History of Cigars

No sooner than Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World and the  Caribbean islands in 1492 did he encounter the Tainos natives (who lived in Cuba) smoking tobacco. The Tainos smoked the leaves wrapped in  plantain and palm leaves, a prototype for the first cigars. Tobacco smoking was done throughout the Caribbean and South/Central America  when Columbus arrived in the New World. He brought back tobacco leaves  to Europe, and sailors soon became dedicated tobacco smokers and spread  the practice across Europe. Sailors are  generally credited with rolling tobacco leaves to make the first cigars. Soon, Spain started  manufacturing cigars using tobacco shipped from Cuba, as the climate of  the Caribbean was especially suited for high quality tobacco (the  British preferred using a pipe). Cigars started  improving as a procedure of drying and fermenting tobacco leaves to maximize the flavor of the  cigar developed. That happened over several centuries and through many generations.
Eventually, the cigar making industry, by torcedores or cigar rollers, began to  prosper in Cuba, closer to the tobacco farms. This led to increased  quality as the cigar manufacturers had more say in the production of  quality tobacco, and the tobacco didn’t have to withstand a  transatlantic trip before rolling and being sealed for purchase . Also,  Cuba pioneered the using a different type of tobacco leaf for the three  parts of a cigar (the wrapper, the binder and the filling). Each is made in different regions of Cuba and is specifically suited for its role.

Famous Cuban Cigar Brands

Even before Castro came to power, several Cuban manufacturers moved to the  United States most notably the Ybor brand, increasing the reputation of  Cuban cigars. Vicente Martinez Ybor relocated his factory first to Key  West. Because Cuban rollers still came and went between Key West and  Cuba, Ybor built a city for cigar rollers outside of Tampa complete with housing for the workers and their families. Cuban rollers migrated  permanently to Ybor city, and it became the largest manufacturer of  cigars in the world.
<http://agozarnyc.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CigarWrapping_blog.png>Still, many, if not most, of the best handmade cigars were made in Cuba. To  this day as the quality of rollers and tobacco is a point of pride in  Cuba, although much of the profession is now dominated by women. Cuban  cigars are prized the world over. Brands like Montecristo, Upmann and  Hoyo de Monterrey brand did particularly well overseas and were the gold standard in cigars.  Even when JFK enacted the embargo of Cuba, he bought a hefty supply of Cuban cigars, Upmann (his favorite).  After Castro took over in Cuba and  seized the Cuban cigar industry, the quality of cigars survived as  Castro was an obsessive lover of cigars. Many photos of him are with a  cigar in his mouth. In fact, he popularized Cohida, a cigar with extra  fermentation that is now sold all over the world.
The communist Castro revolution caused a lot of disruption in the cigar  world. As many of the cigar company owners fled Cuba, cigars under the  same name are produced in Cuba and Dominican Republic. As cigar making  is an art, not a science, Cuba has been able to maintain its standing in the cigar world, even without the technological development of the  competitors.

Current Status of Cuban Cigars

Most cigar rollers in Cuba are female and hence, torcedoras. The torcedoras  still hold the same esteem in Cuba, and Cubans are shipped all over the  world, but the Cuban cigar industry is still cut off from cigars biggest market, the USA. Cuban cigars are smuggled into the country illegally  (it is also illegal for an American citizen to smoke Cubans anywhere in  the world), but many that claim to be Cuban cigars are not from Cuba and are sold as Cubans because the sellers can get a higher price. Perhaps, one day the embargo will be lifted and the rights of Cuban cigar  manufacturers are returned, so that Americans can experience the  pleasure of Cuban cigars legally and Cubans can share a key part of  their cultural legacy.

Don Gonzalez one of our premiere cigar vendors, now you can enjoy one of his cigars in our NEW designated smoking area in the breezeway located between the two buildings.
May 18, 19 & 20, 2018

FAIR EXPO CENTER  Coral Way & SW 112 Ave.
11:00 AM - 11:00 PM  Admission $12

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