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Aside from snuff, the cigar is the most potent form of tobacco enjoyed by humans. For centuries, cigar fumes and rituals have long been linked to a man’s right of passage in both America and Europe. Today, it’s also a right for hundreds of thousands of women!

The process begins with the a variety of premium tobacco leaves grown for use as either fillers or wrappers. Long-leaf tobaccos are used in premium quality cigars, like those from your Favorite Cigar of the Month Club.

They are harvested and aged in a process combining heat and shade to reduce sugar and water content without allowing the sizeable leaves to rot. Curing, the first step, takes from 25 to 45 days, depending on the climatic conditions and the construction of the carefully structured storage sheds or barns. Allowances are also made for the type of tobacco and the desired color for the batch.

Fermentation is the second step, and allows the leaves to dry and slowly ferment without damage such as rotting or disintegration. Absolute attention is paid to both humidity and temperature control during this aging phase. It is during this period that the flavor, burning characteristics and aroma emerge.

Sorting begins once the leaves have aged to perfection. They are separated for use as either wrappers or fillers, depending on their appearance and overall quality, ensuring that each leaf is best used based on its characteristics and qualities. Leaves are continually handled with care as they are kept at an optimum moisture level. During this long process, the leaves are continuously baled and inspected. Then the bales are broken down, the tobacco is re-inspected and any unfavorable leaves are removed before the perfect leaves are re-baled. This cycle is repeated again and again as the tobacco continues its Aging cycle.

The actual production is only begun after the leaves have matured to the satisfaction of the individual manufacturer.

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

1) La GLORIA CUBANA ARTESANOS de TABAQUEROS TORO (Limited Edition!) –  Nationality: Dominican   Appearance: MEDIUM-FULL bodied, 6.0; 54 ring; Double-wrapped – first in silky Connecticut shade, then covered with a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf. The construction is top-notch, inside and out. Personality: Interesting and complex with long leaves, she’s got a soft, creamy profile that blossoms into a rich, full-bodied finale.

2) HOYO de TRADICION EPICURE (91-Rated!) – Nationality: Honduran Appearance:  MEDIUM bodied, 5.25; 50 ring; Draped in a leathery red Honduran Viso Rosado wrap. Personality: Rich and pleasantly sweet, she’s a demure yet hearty smoke. A bit nutty yet down-to-earthy, she burns cool and even. She honors the rich history and celebrated tradition of Hoyo de Monterrey, one of the oldest, most respected brands.

3) DIESEL UNCUT ROBUSTO – Nationality: Nicaraguan Appearance: FULL bodied, 5.5; 50 ring; In a medium brown Pennsylvania Broadleaf natural wrapper.  Personality: Only the most robust blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers are used to construct this delightfully strong, complex smoke. She’s loaded with notes of chocolate, nuts, black pepper and cedar. Quality at a price that invites you to light up often!

4) SOL CUBANO CUBAN CABINET TORPEDONationality: Nicaragua Appearance: MEDIUM-FULL bodied, 6.0; 52 ring; Draped in an oily, bold hand-selected Habano leaf. Personality: Powerful, yet nicely balanced and ultra-smooth, this lady is certifiably delicious. Each puff unveils layers of cedar, spice, leather, toast and more. With an impressive core, she delivers a chewy but velvet smoke down to the nub.

5) CUBAN ARISTOCRAT HABANO CHURCHILLNationality: Nicaraguan  Appearance: MEDIUM-FULL bodied, 7.0; 54 ring; Features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Personality: A big girl with a lot of body, her wrap nestles a Cuban seed Piloto binder and long-filler blend. A delightful, all-around enjoyable experience, take note of her spice, pepper, wood and leather, and that subtle nuttiness.

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Tracie Burket
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