Handmade cigars are considered to be of the finest quality in the world. Those made by Cuban torcedors are the only ones which quality is considered authentic. “Torcedor” derives from the Spanish word meaning “twister,” because the cigar rollers are trained to twist and roll the tobacco leaves for smoking. An experienced cigar roller is your best resource for finding and buying premium tobacco products on the market. They spend their entire livelihood learning about the growing regions, flavors, and nuances of each cigar you want to try.
Cigars were hand rolled until the 1950s, when machinery was introduced to condense the tobacco into a roll. While this made the process more efficient, the quality and care of the tobacco itself significantly decreased. However, some tobacconists and specialty shops kept the tradition of hand rolling alive, selling their product exclusively. Now hand rolled cigars are a rare commodity. They are especially popular in the Tampa Bay area and Ybor City, where many Cuban natives come to practice their craft and sell hand rolled cigars.
The difference between a handmade and machine made cigar is very noticeable. Machine rolled cigars don’t have as easy or flavorful of a draw. Because they are mass produced they often have a generic flavor. Plus, hand rolled cigars have minor differentiation depending on the torcedor’s style each time he rolls a new one. These fine distinctions make each hand rolled cigar more enjoyable, especially if you know the company or craftsman who made it.
Some cigars that are marketed as handmade are actually machine bunched and hand finished. The tobacco is processed in a factory to cut tobacco leaves and bunch them as uniform as possible. Then the cigar roller will roll the binder and wrapper, then finish it by sealing the head and placing the band around it. Machine bunched cigars get a cleaner cut on the leaves, however they do not bring out all the flavors that a truly hand rolled cigar does.
Covadonga Cigars hand rolls all of its cigars in the Cuban traditional practice. Our rollers came from Cuba with 17 years’ experience crafting cigars in their native country. We use Nicaraguan tobacco which has the closest growing conditions to Cuba. Our cigars go through the Drawmaster, a quality control device that will remove any cigar that doesn’t meet our high standards. The Drawmaster will unroll any cigar that isn’t properly sealed, and our torcedors will re-roll the batch to ensure you receive the best cigars from our factory.
We age our cigars, allowing them to ferment before selling them. The ageing process enhances the flavor of the tobacco. We then go through each batch of leaves to ensure they are all of similar size and quality before bunching them and sending the to be wrapped and rolled. If you would like to see the hand rolling process, please visit our Cigar Rolling Shows page. You can also learn more about our process from our videos in the factory. If you have any questions about hand rolled cigars or our cigar rolling shows, please contact us.