They had discovered the land of tobacco without being aware of the extension of their report. Europeans learned the art of smoking from the native Cuban people. Juan Nicot, French ambassador in Lisbon, informed Catalina de Médicis that this be known as the "Queen's herb," until the Swedish naturalist, Linneo, settled upon the "nicotine," precisely in honor of Nicot. Later, Francis Drake, introduced tobacco into the UK. At the same time, two famous cardinals popularized it in Italy, and in this way tabacco spread throughout Europe.
Originating from Cuba, tobacco is grown and harvested in several regions of the island, especially in Vueltabajo plantations, situated in Pinar del Río province. There is no doubt that the best cigars in the world come from this region.
The tobacco plant is very delicate. Selecting the best in all phases of the process is the plantation manager's basic emblem. In their opinion, the constant care that tobacco demands, starting from the preparation of the ground and going through to the packaging of the product, determines its quality.
Sowing the small seeds is one of the first steps, but it is followed by other steps that are equally complicated. These include transplanting, supervising the period of growth (the plant should not measure less than two feet or more than five), choosing which leaves to cut, and threading them onto a string for the purposes of drying, curing and fermenting in "tobacco barns." Then there is another selection process for the humidifying stage; afterwards they are smeared with a special paste, after being separated on the basis of quality and subsequent use. Finally they are packaged and sent to the tobacconists who apply their secular craft to the dark leaves of the cigar-to-be. Different shapes, sizes, strengths and flavors emerge from their masterly hands..
Tobacco barns stand out on the plantation landscape. they have a high ridge and are built with wood and palm leaves, and face from east to west so that they benefit from the early morning sun. Factories are generally located in cities and towns; they emerged in the years 1835-1850 and it was in those small workshops where the first workforces were formed.
Cigars are provided with rings or bands, lithographic labels of a specific trade name, which represents their quality seal. Vistas, true works of art, are the leaves placed in with the cigars for the purposes of protection once the box is opened. There are thousands of cigar band enthusiasts in the world who passionately collect these valuable examples of this ancient Cuban art.
Cedar is mainly used in the manufacture of cigar boxes; it is a prized wood with an intense pleasant smell that keeps out insects, at the same time as it preserves the cigar's aroma and maintains the required level of humidity.
The city of Pinar del Río celebrates a Cigar Fiesta every year in honor of the cigar's importance in the economic, social and cultural development of the country. This provides an exclusive opportunity to learn the secrets stored by this historic crop and to establish strong contacts among people from the scientific and business worlds or with experts in the sphere of tobacco.
The next pages will explain you all about the Cuban Cigar, its history, production and much more ...
Tobacco Experiment Station of San Juan y Martínez
The Tobacco Experiment Station was founded January 31, 1937, by the National Commission of Defense and Propaganda of the Habano, it is the second oldest scientific-technical institution of Cuba. The first investigations in experimental fields of the area were carried out during the tobacco harvest 1932/1933, which were the base for the creation of the Station.
It is located in the western region of the island, in the province of Pinar del Rio, in the municipality of San Juan y Martínez, well-known as "The Meca of Tobacco", because of its traditional fame in the development of plantations of excellent and exquisite leaves, with which the "Habanos" are elaborated, exceptional cigars all over the world due to their aroma and quality.