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“There’s nothing like a good cigar after a hard day’s work. It’s so relaxing, a pure luxury to be savoured and enjoyed. Something to look forward to.”
M Crijen



The Simple Cigar Band!!

Simple today, but how did it come about
and how is it used today?

The two popular myths involving the Tsarist Queen Catherine the Great, who allegedly used strips of silk wound around her cigars to prevent her fingers becoming contaminated by tobacco; and the English Officers demanding a band to prevent their white gloves becoming stained with tobacco juice; have been debunked as lacking any factual evidence.

The more plausible story that prevails today gives credit to one Gustave Bock, a German immigrant to Cuba around 1830.
Between 1800 and 1840s Bremen, Germany, was the largest centre of cigar production in the world.
40% of cigars smoked in the USA came from Germany; even larger percentages went to Austria, England and Switzerland.
Cuban Cigars were considered “the best” but their supply was very limited in the total world cigar market.
Even selling at fifteen times the price of the German cigars demand outstripped supply.

The Cubans were happy with this until they found German cigars being sold under the Cuban names. One Cuban producer was quoted as stating “for every two million cigars I ship to Europe six million are sold”.
Enter Gustave Bock.
To protect his name he insisted that a paper band bearing his initials be put on every cigar he made in Cuba for export.
This practice was soon taken up by his fellow producers in Cuba.
By 1855 just about every Cuban producer with significant exports, had their cigars banded, with designs registered with the Cuban Government.

The story of the Band was well underway.
The producers made them and the cigars smokers wanted them as indicators of quality and individual characteristics.
Banded cigars boomed and by 1900 printing costs had reduced, increasing the demand for more and more bands. In that year two billion bands were sold in the USA alone.
Funnily enough the application of the bands to the cigar has not changed much. They are still hand fitted and sealed with a drop of vegetable gum from the third finger.

Back to the story.

With so many bands being left behind in ashtrays, dropped on the floor, or left on discarded cigars, it’s no wonder they started being collected by all and sundry.
Vitolphilia, the collecting of cigar Bands, was born.
Marketers pounced on this phenomenon.
Complete brand sets could be bought – albums to hold them were given away through Tobacconists and other small shopkeepers.

How is this ……..  
In an effort to dominate the cigar market an American cigar company offered products in exchange for collections of its bands.
In 1904 its fully illustrated catalogue offered a full range of household items – from 50 bands for some children’s silverware, to 179-950 for a Baby Grand Piano to your door.
For bands not turned in, the art of decoupage offered scope for artistic flair.
Even today we see stands at the InterTabac Trade Show offering collages of bands, called “Folk Art”.
Quite stunning.

But today, bands are also used to carry a message to the consumers, for example:

Edition Limitado 2017

Maduro 5 (5years matured)

These extra bands lead to another twist to the question of whether to remove the band before lighting up or not.

My Father Judge Grand Robusto

Some of these double bands cover so much of the cigar that if you don’t remove at least one of them you may be denying yourself a substantial number of flavourful puffs on the cigar.
Makes you think doesn’t it?

Your cigars – a practical thought:
Last month we talked about the correct way to pack the humidor, and the necessity for rotating the position of the cigars in order to keep them all evenly humidified.
However, between the rotation they will possibly be happier to rest undisturbed – try to avoid opening and closing the humidor and disturbing the cigars too often.
It may be an idea to keep a few different cigars separately in a smaller humidor ready for everyday use.
Early in December we received more of the popular leatherette-covered desk humidors for 10 cigars. That’s about the number of cigars you need for immediate use, outside of your normal humidor. 
Beautifully tooled, will look great on your desk, cedar lined and fitted with a simple oasis humidifier. Easily good enough for the time the cigars will be kept out of your main humidor.

Also great is our next fortnight’s special offer:

From 10-23 February, 2022, we offer
25% off Desk Humidors 73-J0155, covered in fine black or brown leatherette
Normal price R1195.00

Visualise one on the table in your smoking room, wherever that may be.
Looks good, doesn’t it!

Colin Wesley

No.510 February 3-16, 2022

All previous blogs are archived in the Library, by date and by subject.
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Stay at home, stay safe – we can come to you.

By law, no South African citizen, living in South Africa can buy a tobacco product via the internet or postal system.  In fact, you may not receive a tobacco product through the post.
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