Making even the simplest of cigars by hand takes artistry. These elaborate creations represent the pinnacle of the craft.
|Diademas are one of the most creative cigar sizes. A cigar custom-made by Tabacalera Perdomo especially for Nick Perdomo Sr.'s personal use sits in the center, flanked by commercially available cigars from Rolando Reyes Sr. At left is his Puros Indios Gran Victoria, at right his Cuba Aliados Diadema. Both are made in Honduras. Reyes, the rare cigar factory owner who can roll well, is considered one of the world's finest cigarmakers.|
|One of the most popular custom cigar shapes is the baseball bat, exemplified here by Tabacalera Tropical (far right, with maduro strips on the grip) and Arturo Fuente. The football was specially crafted by Fuente for gridiron star Dan Marino. Like every cigar in this feature, it can be smoked.|
|Some shapes are simply odd, like the bulbous Drew Estate Egg from Nicaragua (shown on the frame and in its box, containing a nest of tobacco), a custom pipe rolled by Tabacalera Tropical, and the commercially available Chisel from La Flor Dominicana, which presents a fresh way of crafting a figurado.|
|Culebras begin as simple panetela cigars, but become art when twisted to take on their snakelike shape, whence they get their name. Clockwise, from top left, a Partagas from Cuba, a Davidoff and a La Flor Dominicana from the Dominican Republic, the last braided with a black maduro cigar, and a custom-made Arturo Fuente with its zebra stripes of various wrapper leaves.|
Photos by Bill Milne