Even the most experienced cigar enthusiasts may struggle to understand the key differences between handmade and machine-made cigars. They may also be surprised to discover just how long machine-made cigars have been in existence. While many people can’t tell the difference between these two types of cigars, more serious cigar connoisseurs tend to have very strong opinions regarding these two manufacturing techniques.
Before we explain how these two types of cigars differ from each other, it’s important to look into the fascinating history of how machine-made cigars came into existence.
What is a Machine-Made Cigar?
A machine-made cigar is generally cheaper than a handmade cigar. This type of cigar consists of a cylinder of short filler tobacco that’s wrapped using an automated machine process.
History of the Machine-Made Cigar
As it turns out, the inventor of the first cigar-rolling machine was none other than Oscar Hammerstein, the grandfather of Oscar Hammerstein II of Broadway fame. He invented his machine sometime around 1885, but it wasn’t until the 1920s when cigar manufacturers began using machines to mass produce their cigars.
Around 1925, these new cigar-rolling machines were imported into Cuba so that Cuban cigar manufacturers could begin automating their manufacturing process. The first Cuban manufacturer to produce machine-made cigars was Por Larrañaga.
How a Machine-Made Cigar Differs from a Handmade Cigar
These are the differences to know of:
- Burn Quality: Because machine-made cigars use shorter filler, they burn much more quickly than handmade cigars. For many, this decreases their value.
- Draw: There are actually many people who believe that machine-made cigars deliver a smoother draw because of the uniformity of the filler. Also, smoking a machine-made cigar reduces the chances of getting a cigar with a terrible draw because of human error.
- Wrapper: Handmade cigars are wrapped with a full tobacco leaf, allowing the plant’s oils to provide just enough moisture for a flawless smoke. For machine-made cigars, the wrapper is usually composed of a tobacco leaf in addition to other, often synthetic, materials. This is because the manufacturing process is a bit rougher and requires a stronger wrapper.
- Uniformity: One of the things that people like about machine-made cigars is that they are perfectly uniform in size and appearance, and consistent in terms of flavor, weight and draw. Even the most high-end handmade cigar manufacturers are capable of error from time to time, producing the occasional cigar that doesn’t smoke properly. A machine-made cigar prevents this issue because the entire process is automated and perfectly consistent.
What Really Matters
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a machine-made cigar or a handmade cigar. There are low-quality handmade cigars and high-quality machine-made cigars. What matters most is that you choose your cigars from a reputable manufacturer who creates an exceptional product for your smoking pleasure.