Types of Handmade Cigars
True cigar aficionados know that there’s a huge difference between handmade, hand-rolled cigars and cigars that were made via a machine. The taste is different, the feel is different and the draw is different, not to mention the significant disparity in price. When it comes down to it, though, it’s not even handmade cigars versus machine-rolled cigars anymore. There are actually variances within the handmade genre itself, and being aware of these differences can help you spot the highest quality cigars.
Handmade but Machine-Bunched
Some brands may claim to be handmade, but in reality, they’re a combination of machine- and hand-produced. These cigars are often initially bunched by a machine and only in the finishing process does a real live person come into the picture.
Here’s how it typically works:
Pre-blended filler tobacco leaf is fed into a machine
The machine bunches the leaf together tightly
A rough-cut binder leaf is placed over the machine’s cutter template
The machine trims the leaf to fit the cigar, picks it up and puts glue on one side of it
The machine rolls the bunched tobacco leaf into the glue until the entire mass is covered
A worker removes the cigar, trims it, puts it into a cigar mold and presses it
From there, a “handmade” cigar is actually treated as such. A live person will apply a wrapper to the cigar by hand. Then it will be inspected, color-sorted and aged.
To spot these handmade, machine-rolled cigars, there are a few things you can look out for. First, check the cap. Cigars that have been made by a machine typically have more pointed caps than their hand-rolled counterparts. Sometimes, they may have no cap at all. You can also feel the cigar itself for clues. Most machine-made cigars will have a courser wrapper, and some protruding veins may be visible.
Truly Handmade Cigars
With truly handmade cigars, there is no machine involvement at all. Every step of the bunching, rolling and wrapping process is completed by a real person. This typically delivers a higher-quality product, a better draw and a better taste overall.
Here’s how the process for handmade cigars works:
The roller, called a torcedor in Spanish-speaking countries, lays out the cigar’s binder leaf by hand
He then gathers, folds and aligns full-size tobacco filler leaves
The roller arranges the leaves meticulously, with the lighter flavors at the cigar’s foot and the stronger flavors toward the middle of the cigar
He then bunches the leaves together and rolls them into the laid-out binder leaf
Once fully bunched, the head is cut and the entire shape is pressed into a cigar mold, forming the tubular shape
At this point, the bunch undergoes a suction draw test. This ensures it meets minimum and maximum draw pressures.
The roller then prepares the wrapper with the smooth side facing outward.
The bunch is laid on top of the wrap, hand-rolled and fitted with a cap. It is then cut to the appropriate length for the cigar brand.
To spot a truly handmade cigar, you can check for a few things. First, the filler inside the cigar should span its entire length. Second, its wrapper should be extremely smooth and have a slightly oily feel. Third, feel the outside for lumps by rolling it in your hands. Lumps may indicate shoddy construction and possibly machine involvement.
Want Handmade Cigars?
If you’re looking for 100% handmade cigars, come visit Finck’s Cigar Factory Outlet and let our expert team members help you find the high-quality cigar brand you’re looking for.