Cigars come in a variety of shapes, shades, and sizes.
If that wasn’t confusing enough, there is also a difference between hand rolled and machine rolled stogies.
If you’re still new to cigars, then the process of exploration and experimentation can be thrilling. Trying different brands and types of sticks allows you to discover your preferences and what you enjoy most for different occasions.
Someone more experienced – or a connoisseur – may already have a more discerning taste than a beginner. Perhaps they only want the best products available, or maybe within a range of upper-end merchandise.
Whatever camp you fall into, one of the easiest ways to distinguish the quality of a cigar is by whether it’s been hand rolled or manufactured by a machine.
Here are several differences to know about hand rolled and machine rolled cigars.
Hand Rolled Cigars Are Typically More Expensive
The keyword being “typically” here, as not all hand rolled cigars are particularly expensive, depending on filler and process. From the perspective of the manufacturer, it costs less to mass produce than it does to hand roll, which explains why a hand rolled cigar can cost more for the consumer.
It is possible to purchase hand rolled cigars inexpensively, sometimes online, sometimes at specialty stores. They may be carrying a discontinued stock they’re looking to get rid of, so they drop the price to sell it off quickly. They may also be medium filler or mixed filler, which makes them more affordable.
Sometimes, it can be easy to tell apart a hand rolled cigar from a machine rolled cigar just by looking at the price it’s being sold at. Its outer appearance may also be a factor.
Hand Rolled Cigars Contain Pure Tobacco
Both hand rolled and machine rolled cigars contain filler. But the filler in a hand rolled cigar is usually of a better quality compared to a manufactured stogie.
Machine made cigars may contain paper, chemicals, and preservatives not found in a hand rolled cigar. Hand rolled cigars are made up entirely of 100% tobacco leaves, which has usually been imported from another country.
Handmade cigars often have a better scent and flavor because of this difference. Many believe hand rolled sticks are more enjoyable, though some enthusiasts still enjoy machine rolled cigars too.
Hand Rolled & Machine Rolled Cigars Have Different Fillers
Most long filler cigars are handmade. So, hand rolled cigars typically have long fillers made with tobacco leaves, and run the entire length of the stick. There are exceptions, as you will also find handmade cigars with medium fillers, as well as more affordable hand rolled cigars that contain mixed fillers.
By contrast, machine made stogies have short fillers which are made from a mix of leaves, stems, and scraps of tobacco. As result, they tend to become hotter and burn faster. This is another way to distinguish handmade from machine made sticks.
Hand Rolled & Machine Rolled Cigars Have Different Binders
The binder is what holds a cigar together. Machine rolled cigars are held together with ground up tobacco and natural glue. Hand rolled sticks use coarse tobacco to hold the filler.
Machine Made Cigars Have Different Wrappers
You can also tell apart a handmade cigar from a machine made cigar by looking at the wrapper. Machine made cigars have duller looking wrappers, and are not made of all natural materials. This factors heavily into the taste of the stick as well.
There are exceptions, but you will usually find a silky elastic wrapper on a hand rolled cigar, making it more attractive to the eye.
Should I Buy Hand Rolled Or Machine Rolled Cigars?
This depends on a number of factors.
The first is budget. How much money do you have to spend on your cigars and other accessories such as a humidor? Though hand rolled cigars are usually superior in every way, they can cost more money.
The second is frequency of use. How often do you smoke? Do you tend to smoke daily, casually, or only on special occasions? Depending on your budget, you may not want to purchase expensive cigars for daily use, as this can quickly become a costly habit.
The third is taste. Though it may sound as though hand rolled cigars are always better, some people enjoy machine rolled cigars just as much, and it is possible to find quality manufactured stogies.
Based on the above criteria, you can better plan your purchases and feel satisfied in your decision.
Is It Possible To Hand Roll Your Own Cigars?
Yes. Some connoisseurs even prefer this approach. You can select your own tobacco, leaves, binders and ingredients to craft a cigar of your liking. You will also need to purchase accessories, but ultimately you’ll also be able to produce your own cigars for much less than a hand rolled cigar would usually cost at the store.
Hand rolling cigars is a bit of an art form, and can take time to learn. You’ll also want to ensure the quality of the ingredients you’re using, as some can be harmful to your health, which tends to defeat the joy that can come from enjoying a stogie.
Though it’s easy to generalize cigars into two major categories, this does not hold true in every situation. Within the range of hand rolled and machine rolled cigars, you will also find a spectrum of other sticks that are a combination of the two methods.