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The History of Cigar Smoking

When you’re smoking a cigar, you’re part of a rich tradition. Even each individual brand is filled with stories of innovators turning their passions into reality, like with Davidoff Cigars. But beyond the stogies themselves, the act of smoking dates back to the European discovery of the Americas and carries through to today.


Early Years of Tobacco Smoking


In elementary school, you may have learned the catchy rhyme “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” as a way to remember the discovery of North America. While that was obviously a historic event, that same trip gave us another major turning point in history: the discovery of tobacco for the western world.


In Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Columbus’ crew were presented tobacco leaves by the locals and even noticed some of the natives smoking rolled batches of these dried leaves. Many would consider these the first iteration of cigars – just no one knew it yet at the time. As more European settlers landed in the Caribbean, they all began adopting the practice themselves. By 1542, tobacco started to become an industry with farmers growing it commercially. Cigars remained king over cigarettes, which were still just starting to gain popularity.


Fast-forward to 1880 and nearly every state in the union had a cigar factory. New York began to become a hotspot for cigars as well, with many cigar makers rolling them in their apartments. Cigar companies were mostly family owned and became a booming economy. While Americans commercialized the trend, Cuba and other countries in the Caribbean continued to be the gold standard of cigars, thanks to the passed down technique as well as the environment tobacco seeds were growing in, giving them that distinctive flavor. Cuban cigars were a favorite of many Americans until the rise of Fidel Castro in 1959. After President John F. Kennedy’s failed invasion of the Bay of Pigs, Castro placed an economic embargo on the United States that is still held up today.


Hand-rolled vs. Machine Made Cigars


One of the most major developments in the industry came with the rise of machine made cigars. The idea to mass produce was certainly appealing – cutting back the time it takes to make a cigar and dramatically increase the volume being made. However, cigar lovers were quick to notice the difference. Machine made cigars still haven’t been able to reach the quality that hand-rolled cigars do. Often times, the wrappers on machine made cigars are artificial and the fillers are typically low-grade tobacco. Compared to the premium tobacco and carefully done, natural wrappers of hand-rolled cigars; there’s really no comparison. If you see a cigar at a drugstore or a gas station for an extremely low price, it’s almost guaranteed to be machine made.


Best Way to Cap Off Your Day


There’s a reason why cigars have continued to be so beloved for hundreds of years. Capping off you day with a fine, hand-rolled cigar can be an incredibly relaxing and fulfilling experience. Many smokers over the years have found their own personal rituals for enjoying cigars. Set yourself up with an ideal environment.  Maybe it’s the back porch on a warm summer night or your man cave with a fully stocked humidor, just wherever you feel most at piece. Pour yourself a drink – lots of smokers have a favorite whiskey they go to. Once you’re all set up, take a puff and savor the flavor. This is a great time to reflect on your day, but also the long history that you’re taking a part in.


Cigar companies continue to innovate and reinvent today. Building off this rich background, it’s always a thrill to see what manufacturers will come up with next. Check out our new arrivals and see if you’ll discovery the next big leap in the cigar industry.


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