the cigar
Surely around the world there are few cases in which a product is absolutely recognized as the best in the market. One of these is the Habano..
This is due to two basic elements, the tobacco and its flavors. In other parts of the world exist people who have been acquired some Cuban capacity and Cuban’s tobacco plants seeds, but what they will not ever acquire is the soil and the climate of Cuba. You cannot find this natural gift anywhere else in the world. Neither it will be found outside Cuba the knowledge and culture, accumulated for centuries, about tobacco: the extraordinary work done by the vegueros and farmers, months and years of wisdom and patience, waiting that the leaf was ready to create an Habano.
Another feature is the term Habanos; all Habanos are Cuban, but not all cigars that are packaged in Cuba are Habanos. The term Habanos, designation of controlled origin, indicates a selection of the most famous brands whose cigars are packaged according to the most stringent standards, starting from the tobacco leaves harvested in special areas only.
Generally they are made by hand, using ancient methods that were used for the first time in Havana nearly two centuries ago, and which have been handed down from generation to generation and which remained almost unchanged to this day. Only a few are packaged with the aid of machines. Nevertheless all must have a common characteristic: overcoming tight controls to be worthy of the precious title of Habano.

Habano cigar: a reference of perfection
Anatomy of an Habanos.
Five types of tobacco leaves are required to create an habanos, each one must be grown and prepared for this purpose. Three leaves form the filler, or tripa, rich of flavors and aromas that distinguished an Habano from the other cigars.
Volado, a tobacco leaf classified as "light", especially used for its combustion. Also known as Force 1.
Seco, a tobacco leaf classified as "medium", the most important to generate the aroma.
Ligero, a tobacco leaf classified as "strong" that burns slowly to give flavor.
...One for the shape...
The Capote is a special leaf that surrounds the leaves of the Tripa and adds a final touch to the quality of the smoke.
...And one because the eye wants its part
The Capa is a very fine and elastic leaf, the external surface of the cigar. The Capa slightly contributes to the flavor of an Habanos but represents its aestethic perfection.

In Cuba each leaf is grown specifically for the Habanos. You will not find this kind of tobacco in other cigars that are not Habanos.
There's no better place to grow tobacco than in Cuba. However only some locations, called Vegas, are chosen to grow the tobacco used to create an Habano.
Similarly with which a good wine is judged thanks to its vineyard, the nature of an Habano is closely related to the soil where tobacco is grown.

The 'selection' is the principle that controls each phases of the production process used for the tobacco leaves in an Habano. The places where tobacco is grown for the Habanos are strictly limited to well-defined regions of the Cuban territory. In these regions there is only a small group of lands that possess these characteristics. They are called Vegas Finas de Primera. These lands have characteristics that make them superior, as the exceptional quality of their soil and their micro climate, fundamental to nurture the tobacco.

The ideal leaf for every purpose
Only Tabaco Negro Cubano is used to make an Habano, a direct descendant of the plants that Christopher Columbus discovered here in Cuba more than five hundred years ago.
The differentiation of the types of leaves is given by two different types of crop.
The leaves used for the wrapper (capa) are grown in huge fields of tobacco tapado (covered), fully protected from direct sunlight thanks to large white canvases that cover them. Then each plant is tied to a wire, under the canvases, to facilitate the vertical development.
The leaves for the filler (tripa) and those used to wrap the filler (capote) are grown under the full sun of Cuba.
Anyway the leaves have different characteristics according to the height of the plant. Each leaf also is classified according to its characteristics and each leaf has its intended use.

The magic touch of the farmer
The Vegas Finas de Primera have their own special style of farming, and this involves a very serious and hard work.
The farmer may have under his responsability more than half a million plants, or even more, and he will have to check each of them for more than one hundred and fifty times during the season. Each leaf of each plant has its importance.

The year of the farmer
The work begins during the hot months of June and July, and continues without rest for other nine. Different fields at different times are cultivated with the purpose of distributing the workload in each season. The period between sowing and harvest is 17 weeks for those plants that are grown in the shade (tobacco plants covered by canvases for the leaves that will be used for the wrapper); instead about 16 weeks for those that are grown under full sun (leaves which will be used for the filler and its lining: tripa and capote).

A long way to go
The cultivation of the leaf is only the beginning of this story; there are still a lot of patient work stages to complete this process. Everything must be done in the right time.
The path that each leaf will have to make by the tobacco houses to the final destination in the warehouses where they rest will take several months, and in some cases years before the leaf will be ready to be used to produce an Habano.
Leaves grown in the shade (tapado) - CAPA
Leaves grown under the sun – CAPOTE and TRIPA

The first process to which undergoes a leaf just collected, and from which depend the outcome of all the crop, is a slow and careful aging period which removes the moisture and allows the leaf to progressively reach a golden brown color.

The art of Torcedor
The torcedores and Tocedoras roll all the Habanos in the same way of centuries ago; the experience of their hands can not be matched by any machine.
First of all the Torcedora arises in front of her two or three half leaves that form the capote, placed in such a way that the back part, where the veins are more evident, remains inside when the cigar is rolled.
Then puts together the leaves for the tripa, folding and aligning each one to ensure the correct transition of smoke when the cigar is done. All the leaves are placed with the tips of less strong flavor towards what will be the brazier of the cigar; in this way the flavor will intensify while smoking. The leaf with the strongest flavor and a slower burning (ligero) is always placed in the middle of the others.
Now the Torcedora forms the Bonche (cylinder) rolling up the leaves of the tripa with the capote, according to the exact diameter that the Habano must have. The rolling start from the Boquilla, the foot of the cigar. The compression of the tripa must be equal at all points.
The Torcedora prepares the cylinders of tobacco and compresses them for at least 30 minutes in a wooden mold to shape them.
Then the Torcedora prepares the wrapper’s half leaf, still wet because it must fit perfectly to the shape of the cylinder. She places it above her tablet in such a manner that the part where the veins are most conspicuous is upwards, letting the smoother part visible on the outside of the cigar.
Using the chaveta she lightly cuts the leaf for the capa, taking care of the edges that will be seen in the now finished cigar.
The cylinder of tobacco is put on the wrapper leaf, placing the tip of the wrapper’s leaf in the boquilla or foot of the cigar. Using her fingers with skill she lengthens and straightens the leaf, until the cylinder is completely wound by the capa. This operation must be perfect.
Following is the hat. At first she cuts a surplus section from the capa, called flag. This wraps around the perrilla to close the head and to hold the capa. To add a final touch she cuts, using the casquillo, a small disk in the capa leaf, and sticks it on the flag with vegetable glue.
Finally the cigar is cut with the guillotine to the desired lenght, and so ends the work.
A good torcedor in a whole day can prepare between 60 and 150 Cuban cigars, depending on the size and the complexity of its shape.