotter and quicker than LONG FILLER, but can otherwise be quite good, depending on the quality of the tobacco.
Spanish cedar is a member of the Mahogany family. It is a slightly aromatic wood with properties that make it ideally suited as a humidor liner. Spanish cedar is moderately porous and has the ability to absorb excess moisture and release that moisture as needed to keep humidity levels constant.
Strength is the combined affect of the tobacco chemicals on our internal systems. It is not uncommon to feel strength in your gut or in your head if a cigar is strong. The intensity of your reaction to the cigar chemicals (i.e., "rush," nicotine hit," "woozy feeling," etc.), will determine how strong a cigar is for you.
Tobacco is grown in a tropical climate, which is humid and warm. Thus, cigars should be stored in a warm, moist environment. Though cigars can be kept cooler or hotter temporarily, it is best to keep a consistent temperature of around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) in your humidor. You can use a digital HYGROMETER to record both humidity and temperature.
Also called Cigar Beetles or Tobacco Weevils. Insects that chew small, rounded holes through tobacco leaves, resulting in tiny holes throughout. These beetles are sensitive to temperature and will activate when your cigars, even your primo sticks, are maintained at temperatures of 75-80 degrees. Besides the appearance of tiny holes in the wrapper of your cigars, a fine brown dust may be found inside your HUMIDOR. Though not found on all tobacco, the critters are nearly imperceptible. If you find evidence of tobacco beetles, separate that box from the rest of your cigars, or if sticks are placed individually in your box, isolate the cigars in that divider space from other cigars in humidor. Remove the offending sticks and get rid of them. For more information, listen to Stogie Fresh 5 podcast #11: Tobacco Beetles.
The small oil-filled pockets common to sun-grown, Sumatra-seed wrapper and Cameroon wrappers. The pockets present themselves as small bumps, which texture the wrapper on a cigar. You can feel little "mountains and valleys" when you pass your fingers over the surface. A toothy wrapper is generally a well aged and oily wrapper.
Spanish for cigar roller. This is a title earned by those who have achieved a high level of success at this difficult artisanal craft. See also ROLLER.
The idea of the vintage cigar is an elusive target since there is no standard or general agreement about what the term means. Though there is no standard definition of what constitutes a vintage cigar, the term generally applies to cigars whose tobaccos have been aged for an extended time period. In some cases it is just the outer wrapper that has been aged, in other cases the aged tobacco includes the binder and filler tobacco. Manufacturers have different ideas on how to define the aging of their tobacco. Some say it's the year that the wrapper was grown, while others say it refers to the year the binder and filler was grown. Vintage cigar tobacco is often aged longer before appearing on the market, though some manufacturers will put the vintage date on the label, others will not. This makes for real difficulty when trying to select an aged cigar to be purchased.
A liquid solution that is used in a HUMIDIFIER to keep up the moisture levels in a HUMIDOR. Usually, the wetting solution is made up of PROPYLENE GLYCOL and distilled water. The wetting solution evaporates slowly and inhibits the growth of MOLD.
A wrapper leaf is the outer wrapping of the cigar. The wrapper is, in many ways, the most important part of a cigar. It is the first thing that a consumer will look at to judge the quality of a cigar. The wrapper is expensive, costing $40 to $45 per pound, compared to $4 to $5 per pound for binder and filler tobacco. See also BINDER and FILLER.