The last checkpoints
One of the many things that fascinated me during my work at the Davidoff cigar factory (both in Jicomé and Villa Gonzalez) is how munch control points the cigar must pass (170 different process steps). Beginning with the seedling, as a leaf, all the bunches and finally as a complete cigar.
I was first allowed to check the cigars for uniform consistency - you touch them from top to bottom, if you feel a spot that is too soft, it has to be eliminated.
Then a quantity of 25 cigars is checked for the correct ring gauge and finally these 25 cigars are weighed again. If the overall length and the overall weight are correct, they are placed bulks for sleeping and allowed to rest for at least six weeks in the aging room. But most cigars slumber there much longer.
Then they are taken to the colour sorting - my next station. To be honest, at first sight I was close to saying: "Please skip this station, I can't do that". For me all cigars (of course one line and one format) had the same colour. I could distinguish at most between something lighter or darker. My first challenge was the Davidoff Winston Churchill the Late Hour. Finally - after a long look - I was able to sort the cigars into 15 different colour categories. After that, they get ringed and packaged. (More tomorrow)
Last job of the day was a cigar with Connecticut wrapper. That was even more difficult - but in the end it was very satisfying to see many different nuances and tones.