Friday, May 26, 2006

The Cigar Cutter

Cigar cutters are used to remove or penetrate the cap of a cigar before smoking it. There are three basic types of cuts, the straight cut, the wedge (or V) cut, and the hole punch. The type of cut to make is based on personal preference and the size and/or shape of the cigar. Experienced cigar smokers may not always make the same type of cut or use the same kind of cutter. The straight cut is the most common, and is always preferred on cigars with a small ring gauge (thin cigars).

1) Straight Cutter
The most basic type of cutter used to make straight cuts is the single blade guillotine. The double blade guillotine is preferred by many aficionados because it usually makes a cleaner cut. Cigar scissors are also used to make straight cuts, and may be the best choice for cutting the cigar at the exact spot you intend. However, the guillotines are usually the most practical, the least expensive, and can be easily and safely carried in the pocket of your shirt or trousers.

2) Wedge Cutter
The wedge or "V" cutter resembles the guillotine cutter, but the shape of the blade slices a wedge into the cap of the cigar instead of cutting it completely off. The cutter is designed to slice from one side, and at the same depth, so there is no danger of cutting too deep.

3) Hole Punch
The hole punch is used to put a hole in the cap of the cigar, instead of cutting it off. If the hole is not large enough for the cigar, the draw of smoke through the cigar can be impeded. Also, as the cigar is smoked, tar can accumulate near the hole, also affecting the taste as well as the draw. Here's a hot tip: In a pinch when no cutter is available, or to sample a hole punched cigar without buying a hole punch device, a hole cut can be made in a cigar using a pen or pencil.

- Little Bro

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Premium cigars, Fine cigars, Montecristo, Cohiba, CAO, Punch, Buy cigars, Girl, Cigar, Cigar girl, Cigar babe, Big mikes, Cigars, Girl with cigar, Babe with cigar, Hottie with cigarLittle Cigars are Being Challenged

By David Savona from Cigar Aficionado - The attorneys general of 40 states petitioned the U.S. government yesterday to change federal regulations on "little cigars." Calling the smokes "cigarettes wrapped in brown paper," the group said it wants the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to change the way little cigars are taxed and regulated.
Little cigars are taxed under a different classification from cigarettes and face different restrictions in many states. They are quite popular in the United States. According to numbers provided by the attorneys general, who attributed them to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3.8 billion little cigars were smoked in 2005 in the United States, up nearly 1 billion units from 2004.
"The coordinated press releases and the petition by the states show a lack of understanding about little cigars," said Norman F. Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America. "In addition, the petition filed by the states is misleading in their assertion that the states tax little cigars at a lower rate than cigarettes. In 22 states little cigars are taxed at either rates the same as cigarettes or even higher. In 19 of those states, the rates are higher."
A little cigar (top), a cigarette, and a big cigar. Most little cigars are made by machine using a mixture of chopped tobacco and flavorings, and some have filters, such as the one shown in a photograph supplied by the attorneys general comparing some little cigars to cigarettes and larger cigars.
There is a very small portion of the little-cigar market that is targeted to premium cigar smokers, and these smokes are quite different. They are mini versions of big cigars that are often handmade and typically contain only tobacco and do not have filters.

- Little Bro

Monday, May 22, 2006

Enjoying a Cigar

When you imagine cigars being smoked does the image of seasoned, robust, and wealthy foreign men sitting around with brandy swishing in their snifters come to mind? That is probably not an uncommon image, but it is not accurate for this modern age of cigar connoisseurs.
These days it would not be surprising to find a group of women in a cigar shop. More commonly there will be men. It could be men from every walk of life, every income bracket, and any age all enjoying cigars. And you thought all cigar smokers were alike? No more than all cigars are alike. That idea would actually offend many people in the right circle.
Obviously there are your run-of-the mill cigars. There are also cigars that are costly, aromatic, and have a life all their own. In researching the time and consideration that goes into creating the latter type of elite cigars you might be amazed that the process is quite similar to that of wine production. The finest cigars begin with the tobacco plant from which it originates. The grading moves forward to encompass where it is grown and when it is harvested. The truly great cigars end with it totally mattering if a master handler is at the wheel for the curing process.
Cost for the primo cigars will vary greatly. Taste will also vary. People who have humidors in their home might be true connoisseurs but anyone who appreciates a good smoke can benefit from the variations available. Both cost and taste are affected greatly by the care and attention master tobacco handlers provide. Knowing when and how many times to turn the tobacco leaves is an essential part of the totality of a great cigar. There is a true gift to knowing when the leaves have sweated properly.
The leaves are graded and separated. Each grade level produces different taste and cost of cigars. Many specialty shops throughout the United States offer cigars in all sizes and grades to the public. And in a society where smoking in public has fast become an invasion of air space these shops offer a place to smoke. Enjoying really good cigars indoors with other people around you is not a far-reaching dream.

- Little Bro