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SMOKING Your Cigar
STORING Your Cigar
ANATOMY of a Cigar
GLOSSARY of Cigar Terms
The AgentZ

In 1492, Columbus made two great discoveries: one, evetybody knows. The other was the first recorded observation of a cigar being smoked. One of the explorer's officers, Roderigo de Xeres, saw a tribe of Indians in San Salvador smoking large cone-shaped rolls of tobacco.

Since then, savoring a fine cigar has been one of life's great pleasures. Traditionally, cigar smokers have comprised an exclusive fraternity of those who truly appreciate the best things in life, individuals of sophistication and refinement. This fraternity has included world leaders - King Edward VII, Winston Churchill, and John F. Kennedy; Bill Clinton, decision makers - Samuel Gomp-ers, J.P. Morgan, and Lee lacocca; as well as entertainment notables such as George Burns, Milton Berle, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby , Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costncr, Danny Devito, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Spacey, Denzel Washington and many, many others.

In the days before the Cuban embargo, much of the world's high-quality cigar tobacco came from various regions in Cuba, particularly the "Vuelta Abajo" district. It was there that the best tobacco was grown, cured and the cigars hand rolled. "Made in Havana" used to signify excellence. The Cuban embargo changed ali that. Many of the master cigar-makers and tobacco growers left Cuba, taking with them generatrion-old skills of tobacco farming and cigar manufacturing, along with whatever tobacco seed they were able to smuggle out. Today the best cigar leaf is grown in many regions of the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, Africa and Asia. The tobaccos are gathered and brought to Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the United States where they are cured, blended and rolled into the fine quality cigars that are highly prized by connoisseurs.

First, all cigar tobacco leaf must be aged and cured in order to produce the precise balance of characteristics the cigarmaker wants for a particular cigar. Premium quality cigar tobacco may be aged for over two yeats before being blended with other tobaccos to produce a cigar of consistently high quality.

HAND-MADE cigars are made by hand from start to finish. The filler tobacco is formed into a "bunch" from long leaves measuring the entire length of the cigar. This "Long Filler" produces the ideal, slow burning characteristics and is the most expensive type of filler used. A quality, natural tobacco leaf binder encloses the filler to complete the bunch. The wrapper leaf of a hand-made cigar is the most expensive part. A silky, smooth, firmly wound wrapper rich in natural oils is aesthetically pleasing and promises an excellent smoke. The hand made cigars bearing the Tinder Box label are made of the finest tobaccos available.
HAND-ROLLED cigars are machine bunched. The filler and binder is machine assembled, and then the wrapper is put on by hand. This is an entirely new method that takes advantage of both "state-of-the-art" global technology and traditional "old time" hand craftsmanship. Due to the limited number of skilled cigar makers today, hand-rolled cigars combine the best of both worlds.
MACHINE-MADE cigars use both long and short filler (smaller pieces rather than whole leaf) tobaccos, often of the same grade as the hand made ones. Some machine made cigars use a type of binder called "homogenized tobacco leaf" (H.T.L.), specially processed sheet cigar tobacco, which burns consistently and slowly for a cool smoke. Many machine-made cigars, nevertheless, use natu-ral leaf binder of high quality, and most have natural leaf wrapper, identical to that found in premium hand-made cigars. Note: Although machine-made cigars are usually lower priced than hand-made cigars, one should not always assume that they are of lower quality. The price reflects the vast cost difference between machine and hand labor. Your Tinder Box tobacconist is very knowledgeable about cigars and can advise as to which is the best cigar value for your taste preference and your pocketbook.
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AAAHH! Another fine smoke.

Here's Jason puffing away on a Tamboril cigar during our camping trip to Lake Nacimiento. The Tamboril cigar is produced in the Dominican Republic where only finest quality Cuban-seed Dominican long fillers and binders are used. The hand-rolled Tamboril cigar is is then married to the Connecticut wrapper and this is what makes it so distinctively rich and mild.

I brought along some other fine smokes for the camp-out.

Enjoyed a Cohiba Red Dot. It has a dark, rich wrapper that is grown in Cameroon. The flavorful binder comes from Indonesia, and the filler is choice Piloto Cubano leaves from the Dominican Republic. All together it makes for one smooth smoking mild to medium flavored cigar.


And I can't leave out the Cohiba Jibarito cigars. I had purchased a box prior to vacation and was looking forward to trying them out around the camp fire. It has a wonderful, well-rounded flavor containing great earthy tones and a superior mixture of rare spices and nuts. It had a nice even burn, a great gray ash, and a sweet aroma that lingered long after the cigar was finished. It is a 100% Dominican hand rolled Cohiba cigar and represents the epitome of the some of the finest premium cigars in the world!

My all time favorite, of course came along too. The Bella Costa Vintage Reserve cigar.

The beautiful five-year-old reddish-brown, slightly oily Habano 2000 "Colorado" wrapper of the Bella Costa is just the beginning of what makes this fine cigar stand out above the many premium brands available today. It is masterfully blended using only the finest hand selected and properly aged Nicaraguan gold leaf, Mexican Suprema, and long-filler tobacco leaves acquired from the fertile valleys of Costa Rica. These cigars are hand rolled and constructed in Honduras by the best rollers in the world, most of whom are Cuban exiles. The Bella Costa represents a cigar of superlative quality and is rapidly becoming the cigar of choice among cigar aficionados world wide.