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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

Torcedor Talent

Over the past century or so, premium cigars have evolved into different shapes and sizes (or vitolas). There is also a much larger catalog of various types of tobacco from all over the world to choose from, as well as more brands competing for shelf space than ever before. This means cigar manufacturers have to find an edge to stand out and grab the consumer’s attention.Every once in a while, however, a cigar manufacturer will try something different and unique that helps it stand out from the rest. 

Below is just a brief glimpse into some of those little artistic touches that make a cigar stand out, and change up your smoking routine a bit. Here are just a few of the more noticeable modifications and of course not the entire catalog of factory modifications.

This is an example of what’s called a covered foot, or closed foot. This image is of a brand called 1502 Cigars, a Division of GPC or Global Premium Cigars owned by Enrique Sanchez.

1502 XO Robusto

My personal favorites from 1502 are the Ruby Lancero, and 1502 XO Toro box pressed, like the one seen here. However, getting back to the closed foot description, what are the benefits of a closed foot and why do it? There are a few benefits of a closed foot (or what Enrique calls his patented “cigar lock” ). First, the wrapper leaf protects the edges around the foot of the cigar from being cracked or damaged during transportation. Second, it helps light your cigar with a more even burn from the very beginning. Lastly it allows you to experience a “shot” of wrapper leaf flavor from the first puff. Watch this video on Enrique talk about his cigar lock and it’s benefits. Fun Fact: When the FDA decided to start regulating all tobacco products in August of 2016, it was Enrique of 1502 who first ran into the legislative minefield at full speed to file the first lawsuit against the F.D.A. 

Next is what’s called a shaggy foot. A shaggy foot is basically the opposite of a closed foot. It cuts about a half inch or so of the wrapper leaf of the foot which exposes the binder and filler or “bunch”. Below is an example from Pete Johnson of Tatuaje on one of his latest creations called the Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro No.1 Click the link to see the review of this Tatuaje on Cigar Aficionado’s website, which made the number 9 cigar of the year in 2019.

Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro No. 1

There are a couple of benefits of a shaggy foot, but there is one drawback. As opposed to the closed foot design which covers and protects the foot of the cigar, a shaggy foot exposes the tobacco. So just be careful when transporting this style of cigar and not damage the foot. You still have the aesthetics which again makes it stand out on the shelf, but instead of the closed foot style, you now get a blast of flavor from the binder and filler when you light, and then catch up to the wrapper later on. This video shows an interview between Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, and David Savona of Cigar Aficionado, where Pete talks about the differences between the Covered Foot v. Shaggy foot. He explains it as simply as “an artist’s expression” of the design and creation of cigars. 

Last, but not least, are those cigars where artistry and talent are allowed to roam freely and let imagination take over the designing of a cigar. This type of artistic expression is most prominent in the La Flor Dominicana Salomon Unico series seen here. Salomon refers to the vitola of 7x64 and Unico means Unique in Spanish. Each Limited Edition Salomon is sold in boxes of 10 for MSRP of $315 or a 5 pack for $157 and each cigar has it’s own unique design. 

LFD Salomon Unico

Here you can see this type of cigar art is stunning and at the very least a conversation starter. These unbelievable and exquisite designs are created by only the most experienced torcedores with years of practice and an eye for design. It’s the cigar brand flexing their talent, and usually just for the visual appeal and not necessarily improving the burn quality or flavors, but striking to look at nonetheless.

These are of course others cigar designs and ideas. However I believe with this new liberal approach and freedom of expression, a premium cigar no longer has to be permanently tethered to that classic stereotype of old gentlemen in tweed sport coats puffing away and ladies passing around cocktail drinks like a soirée at the Playboy mansion. Cigars can be fun and exciting works of art to not only be enjoyed for yourself, but to give to friends and family. The cigar lifestyle and culture has evolved with the times and I think when cigar makers use their imagination to adapt to this new culture, it retains a fresh new approach to an ever changing market. Thanks for reading, and drop us a line if you have questions on Cigar Tipsters Contact Us page.

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