Everybody has had that one friend: the guy who always, no matter what the inconvenience to himself or the implications for the cleanness of his floors, rolled his own cigarettes. Even if reasonably-priced ones were available, this friend just liked to get (as the saying goes) his fingers dirty.
Some people just like to do everything themselves.
But on the other hand, most folks who smoke never think to try rolling our own smokes. And for those who only enjoy tobacco in the long-burning, contemplative form of a cigar, the idea is still less likely to occur. Cigar rolling is, after all, an art, which is why we pay extra for hand-rolled premium cigars.
Cigar hand-rolling is so complicated an operation that people have spent their lives mastering it. Cuban cigar factories even used to employ lectors, people whose job it was to read full-time to the mass of hard-working cigar rollers, so that the job would not become unduly tedious. (That job is often done today by books-on-CD, which is one of the few ways that the production of truly premium cigars allows for automation.)
But it can be done, and sometimes, when you've smoked the last fine stogies in your humidor and have a few spare leaves and some wrapper leaves sitting around to spare--and admittedly, this is not the world's likeliest scenario--here are the instructions for hand-rolling your own cigar. Or, of course, if you're really curious, you could take the far more logical step of attending one of the many cigar-rolling contests sponsored around the country every year by Cigar Aficionado magazine, all of which culminate in the annual Super Roll roll-off, hosted in part by La Gloria Cubana. Reaching its sixth year in 2008, this now-annual tradition allows amateur cigar lovers to do some practice rolling and, if they're good, strut their stuff. The smaller rolling contests (which are just preparation for the Super Roll) are held at Cigar Aficionado's several-times-a-year Big Smoke events. Check the Web for the one nearest you.
At any rate, here's what you do:
Get hold of some good filler tobacco--not the chopped-up stuff you use in a pipe or cigarette, but full leaves of it. The higher the quality, the better.
Take the filler leaves and cut away the upper and lower edges. (You'll find it's surprisingly delicate to the touch.) Take the chopped bunch of filler and place it across the wrapper's edge. Remove the wrapper's veins with your fingernails. Rub glue (vegetable-based) along the wrapper and firmly roll the wrapper together around the filler. (You can also use egg white in place of glue. At least, some folks do. Who knew cigars could also be high in fat?)
Voila! It's that easy!
The hard part, of course, is doing it well, so that the cigar doesn't fall apart, grow uneven, burn funny, or get lumpy. If you overfill the cigar, you get one problem (the cigar can't burn because air won't flow through it); if it's too loose, you get the opposite problem (excessive heat and fast burn). It takes some practice.
Don't, in the heat of success, smoke your fresh-rolled cigar right away. It needs a few weeks to age. Put it in your humidor (as you would any other new-bought cigar) and wait.
If this little primer is too abstract for you, many videos can be found online which offer graphical instruction for those who'd like to roll their own cigars.
In any case, it's something any cigar lover should try just once. Most people who love to read, try writing a story at some point in their lives; some of the best movie directors started out as critics (Francois Truffaut, for example); jazz listeners have been known to take piano lessons at an advanced age. And why not? Trying your hand at creating the thing that delights you can only increase your appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship involved. And, on the other hand, who knows, but that you might have a gift?
CigarFox provides you the opportunity to build your own sampler of the finest cigars that include cigar brands like Montecristo, Romeo & Julieta, H Upmann, Macanudo, Cohiba, Partagas, Gurkha and many more. Choose from more than 1200 different cigars! Other cigar products include cigar humidors, cigar boxes, and cigar accessories like Zippo Lighters.