Fine, Just Fine


Spend even a little time around cigars and you’ll see and hear the word “fine” used to describe some of them—many of them, most likely, if you’re spending that time around premium cigar sellers and smokers of premium cigars. There’s no specific rating system or organization that determines which cigars merit the appellation, but there’s no denying that there are differences between fine cigars and those that are, well, not so fine.


For starters, a fine cigar simply looks good. The wrappers on fine cigars are the cream of the crop and they’ll look like it. Crack open a box of fine cigars and you’ll see a consistency of texture, color and size. This consistency speaks volumes about the hours of effort that went into producing that box of smokes, beginning from the moment the seed went into the ground. Depending on the manufacturer, brand, and line, that moment might have been years ago, and the planning behind that moment might have started decades earlier than that.


Take a close look at a fine cigar and you’ll see quality construction. The heads, or caps, will be finished correctly—attached neatly with little discernable difference between them and the wrapper. If the other end of the cigar is open, you’ll see well-gathered filler, not chopped up pieces of tobacco. If it’s closed, you’ll see consistency in the finishing technique there too. The wrapper leaf will be void of patches, which are sometimes used on lesser-quality cigars to cover holes and other imperfections.


Fine cigars simply feel good too. Pick one up and you’ll immediately sense a balance between the cigar’s size and weight. This balance will also be consistent across a box of cigars. They’ll all have a similar feel in the hand—not too light, which could indicate underfilling and dryness, and not too heavy, which could indicate overfilling and, possibly, cigars containing tobacco that wasn’t properly cured and aged.


Hands, in fact, are the single-most determining factor between fine cigars and all the others. Fine cigars are crafted by hand; there’s not one part of the process performed by machines. The tobacco they contain is planted by hand, harvested by hand, and selected by hand. And, of course, they’re rolled by hand. It takes experience and practice to roll even a so-so cigar, and a great amount of experience and practice to roll a great cigar. Fine cigars are crafted by the finest hands, using the finest filler, binder and wrapper. And yes, they are truly fine smokes.

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