Who doesn’t remember Marlon Brando, holding cigar with deep creases on his forehead, in the iconic film ‘The Godfather’? This classic character has left an indelible mark in Hollywood and across the world. The one thing that has made this movie series timeless—other than a brilliant director and talented cast—is Cigar. These burning stogies emanate character, class and pleasure. Not just on the silver screen, but life in general. A perfect match to fine scotch, rum or even premium beers, this combination makes the most relaxing pastime.
- Cigars: Walk Through History
Historians believe Cigars were invented by the ancient Maya Civilization, back in the early 10th century. In recorded history, the first-ever cigar factory was established in Cuba. It was made possible as this island has fertile-land and a warm climate. An epitome of the wealth, privilege, and success—these luxury commodities were soon distributed to Europe and Asia through sailing ships. In 1492, the crew of Christopher Columbus encounter tobacco for the first time in the Dominican Republic. The crew discovers that tobacco is smoked on most Caribbean islands. In Cuba the natives smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves. In 1500s, Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal spreads the hobby to Europe. He gives his name to nicotine. Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England. There it becomes popular to smoke the pipe. Cigar smoking is common, while cigarettes are still comparatively rare. Cigars are becoming an important industry and factories employ many people. To escape the turmoil of the Ten Year’s War, many cigar manufacturers move from Cuba to Florida, in the 19th century. Ybor City near Tampa becomes the largest cigar factory in the world at the time.
- Cigars across the World
The cigar gained popularity all over the world rapidly. The USA consumed around 300 million cigars, alone, by the mid of the 19th century. It soon became a part of popular culture when people saw famed personalities like John F Kennedy, Sigmund Freud, John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Michael Jordan—who were the ‘crème de la crème’—smoking cigars. Today, Central American countries—Cuba, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic—produce some of the finest brands of cigars. As a commodity, it has marked a unique position in the market space. According to Bloomberg, the cigar and cigarillos market size is expected to reach USD 21.02 billion by 2025. Another major survey agency suggests the cigar market is expected to register a 2.5% CAGR in terms of revenue.
- Finest Cigars in the world
All tobacco growing regions in the world have their own micro-climate, which greatly influences the whole growing process. Each micro-climate provides a unique opportunity to produce tobaccos with subtle differences in flavor and complexity. Microclimatic conditions depend on unique factors of temperature, humidity, wind and turbulence.
Sales of premium cigars are still evolving in India, taxes are also on the higher side, which is not leading to desirable growth. But, this hasn’t stopped signature cigar brands—Davidoff Cigars, Habanos, Rocky Patel & many more—from finding their ways to Indian cigar aficionados. The past few decades have witnessed smoking cigars as a symbol of high social status. However, today people of all backgrounds are seen enjoying this privilege in India and across the world. According to Manish Datt, Kastros Retail, “I am so happy to see cigars from around the world in India now. Earlier it was my dream, today it has become a reality”.
Zino Davidoff is perhaps the most famous person in the cigar world. He was born in 1906 in Kiev, to a family of seasoned tobacconists. After many years in which Davidoff cigars were produced in Cuba, Zino decided that the production quality couldn’t live up to his expectations anymore, so he moved production to the Dominican Republic. When his family had to leave Kiev they settled down in Geneva, Switzerland, where they continued their profession by running a specialist tobacconist shop. As a young man Zino traveled to South & Central America where he learned everything there is to know about tobacco from scratch. It was then that he dedicated his life to premium tobacco. After his return to Geneva he took over his father’s shop and started to influence the cigar world. It was then that he invented the humidor, to ensure that his customers could enjoy cigars in perfect condition. The famous Chateau Series of cigars was the beginning of his own cigar brand – “Davidoff”.
“We are pleased to launch Davidoff of Geneva Cigars in India, through NV Lifestyles. It is our endeavour to ensure that the world class range of Davidoff Cigars, are offered to our Indian patrons.” Avers Akhil Mathur, Corporate Strategy Advisor, NV Lifestyles, which represents Davidoff of Geneva in India.
Let’s find out about a few finest cigars with famed bands. we have selected some Celebrated Cigars as well as some premium Cigars, which can be enjoyed on a more frequent basis.
- Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour Robusto Ce EUN 4’S – Cost INR 3500 per Cigar. The king of cigars—Davidoff released this super-premium cigar-line to honor the legendary British politician, Winston Churchill. It is a blend of five high-graded and hand-selected Cuban-seed filler tobaccos mixed with Nicaraguan leaf. This combination is bound carefully with Negro San Andreas and rolled inside a beautiful shiny and oily Ecuadorian Habano-Marron Oscuro wrapper. It can be paired with complex beverages like heavy and spicy rum or a whisky that has rich and complex aromas and tastes. Top Drawer Cigar! Enjoy in Solitude.
- Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto Tub EUN 4’S – Cost INR 3000 per Cigar. Nicaragua Robusto casts magic with its beautiful Habano Jalapa wrapper. This vintage leaf spins long-filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. With final concealment by the rich Habano Jalapa binder, this cigar kicks the level of complexity up to another notch. Its smoke starts with white pepper notes & spices and ends with a creamy sweeter note. This cigar tastes scrumptious with premium craft beer as well as sweet and spicy cocktails like Cara Doce.
- Camacho Connecticut Robusto Tub 10’S – Cost INR 1800 per CigarIf you’re searching for a smooth medium-bodied cigar with full-flavor experience, the Camacho Connecticut Robusto fits your bill. Planted and hand-rolled in the warm Honduran climate, this cigar line features a slick Ecuador Connecticut wrapper and comes with a mix flavor of sweet and spicy. This cigar contains coarse hints of nuts and cedar smoldered with touches of pepperiness and citrus. It goes well with aged single malt whiskey containing a malty and elegant character or vintage champagne. Though, the wrapper can be evolved for India.
- Rocky Patel A.L.R. Second Edition Toro – Cost INR 1400 per Cigar. A.L.R. Second Edition Toro features a unique blend of Mexican San Andrés wrapper and Nicaraguan tobaccos grown in Esteli and Condega. This box-pressed Toro has all the comforting qualities of malted chocolate and vanilla bean. This sweetness is balanced by a hint of fresh coconut. The fact that these cigars are aged for an impressive two years in a cedar nap—after being rolled—make them unparalleled in the market. It comes with a big, bold, and chewy texture. The taste is an eclectic mix of earthly, dark fruit, toasted wood, and espresso flavors. Appreciate with a spice & rich Bourbon Whiskey.
- Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6 – Cost INR 1800 per Cigar. Padrón has never failed to impress the cigar aficionados, whereas Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6 features a perfect balance of richness, body, and consistency. It isn’t characterized by the aging process; however, it undergoes rolling, pressing, banding up and boxing processes. This cigar has beautiful smokes that offer rich layers of cocoa and earth atop a core of chocolate-covered espresso beans. A subtle note of dried cherry adds some uniqueness to the smoke.
- Cohiba Robusto – Cost INR 3500 per Cigar. A classic & one of the first cigars that I that even came across. Featuring a note of oak, vanilla, and almonds—Cohiba Robusto has large popularity in India and across the world. This line of cigar blows sophisticated and delicious smokes, which make it to the list of powerful cigars in the world. Out of the true nine Robustos, Cohiba Robusto is the most complete one—owing to its strength and excellent blend of highest-grade tobacco cultivated in the five finest farms in Cuba’s Vuelta Abajo.
- MY FATHER THE JUDGE – TORO – Winner of the prestigious Cigar of the Year award on two different occasions 2013 and 2015, these Nicaraguan handmade utilize an absolutely flawless Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over hand-picked Nicaraguan binder and long-fillers. The Judge are box pressed, full bodied cigars. First smoke is a bit creamy with hint of coffee and then transcends to a bit peppery and the spice kicks in the second half with subtle nutty flavour. The spice is not overwhelming and allows other flavour profiles to shine through as well, making this a nice complex cigar. Great with a nice cup of coffee.
- ARTURO FUENTE ROSADO SUNGROWN MAGNUM 56 – A special blend of Dominican filler and binder tobaccos combined with the dark, 10-year-aged oily slick Ecuadorian wrapper to create rich and balanced flavours. Explosion of notes from leather, cinnamon, cream, and sweetness like maple syrup enters during the second third, accompanied by layers of cedar and nutmeg. The profile turns earthy and peppery near the finale, making this medium in strength cigar, turn even richer, deeper, and more complex. Maybe pair with a non peaty Single Malt like Glenmorangie.
- H UPMANN MAGNUM 54 – Medium bodied but a complex cigar despite its young age. Notes of creaminess, cedar, sweetness, chocolate and earthiness among other flavours followed by notes of cinnamon, anise, leather and a touch of orange citrus. Some hints of pepper kicks in second half. Nothing is overpowering and sits very well with your palate A perfect cigar for both occasional and experienced smokers, ideal for the afternoon or before dinner smoke. Being a smoky cigar, would suggest to go with a smooth scotch.
- TRINIDAD COLONIALES The Trinidad Coloniales has to be one of the most refined and well-balanced cigars on the market. This mild cigar is very smooth and creamy with hints of coffee, cedar, and light earthy flavor. All round full flavours, mild heat and medium spiciness; makes it a go-to smoke. Basically it is good just about anytime.
All this writing about cigars has made me long for one. It’s time to light one up.