Friday, 11 July 2014

CUTTING A LONG STORY SHORT

“How would you like your cigar cut?” A question anyone might hear when visiting their local tobacconist. Most of us might have that instinctual answer of 'straight cut' or perhaps even a punch, but the options available are actually quite varied. While countless designs exist, there are four basic cuts to choose from and each carry their own unique benefits and history.

The most popular cut is the straight cut, or guillotine, due to its straightforward design, ease of use, and ability to cut almost any cigar you may decide to smoke. Allowing the fullest draw and greatest flavor, you get all the smoke a cigar can produce. While its simple design may look easy to operate, but there are some pitfalls when using this cut. First, you must be sure not to cut off too much of the wrapper. This could result in the wrapper (the most important part of the cigar) to unravel. Using a Xikar cutter for example, one method to a perfect cut is to place the open cutter flat on an even surface such as a table. Next, place the cap end of the cigar inside the cutting area and close the cutting shears. This will guarantee the perfect amount of cap is cut off the cigar. Also, having a sharp blade and cutting quickly will help to avoid cracking the wrapper.

Straight cut

Of similar function are the cigar scissors, but even more benefits can be realized. While the size of cigar able to be cut is limited by the construction of your guillotine cutter, the cigar scissors have no limit. Also, they are more easily able to be sharpened allowing for a lifetime of use. Using a sharp pair of cigar scissors can decrease the amount of power needed to gain a clean cut through a cigar, but they do require an additional amount of finesse.

Cigar scissors

One of the oldest cuts in existence is the V-cut, producing a small diamond shaped slit through the cap of the cigar. Commonly referred to as a 'cats eye' or 'wedge cut', the V-cut gained popularity in the 1920's  as many people preferred smaller, short filler cigars. The V-cut makes a wedge shaped cut which restricts the draw, less so than a punch, but enough to really concentrate the smoke. Also, it prevents small pieces of loose tobacco from going astray. A sharp blade is critical to the effectiveness of a V-cutter, as it has a high propensity to pinch the cigar cap, causing damage to the cigar wrapper. Xikar produces a high quality VX V-Cutter which has a unique inverted blade preventing the pinching of the cap.

V-cut

Lastly, one of the newest cuts to come into fashion is the punch cut. Coming in various sizes, the punch cut has a circular blade which can be twisted into the cigar cap for a small and clean opening which concentrates the cigars flavors. The biggest benefit of the punch cut is that it is nearly impossible to damage the cigar cap. Also, if you decide that the punch cut does not provide enough draw, you can still apply a straight cut to the cap and create a larger opening.

Punch

Monday, 23 June 2014

Toscano - Tradition and history since 1818

The Italian made Toscano cigars are an unique blend of history and refined smoking experience of today. They are made from 100% fire cured Kentucky tobacco and rolled into a unique shape. While waiting for my reviews, why not read a bit about them below.


The Myth of Toscano cigars

The birth of TOSCANO® cigars is linked to a casual and extraordinary event that has its roots in history and legend. In 1815 a bale of sun-cured tobacco left out to dry in the open air was caught in a violent summer downpour. Undeterred by their misfortune, the artisans running the tobacco factory in Florence soon came up with a new solution: utilize the watered-down tobacco to produce discount cigars for the Florentine common folk. What they were entirely oblivious to at the time, however, was that the rainwater had caused the tobacco to ferment, creating an unparalleled, brand-new and unique flavor that soon won the heart of every Italian across the social spectrum.

The downpour of 1815 gave rise to a legend that to this day bears the world-renowned name of Toscano cigar. The Toscano cigar is a way of life, an Italian recognizable symbol anywhere and by anyone. With nearly 200 years of history, it is inextricably linked to the development of Italy and its people, becoming a true icon of Italian-made products.


Cigar manufacturing

Cigar manufacturing was located principally in Florence for almost 130 years. But in the post-war period, the “stortignaccolo” (a nickname meaning approximately “crooked cigar”) was definitively transferred from the chief city of Tuscany to the factories in Lucca and Cava de’ Tirreni. The principal factory in Lucca was located, up until June 2004, in a building that was previously a convent for Dominican nuns. From then on, production was transferred to a more modern and functional facility, in the outskirts of Lucca, in a location named Mugnano.

The Tuscan “sigaraie” in Lucca

Toscano's 40 rollers are fundamentally important for the production of the Italian cigar; their work has remained virtually unchanged for over 200 years, and often it is an art that is passed down from mother to daughter.  In the past, they represented a symbol of the female emancipation process, fighting to achieve civil and social rights.


An 18 months’ apprenticeship is necessary to become a roller. Only after this period of time can a roller make a cigar unassisted.


This is how Toscano cigars are made – though the process could be referred to as hand-crafting.

  1. The roller wets her fingers in the bowl containing corn glue and then spreads the glue on the wooden board. This ensures that the Kentucky half-leaf, which has been flattened and positioned on the damp surface, clings to the wood.
  2. With the end of the knife, the woman cuts the outline of the cigar wrapper (profile). The veins of the leaf must be parallel to the rolling axis to prevent them creating any resistance, and to ensure that the wrapper does not open during cigar drying.
  3. The roller takes a bundle (filaments) of fermented tobacco from the “cloth-like” boxes, weighs it to ensure that it contains the right amount of tobacco, combs it, and arranges it to create a cigar of the right shape and consistency.
  4. After having formed the filler (with the binder), the roller, holding it tightly, places it on the profiled wrapper, lifts the tip of the lower edge of the wrapper, and starts rolling the leaf that will enclose the filaments, diagonally and upwards. It is very important not to create too much tension when closing the wrapper, in order not to make a cigar that is too tight or too densely packed, which would not permit an optimum draw.
  5. The ends of the barrel, which are irregular and asymmetric, are placed on a hand-operated guillotine to be cut. This operation gives the final shape.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Now Available: Davidoff Colorado Claro


Celebratory moments come few and far between in life. That is why they deserve to be filled beautifully. And our Colorado Claro cigars provide the perfect accompaniment with which to celebrate. Whether it’s with friends, or in a delightful moment of quiet indulgence, the Davidoff Colorado Claro Series is the essence of time, and celebration.

Produced in very small quantities, this Davidoff series features a very rare wrapper that makes all the difference in taste on some of our most popular formats: a sun-grown Connecticut Ecuador wrapper reminsicent of the Cuban varietal – dark, reddish-brown in appearance – producing a stronger taste.

TIME IS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY
FILL IT BEAUTIFULLY.

WRAPPER, Connecticut Seed, grown in Ecuador
BINDER, Dominican Republic
FILLER, Dominican Republic

FORMAT, SIZE
Special ‘T’, 6” x 52
Special ‘R’, 4 7/8” x 50
Double ‘R’, 7 1/2” x 50
Short Perfecto, 4 7/8” x 52
Aniversario No 3, 6” x 50

Xikar teaser


I am proud to inform you, that starting from July I will have the opportunity to test and review many new and noteworthy products from Xikar.

The final selection of products is not yet 100% confirmed, so you will just have to stand by (sorry). Also the schedule is a bit vague at this point.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Introducing La Colmena from Warped


June 9th, 2014 (Jupiter, FL)

Warped is proud to introduce the addition of their second Miami line, La Colmena or “The Beehive”. La Colmena is rolled at the esteemed El Titan de Bronze factory in the heart of Little Havana, Miami under supervising eyes of factory owner, Sandy Cobas.

La Colmena’s inspiration was drawn from the custom rolled cigars most famously associated with the top torcedors from Cuba. As with custom rolls, a single master roller is responsible for the entire production from start to finish, and with keeping with this tradition, only (1) level 9 torcedor will be responsible for each of the vitolas offered in the La Colmena portfolio, rolling only 100 cigars per day. A classic pigtail and covered foot will accompany each cigar, available in 10ct boxes.

“We’re very excited about the release of the La Colmena line. It gives us a chance to showcase something different in the industry, a profile that hasn’t been seen in awhile and of course offering it in true sizes, it’s just something that you are intrigued by. This marca is special for me. It was 15 years ago as a child when I remember my father getting his first bundle of custom rolls from a friend just back from the island. No bands, no box, just a name of a roller and beautiful bundle of cigars wrapped in a ribbon. It’s just something I have had in my mind for quite some time and it was finally time to get it done.”

La Colmena will debut at the IPCPR in July

Vitola’s Offered:

Amado No. 36 - 6 x 36 – MSRP $12.50 by Raf

Amado No. 44 – 5.5 x 44 – MSRP $14.50 by Reynaldo

Monday, 9 June 2014

Review - Islay Whisky Snus - barrel aged by Conny Andersson


Here is a small side step from cigars. Swedish smokeless tobacco - snus - is a form of ground tobacco which is usually consumed under the upper lip. Today, it comes in forms of loose tobacco and portions (pouches).

The Islay Whisky Snus by Conny Andersson is a prime example of a great product which is manufactured honoring the traditions of snus manufacturing. Usually the Swedish snus today is done from all kinds of different leftover parts of tobacco, but not the Islay Whisky Snus. It is 100% leaf combining tobacco from

      Jalapa, Nicaragua
      Ometepe, Nicaragua
      EstelĂ­, Nicaragua
      Lancaster PA, U.S.
      Keta Ho, Ghana
      KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

According the traditions of manufacturing Swedish snus, the tobacco is left to sweat in the heating chamber instead of  pasteurizing it. Pasteurization is, however, an effective and quick process and has advantages in mass production. The time consuming perspiration, which is used here, was the way that all Swedish snus was produced until 1981. By sweating the tobacco, you get a cleaner and more pure tobacco flavor in the finished snus.

The Islay Whisky snus tobacco is then stored in old whiskey casks from the island of Islay in Scotland. This is a process that is sometimes used to infuse also cigars. This adds an extra dimension of flavor to the tobacco. After that the tobacco is flavored with  a hint of Conny Andersson's favorite whisky  from Islay - From the same distillery that has provided the casks.

The flavor profile of the Islay Whisky snus is very earthy and malty, adding a tone of oak from the barrels for aging and salt form the manufacturing process. The moisture of the tobacco is right on and the nicotine levels will make your head spin. Just the way i like it!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Review - Siglo Oval Horse ashtray



Celebrating the year of the horse (2014), Siglo accessories has produced this beautiful ashtray. Made of fine bone china, it is truly a pleasure for the eye - worthy of your finest cigar (or four)

The design is clearly Oriental. Intense red ornaments surrounding the white, translucent center with the styled calligraphy of "horse", separated with a gold lining. Simply gorgeous!


The one and only ashtray on my patio.

Please, check out the Horse ashtrays (oval also in blue) and other exquisite cigar accessories at Siglo Accessories 


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

June 2014 newsletter sent: New exciting things - stay tuned!

Just sent out the June 2014 newsletter to subscribers. Please subscribe! Below you can find the text from the letter. The complete letter you can find HERE


"I am thrilled to update you on some exciting things already done and to come in the next few months on WorldofCigarsBlog.com!  
I have been vigorously working to create a visualization of my reviews - cigars, ratings, origins. I am also currently building a visualization on the flavor profiles of the reviewed cigars to be used as a reference when comparing cigars and trying to find new cigars which would match your preferences. Work is still in progress. You can access the visualizations HERE. 
I am also pleased to announce upcoming cooperation with Xikar. This cooperation will result in a look at many cigar accessories Xikar has to offer. We will also be publishing useful and interesting articles about the cigar culture, advice for the smokers and stories behind the business. Products featured and article subjects are still open. 
I will also take a step aside from cigars in form of a snus review - the Islay Whisky Snus by my friend Conny Andersson. 
You can find a list of the upcoming reviews at the bottom of the left sidebar on www.worldofcigarsblog.com 
Thank you for your support! Keep reading!"
Cheers,
Mikko