Do You Know Everything There Is to Know About Cigars?

By: Torrance Grey
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Do You Know Everything There Is to Know About Cigars?
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Cigars: What other indulgence can claim to have been loved by Communist revolutionaries in the jungle and robber barons in their Manhattan penthouses? This longer, thicker and more expensive cousin to the humble cigarette has origins dating back to Europeans' discovery of the New World, a storied history that includes a Communist revolution, a trade embargo, illicit smuggling and much more. Like coffee and chocolate, cigars are a treat from the equatorial world that many in the northern countries just can't live without. 

There are also a lot of misunderstandings about cigars. Are they so expensive that they're only for the wealthy? Are they healthier than cigarettes, or just as bad? Are they only made in Cuba, and if not, are the ones made outside Cuba any good?

Let's face it: There's just an allure about cigars that cigarettes will never match. Notable cigar smokers include many of America's presidents, top business leaders, and famous entertainers. Kennedy and Castro, mortal enemies otherwise, both loved a good cigar. Winston Churchill liked them so much there's a style of cigar named after him. Entire magazines are devoted to the subject of cigars and how they are best enjoyed. 

Are you a true cigar aficionado? Or just taking your first few puffs of this Latin American indulgence? Whichever the case, light up a Cohiba and take a shot at our quiz!

Which nation, hands down, is most associated with cigars?
Argentina
Cuba
You say "Cuban," we say "cigar!" Despite a longtime U.S. trade embargo with Cuba, Americans are just as mad about Cuban cigars as people in other countries.
Spain
The United States

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In what are cigars typically stored?
A dark place, like a cellar
A humidor
As the name suggests, a humidor is a box or case that provides a humid (but not too damp) atmosphere for cigar storage. Most humidors are made of wood.
A vacuum pack
A refrigerator

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What kind of wood are humidors often made from?
Cedar
Mahogany
Manzanita
Both #1 and #2
While cigars are more valuable when they're made of just one kind of tobacco, a good humidor is often built from a mix of cedar and mahogany woods. Manzanita, a scrub brush found in the American west, isn't often used.

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What is used to wrap cigars?
Palm leaves
Old copies of communist newspapers
Plain paper
Tobacco leaves
While old copies of Communist newspapers would be awesome, it would also be impractical, as a lot of cigars come from capitalist countries. No, they're wrapped in tobacco leaf -- one significant difference from cigarettes, which have rolling papers.

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Which of these is NOT part of a cigar?
The binder
The corona
A "corona" is a standard-shape cigar with a length of between 5 and 6 inches. It has one end open and one end capped.
The filler
The wrapper

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True or false: Are cigars manufactured in the United States?
True
Tampa, Florida, is actually a significant maker of cigars. Tobacco itself, of course, is grown across the American Southeast.
False

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Which of these is the name of a cigar magazine?
Cigar Aficionado
Cigar Spectator
Smoke
#1 and #3
"Cigar Aficionado" is owned by the same publisher as "Wine Spectator," but the name is not the same. "Aficionado" was likely chosen because it is a term that evokes Spain and Latin America. "Smoke" is a rival publication.
All of them

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After inhaling cigar smoke, how long should you hold it in your lungs?
Only three seconds
About ten seconds
Ten to 20 seconds
Don't inhale!
Unlike cigarettes, cigars are made to be puffed. The smoke is not drawn into the lungs. This is part of the basis for cigar lovers' claim that cigars are healthier than cigarettes.

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If a cigar is "tight," what does that mean?
It's excellent!
It's made of one tobacco strain
It's too tightly rolled
A cigar that is too tightly packed and rolled doesn't allow rich flavors to develop. However, if leaves are too loose, a cigar will burn too fast. It's a tradeoff.
It's cheap

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Which US president instituted the trade embargo which keeps Cuban cigars out of the States (Or tries to)?
Bush Sr.
Kennedy
Kennedy bought up more than 1,000 Cuban cigars before instituting the ban. (Sigh. Another idol of incorruptibility falls).
Nixon
Wilson

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When a cigar is made entirely of one variety of tobacco leaf, it is called _____.
Fresco
Guapo
Puro
Naturally, cigars are a bit more valuable when they have this quality. It's not unlike whisky, which can be single-malt or blended.
Unido

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More than anything else, cigars are popularly associated with _______.
Youth
Health
Sexiness
Wealth
Don't believe us? A survey showed that the readership of "Cigar Aficionado" reported an average household income of $194,000. There's a reason why rich men in cartoons are often shown waggling cigars.

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Which of these is a renowned Cuban brand?
Cohiba
Cohibas are associated with Cuba's national cigar company, but there is also a Dominican brand of Cohibas. These latter kind are the only Cohibas that can legally be sold in the US.
Rothschilds
Parliaments
Swisher Sweet

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What differentiates a cigarillo from a cigar?
It contains clove and sage as filler
It's larger
It's smaller
Cigarillos are wrapped in tobacco leaf, like cigars (and unlike cigarettes). The difference is that they are smaller and thinner.
It's wrapped in paper

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Which of these types of cigars are popular in Asia?
Cheroots
A cheroot is a small cigar clipped at both ends. Inexpensive to make, they were popular with the working man in South Asia, and make appearances in literature around 19th-century India and Burma.
Cohibas
Marlboros
H. Uppmans

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Finish the saying: "_______ but no cigar."
CIgarettes
Close
This saying comes from the days when cigars were a prize in carnival games. (It's hard to imagine this happening in the health-conscious 21st century.)
Gin
Sorry

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"Oscuro" and "rosado" refer to what quality of a cigar?
Its color
The color in question is the color of the wrapper, the part of the cigar that is visible. Other colors include "candela," "maduro," and "claro."
How slow it burns
How long or short the leaves are cut
Its price

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On what occasion do men traditionally hand out cigars?
The birth of a child
What's the theory here, really? "My wife has just put in the hardest 10 hours she'll ever live through ... Boy, I need a smoke!"
Funerals
Wedding receptions
Graduation ceremonies

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When a cigar is rolled entirely by hand, how is it labeled?
Hecho a mano
Puro
Volado a mano
Totalmente al mano
"Hecho a mano" means the cigars were machine-bundled but finished by hand. However, cigars completely rolled by hand from start to finish are "totalmente a mano."

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In which presidential scandal did cigars feature prominently?
The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal
We can't go into details here. But suffice it to say that a cigar tube took on a strange role as a phallic stand-in in the biggest political/sex scandal of the 1990s.
The Iran-Contra affair
Teapot dome
Watergate

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Which of these is an argument for cigars being healthier than cigarettes?
Cigar smokers indulge irregularly, not daily
Cigars have fewer additives
The smoke isn't inhaled
All of these
Cigar smoking shouldn't be taken for a healthy habit, but it's almost certainly healthier than cigarette smoking. A lot of that has to do with the fact that cigarette smokers can easily go through a pack or more a day, while cigar smokers smoke on an irregular basis.
None of these

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Which of these does a cigar NOT contain?
Carbon monoxide
Hydrogen cyanide
Nicotine
Cigars have all of these
Sounds appealing, doesn't it? We'll stick with our daily cup of coffee, thanks!

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What is the material at the center of a cigar called?
Centro
Filler
Despite the unflattering name, the "filler" is probably the most important part of the cigar. It provides most of the taste, and the tightness or looseness of its leaves dictates the quality of the smoking experience.
Primo
Hoja

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Why are cigars often machine-produced?
The usual reason: cost-efficiency
Cigar-making was mechanized for the same reasons that nearly all industries get mechanized: It's faster and cheaper. That's why machine-made (or at least machine-finished) cigars will cost you less than hand-rolled.
It provides a better flavor
It avoids health harm to workers
It creates a longer, slower-smoking cigarette

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True or false: Does Cuba allow machine-rolling of cigars?
True
While hand-rolling is a highly-respected tradition in Cuba, the country's two state-run manufacturers also use machines. However, many people who take the effort to find Cuban cigars want hand-rolled ones.
False

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Which of these is the world's biggest consumer of cigars?
China
Italy
Australia
The United States
That's right, the United States has an real taste for cigars. Germany comes in second.

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Why would you own a cigar tube?
To keep individual cigars from being crushed or damaged when out and about
For larger numbers of cigarettes, you might own a cigar case as well. Some are even designed to preserve humidity, like portable humidors.
So as not to burn your fingers while smoking
To collect ash in
For after-hours fun with one's intern

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Why do you need a cigar cutter?
To cut off the cap of the cigar
These look a bit like nail trimmers for pets. There's a circular opening and a blade that goes across, guillotine-style.
Because leaves are sometimes too long
To share half a cigar with a friend
To cut off the cigar band

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What is the name of the layer between a cigar's wrapper and its filler?
Binder
Binder leaves are bit tougher than the wrapper. They are also allowed to have some discoloration or irregularities, which the wrapper should not have.
Corps
Equator
There is no name for it

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What is "vitola"?
A cigar's dimensions and shape
Cigarettes vary quite little in length and width and shape, but not so cigars. To a cigar lover, "vitola" is very important.
The amount of time a cigar lasts
A cigar with blended tobacco
A cigar from African tobacco

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Which of these is the most common cigar shape?
Anillo
Fidelio
Parejo
"Parejo" means "similar" in Spanish; the name might come from the fact that this is the familiar or expected shape for a cigar. It's a cylindrical cigar with one end open, one capped, and straight sides.
Vivo

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Less-common shapes for cigars are lumped into the category _______.
Extrano
Figurado
This term essentially means "shaped." Shapes within this category include the "torpedo" and the "pyramid."
Izquierdo
Mirador

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In old-time cigar factories, what was the job of the "lector"?
To ensure no one was smuggling tobacco out
To enforce union rules, like breaks
To read the labels and check spelling and grammar
To read stories to the workers
The "lector" read books to workers rolling cigars, to keep them from getting bored. This lovely tradition has largely died out with the advent of audiobooks, but is recalled in the stage play "Anna in the Tropics," about the reading of "Anna Karenina."

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In which decade did cigars become trendy among women and the young?
The 1970s
The 1980s
The 1990s
Yes, for a time, we were all encouraged to believe that nothing was hotter that a sexy young woman smoking a cigar. We suspect this died out because men did not, in fact, find it sexy for their girlfriends to look like a 19th-century robber baron.
The 2000s

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Which of these states is too far north to grow tobacco?
Connecticut
Tennessee
West Virginia
None of these
Surprised? Connecticut, generally thought of as a Yankee state, is home to "Connecticut Shade" tobacco. You can see the protective canopies over the fields as you drive some of the Nutmeg State's highways.

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