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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Ligero, Seco, & Volado: What Quality Cigars Are Made of

Quality Cigar Tobacco Leaves That Make for Great Smoke

There's nothing better than enjoying a great cigar. And any true cigar aficionado will agree that not every cigar is made the same. When it comes to the great smokes of the world, there is a wide variety of difference in quality and flavor.

A great deal of time and care go into making the perfect cigar, beginning with the cigar tobacco leaves. There are three types of leaves used for that grow on the tobacco plant: Ligero, Seco, and Volado.
Let's take a look at each of these three to see what exactly makes each of them so vital to cigars.

Ligero, Seco, and Volado: What Quality Cigars Are Made Of

Have you ever wondered where and how cigars get their great flavor? Read on to learn about the tobacco leaves that make for a great smoke.

Ligero

This leaf that grows at the upper-most part of a tobacco plant and takes longer to mature than the other two varieties. Ligero leaves are typically bold and offer the most flavorful smoking experience.
The flavor is often spicy and coarse, and cigars made from this leaf produce a lot of smoke.

Cigars made from Ligero leaves tend to be popular with experienced smokers due to the strong tobacco blends. Yet despite their powerful flavor, Ligero cigars lack aroma and are thus typically blended with a filler leaf to make up for this shortcoming.

Seco

The second type of tobacco leaf is the Seco, which is harvested from the middle part of the tobacco plant. These are milder than Ligero, and therefore will produce a milder flavor in your cigar.

Seco leaves are popular for use as filler tobacco because of the overall aroma. The flavor and smoke output are both mild due to this being the thinnest grade of tobacco.

Volado

The Volado, or Viso, the leaf is found at the lower part of the tobacco plant. It ranks behind Ligero in terms of boldness and spice, and yet, much like Ligero, it offers very little aroma.

The Volado leaf is important in maintaining the even burn ratio of a cigar. This is why cigars that don't use Volado or use too little of it will generally have an uneven burn line. 

The potent burning properties of the Volado make it a vital component of the cigar industry. This is because neither Ligero nor Seco leaves burn well on their own and need the help of the third leaf.

The Secret to the Best Cigar Tobacco Leaves in the World

The finest cigars in the world all have one thing in common: the finest cigar tobacco leaves. After all, tobacco leaves are responsible for the quality of the flavor and boldness in a cigar.
A cigar leaf is a miracle of nature. Simply take a look at any tobacco plant anatomy diagram, and though it looks so primitive, this amazing plant is able to provide so much pleasure. Learning about the three leaves certainly helps one better appreciate the glories of a fine cigar!

Click here to see our extensive list of cigar brands.

What's in a Cigar: Determining the Body, Flavor, and Strength of a Cigar

What's in a Cigar: Determining the Body, Flavor, and Strength

Talk to a connoisseur of anything and they will hit you with some familiar terms used in surprising ways. The jargon of any aesthetic or job can feel like a smoke screen for the content.
Cigars provide a rich history and culture to some otherwise simple words. Describing the qualities of a cigar often comes down to strength, flavor, and body.
But what's in a cigar that provides these distinctions?
We'll go over the simple ingredients and how they affect these terms.

What's in a Cigar?

A cigar, primarily, comprises a wrapper around tobacco leaves. The leaves, though, that is where so much of the magic happens. 

You may have heard stories or jokes about wrapping and its importance. There is an art to wrapping a cigar to keep the leaves packed well enough to not fall apart. This, while still being spaced enough to breathe and smolder. 

Tobacco plants are harvested in a process called priming. Harvesters start at the base of the plant and go through in primings. The leaves at the top become more soaked with nutrients and flavor as the plant feeds them more and longer.

This means that even in a single plant a variety of factors can change in a finished cigar.
Let's take a look at the scope of each metric.

Strength

Nicotine concentration reflects only one part of the strength of a cigar. The other component is oil. Oils in the leaves carry more flavors and hit harder.

A strong cigar will carry more flavors and those flavors will linger longer (depending on the body). Nicotine concentration affects the euphoric or heady feeling of smoking a cigar. 

Remember that nicotine is a stimulant. You have one amount and it brings you up, you have too much and it sends you crashing. Plan accordingly and savor a full strength cigar slowly.

Flavor 

Talking about flavor makes some people edgy. It is easy to talk a bigger game than you really understand. to avoid trying too hard we have a guide for enjoying flavors over here.

Flavors exist across a spectrum influenced by taste buds and smell. Still, we've noted which are stronger and more subtle and cataloged them in sweet, bitter, sour, and salty. A cigar flavor chart like this can help you understand taste descriptions.

Flavor ranges from light to full. The higher up the scale, the more complex and deep the flavors will be. 

Body

Unless you suffer from anosmia, you should notice flavors in the mouth and the nose. Take color blindness as an example. Everyone has some part of the spectrum they don't see. Anosmia works the same way, some people don't detect some smells.

Like strength, the higher up the scale in terms of light through full-bodied a cigar is, the more you will pick up. When describing body types you can think of them in the same way as the coating or lasting on the palette of any food. 

Flavors that linger represent a fuller body. Flavors that hit and run tend to be light bodied.

Savor the Day

The individual tobacco leaves inside make up what's in a cigar.

What you experience is dictated by the combination of strength, flavor, and body characteristic.

Consider picking up a sampler and explore how these interplay for yourself!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Stogies, Vino, & Java: What Pairs Best with Cigars


There's nothing better than a fine cigar. After a long day at work, a cigar is perfect to wind down and relax.

If you're out with family or friends, lighting a cigar is a great social pairing. Many situations call for a cigar, but did you think which beverage also pairs well with cigars?

But don't choose just any drink. Certain drinks pair so naturally with a cigar - it's like peanut butter and jelly. Having this knowledge requires some basic facts about tobacco flavors and hidden notes.
Here's what to drink with cigars.

Wine

Wine is one of the best cigar pairings. Any event calls for a glass of wine and a cigar; whether it's family dinner, a formal event, or a night on the town. But the cigar and wine pairing are complex.
And it all depends on the type of cigar you're smoking.

For mild-to-medium cigars, choose an equally modest wine. Any fruity wines are the perfect option; the sweetness blends perfectly with the cigar's spice and sugary flavor. Choose Pinot Noir with a mild or medium-bodied cigar.

For medium-to-full bodied cigars, choose a classic red wine such as Merlot. Since you're getting stronger with your cigars, you'll want to increase your wine bitterness. But a Merlot is a happy medium for your earthy yet flavorful cigars.

For full-bodied cigars, go for a dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied cigars are stronger, thus pair well with a bitter and full-bodied wine.

Spirits

Is wine too fancy? If you go hard with cigars, go hard with alcohol. Fortunately, cigars pair well with many types of spirits.

"Spirits" describes a wide variety of liquor. Which one do you choose? A nice bourbon, whiskey, and brandy pairs amazingly with cigars. Cigars have a robust flavor. The spirit should match with the cigar, which is why dark spirits work best.

Which spirits should you avoid? The cigar will overpower any white spirits. Avoid vodka and gin when smoking a cigar.

Coffee

Are you not into alcohol? You have other options besides wine. Coffee is a perfect cigar pairing. But don't reach for the Frappe just yet - certain types of coffee pair better with cigars.

You should first reach for the dark roast. This coffee is full-bodied and has a variety of complex flavors, just like cigars. If you prefer mild cigars, you can reach for a milder coffee blend such as a medium roast.

Now You Know What to Drink With Cigars

While enjoying a cigar, why don't you enjoy a drink with it? But before picking up any beverage, you need to know what to drink with cigars.

Wine, dark-colored spirits, and coffee are favorites for so many cigar aficionados. These beverages are full-bodied and complex, just like the cigar you're smoking. What are you waiting for? Pick up a cigar and a glass!

Are you ready to relax with a cigar and your favorite beverage? Order cigars and cigar accessories from us.

Cigars for New Dads: Why It's a Tradition to Smoke a Stogie

Cigars for New Dads: Why It's a Tradition to Smoke a Stogie to Celebrate the Arrival of a New Baby

You've seen the cartoons. A new dad finds out his baby has been born and starts passing out cigars to everyone else in the hospital waiting room.

Now, smoking in the waiting room of a labor and delivery ward today would probably get you thrown out, but it wasn't so long ago that this was a much-loved tradition.

But why? Why are cigars for new dads such a common theme?
Let's take a look at the history.

Indigenous Cultures

Before Europeans ever set foot on the North American continent, the native populations were practicing gift-giving to celebrate the birth of a child.

Mostly practiced in the Pacific Northwest, these celebrations were called a Potlatch. Early cigars were among the gifts distributed, but often blankets, copper, and other valuable gifts were given.
Is this the root of the tradition? Perhaps distantly. Let's keep going.

Adopted by the Americans

The tradition in its bets recognized form seems to have begun in the early 20th century.
Birth moved into hospitals, and hospital waiting rooms were crowded with fathers awaiting the births of their children. This was long before husband coached childbirth and men being allowed into the birthing suites.

And so they would wait. And because this was the early 20th century, they would smoke.
And it makes sense. Even now, with modern medicine, childbirth isn't exactly the safest of endeavors. And for a man who can do nothing but wait...it's a stressful time. Smoking helped pass the time and relieve stress during the long hours.

It's also worth noting that the cigar has been a celebratory tradition for as long as its been present in the western world. So it was only a matter of time before fathers, already smoking while awaiting the birth of a child, would celebrate it in such a manner.

Cigar companies got in on the action by releasing "It's a Boy!" and "It's a Girl" cigars, available often in packs of ten. These became so common that, by the 1950's, you could buy them in hospital gift shops or order them online at Cuenca Cigars.

Cigars for New Dads: A Tradition Adapted

Although smoking is not allowed in hospitals, and especially on the labor and delivery floor, the Cigars are still a tradition and most dads celebrate with friends after the birth. Splurging on celebratory cigars to mark your transition into fatherhood is a worthy thing. After all, your life is different now. You're a parent. What an amazing moment.

And what better way to mark it than to take part in a tradition shared by your father and grandfather, going back generations? There is something powerful about traditions passed from father to son, as sons become fathers.

Looking for the best cigars to celebrate the birth of your next generation? Take a look at some of our fine smokeables here.