Handmade cigars vs. Machine-made cigars. What sets them apart?

One hundred years ago, all cigars were handmade. The first machines for making cigars came out in 1920, increasing production and reducing costs. This does not mean that artisanal production has ceased, on the contrary, its demand grows steadily.

Although most smokers think that handmade cigars are superior to those produced by machine, the decision on the subject has to do with personal preferences, among which stand out individual taste, economic availability, and smoking frequency. That's why it's important to know the differences between them.

Manufacturing process:

Handmade cigars are rolled entirely by expert rollers through a completely artisanal process. Each cigar is made individually, from the selection and blending of tobacco leaves to the final rolling and finishing, allowing attention to detail, thus achieving higher quality.

Machine-made cigars are mass-produced, using automated machinery that cuts, fills, and rolls cigars quickly and efficiently in large quantities.

The leaves:

In the production of artisanal cigars, long, high-quality tobacco leaves are used for the various parts of the cigar's anatomy (wrapper, binder, and filler), which are carefully chosen for their flavor, aroma, and combustion characteristics. Tobacco artisans have the freedom to select a wide variety of tobacco leaves from different regions and varieties to create complex and balanced blends.

Machine-made cigars generally use processed and homogenized tobacco leaves, which have been cut and shredded to facilitate handling in manufacturing machinery. These leaves are often of lower quality and have less variety compared to the leaves used in handmade cigars.

Taste and complexity:

Due to the careful manufacturing process and individualized selection of tobacco leaves, handmade cigars tend to offer greater complexity of flavors and nuances. Artisans can blend different types of tobacco to create unique and sophisticated flavor profiles.

The automation of the manufacturing process tends to limit the variety and selection of tobacco leaves used, so machine-made cigars often have a more limited range of flavors and nuances compared to handmade cigars. Leaf homogenization can result in a more uniform and less complex flavor.

Shapes and sizes:

Handmade cigars usually offer a greater variety of shapes and sizes, as artisans can tailor the rolling to individual smokers' preferences.

Due to machinery limitations, machine-made cigars tend to be available in standard shapes and sizes, offering fewer customization options. 

Smoking experience:

In terms of "smokability," a properly made handmade cigar will allow for a longer, slower burning time and cooler smoke, making the smoking experience unique and gratifying. While machine-made cigars may be a convenient option for some smokers, the common characteristic of machine-made cigars is that they burn quickly, often diminishing the enjoyment of the experience.

Prices: Due to the laborious artisanal process involved, handmade cigars tend to be substantially more expensive than machine-made cigars.

It is worth noting that, although everything seems to indicate that handmade cigars are superior in almost every way to machine-made cigars, the lower price of mass-produced cigars and the frequency with which someone smokes them can be a significant variable when selecting the cigar to buy.

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema and May Complicate Pregnancy.
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