(Frequently Asked Questions)

Welcome to the Cigar Smoker's FAQ - compiled from the newsgroup alt.smokers.cigars!
As always, any and all corrections, additions, or suggestions are welcome. Please address
any new submissions to Mark Blanton at: 

Table of Contents:


1.1        Alt.smokers.cigars (Usenet newsgroup)
1.2        IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
1.3        Compuserve Cigar Forum
1.4        America OnLine Cigar Forum
1.5        Web sites, FTP, and more....
1.6        Cigars and Computers


2.1         New Smokers' questions
2.1a       Selecting the perfect single
2.2         Cutters and Lighting
2.2a       Ashes, Ashtrays
2.3         Smoke Rings
2.4         Cigar Styles and Sizes
2.4a        Cigar Shapes and Styles
2.4b       Does Size make a difference?
2.5         Construction - The Parts of a Cigar
2.6         Wrapper Types
2.7         Body, strength, flavor, and blends
2.7a       Descriptive terms
2.8         Tobacco Production
2.9         The Law and Cuban Cigars...

3.0        HEALTH ISSUES

3.1        Health FAQ
3.3        Air Cleaners
3.4        Insurance

4.0       STORAGE

4.1       Aging your Cigars
4.2       Humidors
4.3       Building Wood Humidors
4.3a     Commercial sources of Spanish Cedar
4.4       Wood finishing
4.4a      Sealing the interior
4.4b     Oil Finishing 
4.4c      Staining and Urethane Finishes
4.5        Tupperdors, Igloodors
4.6        Converting Furniture into humidors


5.1       Humidifying devices (Credos)
5.2       Using Propylene Glycol to regulate humidity
5.3       Other suitable Chemicals
5.4       Oasis materials
5.5       Suitable credo containers

6.0        HYGROMETERS

6.1        Checking your Hygrometer Calibration
6.2        Radio Shack #63-855 Calibration
6.3        Older Radio Shack units
6.4        The Airguide Digital Hygrometer
6.5        The Bionaire Digital Hygrometer
6.6        Analog Hygrometers

7.0        TROUBLE?

7.1         Bloom or Mold?
7.2         Soggy Stogies
7.3         My humidor isn't at 70%
7.4         Worms (lacioderma - the tobacco beetle)

8.0        REFERENCES

8.1         800 Numbers
8.2         Seconds (secundos)
8.3         Web Sites
8.4         Glossary
8.5         Reference books
8.6         Cuban Cigars references
8.6a       Cuban Authenticity
8.6b       Cuban Factory, brands, names


9.1         Letterman, Burns, and Limbaugh



Fine cigars are enjoying a dramatic revival in modern society. Their presence on the Internet
is an indication of the new popularity of stogies. This section deals with where information,
discussions, and camaraderie among cigar smokers can be found on the 'net. 

1.1 Alt.smokers.cigars

Welcome to the Usenet newsgroup alt.smokers.cigars! Here we discuss all aspects of cigar
smoking - from favorite types, to storage, to techniques. All cigar-related discussions are welcome.
There are ongoing discussions of humidors, cutters, smoke shops, the politics of cigars, current trends,
and (of course) there's much talk of particular brands and our readers' recommendations. This is an
international forum, so don't be surprised to see much talk about those fine smokes not even available
in the US (such as Cubans).
Are you traveling? Ask our readers about smoke shops near your destination.  Trying a new brand?
Tell our readers what you think - or ask them their opinions! Building a humidor? Get advice from
both laymen and professionals! Whether you're a novice, or life-long smoker, alt.smokers.cigars
is here for discussions of _all_ cigar-related issues.

Who are we? A.s.c. represents a broad cross-section of cigar smokers on the Internet! Our regular
contributors are doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. We're college students, construction workers,
and computer geeks... Married and single, guys and gals, everybody fits into our group. We all have
the love of cigars as a common bond. Recently, one of our readers (John Chunko
( took the trouble to survey our readers. You'll find full details of the 
a.s.c. reader survey at our survey site:

What shouldn't you post here??? Alt.smokers.cigars is a discussiongroup... In accordance with Usenet
"netiquette", advertising is absolutely taboo. One time announcements of special events are ok,
but don't get caught attempting to trick our readers! Also, please don't use a.s.c. to conduct illegal
activities, such as buying or selling Cuban cigars in the U.S.. If you do these things, you can be sure
that vigilant readers will contact your Internet provider and ask that your access be restricted.

1.2 IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

This is an area of the Internet available for real-time, interactive conversations on cigars and other topics
Cigar smokers have a permanent channel set up on an IRC system called the Undernet (Set the "server"
option of your IRC software to ""). Although users are welcome to check-in anytime,
most of the channel "regulars" sign on around 10:00 - 11:00 pm est. Come join us!

Instructions to join ...

From a Unix shell account -
Type "irc" to enter your local IRC server.
type "/server" (your IRC client will pick the best undernet server to use) and   
then "/join #cigarsmokers" (no quotes, of course)

Using Netcom's Netcruiser Software -
Click on the IRC button (the lips in the upper right)
Click on Other IRC Host
In the other server box type
Hit Connect.
Once Connected at the bottom type
/join #cigarsmokers

Chatting from America on Line

AOLers get together to talk cigars every Thursday evening, beginning at 10pm EST... 
Go to People Connection, then click on list rooms.  Click on "Create Member Room",
then type "The Humidor". You will either create the room, or join those already there.
If you want to join the Internet chat group "#cigarsmokers", AOLers need to download
the new IRC connection software from AOL.

(From AOL's Internet Support group...)
To use IRC on America Online, you will need three things: 

1.  The latest version of the America Online software for Windows. 
    *NOTE: The Macintosh software is scheduled to support IRC in the next
    release, due for release in the forthcoming weeks. 


3.  An IRC application. 

Both of these can be downloaded by using keyword WINSOCK.  The WINSOCK.DLL
can be downloaded by clicking on Download it Today.  Once, the WINSOCK.DLL
is downloaded you will need to install it into the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM

Once, this has been finished you will be able to download and install an IRC program
from Keyword WINSOCK.  You can find the IRC application by clicking on the Software
Library icon.  Instructions for setting up the IRC program are included with the downloaded software.

After you have set up your IRC program, all you need to do to run it is to sign on to America Online.
Then, while signed on, run the IRC program. America Online will take care of communicating
with the Internet, and you will be able to IRC from AOL. 

It should be noted that at this time, Compuserve and Prodigy users do not have direct access
to IRC sessions...  :-(

1.3 Compuserve Cigar Forum

On the Compuserve network, Cigar information is in library 13 of the Wine forum
(GO WINEFORUM) You'll find questions and answers discussed in the messages section,
files available for download in the library section (Cigar files, including this FAQ are available
in library 13), There are also occasional interactive conferences among the forum's members. 

1.4 AOL's Cigar forum

On America On-Line, you'll find cigar related materials in the CIGAR forum.

1)  GoTo Keyword: Cigars

2)  Close the pop-up called Today's Specials to get to the Food and 

    Drink Network (FDN) Main Menu.

3)  Click on the Cigar icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

4)  Double-click on Cigar and Pipes Message Boards

5)  Double-click on Cigar and Pipe Messages, Q&A, Reviews

6)  You can now browse folders and choose which you want to read or, 

    if you are current with your reading, you may choose to use the

    "Find New" button and bring up only those messages that are new

    since your last visit. They will be listed for all folders.

This forum also hosts an on-line chat for cigar smokers every Tuesday.

1.5 Web Sites, FTP, and more

Cigars are also making an appearance on the World Wide Web. There are commercial sites

and private "home pages" containing a wealth of information. See "References" section for

specific URL's (addresses)

For those interested in downloading cigar-related files via anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol),

The following sites offer this FAQ, an extensive cigar database, the Cigar / Health FAQ, and more.... in the directory /pub/users/curtisb. in the directory /pub/users/bc

The Windows Online Cigar Guide (a great compilation of catalogs, updated monthly, and

FREEWARE) is available from

Also, check out Smokin' Joe's electronic catalog, available via anonymous FTP at... Not a simple catalog, this is a fine collection of all kinds

of cigar information (and some mis-information!) :-) 

Finally, there is also a second newsgroup (not a discussion group, more of a periodical-style

listing) with some smoking-related info. If your ISP carries the "Clari" newsgroups, check out


1.6 Cigars and Computers
Can smoking cigars damage my computer?

Although many will tell you that hard drives are sealed and therefore not susceptible to smoke,

all Connor and Seagate drives (to name a few I'm sure of) actually do incorporate an air

filtration system to equalize atmospheric pressure. The good news is these filters employ a 0.3

micron filter to maintain a clean environment, and cigar smoke contains particles larger than

1 micron. Floppy drives can be a little more touchy, as they're used less frequently than your

hard drive and directly exposed to incoming dust and smoke (the smoke seems to bind the dust),

Most computers actually "inhale" through their front panels and exhaust through the power

supply in the back. I'd recommend using a floppy cleaning kit on a regular basis. 

Ashes in your keyboard? (a common problem for me {g}...) Well, most modern keyboards

use a sealed membrane system for their contacts, so until your KB gets to the point where

the ashes cause a mechanical problem, don't worry. At that point, disassembly and cleaning

usually works, but even in worst-case situations, keyboards are cheap to replace

(and don't involve loss of data). 

Then there's monitors, which IMHO are probably the most susceptible component. Monitors

have large ventilation holes and lots of static electricity - internally, they're very effective

electrostatic precipitators. Unfortunately, they attract dust and smoke and deposit these

contaminants on their own circuit boards! The smoke combined with dust creates a sticky goo

which defies most cleaning procedures, and conducts electricity (slightly). Here in South Florida,

we get a double-whammy effect, as there's a great deal of salt in the dust, which makes this goo

hydroscopic. On a humid day, it's not uncommon for monitors to misbehave because of the

moisture making this dust-film more conductive. This of course results in their premature demise. :-(


2.1 New Smokers' Questions

How do the packaged cigars that I can buy form the drugstore or the 

magazine store compare to THE GOOD STUFF?  

Most packaged "drug store" cigars include non-tobacco ingredients such as paper, saltpeter

(for even burning) and PG or Glycerin (to prevent them from drying out). Quality cigars

contain only tobacco. Most quality cigars contain top-of-the-line leaves, and are made

with long-filler (the leaves run from end to end. "Good" cigars are generally only available

from tobacconists. 

Are Mail-Order cigars ok?

Many cigar smokers use mail-order houses for their discounted prices. The problem with

this is that there are very few mail-order suppliers who will let you purchase singles

and who wants to spend $100 for a box just to try a new smoke? This is one of the best

reasons why you might want to frequent your local tobacconist. There you can get good

advice, buy singles, and see and smell the stogies you're purchasing. 

What about "old" cigars? Should I buy "fresh" ones?

Tobacco used in premiums is aged 18 to 24 months before rolling. Some manufacturers

age rolled cigars an additional year before even shipping them to the distributor. As long

as they are stored properly, there's no such thing as an "old" cigar. Many people prefer

"vintage" smokes. Refer to the FAQ section on aging cigars for more information. 

Cigars are never "fresh" in the proper definition of the word. All reputable tobacconists

will store them properly, at approx. 70 deg, 70% humidity. Always have cigars shipped

overnight or 2nd day to prevent their drying out in transit. 

If a cigar is properly stored in a humidor, how long will it last? 

Indefinitely. Many people still have pre-Castro Cubans (yum!) I've heard of pre-WW2

smokes which were GREAT! 

If a cigar dries out, is it possible to get the taste back?

If you let a cigar dry out it'll ruin it. It can be recovered (somewhat) by s-l-o-w-l-y

re-humidifying it in a proper humidor, but it'll never be quite the same... 

Besides being a suitable way to transport cigars, are those glass (or 

metal) storage-tubes ok to use?  For how long?

As long as the cigars were properly humidified before the tubes sealed, they should last

for a long time. Open it up to smell the tobacco though, and you'll be letting in dry air

(which will slowly dry them out). Tubes with cork stoppers also will slowly exchange

moisture with the "outside" air. I really can't recommend these tubes for long-term

(over a year) storage. 

What's the difference in taste of cigars from different countries?

Each country's cigar production has it's own taste and character. Cigars are made

all over the world, with tobacco grown in different soils, cured by different processes,

and rolled with different techniques. Too many to discuss here (unfortunately),

so let's stick with some general guidelines for some of the more popular Caribbean countries. 

These are not hard and fast rules, but you'll have something to go by when you're faced

with a humidor full of cigars from which to choose. 

 *Cigars from Jamaica are usually considered mild.

 *Cigars from the Dominican Republic are mild to medium in strength.

 *Cigars from Honduras and Nicaragua are stronger and heavier smokes.

 *And cigars from Cuba are considered to be some of the richest and 

  creamiest in the world!

Also remember that the larger the diameter (ring gauge) the richer and fuller the flavor,

and the longer the cigar, the cooler the smoke. New smokers might want to start with

any cigar made by Macanudo or Arturo Fuente. Just pick one that is a size you like

and enjoy it. You might also try one with a "maduro" wrapper (which is dark and rich tasting). 

2.1a Selecting the perfect single

1) Look for open boxes in your tobacconist's humidor that have been there for a while.

Cigars are often shipped "wet" to retard drying, and should stabilize for a week or more

in a proper environment before smoking. Grab them too soon, and they may have only

stabilized on the exposed side, causing uneven burning. (You can compensate just as

easily by putting your purchases in your own humidor for a week before smoking.)

2) Squeeze the cigar _gently_. It should "give" but not be too soft. Don't roll it in your fingers,

as some suggest - this can damage the wrapper. Squeeze gently up and down the body

to look for lumps or soft spots. A good cigar should have neither. Remember to be gently.

Even if you don't buy that cigar somebody else might - don't damage it! 

3) inspect the wrapper for "odd" discolorations, looseness, or cracks. The wrapper should

be smooth and tight, and not damaged on either end. Smaller veins are good to watch for,

as these often smoke smoother, but compare your single to other cigars with the same wrapper!

Veins appear differently in different wrapper types. 

4) Look at the tobacco in the exposed end. Some variation of color is normal, as most cigars

are made from a blend of tobaccos. What you're watching for is extreme or abrupt color changes.

This sometimes means an inferior leaf was used, or the leaves weren't laid together properly in

the bunching process. Off tastes and uneven burns will often be the result. 

2.2 Clippers, cutters, etc.

From: Steven T. Saka (

The first thing you should do is closely examine the "head" of the cigar this is the closed end

that needs to be clipped. Almost all have what is called a "cap" a bit of tobacco leaf used

to close of the end - you should be able to see how far down the length of the cigar the cap

goes by inspection. Typically only a 1/4" - 3/8" or so; sometimes much less, and on figurado

shapes sometimes quite longer.  Anyhow wherever the cap stops is your cutting limit cut

beneath the cap's line or even too close and your cigar will start to unwravel, and as you

pointed out this is extremely unpleasant. Typically I cut the minimal possible while trying to

open approx. 75%-85% of the cigar end's surface area. Sometimes this means a cut as little

as 1/32" down, where other times almost 3/8" - it depends entirely on the individual cigar's

roll and cap construction.

The single bladed cheapie cutters that most newbies are given or buy for $3 typically do

a very poor job of clipping the cap, and result in crushed, split, and tatterted cuts.  One thing

to keep in mind when using a guillotine cutter is to line up your cigar at eye level and to them

clipped it quickly and decisively - I have found this method to give satisfactory results nearly

100% of the time. 

Many smokers swear by the .44 Magnum cutter which is a relatively inexpensive punch

that is easy to use, makes a perfect round opening, and completely bypasses the problem

of how much to clip. I personally don't use one because they do not work as well on figurado

shapes, nor can I get as large an opening as I sometimes would prefer. Crestmark also makes a

nice cigar punch that extracts the cut cap from itself. I own both types of punches and think they

are excellent products and would recommend that you try one at your tobacconist, it may

be ideal for you. 

V-Cut clippers are also available, and a few cigar smokers I know think this is the ONLY

way to clip your cigar. You don't have to worry about the caps length using this type of cutter

since you rest the cigar against it, and it "automatically" takes out a v-notched shaped bit

of tobacco of the same size everytime. Personally I hate this type of cut, I find that it tends

to build up tar on the edges and that some cigars tend to burn unevenly when cut this way.

These cutters typically work better on some sizes than others, depends on the size

of the v-notch blade. 

Cigar scissors are elegant, but they are difficult to use in my opinion. Plus they are damn 

near impossible to carry around. 

Some people use x-acto blades, swiss army pen knives, their teeth, and so on. How you clip

your cigar is a matter of what works best for you. Just keep in mind where the cap ends

and you should be fine. 

2.2a Ashes, Ashtrays...

(editor's thanks to Steve Herman (


Your cigar ashes are a tell-tale sign about some of the characteristics of your cigar. A cigar

that is well rolled (packed), can burn slowly and create a stiff ash up to two to three inches

in length without bending or breaking. It merely looks like the cigar itself, except it's grey. 

Should your ash break up quickly, or burn in a less than tightly contained manner, or expend,

it is probably not packed well and its' smoking characteristics are probably below par.

If the ash color begins to vary into the darker tones the leaf mix was not up to standard either. 

The quality of the smoke is not affected by the length of the ash. Hot or bitter smoking taste,

or any other kinds of less tham smooth variations that occur WHILE smoking the cigar, are

other indications of poorer quality, either in the leaf mix or the rolling .

A great quality cigar can usually be smoked down to the nub (way past the Band). Sometimes,

as you smoke a great or good one down, the taste will change from "lovely smooth",

to beginning to be "bitter" or have a distinct "after taste". Most experts suggests tossing it,

but I practice more patience. I simply put it down and let it burn itself gently in the "proper

ashtray". A good cigar can maintain its slow burning qualities from 3 to 5 minutes without

being puffed. Quite often it will burn itself past a "tar" spot easily and a resumption of your

smoking it (without it going out) will confirm its' return to its original wonderful flavor. Give

it a chance to re-prove itself. I find the last two inches really satisfying and "Hard to put down"!

It's almost like a love affair, when it's that good! 


Critical to the fulfillment of the pleasures of smoking are an assortment of the the proper cigar

ashtrays to match the size of your cigars AND your personal technique of how you physically

handle your cigar while smoking, or how you hold it in your mouth (wet vs dry, etc). 

Antique ashtrays picked up in fleamarkets, are usually old enough to have been designed

specifically for CIGAR smokers. I avoid the modern, lead crystal ones with the very long

cigar rest. It gets very dirty quickly, and it is hard to handle the cigar (the, "I'm not looking",

 reach for it) as it smokes down. 

For me the proper ashtray has a "Rest" (landing ) for your cigar that has generous proportions,

such as about 2 inches long and 7/8 to an inch wide, with at least a generous curve on its' sides

so as to contain it EASILY, ie, prevent it from rolling to the side. 

The tray itself needs to be big enough to take, at least, the ashes from two big cigars, or else

there is an annoying build up of a mountain of ash that constantly has to be played with

(distracting to the purist), or else emptied frequently. Should a friend visit you you need

an ashtray with two holders for cigars and an even larger size to hold the ashes without


Sometimes there is no room on your desk for an ashtray or in many cases, you are in a

room where you need a "Ashtray on a Stand".  Again I prefer antiques specially made

for cigars, not cigarettes. These too, must have ample proportions, and of course a

removeable tray that nests in a stand. In either the desk, or stand type, Heavy glass

or Metal is preferrred. Decorated Ceramics stand alone ashtrays or inserts, are of course,

acceptable, as long as they meet the above criteria, and do not clash with your smoking

room DECOR.  For me, there is always the bounce test, where I gently mishandle things

and see if then can stand up to a fall to a carpeted floor. Good ones bounce slightly without

breaking. Don't use fragile ones, especially if they're purchased specially for you as a gift

by a dear family member. 

Above all, never put your cigar out by stubbing the end in the ashtry. Proper style calls for

you to tip it into the ashtray and let it die out naturally. Pointing it down will end its life quickly.

There will be less smell and residue. 


The 21st Century man, that smokes at home and wants to preserve his marriage, and relationship

with his children, must pay careful attention to the devastating effects that cigar smoke has, as well

as the OVERNIGHT smell of a dead cigar remaining in the ASHTRAYS. Saftey and Sanity

require you to be constantly running a BIONAIRE Air purifier in any room you are smoking in,

within your house. These need to be permanently there, lest you forget. I run them all night just

to be sure, and have two of them each in different rooms. Never, Never, leave a dead cigar in the

ashtray overnight. Ashes are OK but Butts, never. They really create a stale stink that damages any

"SMOKING FREEDOMS", granted to you by the QUEEN of the Household.

I know too many violators of these simple "after smoking care" principles, who have been 

BANISHED to Balconys', Porches or other OUTDOOR barren Spaces, especially by the Princesses

of the Castle, who protest about their ability to get their Beauty sleep. 

If you follow these guidelines I can guarantee that you and your cigars shold be tolerated for at least

10 or more years as long as you spend on your wife, as least twice what you spend on your cigar

"HOBBY". Never let her see the Invoice for your favorite high quality box of cigars. That will cause

you to stutter, and try to explain something that no practical person will ever understand. If you repeat

this folly, guilt will overtake you and cost you a fortune. 

2.2b How to light a Cigar
[editor's thanks to (Steve Saka)]

Is there an etiquette for lighting a cigar?

This is as delicate as that wrapper color question! Everyone seems to have their own opinion on this, 

so what I am going to do is pass on is IMHO only! I light my cigars this way is that it provides me

an even burn from the start, prevents any bitter taste during the lighting process, and also because

I do enjoy the quiet ceremony of being so deliberate.

1. If you use a match, wait till the sulphur burns off before using it to light you cigar.  Also if you can

find those fancy long cedar matches all the better.

2. If you use a lighter, use a butane one.  The gasoline based ones impart a foul flavor to your smoke.

Of course this statement irritates the hell out of the Zippo manufacturer, so in rebuttal they actually

published a rather nice little book that explains that if you allow the flame to burn for a few seconds

all of the disturbing odor will dissapate. Try and see for yourself is my advice.  Personally I use

a butane lighter.  I have no experience with the new fancy flameless lighters, so to put it simply: ask

someone else.

3. Some people claim that the only proper implement for lighting up is a cedar spill.  A cedar spill

is a long thin strip of spanish cedar which is lit first and then used in turn to light your cigar.  You will

typically see these in use at fancy cigar dinners, rather elegant way to light your stogie, but not all that

 practical in the car...

4. Here is where it gets messy, "how to actually light it" has been the key stumbling block to peace

in many a nation.  I have heard so many different methods, with such subtle differences it is perplexing.

So what I am going to share, is how -I- light my cigars.  Here we go: 

I preheat the foot (the open end) by slowly rolling the cigar above the flame at an angle allowing a tiny

black ring forms all the way around the wrapper. I don't allow the flame to touch the cigar.

Then I place the cigar in my mouth, and draw in as I repeat the process, slowly rolling the cigar at an

angle above the flame, but never letting the lighter flame actually touch the cigar. I guess about a 1/2

inch or so away.  What appears to happen is the flame seems to leap from lighter up onto the foot

of the cigar, even though my stogie never comes in direct contact with the lighter's flame.  Remember

to slowly spin the cigar to establish an even burn.

Once I think I have it lit, I pull it from my mouth and actually look at the glowing foot to see if I did

my job properly.  Now if the burn is really uneven, I will reapeat the previous step on the appropriate

side to even the burn.  If it is just a bit uneven (which in my case it typically is) I gently blow on the

end in the appropriate place to intensify the heat there, and will then take a couple steady draws,

but will then just wait a minute before continuing to puff.  This short delay seems to allow the cigar

a chance to stabilize and self correct the burn. 

Then I sit back and relax and smoke to my heart's content! 

5. If I am outside, and it is windy, and shelter is not accessible, I then throw decorum out the window,

and I flame-torch the end, and put up with the initial bitterness to ensure a fast even light.  Hey you,

yeah you, the cigar snob, stop that groaning! ;}

6. If my smoke happens to go out, I just knock off the ash, gently blow through the cigar to clear out

the old smoke, then I jump right to the drawing while rolling part of my light up sequence.

2.3 Smoke Rings
The biggest factor in blowing good smoke rings is practice. With that in mind, Try this technique. 

First, you need a cigar with _dense_ smoke, and a place with still air. Don't waste your time trying

to blow smoke rings in a breeze!   Draw a thick puff of smoke into your mouth. Hold it there and

open your mouth slowly. Make an "O" with your mouth, (maybe more of a rounded "oh")  definitely

not a pucker like a kiss. Curl the tip of your tongue down, and pull your tongue all the way back. 

Now, when blowing a ring, you're actually not exhaling. You're just pushing out the smoke in your

mouth with your tongue in short bursts  like a piston, only in a relaxed way. It's actually a really gentle

motion.  Push forward with your tongue, with perhaps a slight recoil at the bottom. 

Keep at it - it's like riding a bicycle... Once you "get it" you'll wonder what the problem was! 

2.4 Cigar Styles and Sizes

2.4a Sigar Shapes and Styles

All cigars can be divided into two broad categories by their shape. Parejos, which have straight sides

and Figurados, which include all "irregular" shapes. 

Parejos include 3 basic divisions, by the relative proportion of their dimensions. There's Coronas

(a broad category including Coronas, Dbl.  Coronas, Presidentes, Robustos, and Churchills).

All Coronas are characterized by an open "foot" and a rounded "head". Next are the Panatelas.

Longer than coronas, these are generally considerably thinner. The third division is Lonsdales

thicker than Panatelas, but generally longer than Coronas.

(confused yet? - good!)

Figuardos, or "irregular" shaped Cigars are a little better defined. The smallest is the Belicoso

a small tapered cigar with a rounded head (not pointed) and a larger foot. Next are the Pyramids,

tapering from a large foot to a small head. A "true" pyramid always has a pointed head. Although

many smokers call a large pyramid a torpedo, a "true" torpedo has a large foot, smaller, pointed

head, and a slight bulge in the middle. The Perfecto is tapered on _both_ ends to a smaller size

than it's straight middle section  a classic "cigar shape". Finally, there's the Diademas, the giant

of cigars. These are 8 inches or greater. (hmmmm - does that make the Aliados General a


Cigar size names did originally specify the exact physical size and shape of cigars. After a dozen

decades of manufacturers "individualizing" their cigars, these original standards are long gone.

As far as I know, only Cuban manufacturer's have stayed with these original standard sizes.

Whether Upman, Partagas, or Cohiba produces it, a Habana Corona is still Corona sized.... 

Here's a table of standard sizes, courtesy of Jim Denton at 

Cigar Sizes

     * BELICOSO (6.5" x 52) 

     * CHURCHILL (7" x 47) 

     * CORONA (5.5" x 42) 

     * CORONA GORDA (6"-6.5" x 52) 

     * CORONA GRANDE (6"-6.5" x 46-50) 

     * CORONA LARGA (6.5" x 46-50) 

     * CORONA MAJOR (6" x 44-46) 

     * DEMITASSE (3.5"-5.25" x 26-50) 

     * DOUBLE CORONA (7.5"-8.5" x 49-52) 

     * GIGANTE (7"-7.5" x 54-60) 

     * LONG PANATELA (6.75"-7.75" x 30-38) 

     * LONSDALE (6.5" x 42) 

     * LONSDALE GRANDE (6.5"-7" x 44) 

     * PANATELA (5"-6.5" x 28-38) 

     * PARODI (3.5" x 36) 

     * PERFECTO (Tapered Head and Foot) 

     * PETIT CORONA (5" x 40-42) 

     * PRESIDENTE (7.5"-8" x 52) 

     * PYRAMID (6" Tapered Head to Oversize Foot) 

     * ROBUSTO (6" x 48-50) 

     * ROBUSTO GRANDE (6.5" x 48-50) 

     * ROTHSCHILD (4.5"-5.5" x 48-50) 

     * THIN PANATELA (5"-6.5" x 24-26) 

     * TOSCANI (7" x 36) 


The first dimension is the length of the cigar in inches. The second  is the ring gauge

of the cigar or the diameter of the cigar measured    in 64ths of an inch. So a Churchill

is about 7 inches long and 3/4 of    an inch in diameter. 

2.4b Does Size make a difference?
From: Steven T. Saka (

In the cigar world SIZE MATTERS! Even though cigars within the same line are typically

based on the same recipe the actual blend ends up slightly different from size to size.

For example in larger size cigars there is more room for more leaves than its smaller

brother, and in turn the blend ends up with a little "more of this leaf, and a bit more

of that leaf".  The result is undeniable, larger ring gauge cigars tend to be more complex

in flavor due to the extra space with which the buncher had to work with. 

Also factories tend to put their best tobacco in their larger size cigars and use their best rollers

to make them. Since these cigars burn cooler and allow for the best blending it is typically

the larger sizes that are considered their "benchmark cigars" - their best. Think about all of the

cigars that are considered truly great - Cuban Hoyo DC, RyJ Churchill, Monte #2, LGC

Torpedo & Churchill, Davidoff Double R, and so on. It is easy to think of great large cigars,

but try to name Corona sized cigars that can go toe-to-toe with a Monte #2...not easy. 

Also keep in mind that larger ring gauge cigars generally smoke much cooler and reduce

bitter flavors. In addition to ring gauge the overall length effects a cigars taste also.

Longer cigars lend themselves to experiencing more flavor changes throught their

length again adding complexity to the smoke. 

2.5 Construction - The Parts of a Cigar


The wrapper is the outside layer of tobacco on a cigar. It gives a cigar one of its primary

flavor components. Wrappers are usually very high quality leaves, and are available in

colors ranging from double claro, the lightest to Oscuro, the darkest. Wrappers are very

important to the taste of a fine cigar, and described in detail in another section of the FAQ. 


Binder leaves are the intermediate leaf used to hold the bunch of filler tobacco together.

These vary considerably from one manufacturer to the next. 


Filler is the bunch of tobacco found at the center of the cigar. Generally the filler is responsible

for determining how strong a cigar will smoke. There are two types of filler: long filler,

which contains the whole leaf running from the head to the foot of the cigar, and short filler,

comprised of scraps of tobacco (often the trimmed ends of long fillers). 

The blending of wrappers, fillers and binders determines the overall flavor of a cigar. There is

an art to blending tobaccos and as you smoke different cigars, you will notice how the various

tobaccos interplay with one another. 

Are there any differences between the blends of different size cigars 

in the same line?

Manufacturers often use the same types of tobacco in different sizes, producing different tastes.

Often the consumer will perceive this as the same "blend". There is a difference however  it's

in the proportions of each type of leaf used. An experienced roller may use different proportions

of the tobaccos in different sizes to allow for that size differences. In a smaller ring cigar, the

binder and wrapper have a greater influence on the taste, for instance. The blender will allow

for this difference by re-proportioning the filler blend. It's just one of those details that requires

years of training among master rollers. (and of course, one of the reasons smokers will prefer

the taste of one size over another of the same blend....

What is ring gauge and how is it measured?

Ring size is the cigar's diameter, measured in 64ths of an inch. Thus a 32 ring cigar will measure

1/2 inch in diameter. Although many catalogs list ring sizes, they may deviate from each by a

couple of points on specific cigars.

2.6 Wrapper Types

DOUBLE CLARO (also called Candela or American Market Select) green to greenish brown.

The color is achieved by picking the leaf before it reaches maturity, and then drying it rapidly.

Very mild, almost bland with very little oil.

CLARO - light tan. Usually this is the color of shade grown tobacco. Connecticut Shade

wrappers are said to be some of the finest in the world.  Shade grown tobacco is grown unde

large canopies to protect the tobacco from harsh sunlight. Neutral flavor and smooth smoking.

NATURAL - (also called English Market Select) light brown to brown. These are most often

sun grown, meaning they are not protected by canopies like shade grown leaves. Fuller bodied

flavor than shade grown leaves, but still very smooth. 

COLORADO CLARO - mid-brown, tawny. (For example, brands such as Dominican

Partagas or Fuentes, using Camaroon wrappers.)

COLORADO - reddish dark brown, aromatic. A cigar with this wrapper tastes robust and rich. 

COLORADO MADURO - dark brown, medium strength, slightly more aromatic the maduro.

 Usually gives a rich flavor, as found in many of the best Honduran cigars. 

MADURO - dark brown to very dark brown. These usually have more texture and veining than

the lighter wrappers. They are often described as oily looking, with stronger taste sweet to some

palates with a unique aroma. 

OSCURO - very dark brown or almost black. They are the strongest tasting of all wrappers.

These wrappers tend to be from Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, or Connecticut Broadleaf. 

The term EMS or English Market Selection is a broad one, which refers to brown cigars anything

other double claro, (EMS) essentially. 

The darker the color, the sweeter and stronger the flavor is likely to be, and the greater the oil

and sugar content of the wrapper.  Darker wrappers will normally have spent longer on the tobacco

plant. or come from higher altitudes: the extra exposure to sunlight produces both oil (as protection)

and sugar (through photosynthesis). They will also have been fermented for longer. 

2.7 Body, strength, flavor, and blends

From: (Jerry Bezdikian)

All too often, smokers confuse, or blur together, the concept of body, strength and flavor in a cigar.

You had posited smoke volume as a possible component - interestingly enough, smoke volume does

indeed relate to these factors as well - more on that in a moment. 

Most smokers define a cigar's character to two primary components:

* BODY (or 'strength', and even 'intensity'), and

* FLAVOR (the 'taste' that characterizes a particular cigar)

A full bodied cigar would be perceived as 'strong', but not necessarily as

'flavorful' - naturally, the converse is also true. Incidentally, many

veteran smokers favor cigars characterized by both full body, and full


As an illustration...

Many inexperienced smokers mistakenly assume that all Cuban cigars are 'full bodied' - in fact,

a large number of the great Cuban cigars are prized for their 'delicate' (what some might regard

as medium or even light) body. A classic case in point are the larger Cuban Hoyos (and many

of the Cuban Montecristos) which are characterized by their unrivaled complexity of 'taste'

(full flavor), and relatively mild (as compared to other Cuban cigars) body. Likewise, there are

a few Cuban cigars that are found be to quite strong (full bodied), but not very flavorful (some

of the Sancho Panza, and El Rey Del Mundo come to mind). 

While it is true that a smoker will select a type of cigar on the basis of body (full, medium or light)

many assume (wrongly) that all smokers desire cigars that are full flavored. Just as some individuals

are put off by 'full flavored' cuisine (Szechuan, or Cajun for example) some smokers desire cigars

that are more 'gently' flavored (the Macanudos are a prime example). 

As you can clearly see, we're obviously not talking science here. In a discussion of cigar body

and flavor, of paramount consideration is experience, and a frame of reference. As one embarks

on a lifelong relationship with cigars, a DR Cohiba might be perceived as a wonderfully robust smoke

however, after a year or two of smoking, that same cigar will cause the smoker to wonder if the

manufacturer altered the blend of this 'once' great smoke. It's all a matter of ...taste. 

2.7a Descriptive terms...

It's amazing what terms some people will use to describe the flavors and subtle nuances of their

favorite cigar! Paul B Harris {pbh@U.Arizona.EDU} has put the following list of discriptors together

all actually used in a popular cigar magazine!


---------------- General Descriptors ----------------

bitter             dry                 full-bodied

green              harsh               medium-bodied

mild               rich                sharp       

smooth             sour                sweet     

tangy              tart                


---------------- From The Spice Rack ----------------




pepper (peppery)

     black pepper

     hot pepper

     white pepper


spice (spicy)

     aged spice

     dried spice

     sweet spice


---------------- What's For Dessert? ----------------

burnt sugar





     burnt chocolate     

     dark chocolate



          cocoa bean


     dried fruit

     ripe fruit

     citrus (citrusy)

          burnt citrus

          dried citrus

          dried orange peel



nut (nutty)

     roasted nut




toast (toasty)


-------------- Complimentary Beverages --------------


     dark coffee

     roasted coffee

     dark roasted coffee

     roasted coffee-bean

cream (creamy)



------------------ Back to Nature -------------------

earth (earthy)

flint (flinty)

flowers (floral, flowery)

herbs (herbaceous)

peat (peat-like)

sand (sandy)


     dry straw

vegetation (vegetal)

     grass (grassy) 

     leaf (leafy)

     stems (stemmy)

     weeds (weedy)

wood (woody)

     sweet wood

     dry wood

     cedar (cedary)

          aged cedar

     balsa wood

          dried balsa wood

     paper (papery)

          dry paper


--------------------- No Shit! ----------------------


smoke (smoky)

that's a surprise, a cigar that tastes like tobacco

and smoke ;-)


------------------- Miscellaneous -------------------



leather (leathery)

metal (metallic)

2.8 Tobacco Production

Growing your own?

 I have recently purchased tobacco seeds and planted them. Now I have 

 little plant that I hope will get much bigger. I am looking for any 

 advice on growing conditions

I've been involved in a similar project for the past month or more, and done a fair amount

of research in that area of agriculture in preparation. What variety are you growing, and in

what climate? I've got "crops" of Nicotiana Alta (flowering tobacco), and Nicotiana

Glutinosa (a broadleaf variety) growing here in S. Florida. The flowering seeds were

commercially available (Burpee's seeds, 1-800-888-1447), but I had a heck of a time

getting seeds for a "smokable" (broadleaf) variety. 

Most tobacco plants should be grown them in partial shade for best results. Commercial

shade-grown plants are actually grown in full bright sun, but under "cheesecloth" screens

to diffuse the light. This produces more consistent leaf quality, top to bottom. 

Soil should be rich and drain well. (Ph of about 6.7). Fertilize soon after germination to

encourage root growth, and very frequently as the plant grows. Lower leaves may be picked

to cure when they reach suitable size (Fuente claims 5 X 14" for a good leaf). Curing

(for cigar tobacco) should be done for 6 to 18 months in a relatively controlled, humid

climate (Uh, perhaps your local tobacconist would allow you to hang them from the ceiling

in the back of his walk-in humidor away from the lights?) Use large, paper bags if necessary

to slow drying and keep light out. The trick to curing is to not let the leaves ever dry out. 

Your plants will mature in 12-15 weeks (depending on climate) Nipping off the buds of any

flowers that form will extend the life of the plants and allow multiple harvests from the same plant. 

On Commercial Tobacco Production

The federal government recognizes various "types" of tobacco for regulatory purposes.  One of

these types is burley tobacco, which is primarily grown in Kentucky, Tennessee, and adjoining

states. Burley is the form of tobacco that I grew up with, and have fond memories of. The burley

tobacco season begins in late February, when the soil is prepared for the seed beds, which are

planted in early March.  Because the average temperature in Kentucky in early March is too

cold for the seeds to germinate and grow, the seeds are sown broadcast in large rectangular

beds, which are then covered by a thin protective cloth covering to create a greenhouse effect,

holding the warmth from the sun in, and warming the soil. 

Traditionally the form of cloth used was a very thin gauzelike cotton; today, synthetic types

of cloth which are lighter and stronger than natural cotton are used.  A sheet of this cloth in

the size and shape to cover one tobacco bed is still referred to as a "tobacco cotton," because

of the old tradition. 

After the plants grow to a height of about a foot or foot and a half (when the weather warms up

and as the plants grow, the covering is removed), they are transplanted from the small seedbeds

into the large tobacco fields, or patches.  This process is known as "setting" the tobacco, and

commercial transplanters pulled by tractors used in other regions for transplanting tomato and other

vegetable plants are universally known here as "tobacco setters." 

Burley tobacco is sun grown tobacco as opposed to some of the shade grown cigar leaf tobaccos.

After the plants grow to a height of three to four feet, and leaf out fully, the buds that form at the

top of the plants are removed, so that all of the plant's energies will be focused into the leaves,

rather than into producing blooms and seeds. This is called "topping" the tobacco. 

Most tobacco is air cured; no artificial heat from fires or gas heaters is applied. The leaves of burley

tobacco are air dried for six to eight weeks in the barns some cigar tobaccos are dried and cured 

for up to 10 years! And let me add from personal experience that there is no smell in the world more

heavenly than that of a barn full of tobacco slowly curing. 

Baling tobacco is a new phenomenon; traditionally the leaves were tied together in "hands;" the baling

makes large quantities of tobacco easier to handle and process, but in my opinion tends to reduce

the quality of it, because individual leaves cannot be seen or inspected, and removes much of the

farmers' incentive to grow good quality tobacco. 

The tobacco is sold in large warehouses by auction, though the prices tend to vary little from farmer

to farmer in any particular year.  The only role of the governmental association in the actual sale

of the tobacco [other than regulating the amount which may be sold] is to purchase, with the funds

raised through the membership fees, all tobacco grown by its members within their quotas, which

is not purchased by commercial entities, at a low price. 

2.9 The Law and Cuban cigars...
There are lots of opinions posted on the 'net about the importing, sale, and possession of Cuban

cigars in the US. I can't put these in the FAQ without reasonable assurances that the info is

correct... :-(

Many of these posts are based on urban legends and rumors. The following is quoted directly from

a letter dated June 1, 1995, from the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the

Department of the Treasury to members of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America, Inc.

(Yes, I have a copy of the original letter for verification) This is as definitive as it gets! 

"Only persons returning directly from Cuba after a licensed visit there are permitted to bring Cuban

cigars into the United States, provided the domestic value of such cigars does not exceed 100 U.S.

dollars and the cigars are for that person's personal use and not for resale.  Inasmuch as all other

importations of Cuban cigars are illegal, you must assume that all offers to buy or sell such cigars

in the United States involve cigars that are imported illegally.  Contrary to what many people

believe, it is illegal for travelers to bring into the United States Cuban cigars acquired in third

countries (such as Canada, England, or Mexico)." 

"It is illegal for U.S. persons to buy, sell, trade, give away, or otherwise engage in (or offer to

engage in) transactions involving illegally-imported Cuban cigars. The penalties for doing so

include, in addition to confiscation of the cigars, civil fines of up to $50,000 per violation and,

in appropriate cases, criminal prosecution which may result in imprisonment." 

"We recognise that the prohibitions that apply to Cuban cigars may deprive many consumers

of a sought-after product. However, these prohibitions apply to all goods of Cuban origin and

 are an important element of the comprehensive program of economic sanctions against the

Cuban government which have been in place since 1963.These sanctions have had the full

support of the past seven Administrations and were further tightened by President Clinton

in August 1994." 

Pretty strong stuff, and pretty clearly worded. :-(

My personal interpretation of this (IANAL) is that it is only legal to possess Cuban cigars

if they were obtained through legal channels (brought back for personal consumption from

a licensed visit to Cuba seems to be the only way), and then you're only allowed $100

domestic value (luckily, without a market scale, Cuban's are considered to be valued at

$1 each, regardless of purchase price). The second paragraph makes it painfully clear  that

just because you made it through customs, the very posession of those "special stogies"

is against the law unless they were imported legally. :-(



3.1 Health FAQ

This document is an accumulation of scientific reports and papers regarding the health affects

of cigar smoking. It was compiled by Marc J. Schneiderman, M.D., a.k.a.

I consider this to be the definitive word on the subject, a result of some very detailed research,

hence the title Cigar/Health FAQ. Although I was tempted to include this wonderful collection

of medical reports, it stands too well as a seperate FAQ. I urge all serious cigar smokers to read

it through, and draw their own conclusions on the health affects of our chosen hobby. 

The Cigar/Health FAQ is available on the Web at:

or by anonymous FTP at: in the directory /pub/users/curtisb.

     and also in the directory /pub/users/bc

    (the Cigar / Health FAQ file is called cigarhealth.faq) 

The following summary was posted by that FAQ's author,

(CigarBaron), Paraphrasing Wynder and Mabuchi, 1972

(1) Heavy cigar and pipe smoking is associated with the development of

lung cancer. 

(2) Cigar and pipe smokers have a lower risk of lung cancer than the cigarette smoker.

We believe this finding to relate to differences in inhalation practices and to the age at

which smoking began. 

(3) The lower risk of lung cancer for Jewish males does not apply for cigar and pipe

smoking, indicating the lower overall risk of lung cancer for Jewish males to relate to

the lesser usage of cigarettes rather than to constitutional factors.

(4) The age of male lung cancer patients who have smoked only cigars and pipes is

older than for cigarette smokers, possibly reflecting an older age at the start of smoking

and longer life expectancy of cigar and pipe smokers as compared to cigarette smokers,

or a lesser deposition of tobacco smoke in the respiratory tract of cigar and pipe smokers

due to the fact that they are predominantly non-inhalers.  It is also possible that this reflects

the secular changes in smoking habits that has taken place in the general population. 

(5) While light cigars (one to two a day) or pipe smoking (one to four a day) does not appear

to be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, heavier cigar and pipe smokers need

to realize that their risk for lung cancer as well as for other types of cancer and diseases is quite


Essentially all major articles had some procedural flaw.  The conclusions however all reflect

the above two statements, and continually be reconfirmed.  My personal feeling is that 2-3 cigars

 per day, not inhaled, pose no significant health threat. 

There are no studies which implicate "light" cigar smoke with an increased health risk.  However,

cigars certainly are implicated in lung and other forms of cancer, and once you smoke 5+ a day,

the risks become substantial.  We cannot consider cigars benign. 

3.3 Air Cleaners

(Ouch! this section is still under construction!)

3.4 Insurance

The following is a list of Insurance companies, both good and bad, and their attitude toward

cigar smokers... No specific effort has been made to verify this information. 


Aetna Life                      Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

American General                Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Equitable Life Assurance        Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Farmer's                        Hostile         (asc reader)

First Colony Life               Friendly        (asc reader)

Great West Life (Canada)        Friendly        (asc reader)

Guardian Life                   Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995) 

Illinois Mutual                 Friendly        (asc reader)

Manufacturers Life of Canada    Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Massachusetts Mutual            Friendly        (asc reader)

Metropolitan Life               Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Mutual Life of New York         Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Northwestern Mutual Life        Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Ohio Life Insurance Co.         Friendly        (asc reader)

Phoenix Home Life               Friendly        (asc reader)

Principal Mutual Life           Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

Prudential                      Friendly        (Cigar Aficionado, 1995)

State Farm                      Hostile         (Various)

Savings Bank Life Insurance     Hostile         (asc reader)

US Life Insurance               Hostile         (company representative)



4.1 Aging Cigars
From: (Jerry Bezdikian)

A cigar is constructed from tobacco leaves. While it is true comparatively speaking, that certain

types of tobacco will 'age better' than others, the fact remains that all tobacco, by nature, is living

matter and as such, will steadily alter over a period of time. Veteran smokers will for example

select specific Habanas for long-term aging due to decades long experience with that particular

blend; it is a simple fact certain blends of tobacco yield greater results from aging than others.

Some cigars, it has been found, will mature over a period of time, then cease to offer any added

advantage with increased aging. In those cases, it's not as if the cigars stop aging (remember,

the compositional evolution is on-going), it's only that with certain cigars, no greater enhancement

will be realized after a period of time. Yet, other blends continually improve with greater, and

greater maturation. 

Key in this argument is the issue of 'proper' maintenance. Even with cigars that are known to

'age well', with long term storage (5, 10, 20 or more years), proper maintenance (humidity/temperature)

is extremely critical. It's one thing to practice haphazard storage with a box of cigars that are to be

consumed within a month or so after purchase it's an entirely different issue when one is considering

the storage of cigars for even six months let alone 6 years. 

We should not confuse long term aging of cigars with short term maturation. These days, more often

than not, cigars are brought to market in a 'green' state; to derive any measure of enjoyment from a 'fresh'

cigar, requires a bare minimum of 3 to 4 weeks just to marry the tobaccos, smooth off the roughness

in taste, and bring the cigars up to par. On the other hand, long term aging is a process that will mature

a cigar to a highly refined state, that greatly alters a cigars character. In Europe (particularly in England),

the aging (or laying down) of cigars is a time honored practice, that is just beginning to find popularity

in North America. 

How long will it take to properly age my cigars?

3 weeks will stabilize the mechanical tensions and moisture of a cigar, making it smoke better. 3 months

will allow the oils to begin to migrate and flavors of the blend to marry. 2-3 years (in a suitable environment)

will allow some of the more complex chemical processes of true aging to take place, and create subtile

flavor changes... 

and are there any special incidentals I need to know?

The tobacco in most premium cigars is aged for 18 months to 2 years before rolling. In high-end premiums

it's often 3 years, and some special blends use tobacco up to 15 years old! Regardless, many

manufacturers will roll cigars from this aged tobacco, and then hold them (now rolled) for another

1-2 years before shipping. It's unfortunate that so many of the new "boutique" cigars becoming popular

are in such demand that their manufacturers are shipping them directly off the roller's tables, without

this necessary "post-rolling" aging. This leaves it to either the distributers or the end smokers to hold

these "green" cigars until they stabilize, marry, or age whatever your pleasure.

Should I remove the cello wrapper for proper aging?

A good cigar will certainly age in the wrapper, just as a good wine will age in the bottle. Aging cigars,

as wine involves very complex chemical processes. Oxidation, slow chemical changes, blending

of essential oils are all involved. If you age a number of similar cigars, then removing the wrappers

will allow different cigars to "marry", resulting in more consistence from one to another, but will not

make the individual cigars any better or worse. 

When aging cigars in your "daily" humidor, you're better off leaving them in their wrappers for another

reason. Frequent opening and closing (exchanging the air) will result in faster evaporation/dissipation

of the essential oils which give a good cigar it's taste. 

Many people keep a broad assortment of cigars in their humidors. With an assortment of different

types, you are best off leaving the wrappers on. You don't want the spiciness from those Jamaicans

mixing with the muskiness of the Hondurans. The Dominicans are mild You don't want them to acquire

any "power" from those Cubans! 

Keeping the cello on also slows down the transfer of humidity. Your stored cigars remain stable even

with opening and closing the humidor frequently.  You'll notice that the end of the cello is never sealed,

it's just folded over. This allows the ambient humidity to slowly infiltrate the cigar. It also protects them

from transfering problem like mold or bugs {shudder}. 

Now, if you're only keeping one or two similar brands in your humidor, you might consider unwrapping

them just so the flavors "marry". This will produce better consistency from cigar to cigar. 

What's this about cigar's flavors "marrying"???

The phenomenon called "marrying" is a common, and well-known fact of tobacco production. It's what

makes LGC's taste "green" until the 3 tobacco's in the blend mix sufficiently. Some of this transfer is

by smell (airborne ethers), but much of it is caused by direct contact transfers of "essential oils" in the

cigar's tobacco. These oils migrate through the cigar and can be transferred readily. 

Marrying can be good or bad. If your humidor is full of the same (or very similar) types of smokes,

it will guaranty a consistent smoke. If you inter-mix mild or spicy blends with strong or earthy blends,

the mixing is quite noticeable. This is why you should consider leaving the cello on when mixing a broad

range of cigars in one humidor (or removing it if they're all the same). Some smokers go one step further,

and leave their Cuban's in a completely different box from their others.... ;-)

But will these "essential oils" travel through the cigar's wrapper?

The wrapper is just another leaf. Vapors and oils migrate through this layer as quickly as they travel

from any adjacent leaves (such as the 3 tobaccos in a LGC's blend). Wanna see how well it protects

'em? Put a drop of water on the wrapper  after a minute, it'll soak right in to your stogie! The essential

oils which give a cigar it's taste travel just this readily from layer to layer, cigar to cigar. Just as the

humidity will stabilize in a closed box, the essential oils of the cigars will eventually migrate and stabilize. 

4.2 Humidors

Why use a humidor? 

The purpose of a humidor is to keep your cigars at their peak "smokability".  The most crucial

characteristic of a fine humidor is that it can provide a constant environment of about 68' to 70' F

and 70-72% humidity. It doesn't really need to be fancy, but it _does_ need to be functional.

What do I look for in buying a humidor?

Starting from the inside of the box, look for details liked perfectly squared and fitted seams.

Gaps provide an exit for moisture. Spanish cedar is the best wood for the interior of a humidor

(see section on woods below) and it should be unfinished. There should be an "inner lip"

protruding from the top of the side above in to the lid to help prevent the exchange of moisture. 

The lid should close sufficiently tight, and be a uniform fit (no sign of warping). The humidification

device should be capable of maintaining a constant level of humidity within the box with as little

maintenance as possible. 

What temperature is best for storage?

70 degrees. - although cooler storage temperatures are definitely not a problem for cigars

(as long as you maintain a reasonable relative humidity). 

Why do we attempt to keep them at 70 deg. then? The key is in the subtle difference between

stable storage and true aging. Your cigars will not age, mature, mellow, or develop the complex

character of well cured smokes at lower temperatures. The blended tobaccos will not "marry",

and if you're keeping them for a long time you won't get the subtle changes in flavor. 

There have been several long threads in a.s.c. on the need to age La Gloria Cubanas, for

example. These will stay "green" much longer if aged at cooler temperatures. 

At higher temperatures, there are several insects to worry about. The microscopic eggs of the

dreaded tobacco beetle, for instance, hatch at temperatures above 80 degrees. 

Must cigars be stored horizontally?

Cigars are stored horizontally because in a completely still environment moist air is very slow to mix

with drier air. It obviously does stabilize eventually, but with a humidor's frequent openings

and closings, this "layering effect" may make your stogies burn irregularly. You can minimize the

effect by storing cigars horizontally (and not opening your box too often). I'd recommend a tupperdor

 over a jar for this reason. 

Sliding cigars in and out of a cigar jar can often damage the ends of their delicate wrappers it's best

to subject your cigars to as little handling as possible. A shoebox size tupperdor hardly costs more

than a single good cigar, and you'll be able to store more cigars (and longer ones). Picture an 8" tall

jar (big enough for larger 7 1/2" sizes) with a few 4 1/2" robustos mixed in. You'll have to dump

them all out to get at the shorter ones! 

4.3 Building Wood Humidors
Building your own? Check out the detailed plans for a professional quality box published by Popular

Mechanics! They're available on the web at: "" 

Building your own wood humidor

(contributed by Bob Lesnick {})

First you have to ask yourself the question: "Do I really want to build one"?. Do I have the tools,

the time, the ability, the patience?  If you answered NO to two or more...forget it.  Spend 800.00

and enjoy it.  But if you really want to do it start by laying out the size and design. Go to 

tobacco stores and examine the ones they have for sale.  Cut out pictures from magazines.

Lay it out with your cigars in mind.  I mainly smoke Mac's Prince Phillip Maduros 49 x 7 1/2

so the main compartment holds fifty of them. A side compartment holds about 10 - 15 Robustos

and the tray that covers the smaller compartment holds about 45 Mac Duke of Devon Maduros

(coronas).  These are the three primary cigars I smoke so I designed my humidor with this in mind. 

By now you should have taken measurements from the ones you examined at the tobacco stores

and have a basic drawing of what you want to do.  Next question is what kind of woods do I

want to make the case out of. Remember that the humidor must be lined with Spanish Red

Cedar about 3/8ths of an inch.  There are some nice domestic woods like walnut and cherry

that are good to work with.  Exotics such as Padauk, Mahogonys, Babinga, Cocobolo,

Rosewoods and others which have a beutiful grain and richness to them.  They are a little bit

more expensive but considering that you are going to spend quite a number of hours building

the humidor you might as well make it nice.  Try to buy the widest boards you can find so you

don't have to get involved with jointing boards.  Ask for or pick boards which are not warped

and with a minimum of defects.  Obviously you want boards with a nice grain.  If you are fortunate

enough to be able to visit the yard in person, look over the boards very carfully to make sure

they are straight.  Bring you measurements with you so you can make 'mental' cuts in choosing

boards with the best grain. (Does that make sense??) You usually have to buy boards 13/16ths

thick and 8-14 feet long.

The best place to seek out sources for woods and hardware is the American Woodworker or Fine

Woodworking magazine.  They have dozens of companies advertising for your business and most

of them offer free catalogs.  Send for them all. 

Tools:  A good workbench is a must. You should have a router, and preferably a router table.

You need this for cutting a mortise for the lock, hinges and lid stop(s).  Also if you want to inlay.

And if you want to put a nice edge on the top.  And probably for alot of other things I can't think

of right now. 

Either a Table Saw or Radial Arm Saw for ripping and making fine cuts.  I have a Craftsman Radial

which also has attachments for a drill bit, 11" sanding disk, sanding drum and planer.  It came in very

handy in making my humidor. 

Band Saw or Sabre Saw, hand drill or drill press, belt sander (Optional) and a finishing sander plus

a host of hand tools and accessories such as chisels, drill bits, router bits, saw blade


First you want to take the lumber and cut it down to workable pieces.  If you have purchased 8'

or longer boards, measure out the top and bottom of the humidor, add two inches and rip the board. 

Next you have to make sure that the board is square.  Use a table saw to cut a thin slice of each long

side of the board.  If you are using a circular saw, clamp a fence onto it to cut a straight line.  Cut the

ends straight and check the whole thing with a square.  Make sure the boards are not warped or

bowed.  If they are then you will have to plane them a little. 

Once the board is square and flat, cut it in half.  Prepare a board of Spanish Red Cedar in the same

manner as described above.  Glue the two pieces of cedar to the lumber.  Make sure you glue it

crossgrained and clamp it well.  You can also drive your car up on it. 

Once dried you can cut both pieces to size and plane them down to proper thickness.  I used a half

inch piece of lumber to a 3/8th inch piece of cedar. 


Next prepare the four sides as described above and cut to size. 


You can now do some sanding with 150 paper to smooth out the surfaces. Use some finer paper

on the cedar because you will be gluing the unit soon and its easier to sand the inside now. 

Choose what kind of joint you are going to use.  You do not want the joint to show so consider

some type of miter joint.  I used a reversible combination rail and stile bit but also considered

a lock miter joint.  A good selection of bits can be had by contacting MLCS at 800 533 9298 for a


Rout your joints and dry assemble the unit and check to make sure it is square.  Once you are satisfied,

glue the top, bottom and four sides together and clamp well with LOTS OF CLAMPS.  If you consider

doing any inlay, now is the time.  Just rout out a little channel and glue in the inlay.  When dry, do some

fine sanding at this point of the entire unit. 

When the unit has dried overnight, measure off the top and neatly cut it off of the box.  Measure off

and rabbet down the inside of the top edge to leave a lip on the inside.  Rout out a recess in the bottom

to recieve the lip.  (Look at any commercial humidor to see what I mean)

Make any dividers and trays out of 1/8th or 3/16ths cedar.  If you want to make movable dividers,

glue some chamois or felt to the ends of the dividers so they fit snug in the humidor. 

Cut the mortise for the hinges, lock and lid stop.  Mount all the hardware. Do the final sanding in stages

up to 400 or 600 grit.  Install the chest handles. 

I used about six to eight coats of Semi Gloss Tung Oil Finish using 0000 steel wool between coats.

By the way, do not finish inside the humidor, use the finish of your choice on the outside only. 

I finished the humidor by applying several coats of a beeswax based furniture polish.  It should finish

like glass!  I installed some peel and stick felt to the bottom of the humidor to protect the furniture

Wipe own the inside with distilled water and install your Credo or other humidity unit and hygrometer.

Let sit for a day while you check the humidity periodically.  Once satisfied fill with your cigars.  Board feet

is actually a calculation of volume.  Multiply the nominal thickness times the nominal width times the actual

length in feet.  This is then divided by 12.  For example a one foot long 1 x 12 and a two foot long 1 x 6

would both be sold as one board foot. 

Wood Considerations
(contributed by Viktor Nehring (

Is Closet lining the same as Spanish Cedar?

The a.s.c resident expert on this topic seems to be humidor maker Daniel Morris DeRight.  He responded

to queries on a.s.c as well as on rec.woodworking. 

"Spanish Cedar and American Aromatic Red Cedar have little in common except their appearance. 

Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata) is a very mild wood with good absorption characteristics and is used

to line humidors. Aromatic cedar (juniperus virginiana) is a pungent wood with varying absorption rates

and is quite brittle, though workable if carefully treated. 

"Spanish cedar also has little connection to Spain.  Spanish cedar is grown in over a dozen countries

world wide, much as English walnut is grown primarily in France and Turkey.  Cuban, Brazilian,

Topical American and others are all names for Spanish cedar. 

"Honduran mahogany is similar to cedar in appearance and absorption, but by no means the same wood.

It is used for the better cigar boxes, but most boxes are made of luann and the like." 

Steve Yankovich has been a woodworker for 10+ yr.  "...there is no question that Spanish cedar

and aromatic cedar used for chests and closet are not the same. Spanish cedar doesn't have the same

strong odor of the aromatic varieties.  Also Spanish cedar is not your only choice for the lining, shelves,

trays, etc... for your humidor.  Many older, and many very fine and expensive humidors use Honduran 

Mahogany for this purpose (of course unfinished).  It is not imperative to use the Spanish cedar for

proper aging...2 of the 3 humidors I have have mahogany interiors and work great."
OK.... Where do I buy Spanish cedar?

Again, from humidor maker Daniel Morris DeRight "Most lumber yards do carry Spanish cedar,

they just don't advertise it because they already have buyers.  If you are building your own humidor,

your best bet is to try and buy some from a local cabinetmaker.  Better still, let them cut and plane it

close to size, as cedar dust is rumored to be carcinogenic! I can't vouch for that, but I will tell you

that the one time I planed cedar without my respirator on, I was coughing for several days." 

From the home built humidor man Chavete, "Hardwood or exotic wood suppliers should have Spanish

cedar.  If not, old cigar boxes will work just fine.  I get mine locally in New Orleans, but some folks

don't seem to have access to it.  It's nice to have, but not a "must" when building a humidor.  Some very

expensive humidors have none at all.  It probably enhances the flavor of cigars, but one fellow I know

that owns a cigar shop doesn't like cigars overpowered with cedar flavorings." 

I ended up breaking up some cigar boxes I had on hand.  I had more than enough for the bottom and

sides, but the top will have to wait.  WEAR YOUR RESPIRATOR when cutting this stuff:  the dust

gave me an instant headache. My Arturo Fuente Hemmingway box will make a perfect tray for the interior. 

I put on two coats of polyurethane.  In between coats, I put on some old cigars bands that I had been

saving for..... well, no reason, I had just been saving them OK?  And my saving paid off.  I put them in

between the two coats of polyurethane.  Some soaked up the juice and became soggy, some didn't want

to stick, some soaked up only a little juice, leaving about 1/2 the band a different color.  Humidor-wise,

another coat should of poly-u should about do it I think.  Any help on doing the cigar band thing would

be appreciated. 

Cigar boxes, are any made of Spanish cedar?  

Yes, many are, and many home-builders use broken-up boxes as a source for Spanish cedar. I've used

the thin divider pieces that come in many Fuente boxes to line several humidors. It's very thin, so makes

a good laminate. 

[note: Take care when cutting or sanding Spanish Cedar.  The dust is quite toxic when inhaled and can

cause irritating respiratory ailments.]

4.3a Commercial sources of Spanish Cedar

Maurice Condon Co, Inc

250 Ferris Ave.

White Plains, NY

(914) 946-4111. 

Gilmer Wood Co.

2211 N.W. Saint Helens Road

Portland, Oregon  97210

(503) 274-1271


Larkspur, CA

(415) 461-1180

Eisenbrand, Inc

4100 Spencer St.

Torrance, CA 90503

(800) 258-2587

4.4 Finishes

4.4a Sealing the interior
Contributed by Daniel Morris DeRight:

Well, I'm not much of a fan of water based poly's, but finishing the inside of the humidor

before putting in the cedar is a good idea in most respects.  Not only will it help to prevent

swelling in the wood, but it will help to maintain the moisture balance inside. One caveat

with poly's, though the water based ones are better in this regard, is smell. Be very sure you

allow the inside of your humidor to cure completely with the lid open or off.  If the poly doesn't

cure fully, and you start using it, all those fumes will be trapped inside and absorbed by your smokes!

Personally, I prefer to use a sealer coat, or as wood workers call it, a spit coat.  Mine is made

from 1 part 3lb cut super blonde shellac, mixed with 3 parts denatured alcohol.  You can brush

on a coat of this and it will dry in less than an hour, due to the high alcohol content.  I put 4-6

coats of this on the inside of my humidors, before the cedar is installed. You can apply a fresh coat

once an hour, and therefore finish the interior in an afternoon.  You might want to scuff sand 

(ie very, very lightly) with some 600grit paper in between coats to knock off any raised grain.

4.4b Oil Finishing 

From: Paul B Harris (pbh@U.Arizona.EDU)

Keep in mind, there are numerous ways to finish humidors -- I chose a natural oil finish because

I like the way it brings out the rich colors and patterns of the wood without adding any colors of its own.

I chose Danish Oil because I was told by a friend that it was one of the easiest to use for a beginner

like myself. I am extremely happy with both choices. 

Supply List...

    1) sanding block

    2) 1-2 sheets 150 grit sandpaper (not necessary if box is

       already well sanded when you receive it)

    3) 1-2 sheets 220 grit sandpaper

    4) 1-2 sheets 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper

    5) 1-2 sheets 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper 

    6) 1-2 sheets 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper

    7) dust brush and tack-cloth (a sticky cloth for picking up

       dust that is available at most hardware stores)

    8) "Watco" Danish Oil Finish (Natural)

    9) soft cotton cloths (i.e., cheese cloth, old dish towels,

       etc.).  I used cut-up cloth diapers.  I usually keep a

       couple dozen cloth diapers around the house because they

       are excellent for this kind of work, for dusting, an for

       waxing the car.  They also come in handy for dressing up 

       as the New Year after drinking too much on New Year's

       Eve ;-)       

   10) a coffee can or similar sealed metal container fill with

       water (this is for disposing of oil soaked rags which are

       highly flammable and prone to spontaneously combustion).

   11) rubber gloves (optional)

   12) "Trewax" clear paste wax


A. Getting Ready

   Remove the hinges from the humidor, noting which hinge is on the    left and which is on the

   right (I know, it shouldn't make any    difference, but if one of the hinges is even slightly bent,

   the lid will sit differently if the hinges are switched).  Also remove the brass lid support, and the tray.

B. Sanding

   Using a sanding block along with some "hand-held" sanding, I    sanded all of the mahogany

   surfaces up to a 320 grit finish    (i.e., start with 150, then 220, then 320 -- you can skip 150

   if the box is already very smooth).  Always sand with the grain  and try to use even strokes

   across an entire plane rather than    concentrating on a small area (concentrating your sanding will

   cause valleys or indentations in your finish).  Be careful not    to over-sand the inside walls of the lid

   or the outer Spanish cedar lip, because you may end up loosening the seal  between the lid and

   the body of the box.

   When the box is smooth as "a baby's bottom," brush the dust off  of everything (or blow it off with

   compressed air).  Then, with    a wet washcloth or sponge, wipe down all of the surfaces that 

   you have sanded and let the box dry. The moistened wood gives you a nice preview of how the

   box will start to look when you  finish it and also cleans out some of the sawdust, but the primary

   reason for wetting the box is to open the grain of the wood and bring up loose fibers.  After it dries,

   you will    notice that your "baby's bottom" sanding has suddenly developed some 5:00 stubble.

   Sand the box one more time with the 320 grit paper to remove this "stubble."

C. Cleaning

   All sawdust should be thoroughly cleaned from the box before you apply your oil finish (if anything

   else has managed to get on your box, this should be cleaned or sanded off also).  You can blow

   the dust out using compressed air, or brush off the box with a paint or shop brush and use a tack

   cloth to pick up    the "hard to get" dust that has accumulated.

D. Applying the Danish Oil

   Work in a well ventilated area, preferably on a table that  gives you plenty of room to work.  

   Oil finishes are not like paint, you don't have to wait for one  side to dry before you can flip it over

   and do the other side. However, it's probably not the best idea to have an oiled surface sitting directly

   on your work table it will take longer to dry, may pick up dust, etc, from the top of the table, or may

   even stick to the table.  I used old wooden cigar    boxes, lids removed, to create platforms on which

   the humidor could rest.  When I had finished applying oil to the base or  lid of the box, I would flip

   it over so the open side was    down and set it on two boxes.  These boxes were sitting open side up,

   so only the tops of the thin wood sides of each cigar  box came into contact with the humidor

   (see diagram below).



                   _|_             _|_

            cigar | | | bottom of | | | cigar

             box  |_|_|  humidor  |_|_|  box



   Before you start, decide what you are going to finish.  I finished every exposed mahogany surface

   on the box including the lid (inside and out), the four exterior sides, the upper ledge of the base,

   and the bottom (outside) of the box. The    only Spanish cedar surface I finished was the outside 

   of the lip, up to its top (I masked off the inside of the lip with masking tape so as not to slop oil

   onto the box interior).

   Danish Oil is a skin irritant to some people.  I wore rubber surgical gloves while finishing my humidor.

   However, I know people who just use their bare hands and have not had problems. Whatever you

   decide, be careful not to get your oily fingers  inside the box, leaving Danish Oil fingerprints on the

   Spanish cedar lining (this should remain unfinished).  If you goof up (which I did several times) you

   can sand off the fingerprints once the oil has dried.

   To finish:

   1) Shake Danish Oil, saturate a piece of cloth and apply the oil to all areas that you want to finish.

      You may need to add more oil to the cloth as you apply it to the wood.

   2) Let the piece sit for 30 minutes, then wipe off excess oil with a soft cotton cloth.

   3) Reapply the oil as you did above. For each surface, after you have laid down a liberal coat of oil,

      rub the oil in using your wet/dry 320 grit sandpaper sand with the grain as you did in step B above.

      This wet sanding helps work in the oil and also allows tiny particles of wet sawdust to fill in some

      of the open grain in the wood.  This will give your finish an extra-warm lustre when the piece is done.

   4) Let the piece sit for 15-20 minutes, then wipe off all excess oil with a soft cotton cloth.

   5) Let the piece dry for 8-10 hours or over night.  During the first 2 hours, you may want to wipe

      the piece off every half hour as oil will continue to seep up to the surface.

   6) Seal all of your oily rags and sandpaper into a sealed coffee can or other sealed metal container

      that has been filled with water.  These rags are prone to spontaneous combustion if not disposed

      of properly. (Whether in the workshop, the laboratory, the kitchen, or in the arms of our honey,

      remember, Safety First!)

   7) My humidor was treated to three applications following steps 1-6 above; you may do as many

      as you like (I'd recommend at least 3).  For every application, I increased the fineness of my

      sandpaper.  For the second application, I repeated steps 1-6, using 400 grit wet/dry paper during

      step 3.  For the third application, I repeated steps 1-6, using the 600 grit wet/dry paper during step 3.

   8) After your final application of oil, when the box is completely dry, lightly sand all of the finished

      surfaces with a piece of dry worn (i.e., crinkle it and soften it a bit) 600 grit sandpaper.  This will

      bring out the "shine" in the piece.  However, be careful not to sand so hard that you damage the

      finish (if you do damage it, oil it again that's the beauty of oil finishes, it's hard to screw-up).

E. Protection

   Once you are done with the Danish Oil, you can leave the box as is.  However, if you want additional

   protection you can put on polyurethane finish, or do what I did and put on several applications

   of Trewax.  Trewax is easy to use just put on a layer with a cloth, let it dry for five minutes, then buff

   it out with a clean dry cloth.  I repeated this procedure three times.

F. Final Touches

   Reattach your hardware, glue in the unattached end of the brass lid support, and replace the tray.  

   Before you put your cigars into the humidor, you should re-humidify the wood, otherwise the relative

   humidity in the interior may be significantly less than the optimal 70% rh. You may want to start by

   wiping the interior and the tray down with a rag moistened with some distilled water.  Next place

   your charged humidification device inside the humidor along with your hygrometer and check it every

   day or so. You may have to wait several weeks before humidor stabilizes and 70% rh and is ready

   for your cigars it is worth the wait ;-)

4.4c Staining and Urethane Finishes (From:

There have been a lot of posts lately from people buying or building unfinished humidors.  I thought my

recent experience may be helpful to some.  (If I can do it, you can too.  Trust me, I'm a certified klutz.)
I received a beautiful J&S 200 mahogony (thanks, Sam!) humidor.  I removed the brass hinges and the

brass lid support and filed them away in a bag. I then sanded the outside and bottom, using 150, then 220,

then 400 grit paper.  Be careful to sand with the grain.  A sanding block is highly recommended.  For small

areas that are hard to get to, a small piece of sandpaper on the end of an unsharpened pencil can be handy. 

While there is no need to get really anal retentive about the sanding, be aware that a missed spot can result

in an uneven finish. 

After sanding, you need to remove the dust before applying stain.  There are a number of ways to do this,

such as compressed air or soft brushes. I used "tack cloths", rags covered with a slightly sticky surface.

Wiping the surfaces with these did a very nice job of removing sanding dust. 

I then applied a Minwax red mahogony stain.  I had purchased stain applicator pads, but ended up using

soft cotton rags, as I felt that it gave me a bit more control.  Here is this first tip I wished I'd thought

of before hand: cover areas that you don't want stain on with masking tape.  I ended up getting a little stain

on some trim and on the inside top lid and a drop or two on the bottom inside.  Easily avoided if you think

about it ahead of time.  Don't forget to finish the bottom also. The stain wipes on, then you wipe the

excess off.  The longer you let it sit, the darker the color. 

The stain went on easily.  I had already prepared a couple of stands to sit the lid and the box on while the

stain dried.  The stain was allowed to dry for 24 hours.  I had thought about a second coat of stain, but I

was pleased with the color, so I proceeded to the next step.  Remember, the stain soaks into the pores

of the wood and does NOT offer protection to the wood. 

I chose to put on a urethane coat, for the protection and looks.  I found a wonderful product, also by

Minwax, which is a wipe-on urethane.  It comes in a satin or a glossy finish; I chose the high gloss.  I lightly

sanded the stained wood (400 grit), removed the dust as above, then used the cotton rag method to apply

the finish.  I allowed this to dry overnight ( the can says 3-6 hours ).  Don't worry if the finish looks

dull; it will.  This is because some of the coating will soak into pores of the wood and some will not, leading

to a relatively rough finish. Subsequent sanding and coating will fill the pores and level the finish. After the first

coat dried, I lightly sanded again (400 sandpaper) and removed the dust.  Then I applied another coat of the

urethane and again allowed it to dry overnight.  I repeated the process for a third coat: sanded the second

coat, removed the sanding dust, then wiped on the third coat.  After this coat dried, I had a nice, smooth,

glossy finish.  I then put the hardware back on, and admired my beautiful dark red mahogony humidor. 

Hope this helps anyone out there who is a little squeamish about finishing a humidor.  If I can do it, you

can do it. 

4.5 Tupperdors, Igloodors

Isn't there a cheap way to store my cigars?

Yes, of course! You don't need an expensive container to keep them stogies happy! Any container which

limits the exchange of outside air will work. Many a.s.c. readers use large Tupperware containers, humidified

with homemade credo units. 

The difference between tupperdors and wood humidors.... 

Wood humidors "breath" slowly exchange gasses, and are less likely to get you into the overhumidification

problems of tupperdors. A wellsealed tupperdor allow excess moisture to escape (they require less frequent

recharging because of this). A wood humidor "dampens" these changes in humidity by absorbing the excess

moisture, and slowly releasing it. Cigars like slow changes better than rapid ones.  A sudden change in

temperature can produce condensation in a well-sealed container (until the credo can compensate). This,

and their large storage volume give Igloodors a distinct advantage over tupperdors. (and of course, wood

remains king in this way too) 

Tobacco needs to breath to age properly. The downside of tupperdors is that they don't allow any gasses

to exchange. Cigars will consume a small amount of oxygen and give off other gasses as they age. If you open

your tupperdor at least weekly, this is not much of a problem, but leave it tightly sealed for a months at a time

to age some premiums, and the ammonia smell will make you want to give up smoking when you open it!

This won't happen in a properly finished wood box...

Ton Gardner {} has these suggestions for setting up a large Igloodor...

"I recommend a Coleman model that has straight sides, and rope handles. You do not want molded sides

that slope. The 130 qt Coleman that I found has a positive latch closure. I cut the ropes and the plastic tabs

the ropes were attached to. This was to enable me to stand the thing on it's end, like a refridgerator. I then

went to a kitchen store and bought plastic coated shelves to put inside. I now have vertical racks inside. 

You may just want to use it like a chest type, flat, then you could leave the handles alone. But you would find

yourself digging through boxes all the time. I take the tops off my boxes and they then become trays. IMHO

easyier. I mounted two Credo 20's and my hygrometer/thermometer on the door. I also have another humidity

source on the bottom shelf that is about twice as big as a Credo 70." 

4.6 Converting Furniture into humidors

I'm considering converting a china cabinet into a humidor - why won't

this work?

Most of the $$$ of a good humidor is in it's construction. Good quality hardwoods, special joinery, lining, etc.

Keep this in mind when you consider a furniture conversion project. I've heard from many who've tried

converting cabinets, chests, and armoires into humidors unsuccessfully. The problems they experience are

warping, mold, inability to regulate humidity, and (in several cases) complete disintegration of the furniture

after a few months.

Why? There are some tremendous stresses involved in keeping a large piece of furniture moist on the inside

and dry on the outside. The larger the piece, the more stress is involved. Special techniques go into the design

and construction of a humidor to compensate for these stresses considerations which were never made in the

construction of other furniture. Planked panels are prone to warping. The finishes  used may be slightly toxic.

The wood used (some plywoods, all particle board) may give off noxious gasses when you seal the box

tightly. Particly board panels are quite common in inexpensive furniture. This can swell and crumple into dust

when exposed to moisture for long periods of time.

The bottom line? Yes it can be done but not to just any enclosed chest, cabinet, etc. Choose your furniture

to convert wisely, and consider additional bracing, support, lining, etc. along with simply sealing the

enclosed areas...


Why create a humid environment with a constant relative humidity of  70%?

Cigars are naturally hydroscopic products. In common with many organic substances, they dry out

in the absence of humidity in the air, or absorb moisture from the ambient air. They establish an equilibrium

with the atmospheric humidity which surrounds them.

At 68% a cigar will slowly dry out and loose essential oils. At 74% and higher, organic molecules will break

down out-of-order, producing unwanted tastes. More importantly, at 80% or higher, you're leaving your

stogies wide open to grow mold. Neither cigars or humidors are a particularly sterile environment. 

5.1 Humidifying devices
Perhaps the most important part of your cigar storage system is the humidifying device, or credo. Maintaining

proper humidity will either make or break your humidor system. There are dozen's of commercial systems

available, but perhaps the "king" of them all is the original "Credo". The Credo device is a self regulating

reservoir. The secret to a Credo is the use of a physio-chemical solution (propylene glycol and distilled water

in a mix of approximately 50/50). Remember this "secret" later, as it will become increasing important... 

The original Credo is manufactured in France by:


34, rue Roussel Doria

13004 Marseille, France

Telephone: 91 85 46 36

Fax: 91 34 54 31

Distributed in the US by Holloc-Rohr, Bell, CA.

5.2 Using Propylene Glycol to regulate humidity

How exactly does the use of Propylene Glycol (mixed with distilled water) 

aid in the humidification of cigars?

Any solution with a fixed composition has a fixed vapor pressure at a given temperature and total

pressure.  If the solution has only one volatile component (water), then the vapor pressure is caused

by that component only (i.e., you won't find PG in the vapor phase). By coincidence, the vapor

pressure over a mixture of PG and water is about 70%.

To put it more simply, PG is a hydroscopic substance - It absorbs moisture from the environment

(like a salt shaker does in humid weather). The distilled water evaporates until the ambient humidity

approaches 70%. At that point the PG won't allow any more moisture in the air. Conversely, if

there is too much moisture in the air, the PG solution absorbs the excess, bringing the system down

to 70% as well. 

PG is certainly not the only solution which will regulate humidity properly for cigar storage. As several

posters have pointed out, a glycerin solution will also work in a credo. Being a thicker substance, I

feel that glycerin solutions ultimately "plug-up" the pores of your medium, reducing it's effective surface

area. Both are non-toxic, but PG actually has anti-bacterial properties, which means you may use it alone,

where glycerin should be mixed with some sort of inhibitor to prevent "nasties" from growing inside your

credo. (this is the "secret formula" in some glycerin based solutions).

How much distilled water do I mix with it?

50/50 to start.  It's not that critical, as the water evaporates eventually anyway - the proportions are

constantly changing because of this. Don't forget to use distilled water to replenish is as needed.

Does the PG eventually evaporate or dissipate?

Eventually is a long time, and evaporate / dissipate the wrong words.In several years the PG will become

less effective due to reactions with contaminants in the air (er, like tobacco smoke for instance ){G&D}. I

recommend changing it ever year or so because of this phenomena. Using the same PG for 3-5 years with

just water replenishment is not uncommon however. If your credo isn't regulating the environment like it used

to, it might be time for a change. A common problem causing loss of PG is over watering when recharging.

Any water which runs through your credo is removing PG as it runs out! Careful re-charging will avoid this. 

I just made a credo and my humidity's too high!

A new oasis will take days (up to a week) to stabilize. This is because PG does not regulate through partial

vapor pressures, as the salt test does. PG regulates through a tenso-active (surface tension) process. The PG

and water do not create a s‹lution, it's actually a mixture (with seperate components). The PG essentially migrates

to the surfaces, sealing in the water in a lower layer. It takes time for these components to migrate to their proper

positions in the oasis and begin regulation. 

I used filtered tap water instead of distilled. What's going to happen?

Your credo is going to become less and less efficient over time. Filtered tap water is full of all the dissolved

minerals which will ultimately plug your credo. The PH is balanced in tap water with chemicals which may

interfere with the PG and cause variations in your humidity. Spring for a $0.69 gallon jug of distilled water.

It'll make a difference.

Should I dilute the whole bottle at once and hold onto the solution???

It doesn't matter. Pre-mixed or not, PG is a stable compound - It'll keep well for years. It may pick up odors

from it's environment, so be sure to store it in a suitable container.

Where can I buy Propylene Glycol?

PG is available (though often only by special order from any full-service Pharmacist. The cost varies from $5

to $8 per pint.  Pharmacologically, it's used as a solvent for oral and injectable drugs.... It also has many

uses as a chemical solvent, as well as being used in many cosmetics. 

PG is also available from many feed-stores, as it is used as a feed additive and a medical treatment for livestock. 

By mail-order?  

best source...

Chem-Lab Supplies


about $6/pint + about $5 for shipping

also try...

Tri-Ess Sciences

Burbank, CA


Springfield Scientific

1124 Main ST

Springfield OR 97477


Sigma Chemical Company.


And FYI, Propylene glycol is also mixed with some pipe tobaccos and cheap drug-store cigars so they

won't require humidification (YUCK!!!). 

5.3 Other Suitable Chemicals writes:

What I do is take cheap plastic soap dishes, pour in maybe 3/8" of salt and wet the salt until it is the

consistency of gruel, patching concrete...a paste. The soap dishes, being designed to trap soap scum in

the bottoms, also do a good job of making salt sludge stay put.

What I am doing is using salt as both humidity limiter and vehicle, standing it in for both PG and a sponge

or Oasis foam. This works fine for me, despite a limiting pressure at about 75% RH at room temp., a bit

higher than PG and water at 70%.

I am currently using 2 soap dishes inside a 30-qt. ice chest. This is more wet salt than is strictly required,

I think, but with the self-limiting humidity trick, too much surface to absorb/release moisture can't hurt while

too little can.

5.4 Oasis Materials

Why use oasis? Why not use a sponge?

The many holes in oasis material mean a greater effective surface area. This means a smaller humidifier is able

to do the same work as a larger one using other materials. Natural sponges are much more prone to 

contamination and should not be used. Good quality synthetic sponges are a reasonable alternative IMHO

(although your credo might need to be a little larger than if you used oasis). 

How large should that credo be? No simple answer there! It's dependent on how large your humidor is, how

full you keep it, how often you open it, how moist (or dry) the ambient air is, how tightly sealed your humidor is,

and how often you're willing to replenish it. 

If your credo is too small, you'll need to replenish it's water frequently. I can't actually think of any detrimental

side effects of a too-large unit (except the obvious space it takes up). 

Are there different types of oasis?

There are two kinds of oasis material available from floral suppliers be SURE to obtain the right type! Oasis foam

is made for both wet (watered) and dry floral arrangements. DO NOT USE "DRY" OASIS. 

Dry Oasis in made of a closed cell foam and used for arranging dry (and silk) flowers. It's slightly more durable,

but will NOT absorb water.  It will float for days without getting wet. :-( Wet Oasis is an open-celled

foam, and very absorbent. It's meant for "real" flowers, but also used occasionally for dry arrangements. 

I have a clay-type "credo" unit. Is PG suitable for this as well?

No problem - PG is definitely suitable for those as well. The chalk (clay?) in those type humidifiers should

be "cleaned" once every year or two though... Just soak them overnight in a big pan of water, dry them

out, then re-charge with PG solution. Given proper care, that type of element will out-live us all! 

One word of caution with all clay type elements. Always use distilled water to re-fill them. The trace salts

in tap water will clog them eventually.... 

5.5 Suitable Credo containers
Any container capable of separating a block of oasis from accidentally touching your cigars will suffice,

however there are a couple of important considerations. 

First, let it breath! Cut your oasis loose enough to "rattle slightly within it's container. A force-fit (for instance

using a cigar tube with holes to slice it's own bit of oasis) won't breath. It's surface area will be limited to the

area of the holes i n that case. The same tube with a loose-fitting piece of oasis will allow the entire surface

of that oasis to evaporate moisture into the environment. The outer holes are just for circulation... 

Speaking of holes give your humidifying device enough of them! Plastic salt-shakers, for instance don't

provide enough circulation to properly humidify a humidor. If you use such a device, drill lots of 1/8" holes

all around the body of it. 

Also, Don't let the oasis come in contact with the wood of your humidor. PG or not, you're asking for a mold

or algae problem if there's any area of your box with a humidifying element present and no circulation. 

Our readers have shown tremendous creativity in enclosing their oasis'. Suggestions (before drilling lots of holes,

cutting slots, etc.) have included wire frames, traveling soap dishes, ladies' powder compacts, small Tupperware,

cassette cases almost anything which won't be affected by moisture! 


What is a hygrometer?

A hygrometer is a mechanical or electronic device for measuring relative humidity. Many quality humidors

incorporate a small hygrometer in their lid to monitor their internal humidity level. Refer to the section on

cigar storage for a more detailed explanation as to why this is important. 

6.1 Checking your Hygrometer Calibration

Why should I check my hygrometer's calibration?

Even if you don't want to open it's case and adjust your hygrometer, you would be well advised to check

it's calibration. These are not the precision instruments that some people think... Analog (dial-type)

hygrometers are often shipped as much as 20% out of spec. Even the often-recommended Radio Shack

hygrometer is shipped with a factory tolerance of plus or minus 5 points of humidity through the range 40-80%.

That means your unit could read anywhere from 65 to 75% while in a 70% environment and still be considered

in spec! I've personally seen up to an 8 percentage point difference between units before calibration. 

For a calibration source, we're going to use salt - NaCl - plain table salt... Why salt? The following is a brief

explanation of the chemistry, originally posted to asc by Peter Shenkin of Columbia University. Don't

worry too much about the technical details - the point is that plain salt will, when used properly will maintain

an exact 75% humidity in a sealed environment. 

From an original post by Peter Shanken: 

"A saturated solution at constant temperature & pressure has a fixed composition.  [[ Explanation in terms

of the Gibbs Phase Rule omitted. ]] Therefore, such a solution has a fixed vapor pressure. Thus, at constant

temperature, no matter how much solid NaCl and how much water are present, the concentration of the NaCl

in the water is fixed, just as long as both the solution and the solid phase are present. Therefore such a solution

has a fixed vapor pressure. 

Now, it just happens to turn out that the vapor pressure of a saturated solution of NaCl in H20 is about 75%

of the vapor pressure of pure water at any temperature close to room temperature.  This means that at

equilibrium, if there were nothing present except this solution and a vapor phase in contact with it (no air),

the pressure above the solution would be about 15 mm Hg, in round numbers, using 20 mmHg as the vapor

pressure of water near room temperature, again in round numbers.  As mentioned earlier, the only gas providing

the pressure above the solution would be water vapor. We'll see in a few minutes that the same thing

happens even when air is introduced." 

OK, class dismissed  you've got it now, right? :-) Now to procedures. You'll need a ziplock baggie or other

see through container, about a teaspoon of salt, and a small, shallow open container for that salt (I use

the screw cap from a bottle of milk) Gee, I love this high-tech lab gear.... ;-)

Place a teaspoon or so of salt in it's container and add a few drops of water to get it wet. You don't want to

dissolve it, just get a good damp pile of salt in your bottle cap. This is important! Just a few drops! you

want damp salt, NOT a solution. As the technical explanation above says, you want the salt present in a wet

solid phase. Place it in the baggie, along with your hygrometer. CAUTION - DON'T SPILL ANY SALT ON

YOUR INSTRUMENT! Be sure the Hygrometer isn't in it's "min" or "max" mode, BTW. 

Seal the baggie with some air trapped inside (so it's not tight against the hygrometer) and let it sit. Allow this to

stabilize for at least 6 hours. (don't rush it!). After the internal "system" has stabilized, check your reading 

WITHOUT OPENING THE BAGGIE. It should be exactly 75%. If not, note the deviation  this is how much

your hygrometer is out.  Don't be surprised if your reading up to 5 points out  unfortunately, that's the factory

tolerance of this instrument. 

6.2 Radio Shack #63-855 Calibration

Well, here it is as promised - the full and formal home calibration procedure for the Radio Shack 63-855

Hygrometer, (also known as the "Airguide" Hygrometer). Please read these instructions very carefully

before proceeding  If you don't feel comfortable tinkering with sensitive circuitry, DON'T DO IT! 

Now that you know how far your instrument is out, you might want to adjust it. CAUTION! Mess-up here,

and you could damage your hygrometer! There is no simple calibration knob to turn. To adjust this instrument,

you'll be re-adjusting the bias current of the sensor, then comparing it

to your calibration reference  the salt in the baggie. 

Remove the battery door, the batteries, and finally the back of the unit. Along the top edge of the PC board

inside, you'll see two round, flattish metal disks (micro-potentiometers). don't touch the left one, you'll be

working only with the one on the right. First, look at it closely. You'll see a tiny indent for a tiny screwdriver

blade across the middle. Sketch it's exact position carefully  this procedure might take several days, and you

will forget the original orientation if you don't write it down! 

You'll be turning this right potentiometer (pot) a tiny amount to change the humidity reading (1/8 turn might

change your reading by 3 or 4%). Use a very small screwdriver (like a jeweler's screwdriver), and don't change

it by much! If you were reading above 75% in the calibration test, turn this pot clockwise, again only a tiny

amount... If your reading was low, turn it slightly counter-clockwise... 

You can leave the back off to save some effort, and put the batteries back in now. Be sure the "min" and "max"

functions are turned off, and place the hygrometer back in your baggie with the salt. Again, let it stabilize

for 6 hours, and DON'T LET IT TOUCH THE WET SALT! Check your reading, and re-adjust if necessary.

Be patient, you may have to try a few times to get it right. If you feel you're getting nowhere, set the pot back

to exactly where it was when you started. 

When you're satisfied with your setting (set it to +- 1% of 75%) remove the batteries, re-assemble the unit,

and give it one final check. Once you're done, light up one of your best cigars you'll deserve it! 

6.3 Older Radio Shack units

(from Steven Banks)

I would like to add some new information. I have one of the older Radio Shack hygrometers #63-844, but do

you think that stopped me? You give me an opportunity to take something I know nothing about apart, I'm there!

Plus, my Dad was a quality assurance engineer and he wouldn't have put up with that much of a error factor. 

Well the salt portion of this whole procedure is sweet indeed  so simple, I felt like I was watching "Mr. Wizard"

again. After doing this I found that my hygrometer was a whopping +8% off. Now... I'm not great with math,

so I decided to correct the problem instead of just knowing how much it's off by. The problem was, which "pot"

screws to adjust, since the instructions were for a #63-855. Well for those of you that have the same model

as I do, there are two circuit boards in it, the top one is for the temperature and the bottom is for the humidity.

The "pot" screw CLOSEST to the battery compartment is the one you need to adjust. And yes, as was

mentioned in the first posting, it does take some fiddling!!! There were times I'd adjust the screw, and see no

change.  But I finally got that puppy within + -1%. Note that this hygrometer's reading will INCREASE as 

you turn the control CLOCKWISE - exactly the opposite of the 63-855 model...

Let it be known that I tinkered where no person in their right mind should, and this is no guarantee that it'll work

for you (especially knowing Radio Shack stuff - yours could be laid out differently?) But if you're bold, go where

no man has gone before and make it right! 

6.4 The Airguide Digital Hygrometer

This is the same unit internally as the Radio Shack #63-855. See section

6.1 and 6.2.

6.5 The Bionaire Digital Hygrometer 

This is a fine looking digital hygrometer available from several suppliers for about $17.95. It's similar in operation

to the Radio Shack #63-855, buy without it's memory features or internal adjustments. It's factory rated accuracy

is +- 5%, but tests show it's linearity (accuracy over a broad range) is considerably less. Since this unit can not be

re-calibrated, I recommend testing it's accuracy with the salt calibration test, to allow for differences in readings. 

6.6 Analog Hygrometers

Surprisingly, both the most expensive and the most inexpensive classes of hygrometers are the dial-type

(or analog) hygrometers. Many are sold in fancy brass or chrome housings, but their accuracy in general is not

very impressive. Being a mechanical device, rough handling in shipping can often knock these gauges as far as 20%

out from an accurate reading. The calibration of this type of instrument should always be checked. 

Many of these gauges come with the simple instructions to "wrap the instrument in a damp towel for at least 20

minutes, then adjust it (either by set-screw or rotating the outer housing) to a reading of 95%." As this technique

does not address the non-linearity of these gauges, I recommend checking them in the general RH range cigar

smokers need by using the above mentioned "salt-standard" calibration technique. 

Don Meyer ( has recommended a very inexpensive ($4.86) Sunbeam thermometer/

hygrometer, available at Wal-Mart. On inspection in the store, he found that of the 10 or so on display, all read

within 3%, whereas others (in the same store) displayed a broad range. Of course, consistency doesn't always

mean accuracy, but it's a good sign. It should be noted that this unit is mounted in a rather large case. Users should

consider re-mounting this unit for use in their humidors. The model # BTW, is 90113. (old #1803)


Problems with your new humidifying device? Check the following...

*Is this a new humidor? Perhaps the wood hasn't stabilized.

*Was the Oasis already "charged" with credo solution? Too much PG will draw moisture out of the environment,

resulting in low humidity. Too little will be unable to remove moisture and you'll have soggy stogies! 

*Does your humidor seal well? Perhaps a bad seal is exchanging too much air with the outside. 

*Is your hygrometer calibrated? Factory units (dial type) are often out by up to 20% ! Your actual humidity might

be fine.

*That's not that "dry" oasis you're using, is it? Oasis should get very heavy as it soaks up water. 

*Is your humidifying unit homemade? Too few / too small holes will not allow enough evaporation to saturate the

humidor. This is a common problem with home-made units. Be sure the oasis isn't a tight fit in it's case, as this will

restrict air circulation.

7.1 Bloom or Mold? 

How can you tell the difference?

Bloom refers to the slow rising of "essential oils" to the surface of a cigar. It first shows up as tiny (almost microscopic)

crystals on the surface, and can eventually make a cigar look slightly "dusty" with a whitish finish on the surface. Not only

is it harmless, some prefer to see a little bloom, as an indication of strong taste. 

Mold OTOH, is {ick!} a fungus, growing on overly humidified stogies. It is recognized as white, gray, or blue-green

"fuzzy patches" with a definite dimension to them. Mold spreads by spores, so it's important to get rid of any moldy

cigars immediately, before they contaminate your other cigars or the mold gets into the wood of your humidor. Mold

appears when the RH passes 85%. 

7.2 Soggy Stogies Stories....

I stored some of my favorite cigars with a wet sponge, and now they're

"wet and spongy"! How can I dry them out?

1) set-up a proper humidity regulation system (the same sponge with a PG/H2O solution is all you really need. 

2) open your humidor often to exchange the air regularly. It may help to leave it open (just a crack!) unless your

 room  is very humid. 

3) Wait. It can take a long time for moisture to migrate from inner layers to the wrapper and out of your cigars...

There is no way to rush this without ruining them. Typically, figure on about three weeks to stabilize a cigar when

changing it's moisture content. 

Help! I opened my humidor today to find some of my best cigars with this

fluffy white mold.  Some cigars even started to unwrap.... 

Ouch! Let your cigars go this far, and it may be too late to save 'em! You've got to catch mold early to effectively

stop it. Is this a wooden humidor or a tupperdor? Tupperdors are more prone to this sort of thing (especially if you

humidify with plain water instead of "credo solution" Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, salt, whatever you need a chemical

compound that's going to regulate the environment, not saturate it. Humidifying with plain water is asking for trouble. 

Mold will form anytime the humidity holds at over 85% for a few days. It propagates by microscopic spores, so

unless you sterilize the environment carefully, it can become a recurring problem. 

That said, let's try to save them stogies.... 

Start by cleaning your humidifier out, removing the credo, and wipe the whole interior down with isopropyl alcohol.

(yes, I know... alcohol's not good for the wood, but mold in the wood pores isn't gonna be good for your stogies

either! A quick wipe won't hurt it.) Let it air out for a few days in a relatively dust-free place.  Next, you'll have to

disinfect your credo inside and out. Boiling water would do the trick, but most credo's are plastic, or have plastic

parts. BE CAREFUL! Don't use alcohol to disinfect the credo once it's absorbed you'll have a devil of a time drying

it out. (after all, that's what a credo does evaporate very slowly) If it's a homemade unit, throw out the oasis and

wipe the case thoroughly with alcohol.
Saving the cigars is going to be tough. Wipe off the contaminated cigars (contaminated ones only! - don't spread

the mold!) with a clean paper towel, slightly moistened with distilled water. (only SLIGHTLY moist, please let's

not get the cigars any wetter!) Separate the cigars you know are contaminated from the others. Smoke them as

soon as possible. 

Make some kind of temporary humidor for those "contaminated" ones. Put it in the refrigerator. (I know, I hear

the moans. "My Cubans, in the 'fridge?") Well, it'll retard the growth of mold  it'll buy you some time. Refrigeration

(even in a container) will dry them out without a source of humidity In the case of soggy stogies, this won't be a

problem  separate times require desperate measures! 

Keep the (hopefully) uncontaminated ones away from your nowclean humidor  you've got to break the cycle.

And don't assume those wrapped in cello are safe either. If the mold gets back into the wood or credo, you'll start

the problem all over again. Better to keep them in a temporary humidor for a few weeks until you're sure they're "clean". 

Finally, check on these cigars every few days. If there is no sign of mold for a full week (and I mean absolutely no sign)

move the temporary humidor out into room temperature. Don't put the cigars back into your "real" humidor. If there's no

mold for another week, it may be safe to return them to the "real" humidor. (I wouldn't chance it personally). 

The trick is to break the "mold-cycle" by getting all potentially contaminated cigars out of your "regular" system.  If you

don't, I guarantee you'll be starting this process over again! 

And get yourself some Propylene Glycol solution to humidify with - This kind of disaster won't happen with a "proper"

credo system.... 

7.3 - My humidor isn't at 70% 

My humidor is higher than 70% !

No point splitting hairs over relative humidity. I'm guessing your cigars feel and smoke fine, right? 74% is a perfectly

reasonable RH to be running at. One thing though - keep an eye on it. If it continues to climb, then there may be a

situation to deal with... 

As a credo is repeatedly replenished with water, often a little PG (the regulating chemical) is flushed out by slight

overfilling. Eventually, you end up with more H2O than PG, and your humidity starts to climb. This indicates that it's

time to re-charge the Credo with fresh PG. (frankly, the newer Credos seem to be being shipped with less and less

PG pre-charge in them, so this'll come up soon with most new units)

Over humidification.  If this occurs, will it harden the draw of a

usually pleasant draw cigar?

Yes, the filler will swell (particularly from the heat of smoking it) resulting in a hard draw and occasional split wrapper.

Sometimes you'll get that ammonia taste too. 

If my hygrometer reads 68% (assuming accurate) is this environment ok

for cigars.  What if it was 65% or 75%?

68 is ok generally. At 65 you'll find your wrappers starting to dry out (very delicate and easy to crack). 75 is not much

problem, although your cigars might smoke a little tighter... 

I made a humidification device from an aluminum cigar tube/oasis/PG and

my cigars seem too dry

There is a common problem in this usage. The oasis should not be a tight fit in your tube (many people take the "easy"

route and use the tube as a "cookie-cutter"). This seriously restricts the circulation of air around the oasis material. A tight

fit reduces the surface area of your credo to just the surface area of those holes  usually far too inadequate for proper

vaporation. Cut it a little loose, and make plenty of holes for circulation. 

I can't get the humidity in my humidor high enough!

Be patient! A new wooden humidor will take up to 3 weeks to stabilize. Misting the interior lightly with distilled water

can hasten the process in a new box, but only patience will stabilize it. Don't try to rush a new humidor....

Also, is your hygrometer calibrated correctly? 70% is the "correct" storage level, but since many new analog (dial-type)

hygrometers are as much as 20% out of calibration when received, you should verify it's accuracy before trusting it.

Check the lid. Is it a tight seal? looking along the "crack", can you see daylight through it? In dry weather, this small

crack can result in enough moisture loss to limit the humidity... 

If you've checked the cal and the lid, the problem's almost gotta be in the way the exterior wood is finished and sealed.

You see, the moisture must be going somewhere....  Moisture will readily seep right through the wood of a poorly sealed

humidor especially in the dry season. Be sure the bottom is properly finished (and sealed)!!! This is a common oversight

of home-finished boxes. You can check if poorly sealed wood is your problem simply enough. Put the whole system into

a tightly sealed plastic bag (with wet credo and hygrometer inside), and let it sit for 3 days. Did the humidity come up?

If so, you'll have to seal the exterior of your box better. (See section on humidor finishing) 

7.4 Worms (lacioderma - the tobacco beetle)

(portions contributed by Rafael Bernardo (100136.2427@CompuServe.COM)

 Common names: Perforador del Tabaco and Gorgojo del Tabaco (Cuba), Carcoma del Tabaco (Puerto Rico), Tobacco

 Beetle and Herbarium Beetle (USA)

 Scientific name:  Lasioderma serricorne (Fabricius)

 Class:            Insect

 Order:            Coleoptera

 Suborder:         Polyphaga

 Superfamily:      Bostrychoidea

 Family:           Anobiidae

 Genre:            Lasioderma

 Species:          L. serricorne

 This insect is capable of damaging stored tobacco in both raw material and manufactured product, and can be found

 in any of its phases: egg, larva, pupa and adult.

 Eggs are white colored and about 1/2 mm (1/64") in length. They are laid on tobacco at the warehouse by adult females,

 and hatch in 6 to 10 days.

 The small larvae are grub-shaped and whitish, measuring about 4 mm (1/6") at the end of their development, and are

 covered by fine, long brown hairs that make them appear "fuzzy"; their heads have yellow-brown markings. They feed

 5-10 weeks (depending on temperature), and cause extensive damage to cigars by boring through them. At temperatures

 below 15-16 degrees C (60 degrees F) the larvae become dormant and get a status of lethargy.

 Larvae pupate in the damaged material for 2-3 weeks, remaining inactive during that period of time. The whole life

 period,  from egg to adult, takes about 10 to 12 weeks.

 The imago or adult insect is oval, about 3 mm (1/8") long and reddish-brown in color; it has a hard body covered with

 tiny  hairs that give it a golden sheen; its head is bent downward so that the beetle has a distinctive "hump-backed" look.

 It is a  good flier, and can live up to a month.

 Cigar manufacturers fumigate not only their warehouses but also the finished products, that are treated against potentia

 pests in vacuum chambers. Of course, fakes and other "home-made" cigars are not being processed in this manner,

 so take  it into account when storing cigars whose origin has not been clearly determined. Cigars that have not passed

 those insecticide  treatments are more likely to infest some of your best smokes.

 Lasioderma not only ruins cigars and cigarettes, but it is also a pest of mustard, chili peppers, cloves, raisins, and

 upholstery  material. It can also cause serious damage to books and all kinds of dried plants.

Worms are an unfortunate part of the tobacco world. They are more common than most smokers think. {shudder...}

 They are  sensitive to temperature, and may start hatching when the temp is held over 75-80 degrees. 

Tobacco worms eat tobacco leaves rather voratiously. Even though cigar makers fumigate their warehouses every

thirty days, these nasty critters still manage to survive. Their eggs, layed within the tobacco leaves aren't destroyed

by conventional techinques.

The eggs are extremely small, and often present (too often!) on the underside of tobacco leaves. These are virtually

 imperceptable, and more common than most people think. This is why it's always a good idea to keep cigars cool

(low 70's) - the worms won't hatch from these eggs at temps below 80 deg (or so...) 

When hatched by slightly warm temperatures these nasty critters (still too small to be seen) will bore a clean hole

 through a cigar leaving a perfectly round exit hole approx. 1/20th inch in diameter. A bunch of worms (or beetles

 in their adult stage)  can completely demolish a box (or humidor) of cigars in a matter of days. You'll end up with

 tobacco that looks like sawdust.

We've all probably smoked cigars with eggs in them without knowing it. Worms will affect the draw by tunneling

 through the 'gar. (and they "pop when you cook them" {g}). Beetles? Ick! You don't want to consider smoking

the pinhead-sized adult bugs!!!

The "cure" for these nasty critters? Freezing your stogies (the minimum recommended period is 3 days) will kill the

larvae. What effect does freezing have on those $25 Cubans? - not much, actually. be SURE to place then in a

completely airtight container, with as little airspace as possible. You'll need to re-stabilize the stogies in a humidor

for a few days before smoking, but there should be little effect from freezing.



8.1  800 Numbers

As always, any additions/corrections to this list are welcome! A more frequently updated version of this list is

available on thr web at:

     * 800 509-0070 A-1 Cigars (Canadian retail - no U.S. orders, please)

     * 800 722-7692 A Tobacco Supermarket (Atlanta GA) (retail)

     * 800 227-8296 Adeline Smoke Shop (Plummer ID) (retail)

     * 800 331-1750 Alfred Dunhill (New York, NY) (retail)

     * 800 348-1412 Aliados Cigars (?) (manufacturer)

     * 800 328-2577 Alps Distributors & Specialties Inc (Cerritos CA) 

     * 800 843-2826 American Tobacco Co The (Chester VA) 

     * 800 831-1684 Andreas Inc (Kenosha WI) 

     * 800 222-4427 Arango Cigar Co (Skokie IL) (distributor)

     * 800 586-8409 Avanti Cigar (Scranton PA)

     * 800 373-5681 Bloom Cigar (Pittsburgh PA) (retail)

     * 800 486-3996 Bob Ashe Cigar Co. (Skokie IL)

     * 800 772-7427 The Briar & Bean (Evansville, IN) (retail)

     * 800 255-5556 Brick Hanauer Co., Inc (Waltham MA) 

     * 888-BB-CIGAR Bull & Bear Cigar Club, Inc (Plainsboro, NJ) (club)

     * 888 822-8255 Burning Desires Radio Program (radio)

     * 800 637-7964 Campa Import & Export (Miami FL) (distributor)

     * 800 992-7427 Carey's Smokeshop (Canton, OH)) (retail)

     * 888 477-2447 Caribbean Cigar Co. (Miami, FL) (retail)

     * 800 367-0782 Caribe Imported Cigars (Miami FL)

     * 800 682-8773 Chief Strike Ax Trading (Pawhuska OK) 

     * 888 227-8351 Cigar Cartel (?) (wholesale)

     * 800 245 7146 Cigar Club International (Alexandria VA) (retail)

     * 800 672-4427 Cigar Club, The (Melrose Park IL)  (retail)

     * 800 588-1857 Cigar.Com (Houston, TX) (web provider)

     * 800 260 5526 Cigar Baron (Lafayette IN)

     * 800 922-1233 Cigar Express (New Castle, PA) (retail)

     * 888 MADUROS  Cigar Express Humidor Hotline (New Castle, PA) (retail)

     * 800 679-0185 Cigar Humidors By Tomway Corp. (Ft Lauderdale FL)  

     * 800 244-2751 Cigar King (Skokie, IL)

     * 888 SMOKES-8 Cigar Lovers (Oxnard, CA) (retail)

     * 888 502-4427 Cigar Museum, Inc. (?)

     * 888 33-CIGAR Cigar-Net (?) (retail)

     * 800 700 7661 Cigar of the Month (Deerfield WI) (retail)

     * 800 292-9921 Cigars Plus (Brick NJ)

     * 800 426-8924 Cigar Warehouse (Sherman Oaks CA) (retail)

     * 800 842-0849 Cigarette House The (Kenly NC) (retail)

     * 800 356-2523 Classic Imports-Cigarette Cards (Ramsey NJ)

     * 800-683-8800 Consolidated Cigar (Ft Lauderdale, FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 222-8976 Country Squire (Jackson MS) (retail)

     * 800 992-4427 Cuba Aliados Cigars (Miami FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 348-1412 Cuban Aliados Cigars Inc (Union City NJ) (manufacturer)

     * 800 207-7771 Cuban Cigar Co. (Miami, FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 419-1009 Cuban Cigar Factory (San Diego, CA) (manufacturer)

     * 800 328-0039 Davidoff of Geneva (Beverly Hills, CA) (retail)

     * 800 548-4623 Davidoff of Geneva (New York, NY) (retail)

     * 800 328-4365 Davidoff Of Geneva (Stamford CT)  (retail) 

     * 800 645-8701 David's Briar Shop (Des Moines, Iowa) (retail)

     * 800 537-4957 Don Pablo Cigar Co. (Las Vegas NV) 

     * 800 606-2071 Eastwold Smoke Shop (Sioux Falls SD) (retail)

     * 800 372-4427 Easyend Cigars (Mendham NJ)

     * 800 851-9020 Edward's Pipe & Tobacco (Richardson TX) (retail)

     * 800 257-6653 Edward's Pipe & Tobacco (Tampa, FL) (retail)

     * 800 726-9481 El Credito (Miami FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 282-3539 Eli Witt Co (Tampa FL) 

     * 800 CIGAR-ME The Epicurean Co. (Berkley, MI) (retail)

     * 800 233-8907 The Epitome (New Orleans, LA) (retail)

     * 800 999-FADER Fader's (Baltimore, MD) (retail)

     * 800 672-5544 Famous Smoke Shop Inc. (New York NY) (retail)

     * 800 221-0638 Finck Cigar Company (San Antonio TX) (retail) 

     * 800 238-2234 Fonseca Cigars (Miami FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 243-9377 Fred Stoker & Sons, Inc (Dresden TN)

     * 800-241-CLUB G.K. Cigar Club (cigar-of-the-month club)

     * 800 843-4058 General Cigar Co (Dothan AL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 345-1459 Georgetown Tobacco (Washington DC) (retail)

     * 800 414-PIPE Greybeard's (Rehoboth Beach, DE) (retail)

     * 800 424-4277 H J Bailey Co (Neptune NJ)   (retail)

     * 800 826-2326 Havana Dan's Monthly Cigar Club (Libertyville IL)

     * 800 581 7828 Havana Studios (Burbank CA) (club)

     * 888 547-1604 Heaven (Naples, FL)  (lounge, retail)

     * 800 523-1641 Holts Cigar Co. (Philadelphia, PA) (retail)

     * 800 831-8893 House of Oxford Distributors (wholesale, New York, NY)

     * 800 358-8100 Hugo Cassar Cigars Sales (Moorpark, CA) manufacturer)

     * 800 247 6666 International Spirits (New York NY) (retail)

     * 800 621-1457 Iwan Ries Co (Chicago IL)  (retail)

     * 800 357-9800 The Internet Smoke Shop (OH) (retail)

     * 800 572-4427 J R Tobacco (Fairfield NJ)  (retail)

     * 800 432-6886 K&B Cigars (Huntington Beach, CA)

     * 800 217-4884 Key West/Havana Cigar Co. (retail)

     * 800 801-2697 Klafter's Inc. (New Castle, PA) (retail)

     * 800 432-4277 Las Vegas Cigar Co (Las Vegas NV) (manufacturer)

     * 800 862-2220 Liberson's Gourmet International Tobaccos (Toluca Lake CA)

     * 800 940-1635 L.J.'s  Fine Tobacco & Wine Shop (North Palm Beach, FL)

     * 800 837-2375 Ludovic Baine Cigar Society (New York, NY)

     * 800 822-4427 Luis Martinez Cigar Co. (Tampa FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 624-5495 M. Marsh & Son. (Wheeling WV) (manufacturer)

     * 800 662-4145 Maison Edwards Tobacconist (Ann Arbor MI)  (retail)

     * 800 567-MAKO Mako Publishing (Cigar Dossier)

     * 800 662-4427 Male Order Enterprises (Auburndale MA)  (retail)

     * 800 962-4427 Mikes Cigar Distributors Inc (Miami Beach FL) (distributor)

     * 800 831-8893 Mom's Cigar (Carringtons) (New York NY) (retail)

     * 800 368-7301 Moore & Bode Cigars (Miami FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 785-0955 Napa Humidors (Orlando, FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 221-1690 Nat Sherman (New York NY)  (retail)

     * 800 432-7473 New Tradition Pipe Co (Pinellas Park FL) (retail)

     * 800 621-1453 Old Chicago Smoke Shop (Chicago, IL) (retail)

     * 800 780-PIPE The Pipe Den and Cigars (Vero Beach, FL)

     * 888 PJ-Smoke PJ Smokes (Princeton, NJ) (retail)

     * 800 748-2784 Premium Cigar (Harleysville PA)

     * 800 669-1527 Rich's (Portland OR)  (retail)

     * 800 SMOKE-95 Royalty Leisure Products (Laurel, MD)

     * 800 782-8499 Rubovits Cigars (Chicago IL)  (retail)

     * 800 352-1092 Sal's Smokeshop (Plantation, FL) (retail) 

     * 888 296-8736 Smoker's Depot (Albuquerque, NM) (retail)

     * 800 604-5900 Smokers' Haven (Columbus. OH) (retail)

     * 800 633-9508 Smokers' World (Miami FL) (retail)

     * 800 752-4427 Smokin' Joe's Tobacco (Knoxville TN) (retail)

     * 800 982-4427 Smokey Joe's (Statesville, NC) (retail)

     * 800 782-9495 Springfield Smoke Shop (Springfield OR) (retail)

     * 800 299-8229 Tabacco Shop, The (Scottsdale Az) (retail)

     * 800 551-8750 Tabaceria (Merritt Island FL) (retail)

     * 800 213-0646 Tampa Vista Cigars (Largo, FL) (manufacturer)

     * 800 367-6653 Taylors Pipe & Tobacco Shop (Ft Smith AR) (retail)

     * 800 777-7240 Tinder Box (Indianapolis, IN)

     * 800 382-4427 Tinder Box (St. Louis, MO) (retail)

     * 800 221-7738 Tinder Box  (National) (retail)

     * 800 237-2559 Thompson Cigar Co, (Tampa, FL) (retail)

     * 800 995-8242 T.J. Cigar Int'l (Flor de Manila cigars) (CA) (distributor)

     * 800 776-7148 Tobacco Bar Ltd., The (Madison, WI) (retail)

     * 800 934-2424 Tobacco Barn Pipe Shop (Lake Forest CA) (retail)

     * 800 999-6882 Tobacco Barns (?) (retail)

     * 800 274-1908 Tobacco Plaza (Little Neck, NY) (retail)

     * 800 926-5991 Tobacco Village (Wilmington, DE) (retail)

     * 800 451-5656 Tuttle's (Grand Rapids MI)   (retail)

     * 800 821-1668 Valley Blends Tobacco & Coffee (Mt Vernon WA) (retail)

     * 800 221-0638 Wally Frank (San Antonio TX) (manufacturer)

     * 800 8-WALLYS Wallys (Los Angeles, CA) (retail)

     * 800 WHARF-10 The Warf (Dayton, OH) (retail)

Free catalogs are also available from the following mail-order retailers.

Famous               1-800-672-5544

Finck Cigar Company  1-800-221-0638

Georgetown           1-800 345-1459

Holts                1-800-523-1641

JR Cigars            1-800-572-4427

Mike's Cigars        1-800-962-4427

Mom's Cigars         1-800-831-8893

Smokin' Joe's        1-800-752-4427

Thompson's           1-800-237-2559

Two Guys             1-617-561-4990

8.2 Seconds (segundos)

What IS a second? How are these different from "Premiums"?

There are several types of "seconds" in the industry, and no real standard for determining them from company

to company. Many (most?) cigars sold in quantity as seconds were designated that way before ther were "born"! 

There's a lot of variation in a natural product such as cigars. Bulk tobacco is sold in different grades, but within

a bale there is a great deal of variation of leaf quality. As the tobacco is sorted and bunched for premium cigars,

a certain percentage of this leaf is determined to be sub-standard for the particular cigars which it was purchased for.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer paid as much for this leaf as the good ones. This leaf is set-aside, and used in

rolling seconds. Often newer (but still trained and skilled) rollers are used to create cigars from this supply to keep

costs down. This sort of second is often sold at a greatly discounted price basically to recover costs. 

Then there are final, or "factory" seconds. Cigars with blemished wrappers, or those caught by an inspector as too

firm or soft. Cigars are often weighed (by the bundle) and compared to a standard. If too heavy or light, there might

be a problem with the construction. Often this sort of second is simply destroyed the variable inconsistancies make

this a very poor choice for a product. 

So don't think those seconds you're smoking are reduced in price because of some minor blemish. Although often

very good smokes, somebody at the factory most likely considered the tobacco in them slightly inferior for their

standard production... 

From: (Viktor Nehring)

Pride of Copan = Zino

  the following are guesses made by me

	PoC 1 6 3/4	x 50	= Zino Veritas cut 1/4" 

	PoC 2 6		x 44	= Zino Tradition cut 1/4"

	five other sizes

Old Fashioned = Macanudo and Partagas

  the following is from various catalogs and my own observations:

	OF #250 6 	x 31 	= Macanudo Claybourne

	OF #300 7 3/4	x 31	= Macanudo Somerset

	OF #350 7 	x 34	= Macanudo Portofino

	OF #500 5 1/2	x 42	= Macanudo Duke of Devon

	OF #550 5	x 50	= Macanudo Hyde Park

	OF #600 6 3/4	x 38	= Macanudo Lonsdale

	OF #700 6 1/2	x 42	= Macanudo Baron de Rothschild

	OF #745 7	x 45	= Macanudo Sovereign

	OF #749 7 1/2	x 49	= Macanudo Prince Philip

	OF #1200 5	x 38	= Macanudo Petit Corona

	OF # 31	 6 3/4	x 43	= Partagas No 1

	OF # 32 5 3/4	x 43	= Partagas No 2

	OF # 33 5 1/4	x 43	= Partagas No 3

	OF # 40 7 1/2	x 49	= Partagas No 10

Te-Amo Segundos = Te-Amo (real clever, huh?)

San Andres segundos = ?

Kings Dominican = Casa Blanca

Roller's Choice = Fonseca 

From: Doug Rabin 

According to a handwritten sign in my local Smoker's Haven, the "Super Premium 2nds" [the label burned into

the wooden boxes] they sell are Dominican Romeo y Julieta Vintage 2nds.  I can't confirm this independently

and have never had RyJV 1sts; but it's plausible in the sense that the ones I tried were pretty good, and they're

not dirt-cheap even as 2nds.  I saw five sizes, #100 - #500. 

From: Edward N Blue {}

Macanundos come in seconds/ seen as unlabelled or JR 5 star seconds Partagas come in seconds/ In the Famous

Smoke Shop Catalog the Macs and Partagas are labeled as world famous seconds.  By deduction and size

matching you know that the Connecticut wrapper belongs to the Macanudo and the Camaroon wrapper belongs

to Partagas. 

Punch Seconds are sold in unlabelled bundles. Casa Blanca Jeroboams are sold as seconds/ You can't miss these. 

Davidoff seconds are sold under the name Private Stock.  These are Davidoff seconds because the wrappers

don't meet the acceptable color scheme that Davidoff selects for its brand.  I purchased every size of Private stock

and matched the Private Stock size to the closest Davidoff cigar style.  Some of the Private Stock cigars are trimmed

to a different size compared to the actual Davidoff size.  I guess the seconds get trimmed to differentiate them from

the actual Davidoffs and maybe fool consumers. 

Below is a list of Private Stock sizes and which Davidoffs they most closely resemble.  Some of the Private Stock

cigars have been trimmed about 1/4" to 1/2" short of actual Davidoff specs. 


Private                              Closely Resembles (see notes at the

Stock #   Size         Cost/cigar    this Davidoff      bottom of the table)


      1   7 3/4 x 48   2.35          Aniversario #1

      2   6 x 48       2.05          Aniversario #2

      3   6 1/2 x 33   1.45          #3000

      4   5 3/4 x 38   1.45          No. 2

      5   5 3/4 x 43   2.00          Tastes like the thousand series.

                                     Close to the #4000

      6   5 1/4 x 46   1.75          #5000 (tastes like the thousand series)

      7   4 3/4 x 43   1.65          Grand Cru #3 (tastes like Grand Cru)

      8   4 5/8 x 34   1.20          #1000

      9   4 5/8 x 26   0.95          Ambassadrice

     10   4 x 40       1.30          Grand Cru #5

     11   4 5/8 x 50   1.85          Special "R"


Private Stock #1 and #2 are clearly trimmed down Aniversarios.

Private Stock #3 is clearly the Davidoff #3000 but is 1/2" shorter

Private Stock #4 is clearly the No. 2 trimmed 1/4" short.  The No. 2 has the

                 distinctive flag tie on the end instead of the cap.

Private Stock #5 - At first when I smoked this I thought it was a Grand Cru.

                   I purchased some real Grand Crus and thousand series and

                   decided that this was actually a thousand series.

Private Stock #6   Clearly a thousand series because Grand Crus don't come

                   in a 46 ring size.

Private Stock #7   Could either be a Grand Cru or thousand series.  However

                   my taste tests determine that this is a Grand Cru

Private Stock #8   Definitely a #1000 because it matches the #1000 size

                   exactly (tastes like a thousand series cigar).

Private Stock #9   Clearly an Ambassadrice.

*Private Stock #10  Clearly a Grand Cru #5

Private Stock #11  Clearly a Special "R" but is trimmed 3/8" shorter

8.3 Web Sites


The following sites on the World Wide Web provide a wealth of information for the cigar smoker.:

(Note - many of these pages have links to each other). My favorite non-commercial pages are prefaced with a ***

NOTE: a more current version of this list (updated frequently!) is available online for linking at the

*** alt.smokers.cigars FAQ 

The current version of "Frequently Asked Questions" - A must read! (downloadable text vertion) (hypertext version)

*** A.s.c. reader's survey

30 Broad Street Cigar Club (club) 

*** The 800 List

The 898 Collection (brand)

A-1 Cigars, Canada (sorry, no U.S. orders accepted...)

*** Airport Smoking List (Cigar friendly and unfriendly airports)

The Amazon (cigar) Trader (retail)

The Antique Pipe Shop (retail)

Atlanta Cigar's!(personal)

Austin Humidor Company (manufacturer)

Bauza (brand)

Big Butt Cigar Co. (retail - accessories)

Black Cat Cigar Co. (retail)

*** Bob Curtis' Personal Page

*** Bob Curtis' Cigar Database

Bob Curtis' Cigar Database (MicroSoft Access version)


Boris Jazbec's Cigar page

Boston Cigar-friendly (Dave's World - personal)

Breckenridge Cigar Company (retail)

The Briar Shoppe (retail)

Butera "Royal Vintage" Cigars (brand)

Canaria D'Oro (brand)

CAO (brand)

Caribbean Cigar Factory (manufacturer)

Carolina Tobacco/Smokey Joes (retail)

Cedar Beauty (retail - ashtrays)

The Cigar Box (retail, Canada)

Chicago Cigar Internet Group - CCIGR (club)

Cigar Bands of the World poster (retail)

Cigar Baron and Men's Gifts (retail)

The Cigar Box (retail, cigars)

Cigar Celebration (retail)

*** A Cigar is Never Merely a Cigar Page

Cigar.Com (multi-retail page)

The Cigar CD Online (product)

Cigar Club International (retail)

Cigar Connoisseur Inc.

Cigar Elegate (retail)

Cigar Exchange (retail)

A Cigar Experience (retail)

Cigar Express (retail - cigars)

*** CigarFriendly.Com (cigar friendly establishments)

Cigar Jar, Evermoist Humidification System (manufacturer)

The Cigar Journal (personal rating system)

Cigar Moments (retail - cigarlog)

Cigar-of-the Month Club (retail)

Cigar Monthly (magazine)

Cigar Museum, Inc., (retail - misc.)

Cigar-Net (retail)

Cigars Online (retail)

Cigars Plus (retail)

The Cigar Room Cigar Store (retail)

The Cigar Specialist (retail)

The Cigar Trader (retail?)

Cigar Trading, Ltd. Portugal (retail)

Cigar World (retail)

*** Cloutier's Cigar Page (personal - index)

Club 8-5-8, Orlando (club)

Cuban Cigar Company, Miami (retail)

The Cuban Cigar Factory (manufacturer)

Custom Cigar Humidors (personal)

Daniel Marshall Humidors (manufacturer)

Digital Havana, Hong Kong. (personal)

The Digital Humidor (retail - cigars, accessories)

Digital Hygrometer (accessories)

*** "The Double Corona" (on-line magazine)

*** Dr. Puff's "Cigar Friendly in New York" List

Dutch Cigars and other links

Edward's Pipe and Cigar (retail)

*** "El Gran Habanero" (personal page)

Extraordinary Humidor Co. (manufacturer)

The Five Cent Cigar Co., Inc

Flying Moose Woodstuff (retail - humidors)

Flor de Gonzalez Cigars (retail)

Flor de Manilla (brand)

Franco Cigar (retail)

Friends of Tobacco (grass-roots non-profit)

Fuji Publishing Group's Cigar Page (lots of info, links, and retailers)

*** General Cigar Co. Home Page (Lot's of info, links)

Gentleman's Cigar Society of Toronto (club)

Georgetown Tobacco (retail)

German Language Cigar Page (personal)

German prices of Cuban cigars

G.K. Cigar Club (retail)

Grocho's Cigar page

*** Halbert's Stogie Corner (personal)


Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe (retail)

La Casa del Habano (Havana House)

Lighten up - Cigar Talk Radio

The Havana Cigar Chest Company (retail)

*** Havanas in the UK

Havana Studios (retail, club page)

Havana Sunrise (manufacturer)

Heaven (lounge, retail)

Cigar/Health FAQ

Holt's (retail)

Honolulu Cigar Box

How to plan a cigar Dinner

Hugo Cassar (brand)

Humidors by Dinger (retail - humidors)

*** The "I Love Cigars" page

Indian Cigar Home Page

International Assoc. of Cigar Clubs

International Humidor (retail)

Internet Cigar Club (retail)

The Internet Smoke Shop (retail )

Iwan Ries & Co. (retail)

Jason's cigar addiction (personal page)

*** Jeff Friedman's International Travel List (cigar shops outside the US)

Jeffrey Scott Humidors (manufacturer)

JR Cigars (retail)

J&S Humidors (retail - humidors)

K & B Cigars (retail - cigars)

KAPAIA TRADING CO. (humidor furniture)

Key West Cigar Festival (event)

Key West Havanna Cigar Co. (manufacturer)

L.J. Peretti Co. (retail)

La Casa del Habano (Havana House)

Las Vegas Cigar Co.(retail)

Licenciados (brand)

*** Lighten up! (cigar friendly restaurants in NY)

A Little Taste of Cuba (retail)

Lone Star Tobacco (retail)

*** Cigar Smoking in Los Angeles

Macanudo (brand)

Macanudo & Partagas Apparel (retail - clothing)

Mako Publishing (cigar dossier)

McCoy's Fine Cigars (retail)

Metropolitan Cigar Society

Miller & Miller Custom Humidors

Napa Cigar Humidor

National Cigar Corp. (manufacturer)

Nat Sherman's (retail)

*** New Jersey Cigar Page

the NEWSSHOP Smoking Room (retail)

New York City Cigar Lounges (commercial)

The On Line Smoke Shop (retail)

*** Operation Cigar Lift (Operation Joint Endeavour)

Ottawa Cigar Society

P.J. Smokes (retail - club)

Pacific Tobacco (retail - distributor)

Padron Cigars (manufacturer)

Panatella's Cigar and Tobacco Emporium (retail)

Partagas (brand)

The Pipes Digest (on-line magazine)

*** Popular Mechanics' professional Humidor Plans!

Ramon Allones (brand)

Rebel Valley Humidors (retail)

Royalty Leisure Products (retail)

Salty Dog Smokeshop (retail - smokeshop)

Seattle Smoker's Club (club)

*** SMOKE Magazine Online!

Smoke & Be Cool

Smoke 'em if you got 'em (general)

Smoke King (retail)

Smoke This (radio show)

Smoker's Depot (retail)

Smoker's rights - what you can do...

Smokin Joe's (retail, cigars, accessories)

Splendid Seed Tobacco Co. (brand)

*** Steve Baumgarten's Cyber-dor

Stogie (personal page)

Temple Hall (brand)

Thomas Humidors (manufacturer)

Thompson & Co. (retail - catalog)

*** The Tobacconist

The Tobacco Club (retail)

The Tobacco Information Network (organization)

*** Tobacco Resources Guide (LOT's of general info from the tobacco 


Tobacco Road (retail - accessories)

Tree Tech (retail - travel humidors)

Trinco Humidors (manufacturer)

*** Trivia quiz...

Troya Cigars (brand)

Two Guys Smoke Shop (retail)

The International Vintage Lighter Exchange (retail)

Virtual Cuban Cigars (retail - cigars)

*** The Cigar Web List

*** WhizStreet Antique Cigar band museum

8.4 Glossary

Binder -  Binder leaves are the intermediate leaf used to hold the bunch    of filler tobacco together

Bloom - Also referred to as plume, this is a white film or spots caused    by the oils in the tobacco rising

to the surface of a cigar's wrapper. It is harmless, and usually indicated a strong tasting smoke.
Bunch - the intermediate cluster of filler tobacco in a cigar

Credo - Originally a specific manufacturer of PG based humidification devices for humidors, the term

credo is now often used for any humidification devices which chemically regulated the humidor's environment. 

Filler - The bunch of tobacco found at the center of the cigar. There are two types of filler: long filler, which

contains the whole leaf running  from the head to the foot of the cigar, and short filler, comprised of  scraps

of tobacco (often the trimmed ends of long fillers).

Humidor - Any box used for storage of cigars in a controlled humidity.    The term humidor usually refers to

wooden boxes, with unfinished  interiors (also see tupperdor, Igloodor)

Hygrometer - A device used for exact (?) measurements of relative humidity.

Igloodor - A (usually large) insulated storage container for cigars. 

Lacioderma - Tobacco Beetle larva. Nasty destroyer of precious cigars.

Propylene Glycol (PG) - (1,2-Propanediol; methyl glycol; C3H8O2;  molecular weight 76.09.)....   A hydroscopic,

viscous liquid.  Slightly acrid taste.  Miscible with water, acetone, chloroform.  Soluble in ether.  Will dissolve many

essential oils, but is immiscible with fixed oils. It is a good solvent  for rosin. Under ordinary conditions propylene

glycol is stable, but at high temps it tends to oxidize giving rise to products such as propionaldehyde, lactic acid,

pyruvic acid, and acetic acid.  LD50 in rates is 30grams/kg. It is completely miscible with water and dissolves in 

many essential oils.  It is used as a solvent for oral and injectable drugs, and is also employed in cosmetics, lotions,

and ointments, as well as in the humidification of tobacco products. 

Relative Humidity - Relative humidity (RH) may be defined as the amount of moisture in the atmosphere as compared

with that of complete saturation at a given temperature. Water exposed to air gradually evaporates until it reaches a

saturation point, i.e. 100% humidity.  At 21 degrees centigrade (approx. 70deg F) and a normal atmospheric pressure,

the amount of evaporated water is approximately 11 grams per cubic meter at a RH of 70%

Tooth - Those little "bumps" of oil on a fine quality Camaroon wrapper.

Tupperdor - A air-tight plastic container used for storing cigars.

Wrapper - The wrapper is the outside layer of tobacco on a cigar.

8.5 Reference books:

This section contains resources for further study. As with all sections of the FAQ, your contributions are welcome! 

"The Art of the Cigar"; Zino Davidoff...

"The Art of The Cigar Label"; Joe Davidson. Wellfleet, Secaucus, N.J.: 1989. 

"The Book of the Havana Cigar"; Orbis Publishing, London 1983.

"Buying Guide to Premium Cigars"; Marvin Shanken, Editor. M. Shanken Communications, Inc. NY NY

"Cigar Almanac"; Rothman, Lew. Education Systems and Publications, Belleville, N.J.: 1979.

"Cigar Aficionado Magazine"; Marvin Shanken, Pub.,  Quarterly, NY NY

"The Cigar Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide"; Anwer Bati, Running Press, Philadelphia, PA., 1993

"Cigars: Know the Cigar"; E. P. Publishing, 1973. 

"The Connoisseur's Book of the Cigar"; Z. Davidoff (with the collaboration of Gilles Lambert. Translated from the

 French by Lawrence Grow.) McGraw-Hill New York, 1969

"The Gentle Art of Smoking"; Alfred H. Dunhill. Max Reinhardt, London, 1972

"A History of the Name HAV-A-TAMPA"; Earl J. Brown, Jr. Tampa, Fla. (500 S. Faulkenburg Rd., Tampa, Fla.

 33601) : Havatampa, c1980. 

"Holy Smoke!"; G. Cabrera Infante... 

"The Illustrated History of Cigars"; Le Roy/Szafan

"The Journey of the Havana Cigar"; Antonio Nunez Jimenez; T.F.H. Publications Inc.

"Perelman's Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars"; Richard Perelman 1996

"The Pleasures of Cigar Smoking"; J. B. Back. Rutledge Books, New York, 1971

"SMOKE Magazine"; published quarterly by Lockwood Trade Journals. !30 W. 42nd Street, NY NY.


"Tobacco and Americans"; Robert Heimann. McGraw Hill, New York: 1960.

"Tobacco Farming and Cigar Making Tools"; John B. Kline. J.B. Kline, PA 1975. 

"Tobacco:Instructions for its Cultivation and Curing"; USDA FB#6 1892 6 pp.

"Tobacco, Methods of Curing"; USDA FB#60 1898 (written for the tobacco grower) 14 pp 

"The Ultimate Cigar Book"; Richard Carleton Hacker, Autumgold Publishing, Beverly Hills, CA, 1993

8.6 Cuban Cigars references...

(special thanks to Rafael Bernardo ( for all of section 8.6 - a tremendous resource

of information on Cuban cigars!  Check out Rafael's great online pronounciation guide of Cuban cigar brands and

box art at

8.6a Cuban Authenticity

One of the topics most frequently asked about Cuban cigars is that related with their authenticity. 


All top quality products suffer from fraudulent imitations, and Cuban cigars have not escaped to these practices. 

For this reason, manufacturers use several methods to help distinguishing real from counterfeit cigars. These methods

are described in this document, along with a set of graphic files uploaded to Compuserve with the generic name of

CUBANAUx.JPG, where "x" corresponds to an ordinal number. 

 1) The Cuban Government's Warranty Stamp (CUBANAU1.JPG)

Established by Law of July 16, 1912, there is a "Sello de garantia nacional de procedencia" that seals the opening

of every cigar box. It is printed in four languages with green ink on a white paper (the green shade is not always the

same), and there are at least three different sizes:

   183x64mm (7.20x2.52")  -  97x34mm (3.82x1.34")  -  60x21mm (2.36x0.83")

It is possible to find one of the two bigger sizes glued to the box, while the smallest one is self-adhesive and is used

for carton packs of five cigars.

If the cigar box comes packed inside a carton box (as, for instance, Partagas 8-9-8 and some other varnished boxes),

the seal is adhered to the opening of the carton box and not to the wooden box.

 2) The "irons" (CUBANAU2.JPG)


There are three inscriptions printed or more or less deeply engraved or burnt- on the bottom of the box, taking a

rectangular surface of approximately 65x35mm (2.56x1.38"). They are usually printed in black ink, although it is

possible to see them in golden ink (ie. Montecristo "A").

The first, "Habanos s.a." is the name of the Cuban export company from October 1, 1994.  The second, "HECHO

EN CUBA" (in an oval) was added in 1960 to substitute the former text in English ("MADE IN CUBA").  The third,

"Totalmente a mano" (in script), was introduced in 1989 to differentiate the Cuban traditional manufacturing process

 from other methods (the European Union accepts the "made by hand" denomination for cigars partially made by machine).

Boxes manufactured between 1985 and 1994 have the inscription "CUBATABACO" instead of "Habanos s.a.", as

well as a tobacco leaf logo on top of it, taking a surface of 65x45mm (2.56x1.77"). But this is only in theory, because

it is possible to find boxes manufactured at the end of 1995 with the old Cubatabaco inscription, and they are

completely genuine.

 3) The "Habanos" sticker (CUBANAU3.JPG)
Boxes manufactured starting from 1994 are also sealed diagonally across one of their top corners with a white strip

with gold borders and the leaf emblem and the word "Habanos" in red and yellow. The sticker is self-adhesive and 

rectangular, measuring 102x20mm (4x0.79").

 4) The factory and date codes


In addition to the three guarantee proofs described above, Cuban cigar boxes are stamped on the bottom with the

factory and date codes in blue or purple ink. Depending on the Factory, these stamps can take one or two lines,

and can be enclosed or not in a rectangle.

 Varnished boxes packed in a carton box wear the stamp imprinted on the carton, and not on the wood.

 The codes of the best known Cuban factories are as follows:

     Partagas:             FPG     (Francisco Perez German)

     Romeo y Julieta:      BM      (Briones Montoto)

     H. Upmann:            JM      (Jose Marti)

     La Corona:            FR      (Miguel Fernandez Roig)

     El Rey del Mundo:     HM      (Heroes de Moncada)

     El Laguito:           EL

As for the date of manufacturing, it is represented by a four letter coded text. The first two letters correspond

to the month and the last two to the year of manufacture, ie. "MMYY". Once "Cigar Insider" has unveiled its

meaning, I feel free to reproduce here the translation from the coded letters into clear figures:

                        N I V E L     A C U S O

                        1 2 3 4 5     6 7 8 9 0

For instance, a box of Punch Double Coronas with the code "FR OESA" printed on its bottom indicates that

it was manufactured at the La Corona factory in April, 1996.

 5) The COHIBA case


Due to the sensitivity that COHIBA always carries when speaking about fakes, I'll try to clarify some aspects

involved with their authenticity:

 5.1) The boxes


All Cohibas (excluding carton packs of 5) come in natural wood boxesvarnished on all sides except the bottom.

There are three different kinds of boxes where Cohibas are packed:

      a) BN (Boite Nature with brooch). This is the box where the three initial 1982 vitolas came (Lanceros,

Coronas Especiales and Panetelas). It can hold 25 or 50 cigars, placed in conventional layers, and its corners

are softened.

      b) SBN-B (Semi Boite Nature with Brooch). This box is used to hold two of the three 1989 vitolas, ie.

Esplendidos and Exquisitos. The corners are sharp, and the lid is flat. Cigars come in two conventional layers.

      c) SLB (Slide Lid Box). This kind of box is used to keep the Robustos plus the five "1492 LINE" or SIGLO

Series vitolas. Cigars come in a bundle of 25 encircled by a wide yellow cloth ribbon

      The boxes must wear the authenticity seals and proofs mentioned earlier. Also, Cohibas in boxes of 25 or 50

are not cello wrapped (at least I have never seen them) and the physical appearance of the cigars (color and size

uniformity, touch softness, etc.) must be impeccable. In fact, cello helps to dissimulate all kinds of imperfections.

So no white boxes exist for Cohiba Lanceros, nor are they cello wrapped!

 5.2) The bands


      All Cohibas are banded with the classical and well-known checkered black & white top, orange bottom and

the word COHIBA in the middle (with black ink over a white rectangular background) bands. "La Habana, Cuba"

is printed on the center of the orange stripe from the end of 1994.

 5.3) The cigars


      All Cohibas are parejos, ie. no irregular shapes, but there are two of them with a clear differentiation: Lanceros

and Coronas Especiales caps are finished as a "pig tail" (curly heads).

      Cohiba Lanceros are the most counterfeited Cuban cigars. Their format (7 1/2" x 38) makes them very difficult

to manufacture even for the best rollers with the best tobacco leaves, so a bogus is much more difficult to make... 

and to smoke!. False Lanceros have generally a so tight draw that makes them nearly impossible to smoke.

 6) Other clues


When receiving a box of Havanas, if any of the marks mentioned in paragraphs 1 to 4 is missing, you can be sure

that it does not contain genuine hand made cigars. Counterfeit Havana cigars are made not only in Cuba, but in

Dominican Republic and other countries.

The cedar sheet that separates the two layers of cigars in a 25 cigar box, must fill completely the opening of the box

and one of its corners should be curvilinearly stripped. A shorter sheet with a straight cut corner is a symptom

of falsification.

Fake Havanas can wear authentic bands. Check for their perfect alignment in the box, as well as for the uniformity

of colour tones in their wrappers.

The final (and traumatic) test: If the doubt still persists, you can always sacrifice one of your stogies and perform

an autopsy that for sure will tell you the truth {g}.

8.6b Cuban Cigar Sizes, Brands, Names

There are not less than 75 different formats of hand-made and machine-made Havana cigars, most of them are

described in this section. Their lengths vary from 3 7/8 to 9 1/4 inches, while their ring gauges vary between 26 and 52.

Some of the cigar names, like Panetelas, are used to denominate vitolas in different Havana brands, although their

measures are not always the same. For instance, a Romeo y Julieta Panetela measures 4 5/8" x 34, while a Cohiba

Panetela measures 4 1/2" x 26.

On the other hand, cigars of the same format receive different commercial names. For example, a 7" x 47 cigar,

usually known as Churchill, can be named as Prince of Wales, Coronas Gigantes or Esplendidos depending on

whether has it being manufactured by Romeo y Julieta, Bolivar or Cohiba, respectively.

Fortunately, there is a comprehensive relation of names for each Havana format, that used by the people who makes

them at the factory. They employ a unique denomination or "VITOLA DE GALERA" to distinguish each type of cigar.

Here are 69 of these denominations, divided into two groups. The first group corresponds to the vitolas made

exclusively by hand, while the second group includes those vitolas made by hand and/or machine. In both cases

they are listed in alphabetic order. A list of hand-made Cuban cigars currently manufactured follows the first group,

while the second group includes some examples of different brands for each type of vitola.

Take into account that not all the brands/names are worlwide distributed, so their availability depends on the respective 

commercialization areas.



 1)  ALMUERZOS - 5 1/8" x 40 (130 x 15.88 mm)

 2)  BRITANICAS - 5 3/8" x 46 (137 x 18.26 mm)

 3)  CADETES - 4 1/2" x 36 (115 x 14.29 mm)


 4)  CAMPANAS - 5 1/2" x 52 (140 x 20.64 mm)

 5)  CARLOTAS - 5 5/8" x 35 (143 x 13.89 mm)

 6)  CAROLINAS - 4 3/4" x 26 (121 x 10.32 mm)

 7)  CAZADORES - 6 3/8" x 44 (162 x 17.46 mm)


 8)  CERVANTES - 6 1/2" x 42 (165 x 16.67 mm)


 9)  CORONAS - 5 5/8" x 42 (142 x 16.67 mm)

 10) CORONAS GORDAS - 5 5/8" x 46 (143 x 18.26 mm)

 11) CORONAS GRANDES - 6 1/8" x 42 (155 x 16.67 mm)

 12) COSACOS - 5 3/8" x 42 (135 x 16.67 mm)

 13) DALIAS - 6 3/4" x 43 (170 x 17.07 mm)

 14) DELICADOS - 7 1/2" x 38 (192 x 15.08 mm)

 15) DELICADOS EXTRA - 7 1/4" x 36 (185 x 14.29 mm)

 16) ENTREACTOS - 3 7/8" x 30 (100 x 11.91 mm)

 17) ESPECIALES - 5 1/4" x 45 (134 x 17.86 mm)

 18) FRANCISCANOS - 4 1/2" x 40 (116 x 15.88 mm)

 19) FRANCISCOS - 5 5/8" x 44 (143 x 17.46 mm)

 20) GRAN CORONA - 9 1/4" x 47 (235 x 18.65 mm)

 21) HERMOSOS No.4 - 5" x 48 (127 x 19.05 mm)

 22) JULIETA 2 - 7" x 47 (178 x 18.65 mm)

 23) LONDRES - 5" x 40 (126 x 15.88 mm)

 24) MAREVAS - 5 1/8" x 42 (129 x 16.67 mm)

 25) MINUTOS - 4 3/8" x 42 (110 x 16.67 mm)

 26) NINFAS - 7" x 33 (178 x 13.10 mm)

 27) (LAGUITO) No.1 - 7 1/2" x 38 (192 x 15.08 mm)

 28) (LAGUITO) No.2 - 6" x 38 (152 x 15.08 mm)

 29) (LAGUITO) No.3 - 4 1/2" x 26 (115 x 10.32 mm)

 30) PALMAS - 6 3/4" x 33 (170 x 13.10 mm)

 31) PALMITAS - 6" x 32 (152 x 12.70 mm)

 32) PANETELAS - 4 5/8" x 34 (117 x 13.49 mm)

 33) PANETELAS LARGAS - 6 7/8" x 28 (175 x 11.11 mm)

 34) PAREJOS - 6 1/2" x 38 (166 x 15.08 mm)

 35) PERLAS - 4" x 40 (102 x 15.88 mm)

 36) PIRAMIDES - 6 1/8" x 52 (156 x 20.64 mm)

 37) PLACERAS - 4 7/8" x 34 (125 x 13.49 mm)

 38) PROMINENTES - 7 5/8" x 49 (194 x 19.45 mm)

 39) ROBUSTOS - 4 7/8" x 50 (124 x 19.84 mm)

 40) SEOANE - 5" x 36 (126 x 14.29 mm)

 41) SUPERIORES - 5 3/4" x 40 (146 x 15.88 mm)

 42) TACOS - 6 1/4" x 47 (158 x 18.65 mm)

 43) TRABUCOS - 4 3/8" x 38 (110 x 15.08 mm)




Cigar Names are generally referred to in plural, while their formats are written in singular (exceptions are

Londres, the Spanish name for London, and Cervantes, the Spanish writer).

Some of the cigars mentioned here can have different presentations under the same name (with or without

band, wrapped or not in cellophane, tubed, etc.) and in some cases can also be made by machine. In such

a case there is always a difference between hand- and machine made cigars, as in their names, format and/or

presentation. Examples:

1) R&J Romeo Nos. 1, 2 & 3, when made by hand, are denominated "de Luxe" (their formats are also slightly

different from those made by machine).

2) Hand-made Punch Petit Coronations are Franciscanos (4 1/2" x 40), while their Machine-made counterparts

are Coronitas (4 5/8" x 40). Both cigars come in aluminum tubes.

3) H-M R&J Panetelas correspond to the Panetela format (4 5/8" x 34), while the M-M version correspond

to the Sport format (4 5/8" x 35) and come cello wrapped.

4) H-M H.Upmann Medias Coronas are Marevas, while the M-M are Eminentes.

Here is the list of Hand-made Cuban cigars currently manufactured. This relation is mainly based in catalogues

published by Habanos, s.a. and the sizes of the cigars are described in terms of their vitolas de galera that

have just been described:

BRAND                  NAME                                VITOLA DE GALERA

==================     ==========================          ===================

BOLIVAR                Belicosos Finos                     Campana

                       Bonitas                             Londres

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronas Extra                       Francisco

                       Coronas Gigantes                    Julieta 2

                       Coronas Junior                      Minuto

                       Demi Tasse                          Entreacto

                       Gold Medal                          Cervantes

                       Inmensas                            Dalia

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Palmas                              Ninfa

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Regentes                            Placera

                       Royal Coronas                       Robusto

                       Suprema Churchill                   Julieta 2

COHIBA                 Coronas Especiales                  Laguito No.2

                       Esplendidos                         Julieta 2

                       Exquisitos                          Seoane

                       Lanceros                            Laguito No.1

                       Panetelas                           Laguito No.3

                       Robustos                            Robusto

                       Siglo I                             Perla

                       Siglo II                            Mareva

                       Siglo III                           Corona Grande

                       Siglo IV                            Corona Gorda

                       Siglo V                             Dalia

LA FLOR DE CANO        Coronas                             Mareva

                       Diademas                            Julieta 2

                       Gran Corona                         Corona Gorda

                       Short Churchills                    Robusto

FONSECA                Cosacos                             Cosaco

                       Delicias                            Standard-Mano

                       Fonseca No.1                        Cazador

                       Invictos                            Especial

                       K.D.T. Cadetes                      Cadetes

LA GLORIA CUBANA       Cetros                              Cervantes

                       Medaille d'Or No.1                  Delicado Extra

                       Medaille d'Or No.2                  Dalia

                       Medaille d'Or No.3                  Panetela Larga

                       Medaille d'Or No.4                  Palmita

                       Minutos                             Franciscano

                       Tainos                              Julieta 2

                       Tapados                             Cosaco

                       Sabrosos                            Corona Grande

H. UPMANN              Amatistas                           Superior

                       Cinco Bocas                         Cervantes

                       Connoisseur No.1                    Hermoso No.4

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronas Major                       Mareva

                       Coronas Minor                       Franciscano

                       Cristales                           Cosaco

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Magnum 46                           Corona Gorda

                       Medias Coronas                      Mareva

                       Monarcas                            Julieta 2

                       Monarchs                            Julieta 2

                       Noellas                             Cosaco

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Petit Palatinos                     Cadetes

                       Royal Coronas                       Corona

                       Short Coronas                       Cosaco

                       Sir Winston                         Julieta 2

                       Super Coronas                       Corona Gorda

                       Upmann No.1                         Cervantes

                       Upmann No.2                         Piramide

                       Upmann No.3                         Corona

                       Upmann No.4                         Mareva

HOYO DE MONTERREY      Churchills                          Julieta 2

                       Concorde                            Julieta 2

                       Coronations                         Mareva

                       Double Coronas                      Prominente

                       Epicure No.1                        Corona Gorda

                       Epicure No.2                        Robusto

                       Hoyo Coronas                        Corona

                       Jeanne d'Arc                        Carlota

                       Le Hoyo des Dieux                   Corona Grande

                       Le Hoyo du Dauphin                  Laguito No.2

                       Le Hoyo du Depute                   Trabuco

                       Le Hoyo du Gourmet                  Palma

                       Le Hoyo du Maire                    Entreacto

                       Le Hoyo du Prince                   Almuerzo

                       Le Hoyo du Roi                      Corona

                       Longos                              Ninfa

                       Margaritas                          Carolina

                       Odeon                               Laguito No.2

                       Opera                               Corona

                       Particulares                        Gran Corona

                       Petit Coronations                   Franciscano

                       Royal Coronations                   Corona

                       Short Hoyo Coronas                  Mareva

                       Versailles                          Palma

MONTECRISTO            A                                   Gran Corona

                       B                                   Cosaco

                       Especial                            Laguito No.1

                       Especial No.2                       Laguito No.2

                       Joyitas                             Laguito No.3

                       No.1                                Cervantes

                       No.2                                Piramide

                       No.3                                Corona

                       No.4                                Mareva

                       No.5                                Perla

                       Tubos                               Corona Grande

PARTAGAS               8-9-8                               Corona Grande

                       8-9-8                               Dalia

                       Astorias                            Cosaco

                       Charlottes                          Carlota

                       Churchills de Luxe                  Julieta 2

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronas A. Mejorado                 Corona

                       Coronas Grandes                     Corona Grande

                       Filipos                             Placera

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Lusitanias                          Prominente

                       Palmas Grandes                      Ninfa

                       Partagas de Partagas No.1           Dalia

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Presidentes                         Taco

                       Ramonitas                           Carolina

                       Royales                             Londres

                       Seleccion Privada No.1              Dalia

                       Serie D No.4                        Robusto

                       Serie du Connaisseur No.1           Delicado

                       Serie du Connaisseur No.2           Parejo

                       Serie du Connaisseur No.3           Carlota

                       Shorts                              Minuto

                       Tres Petit Coronas                  Franciscano

POR LARRANAGA          Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronitas                           Panetela

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Small Coronas                       Franciscano

PUNCH                  Black Prince                        Corona Gorda

                       Churchills                          Julieta 2

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronations                         Mareva

                       Diademas Extra                      Gran Corona

                       Double Coronas                      Prominente

                       Gran Coronas                        Superior

                       Margaritas                          Carolina

                       Monarcas                            Julieta 2

                       Nacionales                          Cosaco

                       Ninfas                              Ninfa

                       Panetelas                           Panetela

                       Panetelas Grandes                   Ninfa

                       Petit Coronas del Punch             Mareva

                       Petit Coronations                   Franciscano

                       Petit Punch                         Perla

                       Petit Punch de Luxe                 Perla

                       Presidentes                         Mareva

                       Punchinellos                        Panetela

                       Punch Punch                         Corona Gorda 

                       Royal Coronations                   Corona

                       Royal Selection No.11               Corona Gorda

                       Royal Selection No.12               Mareva

                       Seleccion de Luxe No.2              Mareva

                       Souvenirs de Luxe                   Londres

                       Super Selection No.1                Corona Grande

                       Super Selection No.2                Corona Gorda

                       Tres Petit Coronas                  Minuto

QUAI D'ORSAY           Coronas Claro                       Corona

                       Coronas Claro Claro                 Corona

                       Gran Corona                         Corona Grande

                       Imperiales                          Julieta 2

                       Panetelas                           Ninfa

QUINTERO Y HERMANO     Churchills                          Cervantes

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronas Selectas                    Corona

                       Medias Coronas                      Londres

                       Medias Coronas Selectas             Londres


RAFAEL GONZALEZ        Cigarritos                          Laguito No.3

                       Coronas Extra                       Corona Gorda

                       Demi Tasse                          Entreacto

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Panetelas                           Panetela

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Petit Lonsdales                     Mareva

                       Slenderellas                        Panetela Larga

                       Tres Petit Lonsdales                Franciscano

RAMON ALLONES          8-9-8                               Corona

                       8-9-8                               Dalia

                       Allones Specially Selected          Robusto

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Gigantes                            Prominente

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Ramonitas                           Carolina

                       Small Club Coronas                  Minuto

EL REY DEL MUNDO       Choix Supreme                       Hermoso No.4

                       Coronas de Luxe                     Corona

                       Demi Tasse                          Entreacto

                       Elegantes                           Panetela Larga

                       Gran Corona                         Corona Gorda

                       Grandes de Espana                   Delicado

                       Isabel                              Carlota

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Lunch Club                          Franciscano

                       Panetelas Largas                    Panetela Larga

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Petit Lonsdales                     Mareva

                       Senoritas                           Laguito No.3

                       Tainos                              Julieta 2

ROMEO Y JULIETA        Cazadores                           Cazador 

                       Cedros de Luxe No.1                 Cervantes

                       Cedros de Luxe No.2                 Corona

                       Cedros de Luxe No.3                 Mareva

                       Celestiales Finos                   Britanica

                       Churchills                          Julieta 2

                       Clemenceaus                         Julieta 2

                       Club Kings                          Mareva

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronas Grandes                     Corona Grande

                       Exhibicion No.3                     Corona Gorda

                       Exhibicion No.4                     Hermoso No.4

                       Julietas                            Franciscano

                       Nacionales                          Cosaco

                       Palmas Reales                       Ninfa

                       Panetelas                           Panetela

                       Petit Coronas                       Mareva

                       Petit Julietas                      Entreacto

                       Petit Princess                      Perla

                       Plateados de Romeo                  Mareva

                       Prince of Wales                     Julieta 2

                       Romeo No.1 de Luxe                  Corona

                       Romeo No.2 de Luxe                  Mareva

                       Romeo No.3 de Luxe                  Franciscano

                       Shakespeares                        Panetela Larga

                       Tres Petit Coronas                  Franciscano

SAINT LUIS REY         Coronas                             Corona

                       Lonsdales                           Cervantes

                       Regios                              Hermoso No.4

                       Serie A                             Corona Gorda

SANCHO PANZA           Bachilleres                         Franciscano

                       Belicosos                           Campana

                       Coronas                             Corona

                       Coronas Gigantes                    Julieta 2

                       Dorados                             Cervantes

                       Molinos                             Cervantes

                       Non Plus                            Mareva

                       Sanchos                             Gran Corona

                       Tronquitos                          Corona



 44) BELVEDERES - 4 7/8" x 39 (125 x 15.48 mm)

     BO Belvederes, HU Belvederes, PA Belvederes, PA Habaneros, PL Belvederes,

     PU Belvederes, RA Belvederes, RJ Belvederes, RJ Favoritas,

     RJ Regalias de la Habana

 45) CHICOS - 4 1/8" x 29 (106 x 11.51 mm)

     BO Chicos, PA Bonitos Extra Mild, PA Chicos, PL Curritos, PL Juanitos,

     PU Cigarrillos, QU Puritos, RA Bits of Havana, RM Variedades

 46) CONCHITAS - 5" x 35 (127 x 13.89 mm)

     BO Panetelas, PA Panetelas, PA Princess, RA Panetelas

 47) CONSERVAS - 5 3/4" x 44 (145 x 17.46 mm)

     HU Royal Coronas, HM Royal Coronations, PU Royal Coronations

 48) CORONITAS - 4 5/8" x 40 (117 x 15.88 mm)

     HU Aromaticos, HU Coronas Minor, HU Singulares, HM Petit Coronations,

     PA Coronas Junior, PA Regalias de la Reina Bueno, PU Petit Coronations,

     RJ Clarines, RJ Regalias de Londres, RJ Romeo No.3

 49) CREMAS - 5 1/2" x 40 (140 x 15.88 mm)

     BO Champions, HU Especiales, HU Majestic, HM Palmas Extra,

     PA Partagas de Luxe, PA Super Partagas, PU Palmas Reales, RA Ramondos,

     RJ Romeo No.1

 50) CRISTALES - 5 7/8" x 41 (150 x 16.27 mm)

     FC Selectos

 51) CULEBRAS - 5 3/4" x 39 (146 x 15.48 mm)

     HU Culebras, PA Culebras, RJ Culebras

 52) DELICIOSOS - 6 1/4" x 35 (159 x 13.89 mm)

     HU El Prado, PL Largos de Larranaga, PL Montecarlos

 53) DEMI TASSE - 3 7/8" x 32 (100 x 12.70 mm)

     HU Preciosas

 54) DEMI TIP - 5" x 29 (126 x 11.51 mm)

     PA Demi-Tip

 55) EMINENTES - 5 1/4" x 44 (132 x 17.46 mm)

     BO Petit Coronas Especiales, HU Coronas Major, HU Medias Coronas,

     PA Coronas Senior, PA Eminentes, PA Petit Coronas Especiales,

     PA Petit Coronas Tubos

 56) EPICURES - 4 3/8" x 35 (110 x 13.89 mm)

     HU Epicures

 57) INFANTES - 3 7/8" x 37 (98 x 14.68 mm)

     PA Petit Bouquets

 58) NACIONALES - 5 1/2" x 40 (140 x 15.88 mm)

     LS Brevas, LS Cremas, LS Selectos, QU Brevas, QU Nacionales

 59) NATURALES - 6 1/8" x 37 (155 x 14.68 mm)

     HU Naturals

 60) PERFECTOS - 5" x 44 (127 x 17.46 mm)

     PA Perfectos, RJ Perfectos

 61) PETIT - 4 1/4" x 31 (108 x 12.30 mm)

     HU Petit Upmann

 62) PETIT CETROS - 5 1/8" x 40 (129 x 15.88 mm)

     HM Exquisitos, PA Aristocrats, PA Londres en Cedro, PA Londres Extras,

     PA Londres Finos, PA Parisianos, PA Personales, PA Petit Partagas,

     PU Exquisitos, RJ Coronitas, RJ Coronitas en Cedro, RJ Plateados de Romeo,

     RJ Exquisitos

 63) PETIT CORONAS - 5 1/8" x 42 (129 x 16.67 mm)

     HU Aromaticos, HU Exquisitos, HU Kings, HU Regalias, HM Coronations,

     HM Souvenirs de Luxe, PA Mille Fleurs, PL Lolas en Cedro, PU Coronations,

     PU Souvenirs de Luxe, RA Mille Fleurs, RJ Club Kings, RJ Excepcionales,

     RJ Mille Fleurs, RJ Romeo No.2

 64) PREFERIDOS - 5" x 38 (127 x 15.08 mm)

 65) SPORTS - 4 5/8" x 35 (117 x 13.89 mm)

     RJ Panetelas, RJ Sport Largos

 66) STANDARD - 4 7/8" x 40 (123 x 15.88 mm)

     FC Petit Coronas, FC Predilectos Tubulares, FO Delicias,

     LS Delirios, LS Dobles, PL Super Cedros, QU Londres, QU Londres Extra,

     TR Coronas Club Tubulares

 67) TOPPERS - 6 1/4" x 39 (160 x 15.48 mm)

     PA Toppers, RA Delgados, RA Toppers, RJ Montagues

 68) UNIVERSALES - 5 1/4" x 38 (134 x 15.08 mm)

     TR Universales

 69) VEGUERITOS - 5" x 37 (127 x 14.68 mm)

     FC Preferidos, PL Panetelas, QU Panetelas, RG Panetelas Extra

 The meaning of the Brand abbreviations is as follows:

 BO:  Bolivar

 FC:  La Flor de Cano

 FO:  Fonseca

 HM:  Hoyo de Monterrey

 HU:  H. Upmann

 LS:  Los Statos de Luxe

 PA:  Partagas

 PL:  Por Larranaga

 PU:  Punch

 QU:  Quintero y Hermano

 RA:  Ramon Allones

 RG:  Rafael Gonzalez

 RJ:  Romeo y Julieta

 RM:  Rey del Mundo

 TR:  Troya



This section is dedicated to the "random" opinions of a.s.c.'s readers on their favorite smokes. I complied

these comments over the past year, and tried to include any short, positive comments which described a

particular cigar's character in 25 words or less. Note that it is not intended to be a complete list of fine cigars,

 just some favorites... 


As far as fine cigars go, I prefer Montecristo #4's, When I'm really celebrating, it's a #2...


I would suggest the Macanudo Portofino.  Quite mild yet flavorful, readily available, consistent quality.

A bit expensive (over $3 here) but worth it IMO.  When you are ready to move to something spicier try

the Fuente (maybe the Maduro wrapper) or a Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur, which I find *excellent*

although the spiciness  sometimes gets to me.


For consistency of taste and flavor, nothing  beats a Macanudo or even a Partagas. The companies that own

them are just too big and have lots of money so they can buy the many blends necessary to insure consistency.


The Partegas is a good cigar and the Vintage is even better. It's less harsh as it is aged much longer. It costs

about $8.00 though.


Here's what comes to the top of my head for favorites...Cuesta-Rey 1884 maduro, JR Ultimate double corona, 

double maduro, Punch (Cuban) double corona, Montecristo   (Cuban) #2


Try a Macanudo Ascot. They are mild and are small in size. One could almost get away with smoking them

in public (where smoking is allowed). It seems that a cigar of any size attracts a lot of attention and the Ascots are

 just a bit larger than a cigarette.


I would recommend a box of Royal Jamaican Maduro wrapped Coronas. I have only been smoking for about a

year, but these medium priced smokes have remained my favorite non-Cuban cigar.


I ordered 20 El Ray del Mundo Robustos a few weeks ago.  They were 2 bucks each.  They are the best 2$ smoke

I've ever had.  In fact, I'd rate them as one of the best cigars I've tried.  Very smooth and flavorful.


Fonseca 8-9-8. Very smooth and very nice.  Good tobacco flavors. Yet light enough for a first time smoke.


Griffins.  1000 is A great first time smoke. Creamy, smooth light. My personal favorite "light" smoke.


I just wanted to say that I smoked a Santa Rosa Lonsdale size cigar for $1.95 and it was great. I often overlook

Santa Rosa when I'm cigar hunting but I won't anymore. It has a pleasant aroma and is smooth for being Honduran.


To give you an idea of how much I like these cigars, I've gone through eight Padrons and three Rey del Mundos

(I'm happily chewing on the third as I type) In the last 5 days, and I'm usually a cigar-a-day smoker.


I tried a Montecristo #1 from the Dominican Republic today, purchased at De La Concha on Sixth Avenue

in Manhattan.  It was a pleasant-tasting cigar, but was tough to draw and had a bitter finish.


I tried a Carribean Cigar Santiago Cubano Torpedo recently - thought I was in heaven! Rich and creamy with

a touch of chocolate and nuttiness, this was one great smoke!


Grabbed a pair of Series "D" Robustos for a change of pace from the Ashtons. Full flavor (no doubt due to the

ring size) and an easy draw.


I have tasted chocolate very distinctly in several Cuban cigars, but never a non-Cuban. Try a Romeo Y Julieta

Churchill - They taste just like Heath bars!


The Partagas.  This is the cigar I can't quite get enough of.  This cigar in a #10 is a permanent part of my humidor.

I've tried the Partagas Limited Reserve (at over two times the price) and still come back to this cigar.  A nice

smoke indeed.


When I started, half the fun was trying different kinds. Many of the previous suggestions: Macanudos, Arturo

Fuentes are great. I like Ashtons, Ramon Allones and Upmans. For a great smoke try Dianas, Avos, Zinos, etc.

Montesino, and Ashton Vintage... Very nice cigars. Lots of that "toasty" flavor I like.


Hoyo de Monterrey (Havana) - A powerful smoke. Really rich. Like a super intense Fuente Hemmingway.


I started with an Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 in a maduro wrapper, and have yet to find a finer cigar for the money!

They are wonderful.


I like almost all the Ashtons.  The Vintage Cabinet Selection, is by far the best, but it is quite expensive.

(I forget the exact price, maybe $6-7.)  The 8-9-8 is also excellent, and it is probably a better bargain

for your money.  These cigars are mild with an almost woody taste.


I tend to enjoy Macanudos myself, but I would also try a Partagas for a little different flavor.  I would also have

to suggest something in a Royal Jamaica.


My current favorite is the Nat Sherman Hunter (6 inches and about 43 ring gauge).  A very satisfying smoke and

I love the slightly sweet wrapper.


The Arturo Fuentes Masterpieces are all pretty good - and the Hemmingway series are really tough to beat,

especially for the price.  If you don't have quite the time needed for the bigger versions, try the Signatures. Delightful.


Yep, I sure like the Fuente Rothchilds, little 4.5" about 50 ring and white ash and quite nice smoke.


Canellas are wonderful Mexican cigars. I don't think they're available in the states. They also have a much inferior

machine made that's lousy, of course.  but the quality hand rolled are beautiful.


A Dominican Cigar, shipped to Paris for distribution. Pleiades are quite wonderful cigars, though extremely mild

and delicate in flavor. I particularly like the Sirius (a classic lonsdale), the Pluton (a robusto) and the Aldeberon

(a double corona of epic proportion). Lightly spicy, sometimes a bit herbaceous, nice toffee like notes with a

a short, but pleasant finish.


If you're looking for stronger cigars, I think you should try a nice Honduran smoke. Hoyo Excaliburs are very

nice, and I've had robustos made by Don Tomas. These are especially strong, I've found. I like them both.


Punch Presidente is a very rich and flavorful cigar.  It represents the one of the finest Honduran cigars made.

Significantly strengthened near the end. Very smooth draw and, quite a complex flavor.


By far IMO the A.F. Churchill is the best Dominican cigar that I've experienced. I was really impressed on how

well it smoked. It was truly pleasurable, beautifully constructed, burned evenly and smoked very smoothly. I sensed

hints of mint and cedar along with a warm coffee finish.


I had a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #1 (Havana) last year and it sent a blast, a big blast of taste from start to finish.

The peppery spiciness really kicked in about half way down the cigar.


An old favorite of mine, and all time champ in unlit scent, is the Partagas Maduro.


Tonight I had my first A. Fuente double chateau and for an hour and a half I was in heaven.


The Te-Amo Robusto is one hell of a great cigar.  It has everything I'm looking for in a full bodied heavy ring gauge cigar.


The Punch was wonderful.  I have never smoked a cigar like it.  It was like a combination of the flavors of an A.F.

8-5-8 and a J.R. Ultimate.


ARTURO FUENTE DON CARLOS #3 (corona size)This cigar is heaven on earth!!!  As good as the Cuban coronas

I've smoked. The richest tasting cigar I've ever experienced.


El Rey del Mundo - Robusto Larga (maduro)...dark, beautiful wrapper, great draw and flavor (what I as a beginner

would call complex and creamy for lack of the proper adjectives).


Henry Clay Breva Fina. Nice wrapper, dark and oily for a natural. Strong taste. Rich flavors of roasted coffee with

pepper and other spices. One of the strongest Dominicans I've tried. 


I recently tried a  Joya de Nicaragua No. 6 lonsdale in the natural wrapper. It was a very enjoyable cigar medium to full

bodied with a spicy, chocolatey flavor.  I would heartily recommend it.


9.1 Letterman, Burns, and Limbaugh

Questions concerning these three popular cigar smokers come up all too often in alt.smokers.cigars. Just to set the

record straight: 

 * David Letterman Smokes Cuban Cohibas. His favorite size is Robusto.

 * George Burns smoked El Productos. Why? Because they don't go out   while he's smoking on stage.

 * In a recent radio broadcast, Rush Limbaugh mentioned the following as his "regular" smokes... Arturo Fuente

   (any Fuentes!), Partagas (particularly the #10), Davidoff Double-R, and La Gloria Cubanas...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ END OF DOCUMENT +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

   Copyright 1995, 1996 by Bob Curtis {}. All rights reserved.