Over the last few decades cigar smoking has become not only fashionable, but a way of life.
The word "Cigar" comes from the Spanish term “Cigarro”, which is of Mayan origin. After Europeans discovered America and tobacco, they gave the word more comprehensive and explicit meaning as "something burnable that smells and tastes unbelievably good".
The cigar has always been an object of historical and cultural significance. As referred to a ritual object, the cigar played essential part to some key events in the cult and religious life of the pre-Columbian inhabitants of America. The ritual of drawing on the peace pipe was an act to which the North American Indians attached great significance. The shared smoking of tobacco signified a deal was sealed, it bears a resemblance to today’s common practice of the signing a contract.
Every brand comes with a story
Most famous cigar companies, some of which continue to corner the market today, are members of long-established in the business families. Traditionally, the art and skills of producing cigars per excellence have been passed from one generation to the next. This may be one of the reasons why advertisements focus on the family concept to be present on the package. Whereas some brands continue to grow popular, sadly, others were either stopped from producing, or hard to buy.
In this list we are counting down some of the most influential cigar brands in the world with having included little-known facts about them.
Arturo Fuente is the founder of the brand which explains its name. Fuente family has been producing cigars for three generations. Towards the end of 19th century Arturo left his homeland Cuba and, along with wife and children, immigrated to the USA. Over the next few years he devoted a lot of energy to master the skills of cigar making in various factories. In 1980 Arturo finally managed to set up his first factory in the provincial capital of Santiago de los Caballeros. He hired a small troop of seven employees who would work day and night to meet his high demands. In 1990 Fuente launched a second cigar factory in Moca. The Fuentes succeeded to become the largest Dominican producer of premium cigars.
La Ricas come from Nicaragua. Rico means "well off" and "rich" but also "delicious". Obviously the founders have chosen the name perfectly. These cigars are especially designed to accompany spirits and fulfil different tastes. They form a pleasant blend of flavors most notably with the various rums from Caribbean and Central America region. La Ricas also offer another positive attribute: they come at a relatively economic price which makes them even more wanted.
Belindas are hand-made cigars which not only promise a pleasant smoking experience but, considering their high quality, they are economically priced to a large degree. First produced in Cuba towards the end of the 19h century, back in the days between the World Wars, Belindas are one of the oldest Havana brands. As a combination of short and long leaf they do not quite reach the quality of other formats. Unfortunately, the brand is not easy to find today due to the production was drastically reduced for the last ten years. That is a pity, because several of the brand's formats have mild-strong aroma that makes them perfect fit for smokers who have recently gained their first experience of cigars.
H. de Cabanas y Carbajal
This is the name of the oldest existing Havana brand. Probably it will awake some nostalgic memories in the foreseeable future due to the fact that their production is limited and Cabanas are available for buy and smoke only in a few countries. Furthermore, Cabana cigars evoke memories of the old Cuban style, which makes them highly demanded. The formats are exclusively machine-produced, nonetheless they are tempting for every confirmed Havana enthusiast who values the comfort of smoking a good cigar.
Jose L. Piedra
The Joses L. Piedra are made by hand shot filler that display a predominantly strong aroma. They are one of the Havanas created towards the end of 19th century. Their makers were Spanish immigrants from the province of Asturias who settled in Santa Clara, a town in the Remedios region where tobacco has been grown since 16th century.
In some countries the brand is known as La Fontana Vintage for it is promoted as vintage cigars. La Fontanas are especially good suited for smokers who have just made their first steps in the world of cigars. Simply by reading the name one would get the impression that the brand's home country is Italy. Actually, this is not the true. La Fontanas are manufactured in Danli, Honduras in a factory run by the Eiroa family. The Eiroas certainly are doing great job. These cigars are brilliantly made and offer pleasant mild aroma for which they remain highly inviting for the cigar aficionados.
Cigars speak volumes of a good taste. This is the Havana beyond comparison. Some call it the Ferrari of Cuban Cigars. Cohiba is recognized by many experts as the brand that produces the best cigars from the Caribbean Island. It was created 50 years ago and achieved great success. Although there are numerous stories about its creation spread around, the name of the original creator remains unknown. Certainly, this mystery attracts even more interest to the brand. The name Cohiba is borrowed from the language of the indigenous inhabitants of Cuba - the Tano Indians. Some linguistic researchers came to the conclusion that the name simply means "cigar". At first these cigars were produced in limit numbers. Only honorable personas had the privilege to experience the exquisite Cuban taste. Later, at the beginning of the 1980s the dream of the cigar aficionados came true and anyone could buy and smoke Cohiba.
La Gloria Cubana
The history of this brand begins with the family of Ernesto Perez-Carnillo, which have been closely connected with tobacco business in Cuba at the start of the last century. Both father and grandfather had traded in tobacco since 1907. Just like many others, the Perez-Carnillos left Cuba following the Castro revolution, taking with them the rights and recipe for the famous La Gloria Cubana brand. In 1968 the father started up the El Credito factory in Miami. In 1972 he brought La Gloria Cubana into the US market. At first, Ernesto Perez-Carnillo was following other career path as he felt very passionate about drums. But when his father's health began to fail, he engaged himself in the tobacco trade. In 1980 after his father died Ernesto took over the family business and made the brand even more successful. In the early 1990s La Gloria Cubana enjoyed a great demand in the US market and today it still remains one of the country's top cigar brands.
Quotes for inspiration:
"A woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." - Rudyard Kipling
"A good cigar from overseas locks the door on the spitefulness of this world." - Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer
"If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go." Mark Twain, American writer