This isn’t just a job, but rather an art form dating back hundreds of years.
It can take several years and thousands of cigars later until a torcedor is considered an accomplished roller, a position that comes with distinct honor and high praise.
Back in 2008, I was offered the chance of a lifetime by the good peeps at General Cigar – a week-long trip on their dime to spend several days at their factory in Santiago and the remaining time in Cofradia, Honduras at the old Villazon factory.
I can say without a doubt that it was one of the most fascinating, educational, fun, and truly memorable experiences of my life.
walking the farms as you are awed by the endless rows of the fertile sun grown plants or the acres upon acres of shade grown wrapper under a city of cheese cloth tents…
tying together and carrying crops to a nearby drying barn where the pungent aroma of baking leaf hangs from every rafter…
Okay, that would be the official Spanish name for the person who rolls your precious sticks.
then it’s off to the factory where the leaves are washed and sorted into various grades and colors…
if you’re lucky (he says with a smirk) you’ll enter the sweating rooms where you’ll spend no more than 15 seconds until falling to your knees and gasping for oxygen as the ammonia being sweat from the leaf scorches your throat and lungs.
Nothing is worse for a cigar smoker when your stogie is wrapped so tight that your head implodes with every attempted puff of smoke.
Today’s better factories employ the use of “draw testing” machines, where the cap is removed every so many cigars, then hooked up to a tube that measures the draw-ability.