Cigars: An Origin Story

Posted by Corona Cigar Co. on Feb 22 2019

Cigar rolling

Cigars: An Origin Story

Cigars have developed greatly from the early Mayans in the 10th century. The Mayans, who are believed to have invented the first “sikars,” tied the tobacco leaves with a string, or rolled palm or plantain leaves around the tobacco to smoke it. When Christopher Columbus came to the New World in 1492, he and his men met the indigenous Taino people who inhabited Cuba, Hispaniola (present day Haiti and Dominican Republic), and the surrounding islands. They showed the men how they twisted the peculiar smelling tobacco leaves together and smoked them. Once Columbus and his crew lit up a “cigarro,” they knew they had to take some of this new plant back home to Spain for others to enjoy the taste and aroma. The name "cigarro" was shortened to “cigar” in 1730.

Tobacco Went to Spain

Columbus claimed Cuba for Spain. The climate and rich soil grew the best tasting tobacco leaves. The tobacco was taken to Spain and Portugal where smoking became very popular. Jean Nicot was the French ambassador to Portugal. Nicotine was named after him when he made cigar smoking popular in France. It wasn’t long before the use of tobacco made its way to Italy. Soon afterward, Spain was mass producing cigars in a factory in Cuba. Spain held a monopoly on the Cuban tobacco that lasted until 1817, that didn’t let growers sell their crop to anyone else.

Popularity of Cigars 

About 50 years after Columbus was introduced to tobacco, the seeds were distributed along trade routes to other parts of the world. Roman Catholic missionaries in the Philippines were able to grow high-quality tobacco there. After the American Revolution, Israel Putnam is credited with bringing Cuban tobacco seeds to the Hartford, New England area, thus tobacco was now being grown in North America. Sir Walter Raleigh made a voyage to the Americas and brought tobacco home to Britain. The Brits mainly used it in pipes. By the mid-16th century, tobacco was being smoked throughout Europe. “The Betrothed,” a famous ode to smoking was written by Rudyard Kipling, reverencing the glorious cigar.

Cigars Today

Cigars come in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and flavors. Low-grade cigars are inexpensive and sold almost anywhere tobacco can be purchased. They’re made from tobacco scraps that are pulverized and rolled into sheets that work better in rolling machines. Sometimes flavorings are added to the tobacco. Premium cigars are still rolled by hand, using only the finest tobacco for the wrapper. There is a meticulous method used in rolling a cigar by hand. These exceptional cigars command a premium price. A cigar aficionado will tell you that tasting a cigar is akin to tasting a fine wine.

Where to Buy Premium Cigars

If you are new to cigar smoking, you will be disappointed if you start with a low-grade smoke. You might be interested in cigar sampler deals that can be purchased online. Online cigar deals can give you the opportunity to try a brand of cigar you might otherwise overlook. There are literally hundreds of brands of cigars. Since cigars need to be kept at controlled temperature and humidity, a tobacconist would be hard-put to carry every brand in their store. Cigar deals online have access to all the great labels, and a huge range of cigar deals to be able to mix or match brands. Visit the Corona Cigar Company online or visit a location to peruse the multitude of premium cigar brands from around the world. You can also find tools of the cigar smoking trade there, such as cutters, lighters, humidors, cases, and much more.