Q & A: Handmade vs. hand-rolled?
What is the difference between handmade cigars and hand-rolled cigars?
5/02/13 | by TS of Kutztown, PA
Great question. There are three ways to roll a cigar: by hand, by machine, or a combination of both. Machine made cigars are usually small cigars that use short fillers and usually sport homogenized wrappers. For hand-rolled cigars, the filler tobaccos (these can be long or short depending on the brand/blend) are usually bunched by machine and then a premium wrapper is applied by hand. Many of the bundled cigars are made this way and sport traditional sizes...this is why they tend to be less expensive than handmade options. Handmade cigars are blended, bunched, and rolled completely by hand. The majority of premium cigars are handmade such as 5 Vegas, Man O' War, Cohiba, and Macanudo, etc.
Article: The Insider: Humidification 2.0
Innovation drives the cigar industry. Without innovation, traditional artisan products such as handmade cigars would become rather boring or redundant over time. To keep things fresh, cigar makers constantly grow new tobacco varieties, regularly dreaming up new shapes, new sizes, and new blending or pressing techniques. In recent years, I’ve seen a huge influx of unbelievable “outside the box” packaging concepts being developed. While these box and packaging innovations are exciting topics to discuss with cigar lovers across the United States, there are other innovative concepts being developed on the cigar storage front which we’ve neglected to discuss.
When I first started enjoying cigars over 15 years ago, humidors were simple and certainly the wide range of selections found today didn’t exist. Back then, I actually created my own humidor by converting an old Montecristo box I had laying around. Money was always tight and I spent most of my cigar budget on the cigars themselves; cigar storage was always an afterthought. In fact, I was burning through my collection so fast, I’m not sure my cigars had time to actually dry out. In those days, humidifiers were mainly plastic black pucks filled with that green foam you find at your local florist, and hygrometers were cheap, plastic, and always analog — never digital.
Enter the 21st century, where there are more humidor styles than cigar brands and a wide range of humidification options that use new materials and incredibly innovative concepts. Gone are the days of replacing your humidifier due to hardening foam that would cease to absorb water. Gone are the days of constantly questioning the accuracy of your analog hygrometers, performing a salt test every week to ensure your humidity is accurate. Thankfully, today, there’s a plethora of cigar storage and humidification options to choose from, all focusing on improving your cigar enjoyment. One brand I think has been the most innovation across all fronts is Humi-Care. Here are some of my favorite new Humi-Care products that make humidor storage easier than ever.
Humi-Care Black Ice: Humi-Care jars have been on the market for years. They contain special gel crystals that absorb and release humidity. They are less susceptible to mold and maintain a long shelf life. One problem I found with the jars is their round shape; a circle is fairly inefficient in terms of space utilization in a square humidor. Well, Humi-Care answered my prayers this year with their “pie jar” design, known as Black Ice. It comes in the familiar round jar shape, but can be divided into 4 equal pieces, ideal for nestling in the corners of your humidor. These are great as a primary humidification element, but also work well as a supplemental addition during dryer months.
Humi-Care Seasoning Wipes: So you bought that brand new humidor and can’t wait to put your favorite smokes inside, but you have that pesky task of seasoning your humidor and charging the cedar to maintain a humid environment. You need an unscented, plain sponge (good luck finding that at your local store) and distilled water. However, with this innovation from Humi-Care, the days of a damp sponge and distilled water are behind you as these disposable wipes are ready to use once you take them out of their packet! Simply wipe down the cedar interior surfaces and you’re ready to go!
Humi-Care Power Stick Humidifier: Discrete and efficient, the Power Stick uses the same gel technology as the Black Ice jars but fits nicely among your prized sticks with its slick, rectangular shape. If you can’t spare the corner space in your humidor for the Black Ice pie jar, this is an ideal solution for humidity control as you lose absolutely no space, besides room for one cigar.
While these three new items from Humi-Care are certainly among my favorites, it’s not all the brand offers. Be sure to check out our humidification section online for Humi-Care’s full list of innovative products from digital hygrometers to active, electric humidification units.