Cigar Tidbits: To Put in Your Pipe and Smoke

The cigar has a lot of history, a lot of trivia, and a lot of interesting facts. However, it’s often easy to become so consumed with actually smoking the cigar, the luxury of its aroma, its flavor, its essence, to remember any of the legends and tales cigars light a match under. But, to miss out on these is to miss out on a lot of the cigar’s culture, miss out on its extravagance, and destroy its past. So take a moment every now and again to enjoy some cigar tidbits…before they go up in smoke.

The First Connoisseurs

While Christopher Columbus, in addition to being credited with the discovery of America, is generally allowed to get away with writing “cigar inventor” on his resume, he wasn’t actually the first person to come up with the concept of smoking tobacco. According to archeological discovery, the 特立尼达雪茄 inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands and Mesoamerica smoked cigars at least as far back as 900 A.D. This discovery was made when researchers discovered a ceramic vessel at a Mayan ruin in Guatemala that was decorated with a painting of a cigar-smoking man. This man, likely deceased, was not available for comment.

The Invention of the Cigar Band

To the non-smoker, the cigar band may sound like a group of musicians who get together in a smoky basement, belting out songs about tobacco and singing “The Blues” over the Cuban Trade Embargo. However, to the cigar smoker, the cigar band is an elemental part of the cigar, full of color and history.

The cigar band, or cigar ring, is a circular piece of paper that’s wrapped around the head of most cigars. In legend, it’s said to have been invented by either Spanish Nobles or Catherine the Great, the women who reigned as Empress of Russia in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The reason for the invention, as the legend attests, was because these nobles, fond of cigars, were not fond of the stains cigars left on their gloves. Thus, they invented a band where they could place their fingers, keeping them stain free while smoking.

However, other legends state that the invention of the cigar band was the genius of Gustave Bock, a Dutch advertising guru. His reasoning for the invention was simply to help keep the cigar together, binding the wrapper to the filler in a more cohesive manner.

Whether invented by European nobility or as a promotional tool, the cigar band carries with it a lot of lore. To start, most cigar bands are printed with the name of the brand, the country from which it came, and an indication as to whether or not it was hand-rolled. In addition, the cigar band is said to have been used in many wedding ceremonies of yore, when the groom could either not afford a wedding band, misplaced it, or asked for a woman’s hand in marriage under spontaneous, and expedited, circumstances. For some women, diamonds are forever, but for others, infinity belongs to the cigar band.