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Italian Cigars

Italian cigars are enjoyed around the world and have a long history dating back to 1815, but did you know they were actually invented by mistake? Tobacco was grown in Italy but not used for cigars until the summer of 1815 when an unexpected rainstorm caused a batch of tobacco that was out drying to become wet and therefore ruined. Instead of throwing out the tobacco, one of the factory managers decided to try drying it out as he didn't want the owner, who was the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III, to fire him. The hot and humid Tuscan summer weather caused the tobacco to ferment, thinking the tobacco was no good - the damaged leaves were rolled into cigars and sold at a low price to try to cover the cost of the damaged crop.

However, these cigars became a massive hit with smokers enjoying the wet tobacco and fermented flavours. Demand soared so Tuscan cigars started to be made purposefully and entered regular production three years later! Originally produced in Florence, production was moved to Lucca after the Second World War. These days the majority of Italian cigars are still produced in Lucca, as well as other areas of Tuscany.

Tuscan cigars are made differently to other cigars, to begin with they use Kentucky tobacco which is widely used for pipe tobacco. Kentucky tobacco is grown across Italy however the outer wrapper of the Toscano cigar is typically North American Kentuky lead as this offers a wider width for rolling.

The process of preparing the tobacco is very different from standard cigars too. Rather than being left to dry and age, it undergoes a wet fermentation process which involves the leaves being moistened before being flame-cured. The flame is fueled by either beech or oak wood which helps affect the flavours of the cigar, the tobacco is then left to cure for between 15 and 20 days.

Another difference is the structure of the cigar. Most cigars will have a filler, binder and wrapper however Italian cigars bypass the binder and just roll the filler in the wrapper, these will be rolled by a machine. 

Cigar production is still a big deal in Italy with over 80,000 hectares of land dedicated to growing tobacco for cigars!

Click here to view our range of Italian cigars

Written by Oliver Partington