Handmade cigars are a different breed of tobacco product. In a world full of items that have been processed to hell and back, a handmade cigar is a luxury smoke that can take us back to a time when artisans took pride in their craft. Many other mass-market tobacco products are made using a blend of chopped tobacco leaves, also known as “short-filler.” Short-filler is processed in a factory and turned into cigarettes or cigars by machines that crank out millions of smokes. You can find short filler tobacco in major cigarette brands, but also gas station cigars we’re all familiar with.
When tobacco is left intact, on the other hand, the whole leaves are referred to as “long filler.” At premium cigar factories, these leaves are then carefully chosen for a particular blend and rolled by hand into the stogies we know and love. While short-filler burns quick and hot, long-filler provides that familiar relaxed, and thoughtful burn pace that makes cigars so satisfying and enjoyable.
It’s the difference between a snack cake from a package at the supermarket and one freshly made by a local master baker. There is a time and a place for both of them, but our focus is on the masterpiece cigars made by some of the best blenders and rollers in the world.
Hand-rolled or handmade cigars are created by master torcedores (“twisters,” in Spanish). If you’ve never seen one at work, you should check out a video of it – or better yet, see it in person during a cigar factory tour. Here’s an example from the Drew Estate cigar factory, if you’re curious. The filler leaves have to be bunched correctly. The binder leaf has to be rolled around the bunches snugly, but not too tight. The wrapper has to be applied cleanly and in a way that’s smooth and pleasing to the eye.
Everything has to come together just right to create a cigar that’s a treat both to hold and to smoke. Standards are high, and at a cigar factory, the pressure is on – handmade cigar makers have a lot to live up to!
At each step of the process of making a handmade cigar, rollers work carefully to ensure that the final product looks and smokes as close to perfect as possible. They have to do this across a hundred or more cigars each day. It can be a big component of what makes the world’s best cigars so desirable. While many premium brands are popular for choosing high-quality tobacco leaf and making a blend to please well-developed palates, it’s at the roller’s table that the final product that we will hold in our hand comes together.
Our handmade cigar offerings include a huge variety of top brands. At tables across the Caribbean and Latin America, beautiful cigars are being made by hand and shipped out for our enjoyment every day. From the hands of rollers to the hands of aficionados, the life of a tobacco leaf is best when that leaf never sees the inside of a machine.
Please browse our selection of handmade cigars at your leisure.