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Cigar rollers in Cuba in the 19th century were well-versed in the classics, because many factories employed cigar factory readers. These readers read aloud from literary works such as stories and poetry by Victor Hugo. Victor Muñoz, the “Father of Mothers’ Day,” was one such factory reader before he became a journalist.

Charlie Chaplin, cast as the Little Tramp, made movie history when he happily discovered a well-chewed stub of an abandoned cigar in the memorable last scene of “The Gold Rush.” He was a cigar smoker in real life, as was his daughter, Geraldine, when cigar smoking was considered “inappropriate and most unladylike.”

Is Catherine the Great responsible for the “invention” of cigar bands? She requested a silk band be wrapped around all of her cigars so her fingers would not be soiled with tobacco stains. (She passed away in 1796 at the ripe old age of 67, and her passing had nothing to do with smoking.)

Annie Oakley smoked “cheroots” (a type of cigar) to steady her nerves before getting her gun belt laced on and performing.

Decades ago, children who scoured the gutters looking for discarded cigar butts to smoke or trade for food were labeled Guttersnipes. These poor but resourceful kids often traded or exchanged the cigar bands for goodies.

Author Ernest Hemingway presented actress Ava Gardner with a cigar band as a souvenir of their first meeting. (She probably would have preferred real jewelry.)

In World War I, the movements of the Allied Navies were encoded by sneaky German spies who made them appear to be orders for Havana cigars, in case their encodings fell into enemy hands.

American cigar importers named actor Edward G. Robinson “Mister Cigar” in 1949, thanking him for using cigars as props in his gangster movies.

In 1962, John Glenn, former astronaut and Senator, received his weight in Cuban cigars after making space history. (Sadly, 54 years later, in 2016, he made his final voyage.)

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

1) OLIVA SAISON MADURO TORONationality: Nicaraguan   Appearance: MEDIUM-FULL bodied, 6.0; 50 ring; In a chewy chocolate Broadleaf maduro wrap. Personality: Pristine long-fillers bring you bold flavors of cedar, sweet spices and leather. Wonderfully complex, this beauty’s consistent construction and razor sharp burn will hold you in rapt attention throughout your smoking experience.

2) SERIE ’55’ IMPERIAL CONNECTICUT TORONationality: Dominican Appearance: MILD-MEDIUM bodied, 6.25; 52 ring; Sporting a creamy Connecticut wrapper.  Personality: This captivating smoking stick is packed with premium tobaccos from the Dominican that are hidden beneath her creamy outer beauty. She emits nuances of cedar and spice, with a hint of vanilla on the finish.

3) KRISTOFF HABANO ROBUSTONationality: Dominican Appearance: MEDIUM bodied, 5.5; 54 ring; Gorgeous in a red-brown Brazilian Habano wrapper. Personality: The result of an international affair, a Brazilian Sumatra binder lent nuances of pecan and a sweet finish. Nicaraguan long-fillers added cedar and pepper notes. Long-fillers from the Dominican Republic brought this beautiful baby home.

4) AVE MARIA CHARLEMAGNENationality: Nicaraguan Appearance: MEDIUM-FULL bodied, 7.5; 54 ring; In a premium Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Personality: Impressive in both height and girth, this lovely is smokin’ hot with massive amounts of thick leaves and a perfectly fermented wrap. Steady yourself for a burst of leather and wood, with light spices throughout. Satisfying, with earth and cedar.

5) MAN ‘O WAR VIRTUE CHURCHILLNationality: Nicaraguan  Appearance: MEDIUM bodied, 7.5; 52 ring; Alluring in a limited edition Ecuadorian-grown CT leaf.  Personality: A lady in a man’s body, her virtue is the perfect amount of Nicaraguan ligero that delivers a light punch, while seco and viso tobaccos retain her smooth creaminess. This smoke’s thick gauge combines a hearty complexity with a mellow finish.

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Tracie Burket
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