While smoking regulations around the world have put a damper on the art of smoking a fine cigar, The National reports that more than three million premium hand-rolled Cuban cigars are sold annually in the UAE. Luxury websites like Virtuozity.com feature articles on special edition cigars that are exclusively available in the Middle East and host cigar evenings in Dubai to allow men to sample the best cigars money can buy. Additionally, a number of luxury hotel chains like the Conrad, Sofitel, Fairmont and the Marriott Marquis have constructed cigar bars to cater to the UAE’s elite.
In bygone years, men would often seal business deals with the shared experience of smoking a cigar together. Now, men can do this at Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence, where many business deals are cemented.
The history of cigar smoking pre-industrial revolution may be less well-known. When Columbus discovered the new world, he found that the natives were smoking cylindrical bundles of tobacco leaves twisted and inserted in dried palm or corn husks. Soon tobacco leaves were being used in cigars—inserted into wrappers with filler and binder—and being produced in Cuba. Spain had a monopoly on Cuban cigar exports until 1817.
According to Time Magazine, by the mid-19th century, the US alone consumed some 300 million cigars. Tampa, Florida became known as “Cigar City.” Times have changed in North America, where cigar smoking has become more of a novelty reserved for the wealthy or hobbyists. It’s really too bad because as British writer, Evelyn Waugh once said, “The most futile and disastrous day seems well spent when it is reviewed through the blue, fragrant smoke of a Havana cigar.”
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