The Definitive Gift Guide to Cigars

The Stogie or Cigar has been enjoyed by men (and some women) for ages. It stands in as a traditional prop for celebratory events such as the birth of a baby, the announcement of wedding, and is favorite as a bachelor party-favor. But where did the stogie originate from? The origins of this smokey beast may just surprise you.

History of the Cigar

Even though Cuban cigars are thought to be the most world-renowned on the market today, the stogie didn't start with Cuban origins.

Back in the 10th century a ceramic pot was discovered in Guatemala depicting a Mayan puffing on tobacco leaves bound up with string. It was also with these people the cigar name may have began - the Mayan's term for smoking is sikar. It's from this simple word that most likely led to the Spanish cigarro, from which the cigar now takes its name. From there, Columbus not only sailed the ocean blue in 1492, he also discovered the New World's natives smoking tobacco wrapped up in dried palm leaves and corn husks - demonstrating the first primitive form of cigars.

Cuba has and still remains a smoking-pot for the cigar. Its fertile land and optimal climate allows all the components in a cigar to be grown and harvested there; the wrapper, filler and binder. With this commodity in demand, ships were soon exporting Cuban tobacco from both Europe and Asia. Even though Columbus had claimed Cuba for Spain, the 17th century threw down a mandate that all tobacco for export had to be registered in Seville. They then later dominated the market by forbidding all growers in Cuba from selling their crops to anyone but them This monopoly held in full force until 1817.

By the mid-19th century the addiction to cigars was in full swing with the USA alone consuming over 300 million. By the early 20th century, many Cuban cigar-makers migrated to Florida where Tampa soon became known as "Cigar City."

Cigars were an affordable pass time and was becoming a must-have for debonair gentlemen. Mark Twain sited his famous saying; "if I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go."

Ulysses S. Grant's was another well-known person whose addiction to cigars eventually saddled him with throat cancer. As well a Freud's 20-a-day cigar habit landing him in the midst of his demise.

Cigars Today

With more and more people jumping on the anti-smoking wagon, Cigar (and tobacco) companies have had to rethink their marketability. As people become health conscious and are looking toward their futures, companies have to change their game plans. During the 1990s boutique cigar makers throughout the world worked on creating exquisite new seed varieties, blends and sizes. These innovative items changed the cigar realm forever. Companies such as;

  • Fuentes with their Opus X,
  • Padron family created the Anniversary (Box Press) and serie 1926,
  • La Flor Dominicana pioneered the “chisel” shape.
  • La Aurora Preferido Perfecto series revolutionized nostalgia

These leading companies gave way for other cigar makers to also release a vintage line which embodied the best characteristics of a particular crop or year- it's possible that more new quality shapes and blends were created between 1995 and 2005 than in the preceding 100 years.

With the changes in the cigar themselves, also came the change in the packaging - this helps the products appear as extraordinary as they truly are. Cigar makers are using beautiful tubes, unique boxes, cedar sleeves, ribbons, authenticity seals, and beautiful trimmings to boost the market sales.

Even with all the backlash tobacco companies inspire, they still find “anti-tobacco/smoke” people wandering into their stores looking for boxes or simply to marvel at the beautifully ornamented products.

Gifts for the Cigar Lover

If you have a cigar-lover in your family, then choosing a gift may be easy. Aside from buying them the cigars themselves, which may not be all that easy, there are other options.

Humidors are a necessity for the cigar-aficionado. These are used to preserve the optimum moisture and humidity levels for the stogie. Also, people who smoke cigars also need to keep the different blends separated - one of the biggest issues when you start storing all of your cigars in the same humidor is that the flavors will tend to blend. Today humidors come in every style to suit every personality, so finding one shouldn't be a problem.

Cigar cutters are also a practical and stylish gift. These are available in a wide variety of styles to choose from; not only in a freestanding model, but also on the Swiss Army Knife.

Whether you are a cigar person or just know someone that is, purchasing an unique and quality item for this pass time will sure to be appreciated.