24 July 2008

Cigar Basics

Cigars are made from special varieties of tobacco that require careful tending. Tobacco leaves intended to be used as cigar wrappers must be carefully grown and harvested to keep the leaves free of blemishes.

Cigar tobacco is grown in Central American countries, West Africa and Indonesia and the Connecticut River Valley in USA. Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaraguan, Cameroon, Mexico and United States tobaccos all have their characteristic flavours and give particular properties to a cigar.

Cuban tobacco is the best. It is usually strong and full bodied, and gives a spicy and aromatic flavor to a cigar.

Dominican tobacco is quite full flavored and is useful in the making of complex blends.

Ecuadorian tobacco is milder.

Honduras and Nicaragua produce a full bodied tobacco with a strong spicy flavor.

Mexican leaves are widely used as binder and filler in cigars. Mexican tobacco leaves are commonly used as wrappers in dark Maduro cigars.

The Connecticut River Valley, in USA, produces some of the best wrapper leaf tobacco. The fine brown to brownish yellow leaf is used to make mild and medium bodied cigars. It is widely used on premium cigars.

Cameroon and the Central African Republic produces a high quality wrapper leaf. It has fairly neutral characteristics and is used as a wrapper for full flavored filler tobaccos.

Indonesian tobacco wrapper leaves are often dark brown and have neutral flavors.
Philippine tobacco is mild but aromatic

Cigars may be hand-made or machine-made. Hand-made cigars will naturally be more expensive and the leaf used to fill the cigars will often run the length of the cigar, rather than the shredded filler used in machine-made cigars.

Tobacco leaves grown for wrapping cigars are usually shade-grown under cheese-cloth tents because this gives a finer grained and more supple leaf. Sun grown tobacco used as filler in cigars will be thicker leaved with more prominent veins.

Cigar smokers usually have a range of favorite cigars that they smoke on different occasions. You will find current recommendations on websites and in magazines. If you have only recently discovered cigars then your best bet is to experiment. Be aware of the blend and type of cigars you smoke and buy more of the ones you like.

Cigars should be kept in a humidor. This will maintain the cigar at the correct temperature and humidity to ensure continued aging.

Cigar smoking fashions change, so you may find some types of cigar easier to find than others. If you are prepared to look hard enough and experiment widely you will find cigars that suit your palate

18 July 2008

Cigarette or tobacco package with re-usable aroma releasant for multiple package openings

A re-usable aroma releasant is provided on a package of tobacco product such as cigarettes, pipe tobacco, fine cut tobacco and the like. The aroma releasant is activated to release aroma every time the package is opened. The packages comprises a tobacco product containment portion and a tobacco product containment closure portion. The closure portion is removed from the containment portion to gain access to the tobacco product.

The aroma releasant may have a peel seal connecting the containment portion and the closure portion. The peel seal seals the aroma in the substrate reservoir provided on the package. The peel seal is peeled from the substrate reservoir to permit opening of the package and simultaneously releasing aroma from the reservoir. The peel seal reseals the reservoir on closure of the package. A re-usable aroma releasant is provided where every time the smoker opens the package, fresh aroma is released. Suitable aromas include, essence of tobacco, coffee, menthol or other pleasant aromas associated with tobacco smoking.

14 July 2008

Fighting the Beetles: Protecting Your Cigars from Infestation

Your cigar box may be at risk of a secret predator. Many cigar aficionados have been shocked and repulsed at finding their treasured cigars infested with Lasioderma Serricorne, also known as tobacco beetles. This dreaded beetle feeds on your precious cigars. They don't care if your cigars are drugstore mass-market brands, or imported beauties.

What is the tobacco beetle, and where does it come from? The tobacco beetle exits in all countries where tobacco is produced. It thrives on tobacco plants, infesting their leaves before it is processed.

Tobacco beetles thrive in hot climates, and especially in the warm countries Caribbean countries where much of the world's tobacco is produced. Tobacco beetles lay larvae that are white and up to 4 mm long. When the larvae hatch, they produce moths that proceed to hungrily eat their way through the tobacco leaves. Unfortunately, the tobacco beetle has been known to survive the process of fermentation and production that is used to make most cigars. Although many countries have made the effort to rid their tobacco crops of this dreaded pest, mostly by spraying crops with gases, the tobacco beetle has proven highly resistant.

If the tobacco beetle survives into the finished product, many cigar enthusiasts may open their cigar boxes to find that their cigars have been eaten through. Sometimes the presence of the tobacco beetle can be detected through the presence of small puncture-like holes on the wrapper. The holes can make an average cigar resemble a flute.

What can you do if you find your cigars infested with the tobacco beetle? Research has shown that your microwave may be your best defense in destroying the tobacco beetle larvae. Before using your microwave, remove and dispose of any infested cigar from your collection. The rest of your cigars can be treated. In order to rid the remaining of your collection of this pest, you should make sure to microwave your cigars together, never individually. Microwave them for about three minutes. After being warmed, immediately place the cigars into the freezer. After freezing them for 24 hours, remove them and allow them to thaw at room temperature. After they have thawed completely, place them in a humidor. This treatment has proven effective in removing the presence of the tobacco beetle. Before removing a cigar from the humidor to be smoked, examine each cigar individually. If the cigar shows no evidence of infestation, it is safe to smoke.

06 July 2008

The Health Risks of Cigar Smoking

We have all heard of the risks associated with smoking cigarettes, but what are the risks of cigar smoking? Are the risks of smoking cigars just as dangerous, or more so? According to the National Cancer Instituted, regular cigar smoking can result in a major health threat. Scientific research has linked cigar smoking with cancers of the larynx, lungs, esophagus, and oral cavity. Newer research also indicates that cigar smoking may be strongly linked to the development of cancer in the pancreas. Doctors also caution that individuals who regularly inhale while enjoying a cigar are also at greater risk of developing lung disease and heart problems.

The health threats of cigar smoking appear to increase dramatically in those individuals who smoke regularly and inhale while smoking. Someone who smokes three to four cigars each day will him or herself at eight times the risk of developing some kind of oral cancer than a nonsmoker. Unfortunately, we do not yet know the health risks of smoking the occasional cigar. It seems clear however that smoking cigars on a daily basis can pose serious health risks.

Many individuals wonder if cigars are as addictive as cigarettes. Many wonder why, for instance, so many people become addicted to cigarettes, and not cigars? The truth is that any tobacco product can become addictive because it contains nicotine. Witness the effects of smokeless tobacco products on individuals. These products, such as chewing tobacco, can become very addictive, simply because they contain tobacco, which in turn contains nicotine. Many cigar smokers do not inhale deeply, thus causing the nicotine to be inhaled superficially. Cigarette smokers tend to inhale, causing the nicotine to be absorbed faster and more readily by the lungs. Even though most cigar smokers inhale the nicotine more superficially, it is still possible to become addicted if the user smokes cigars on a regular basis.

If nicotine is so addictive, why don't more cigar smokers smoke more often? It appears that more people avoid becoming 'hooked' on cigars for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that the nicotine is inhaled much more superficially than in regular cigarette smoking, causing less nicotine to be absorbed by the body. Also, cigars are not as readily accessible as cigarettes. They are viewed by most as a luxury item, saved for special occasions and used infrequently. However, when cigars are smoked on a regular basis, they can become addictive. The health risks of any kind of smoking increase dramatically as frequency of use increases.

03 July 2008

Check the Ashtray: Using Ashes to Determine the Quality of Your Cigar

Check the Ashtray: Using Ashes to Determine the Quality of Your Cigar

How to tell if your cigar is of the highest quality? Check the ashtray—the ashes left behind can speak volumes about the quality of your cigar. Here a few simple tips to determining the quality of your cigar.

First, note how fast your cigar burns. A cigar that seems to burn too quickly or disposes ashes that break apart easily is probably a lower quality cigar. If the ashes seem too messy, and don't break apart together, this may also indicate a lower quality cigar. Also, check the color of the ashes. If the ash color seems to change, the tobacco leaf mix may be of poorer quality.

The highest quality cigars, those that are well packed, will burn very slowly and burn stiff ash. The 'stiff ash' can remain intact up to two to three inches long, and remain on the cigar without breaking apart. A high quality cigar can be burned down to the nub. Even high quality cigars may vary in taste, especially when they are smoked down to the nub. Many times, you can usually get 'burn past' these bitter spots by letting the cigar burn on its own for a few minutes.

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