Cigars International provides you with an in depth look of the cigar rolling process from leaf to humidor!
It takes 5 steps to create a premium handmade cigar after the blend is selected and the tobacco is prepared.
In most factories, premium cigars are hand made by two person teams called “pairs”. Each team is comprised of a Torcedor (roller) and an Empunero (buncher).
A cigar is constructed of 3 components: filler, binder and wrapper. Let’s take a look at the process.
Step 1 - Bunching - The filler (comprised of 2-6 leaves depending on cigar size and blend) is formed into a rough cylinder of tobacco by the buncher.
Care is taken to make sure the leaves are folded into the bunch straight and uniformly. This ensures the cigar will not have hard or soft spots.
In addition, the thickest leaves are bunched into the center because that’s where the cherry of the cigar burns the hottest, and allows for an even burn of all the tobaccos.
Step 2 - Binding - The bunched leaves are then tightly wrapped in a thick sturdy leaf called the binder. The binder gives the cigar its rudimentary shape.
The combination of the binder and the filler is called “the bunch”.
Step 3 - Molding. In order to give cigars their perfect shape, a mold is used. Generally 10 “bunches” fit into a mold.
When the mold is filled, it is put into a screw-type press along with the other molds. After 30 minutes in the mold, the bunch will be turned by the buncher to ensure an even shape. After an additional 30 minutes, the bunch will be in the shape of a finished cigar.
Step 4 - Wrapping. After the bunch has been pressed and turned in the mold, it is ready for the skilled hands of the roller.
The wrapper leaf is the most expensive and coveted leaf on the cigar.
The evenly colored, silky, and elastic wrapper leaf is applied to a dampened cigar board, where the leaf is cut to size using a Chaveta (roller’s knife).
From there, the wrapper leaf is stretched, rolled, and smoothed over the bunch in a diagonal fashion, turn by turn, until the bunch is wrapped.
This skill sounds simple, but it takes over a year to become proficient and much longer to fully master.
Step 5 - Finishing. Once the cigar is wrapped, the roller will apply the cap with pectin (a vegetable based adhesive) using the remainder of the wrapper leaf and will cut the unfinished foot with a tuck cutter to the exact length. There you have it, after this process, the cigar is complete, but the journey to your humidor isn’t over yet.
After a cigar is rolled, it undergoes a strict and arduous set of quality checks to ensure the correct weight, draw, appearance, taste, and burn qualities.
After inspection, the cigars are aged for 12-24 weeks to remove excess moisture.
When the cigar leaves the aging room, they are then color sorted to make sure the wrapper color is consistent from box to box.
Lastly, the cigars are banded, packaged, and ready to be enjoyed.