Understanding what makes a great cigar comes from a deep understanding of how the cigars sold on online stores like Overstock.com and Thompson Cigar are made. While many people assume this is a simple process of rolling tobacco into leafs for smoking, there really is quite a bit more that goes into the process. Here's a peak.
The first step is to create the outside tobacco leaf that the inner product will eventually be rolled into. To do this, makers grow leaves three feet high in a temperature controlled environment where it is never hotter than 95 degrees. Fermentation occurs making the leaves a uniform size and color. The leaves are graded for size and color and then are allowed to ferment for another three weeks. After this they are placed into bundles known as tercios and allowed to age inside cigar warehouses for months at a time until they are ready to be hand rolled. Prior to being rolled, the leaves will be rinsed with high pressure water and have their remaining stems and additional leaves removed.
What Goes Inside
Inside the cigar, you will wind three different types of leaves. These are generally the volado, seco and ligero. These leaves are allowed to age and ferment before being ground into one combination. The secrecy of a good cigar blend is often closely monitored by the maker or company which produces the final product.
The Rolling Process
Finally, the tobaccos are ready to be rolled into a finished cigar. The rollers are called torcedores and a professional can roll up to 150 cigars a day. The tools of the trade include a half moon blade and a wooden board. The torcedores start with two, three or four leaves that are bound together to create the outer shell. Once the cigars are blended, the leaves will be placed into a mold and filled. Then comes the hand rolling process. When that has been completed, the cigars are then wrapped and trimmed.
Once the product is finished and ready for storage, makers will be capped using a natural gum substance. From here, the cigars are placed into bundles of 50 cigars each and moved once more into a holding room. They will remain here for up to three weeks to cure and for the flavors to blend and mature. When this is done, the cigars are removed from storage and once more graded for color. The cigars will be placed in boxes with the richest and darkest cigar on the far left; the lighest cigar in color will be found on the right. The cigars run a continuum based on color. From here, the cigars are ready to be banded and shipped to retailers around the world.