Tobacco plants produce the leaves essential to cigar crafting, a nightshade variant known scientifically as Nicotiana tabacum. Originating in the Americas, indigenous people used it for medicinal and ritualistic activities. Now, countries like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico pride themselves on their tobacco cultivation. These leaves, once harvested, undergo transformation into various tobacco products.
To craft a cigar, artisans follow several crucial steps:
Harvesting and Curing: Farmers harvest the tobacco leaves and immediately cure or dry them. By doing so, they enhance their taste and prepare them for the next steps. Subsequently, they sort the leaves by both quality and type.
Fermentation: Here, producers ferment the dried leaves to further refine their taste and aroma. The fermentation process introduces bacteria and enzymes that modify the tobacco, enriching the flavour and aroma.
Blending: Craftsmen then expertly mix different fermented leaves to achieve a unique taste.
Rolling: Next, they roll the mixture into its signature cylindrical shape and use a binder leaf for structure.
Aging: The freshly rolled products undergo an aging process. This duration can range from several months to years, during which the flavours intricately intertwine and evolve.
Wrapping: Finally, craftsmen wrap the aged cigars in a distinct cover leaf, which provides its characteristic appearance and flavour profile.
Once wrapped and appropriately aged, these cigars are ready for sale and enjoyment. Clearly, cigar crafting demands not only expertise and patience but also a keen eye for detail.