Cigar (Span, cigarro), a cylindrical roll of tobacco for smoking, usually pointed at one end and truncated at the other, made of the leaf divested of stems and enveloped tightly in a single leaf. A diminutive cigar (cigarrito) is made of chopped tobacco wrapped in unsized paper. In the East Indies a cigar called cheroot is made, having the form of the frustum of a slender cone. The best tobacco for making cigars grows in the western end of the island of Cuba, and is known as the vuelta abajo, the plant most in vogue there being the nico-tium repanda. That which is raised east of Havana is called mielta arriba, and is of an inferior quality. The most noted vega or plantation is situated near the town of Santiago de Cuba, and is called Yara. The vuelta abajo is divided into five classes: 1, calidad or libra, noted for its good color, flavor, elasticity, and perfection of the leaves, rendering it desirable for wrappers; 2, ynjuriadoprincipal, or firsts, which has less flavor and is usually of a lighter color; this also is suitable for wrappers; 3, segundas, or seconds, a shade poorer in every particular, but good for fillings and inferior wrappers; 4, terceras, or thirds, which are generally employed for fillings; 5, quartas, or fourths, also employed for fillings.
The choicest tobacco is that raised on the banks of the rivers which are periodically overflowed. The varieties are called Lo Rio, Rio Hondo, and Pinar del Rio, and the tobacco is distinguished from all others by a fine sand which is found in the creases of the leaves. The island of Trinidad also produces a very superior article of the same sort. In Mexico a large quantity is raised, but entirely for home consumption, its exportation being forbidden. The tobacco used for manufacturing the Manila cheroots is the produce of the island of Luzon, and is considered nearly equal to that of Cuba. A very superior quality is also raised in the province of Kadoe in Java, in a naturally rich soil, alternately with crops of rice, and without manure. In western Asia, that produced at Lata-kieh in Syria, and that of Shiraz in Persia, are most highly prized. In the province of Gel-derland, Holland, about 2,000,000 lbs. are produced, the larger portion of which is purchased by the French government. In Connecticut also a very superior article for the exterior wrapper is grown, and much of it shipped to Cuba, the remainder being employed mostly in New York for the same purpose-. These peculiar varieties are valuable on account of the fineness of the leaf and its freedom from thick fibres.
Many experiments have been made in transplanting the seed of the Spanish tobacco to various parts of the world, particularly to the middle states of the American Union, and in some cases with marked success. It has been found necessary, however, to renew the seed every two years, as after that period the plant loses its original odor and flavor. - Although cigars are of very ancient origin in the West Indies, they were not generally known in Europe until the beginning of the 19th century. In fact, of all the various works on gastronomy and the pleasures of the table, written and published from 1800 to 1815, not one speaks of this adjunct of a good dinner. Even Brillat-Savarin, in his Physiologic du gout, entirely ignores tobacco and all its distractions and charms. - As the best tobacco grows in Cuba, so also the best cigars are made there. Previous to 1820 the manufacture was a government monopoly, and since that period the trade has been open; but so great is the demand that very little competition exists among the manufacturers. The brands affixed to Havana cigars are entirely arbitrary, and are rarely continued for any great length of time. In the Philip-junes, the tobacco and its manufacture are a close government monopoly.
The best quality is produced in the northern parts of the island of Luzon. It is raised under the supervision of government officials, and is taken from the growers directly, a liberal price being paid for it. That produced in the southern group known as the Visayas is of an inferior quality, and is sold to merchants holding a permit " to purchase at the shipping ports, and transport to Manila for sale to the government." The Lu-zon tobacco is classed and paid for by the gov-eminent at the ports whence it is shipped to Manila; but the merchants buying in tire southern islands transport it to Manila at their own risk, and then take the chances of its being classified much lower than they have purchased it. Being under heavy bonds to deliver all they purchase at the government storehouses, but little smuggling is carried on, the risk being greater than the gain. There are three factories for manufacturing cigars - one in Manila, where 7,000 females and 1,200 males are employed; one in Cavite, in which 5,000 operatives, mostly females, are engaged; and one in Malabon, which gives employment to about 2,000 more, also females. These operatives are paid by the piece.
It is supposed by many, in consequence of the soporific effect pro-duced by using cheroots, that opium is einploy-ed in preparing the tobacco in these factories, which is an error, no admixture of any kind being permitted. A very large amount of tobacco of an interior quality is consumed on the islands, the better kinds being generally ex-ported. - In every large city throughout the United States immense numbers of persons are engaged in this manufacture. Great skill has been attained in the American factories in making cigars; so much so that it is difficult to discriminate between the genuine and the spurious article, excepting by trial, and even then in some cases it requires the nicest taste to detect the difference. Many persons engaged in this business import tobacco from Cuba, employ the Connecticut leaf for wrappers, and produce an article equal in appearance to the very best made in Havana. In Bremen and Hamburg immense numbers of cigars are made, and shipped to every point of the habitable globe at very low prices. The city of Bremen, which was among the first to adopt this branch of industry, has now become one of the first markets in the world for the sale of cigars.
In Spain, the manufactories at Seville have attained a high European reputation, and, being protected by government, very nearly monopolize the trade. The employment of female labor in the manipulation of this article is one of its noticeable features; and it is work particularly adapted to women, requiring great dexterity and peculiar delicacy in the handling. - The consumption of cigars extends all over the globe, and increases yearly in a wonderful ratio. The number of cigars exported from Havana in 1872 was 229,087,545; of cigarettes, 19,344,707. In 1873, to April 18, the numbers were 78,055,231 and 5,501,769 respectively. The annual home consumption of cigars in Cuba was estimated some years ago, in a consular report, at nearly 1,500,000,000.