Early in the 16th century, smoking tobacco became the norm throughout Europe, introduced there by the explorers and sailors returning from the island of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic), Cuba and the islands of the Caribbean.

Fifty years later, tobacco was being grown commercially in America. By the 19th century, cigar smoking was common in the U.S. One of the leading Cuban cigar manufacturing operations was moved from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida to escape the Ten Years’ War.  It was the first of many cigar manufacturers to take root in the U.S. in Key West, Ybor City, Tampa, New York, etc.

Hundreds of rollers also moved to the states to work their trade. In 1929, the nimble fingers of the rollers in the cigar-making factories in Ybor City and West Tampa produced over 500,000,000 cigars, earning Tampa the nickname “Cigar Capital of the World”.

But in New York, cigars were made in private homes. It was reported in 1883 that cigars were being manufactured in 127 apartment houses in New York, with 1,962 families and 7,924 individuals doing the labor. Late that year, at the urging of the trade unions, a state statute banned the practice –  so many relocated to Brooklyn and Long Island to continue their home trade. (A short four months later, it was repealed, and they were able to move back home to New York.)

By 1905, the U.S. boasted 80,000 cigar-making operations – the majority small, family-operated shops where the cigars were hand rolled and sold immediately. Today, precious few are still rolled by hand, preserving the prestige and quality of the best cigars, like those brought to you by your favorite Cigar of the Month Club . . .

Take a Close Look at this Month’s Cigar Selections from your Favorite Cigar of the Month Club: Featured Countries of Origin NICARAGUA, THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC & HONDURAS

NICA LIBRE SILVER 25th ANNIVERSARY – Nationality: Nicaraguan   Appearance: FULL bodied, 6.0; 56 ring; In a reddish-hued Cuban-seed Habano wrapper

Personality: Gorgeous and well-balanced, this charismatic smoke honors the 25th anniversary of Nicaraguan independence. You’ll find it is chock-full of honey, dark cocoa and leather nuances in honor of the lush soils of Nicaragua.

PERDOMO CHAMPAGNE SUN GROWN ROBUSTO – Nationality: Nicaraguan Appearance:  MEDIUM-FULL bodied, 5.0; 54 ring; In a forceful, flavorful Nicaraguan Sungrown wrap

Personality: This instant classic is intoxicating with a bodacious boost of richness and spice . . . a delectable salute to fine art.

SN# 31323: GURKHA BLACK DRAGON IMPERIAL PRESIDENTENationality: Honduras Appearance: MEDIUM bodied, 7.0; 56 ring; In a dark, toothy 5-year-old CT Broadleaf Maduro wrapper

Personality: Complex and buttery smooth, this big girl combines a vintage mix of tobaccos to offer a thick and chewy smoke that’s rich to the leathery core. Elegant earthy hints are complemented by an assortment of sweet spices on the finish.

PARK AVENUE HABANO CHURCHILLNationality: Nicaragua Appearance: MEDIUM bodied, 7.0; 50 ring; Draped in a gorgeous Ecuadorian Habano wrapper

Personality: A classic rich, hearty smoking experience awaits you on Park Avenue. Look for notes of pepper, wood, cream and earth. With ample flavor, this smooth and creamy smoke shows a gentle strength that’s perfect any time.

LaPALINA CLASSIC TORONationality: Dominican  Appearance: MEDIUM bodied, 6.0; 50 ring; In a Brazilian-grown Cuban-seed Habano wrap

Personality: Wrapped in a milk chocolaty leaf, this 93-rated nugget boasts a smooth smoke with refined notes of earth, spice, caramel and a slight meaty nuance. Excellent complexity all the way to the nub.

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Tracie Burket
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