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The history of cigars can be traced back centuries, with its origins rooted in the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The ancient Mayans and other indigenous tribes in Central and South America were known to practice tobacco cultivation and smoking rituals as early as 2000 BCE.
When Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492, he encountered the native Taíno people who introduced him to tobacco. The explorers and sailors who followed Columbus’s voyages soon adopted the habit of smoking tobacco.
By the 16th century, tobacco smoking had become popular in Europe, and the cultivation of tobacco began in various regions, including Cuba, which would later become renowned for its high-quality cigars. The Spanish colonization of the Americas played a significant role in the development and spread of tobacco cultivation and cigar production.
In the 19th century, cigar manufacturing experienced significant advancements. The Industrial Revolution and the introduction of new technologies, such as the mechanization of cigar rolling, increased production efficiency. This led to a rise in the popularity and accessibility of cigars, not only among the wealthy but also among the working class.
As cigar popularity continued to grow, M.A. Thompson established Thompson Cigar Company in 1915 as a manufacturer and distributor of fine cigars. Initially located in Key West, Florida, hurricanes would force him to move his factory to Ybor City, Tampa, then known as the “Cigar Capital of the World” in 1920. Meanwhile, Cuban cigars were gaining worldwide recognition for their superior quality and craftsmanship. However, political changes, such as the Cuban Revolution in 1959, led to the nationalization of the tobacco industry, causing many Cuban cigar makers to emigrate and establish cigar production in other countries, most notably the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
As the popularity and production of cigars continued to grow into the cigar boom of the 1990’s, Thompson Cigar Company remained a hallmark in the industry as the world’s oldest mail order cigar company. Moving into the 21st century, Thompson celebrated 100 years as America’s humidor in 2015, as cigars continue to be culturally significant by marking celebrations, milestones, and moments of relaxation.
Cohiba is one of the most recognizable brands in America and, arguably, the world. Walk down the street and ask someone to name a cigar brand, and there’s a good chance the first name that comes to mind is Cohiba.
The brand sold in the U.S. is owned by General Cigar Co. and has garnered legions of fans, from novice smokers to seasoned cigar enthusiasts, along with accolades from most, if not, all of the top industry publications.
Until 2019, the one thing the brand didn’t have in it’s robust portfolio was a cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper; that all changed with the release of the Cohiba Connecticut. Everything about this premium handmade emanates luxury, from the box to the cigar itself, and we often judge a cigar by how it looks just as much as by how it smokes. This is not your everyday Connecticut, and it holds its own against any and all challengers. No corners were cut when this blend was developed. The golden-brown Ecuador Connecticut wrapper shade grown in soils rich in volcanic minerals and natural cloud cover is a creamy delight. Inside is a well-aged blend of Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican Olor, Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan long-fillers, held with a Mexican San Andrés binder.
Medium-bodied with notes of cream, toast, nuts, and a subtle spice on the finish, this is a stick that can be enjoyed with your morning coffee, or while celebrating those special moments. Smooth, refined, and sophisticated are the perfect ways to define this cigar, and the Cohiba Connecticut is the perfect addition to any enthusiast’s collection.
San Cristobal, a collaboration between Ashton and the García family, was created by Jose ‘Don Pepín’ García at the My Father Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. A hearty core of Nicaraguan binders and long-fillers give this blend its full body, with the Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper providing an incredible flavor profile. The two-time Top-25 selection is made for the true enthusiast; complex notes of toasted wood, nuts, coffee, and sweet spices make this a cigar that you’ll want to take your time and savor. This is a great addition to any humidor.
Montecristo is one of the best-selling cigars in the world, renowned for their premium handmade blends and top-notch construction. While most Montecristos are on the smoother side, the medium to full-bodied Monte is a twist on the classic blends. For those who are fans of robust, complex, and flavorful cigars, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. An oily Ecuador Habano wrapper sits atop a blend of well-aged Dominican long-fillers held by Dominican and Nicaraguan binders. The Monte is smooth and satisfying with notes of leather, spice, and chocolate on the finish.
If you’re a fan of maduro wrappers, you’re in for a treat with the CAO Mx2. The name Mx2 says it all — Maduro times 2. The blend uses two maduro leaves to create a flavorful smoking experience like no other. The outer leaf is a well-fermented dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf and the second is a spicy Brazilian maduro. As if two maduro leaves weren’t enough, the artisans at CAO added a blend of long-filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Peru held by a Brazilian binder. This medium to full-bodied blend’s tasting notes are sweet, rich, and peppery.
The Toraño Exodus Silver is an ode to pre-embargo Cuba and commemorates the year the best cigar families left the country. With a rich history having roots in Cuba, the Toraño family spanned four generations of the cigar industry priding themselves on expert knowledge and top-notch quality. This medium to full-bodied blend is handcrafted in the round and features a beautiful Criollo wrapper over patiently aged long-filler tobaccos from Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico surrounded by a Cameroon binder. Upon lighting you will experience complex flavors that develop hints of citrus, cedar, wood, and spice.
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