Though Cuban cigars are perhaps the world's most revered, the stogie probably didn't originate on the island. Cigar smoking first took hold elsewhere in the Americas—exactly where and when remains uncertain. A ceramic pot discovered in Guatemala that dates at least as far back as the 10th century depicts a Mayan puffing on tobacco leaves bound up with string. (The Mayans may also have handed down the object's name: their term for smoking, sikar, likely led to the Spanish cigarro, from which the cigar takes its name.) When Columbus stumbled upon the Americas in 1492, he also discovered tobacco; the New World's natives smoked cylindrical bundles of twisted tobacco leaves wrapped in dried palm or corn husks.
Cuba's fertile land and favorable climate allowed all three types of tobacco leaves used in a cigar — the wrapper, filler and binder — to be harvested on the island, and sailing ships were soon distributing Cuban tobacco from Europe to Asia. Columbus had claimed Cuba for Spain, and the Spanish soon cornered the nascent industry, mandating in the 17th century that all tobacco for export be registered in Seville; they later tightened their stranglehold on the market by forbidding Cuban growers to sell the crop to anyone but them — a monopoly that persisted until 1817.
"If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go," Mark Twain declared. Though the boom was partly lit by the cigar's affordability, they soon become a must-have accessory for debonair gentlemen — men like King Edward VII, who, upon assuming the British throne in 1901, famously announced a break with the smoke-free policies of his mother Queen Victoria by uttering the words: "Gentlemen, you may smoke." And Freud was a chimney: Patients on his couch had to endure not only running commentary about their suppressed Oedipal complexes but the acrid stench from his 20-a-day cigar habit (which ultimately killed him too).
Despite the obvious health risks, cigars remain a fixture of pop culture. An episode of Seinfeld centered around a box of Cubans, while the stogie's famous champions include Michael Jordan, Rush Limbaugh and Lil' Wayne. Politicians dabble too — Arnold Schwarzenegger is a noted fan — although puffing on a Cuban can leave an eggy residue on a pol's face. Washington was also the site of the cigar's most infamous moment: its use as a sexual prop by former President Bill Clinton during a tryst with Monica Lewinsky.
Cigar aficionados will have a wide range of cigars to choose from. Our humidor offers one of the biggest selection on the island with over 60 different cigars ranging from Cubans over Dominicans to Honduran fine quality cigars, well stored and taken care of.