Cigar Making Methods
Every Habanos that is made is constructed with great care. They are made in the traditional methods as they have always been. This means that those made by hand cannot be matched by any that are created through the use of a machine. Very simple tools are used in the creation of these cigars: a wooden board, a guillotine, two cutters, a gum knob made from natural vegetable that is both tasteless and colorless and the stocks. Of course, the most important tool used is the fine hands of the experienced rollers.
Rollers are broken down into four categories. Only the rollers with the most seniority are permitted to make the bigger and more complex Habanos. There are countless years of training and practice needed in order to master this art. Over time, only one thing has really changed in this entire process. As of now, it is mostly women that are involved in the rolling process. Tradition continues today that the rollers have a reader with them to read to them the local newspaper or a book that has been chosen by the group.
They are three general types of rolling involved in the making of the cigars. The first is the twisted- fully hand method. The two or three leaves of the cloak are placed in a way where the back of the leaf with the vein is facing the roller so they will be twisted in when rolling the cigar.
The leaves of the gut are then introduced as they are bent so that smoke will pass through each sheet when the cigar is lit. The leaves are bent and rolled so that the tips with the least sharp flavor will be near the tip of the cigar that is lit. This places the leaves with the most flavors closest to the smoker, giving the best experience.
The bunch is then formed as the filler is rolled. Each is done to a specific diameter depending on the type of cigar being made. The compression of the entire case is equal across the cigar. The roller then uses the guillotine to cut the head of the bunch off.
The bunch is then rolled and pressed in a wooden mold. This is done for about thirty minutes and helps the proper size and shape to be achieved. After this, a still wet sheet is then rolled onto the bunch. The bunch is then placed on another sheet and with great care and dexterity the roller straightens out the sheet with his fingertips while rolling. This stretching and rolling needs to be done to perfection.
A cut section known as the flag leaf layer is then applied. It is wrapped tightly around knob of the cigar to help close the top and secure the final layer. To finish off the cigar, the cap is cut and the flag is stuck on with a bit of vegetable gum. The cigar gets one final cut with the guillotine to be at the appropriate size.
There is also a method known as Gut Cut, where long filler cigars are combined with other types of tobacco and chopped and blended to make short filler cigars. These are also rolled by hand. Since the fifties, there have been some machines used to make certain Habanos. Quality tobacco leaves are still used, but these are generally more inexpensive cigars since the process to make them is cheaper.