Cigars have long been enjoyed for their complex and intense flavours, and the rich history associated with the production and enjoyment of these delicious smokes has led to the development of numerous fun facts and exciting tales. Keep reading to discover 10 cigar facts that you can share the next time you smoke a stogie with fellow aficionados.
Common tobacco plants can grow up to 8-10 feet if they are not topped, and have between 30 to 40 leaves, 10 to 16 of which are picked for harvest.
The tobacco plant actually belongs to the same family as tomatoes and potatoes, known as Solanaceae or Nightshade. Tobacco grown for smoking is put into a sub-genus, known as Nicotiana Tabacum.
Groucho Marx was always seen with a cigar in his hand during his performances, but they were rarely lit. This was for a variety of reasons, but mainly because he didn’t want to smoke all day. It also made the director and editor’s job easier, as it is very difficult to match the cigar length if extra takes were needed.
When in your local cigar merchants, you would have seen the term ‘Puro’, which is really quite a simple meaning; it means that the entire cigar was produced in one country and comes from the Spanish word for pure.
Plenty of historical figures loved smoking cigars; Churchill, Clinton and Castro are the most common names talked about. But former President Ulysses S. Grant was known for his rather impressive cigar habit, where he partook in the smoking of seven to ten cigars every day and was a true cigar aficionado. A reporter once wrote about his penchant for cigars, in response the American people sent him over 20,000 cigars as a gift.
Dunhill were one of the first companies to see the huge value in humidifying cigars and started to sell their stogies in hermetically sealed tins. Today the company still thrives with their fine selection of cigars and accessories as well as their world renowned Dunhill pipes.
Back in the late 1800s, people often used ‘cheroot holders’ to smoke, instead of putting the cigar directly to their mouths. Cheroot holders look a little bit like a cross between a long cigarette holder and a pipe.
Cuban cigar factories were well known for having readers who read to the workers as they rolled up to 200 cigars a day. This tradition still carries on to this day. Nowadays, the readers focus on the current news, popular fiction books and even radio soaps are played to today’s workers.
The Cuban embargo skyrocketed the price of tobacco. Prior to the 1962 embargo, bales of Cuban tobacco were going for £120. By the end of 1962 they were fetching an astonishing £820 a bale! Imagine how pricey those stogies would be today if we saw a price hike that large!
Speaking of stogies, do you know how the term stogies came about? Conestoga is a rural area in tobacco country near Pennsylvania. The drivers of a wagon company in the town were always seen with roll-as-you-go long cigars in their mouths, and passers-by started to refer to them as ‘stogies’. Interestingly stogies were also the name they called the driver’s worn shoes!
If you want to discover more facts about cigars, check out our previous blogs!