Useful Cigar Terms

With such a long, diverse history; cigar smoking has accrued a unique etymology. The wide array of cultures that have shaped and honed the trade and pastime have all imparted their own flavour upon modern cigar culture.

It is reported that tobacco was first introduced to the European market over 500 years ago by Christopher Columbus. His crew on a 1492 voyage to Cuba discovered the natives smoking a primitive form of the cigar. Over the next half a century, tobacco became a major export all over the world. The global influence of the product left an indelible mark on the vocabulary used alongside it. From Pipe tobacco to chewing tobacco, it has entered almost every corner of the global marketplace. Here are a few of the key terms you may encounter in the Tobacco Shop.

Anillia – Anilla is the Cuban term for the cigar band or pipe. In Spanish, Anilla literally translates into Ring.

Burros – Burros are fermenting piles of tobacco that are monitored carefully. Burro is an American term used to describe a small donkey.

Catadores – Catadores are skilled tasters who meticulously test finished cigars during day to day manufacturing. Something of an ideal job.

Cervantes – The Cervantes cigar measures at 6.5 inches x 42 ring gauge. This cigar is colloquially known as the Lonsdale after Lord Lonsdale who favoured this type of elegant cigar.

Chaveta – A roller’s knife; the Chaveta is a semi-circular blade used to cut the wrapper leaf.

Churchill – A favourite of the eponymous British prime minister; the Churchill measures at 7 inches x 42 ring gauge. Winston Churchill enjoyed these leisurely cigars for over an hour. Officially titled as the Julieta NO. 2.

Corona – Measuring at 5 & 5/8 x 42 ring gauge; the Corona is the most common shape and size for a fine cigar.

Culebra – Derived from the Spanish word for snake; Culebra’s are made from 3 panatelas braided together.

Despalillo – The Despalillo is the stripping house wherein binder and filler leaves are stripped of their veins. The second fermentation period takes place here as well.

Figurado – The Figurado is a cigar that is rolled with a point at one end. Additionally cigars that are pointed at both ends are known as double-figurados.

Fortaleza – The Fortaleza signifies the strength of a cigar. The cigars are ranked from 1-3 with one being the mildest and 3 the strongest.

Galera – The factory or gallery in which the cigars are made.

Ligador – The master blender in the Galera; the Ligador is responsible for over-seeing the cigar production.

Media Rueda – Media Ruedo translates literally into half-wheel and refers to 50 cigars wrapped together in a bundle.

Panatela – The Panatela is a long slender cigar.

Torcedor – The Torcedor is roller of the cigar. Even though the word literally translates as ‘twister’, the Torcedor should never twist.

Vuelta Abajo – Often regarded as the finest tobacco growing region in the world and the only region that grows all types of leaf. Vuelta Abajo is the main source of tobacco for Habanos.

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