Cigars come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some cigars are rolled into what is called a figurado shape. These cigars are not rolled straight like the majority of cigars with which you may be familiar. Instead, the have an irregular shape, with differing diameters, known in the cigar world as ring gauges, through the cigar. There are several categories of such shapes.
One of these categories is the perfectos, which describes cigars which narrow at both ends. Salomone cigars, sometimes called salomon cigars, are a type of perfecto cigar. Other types of figurado cigars in the perfectos category include favoritos, petit piramides, generosos, exquisitos, and manolins.
Salomone cigars have pointed, tapered heads combined with bulbous feet and a nipple tip. They differ significantly from one another but share this characteristic taper. These cigars are usually quite large. The Cuaba Salomone, for example, is 7 and 1/4 inches long with a ring gauge of 57. However, they can be found as short as 4 and 1/2 inches; this size is called a petit salomone. They are extremely thick cigars that can take hours to completely smoke.
Unfortunately, it is hard to track down the true history of this cigar. In recent years, it is generally reserved for limited edition tobacco blends and only produced by the most renowned of cigar manufacturers. These are generally extremely expensive cigars.
These are very difficult cigars to roll, due to both the double curve and the large size of the finished product. They require a lot of time and effort from a cigar roller. Even a skilled roller can only produce about fifty or sixty of these cigars per day.
As they roll, the toredors must be continually changing the angle at which they roll. The salomone shape combines features of multiple cigar shapes. In addition, the tobacco has to be packed at varying densities throughout, to allow for the changes in diameter throughout the roll. This means that only the most expert of cigar rollers can produce the salomone shape. And even with expert rollers, workers produce about 30% fewer cigars when trying to roll a salomone over other types.
Since only an expert toredor can produce a salomone, it stands to reason that they are much more expensive than other types. Fewer salomones can be made in a factory per day than other types of cigar. Plus the experts get paid more than the less experienced rollers. All of this combines to make the salomone shape a rarity among cigars.
The salomone is so popular in part because it is so easy to light and smoke. Plus, since the ring gauge changes throughout the smoke, a variety of complex flavors present themselves to the smoker that might have been missed in another type of roll. This means that even a simpler blend of tobacco is turned into a complex and sophisticated smoke. Limited edition blends with a variety of tobacco flavors truly come into their own with the salomone shape.
If you come into possession of a Salomone cigar, you will want to cut it properly before you smoke it. First, you cut the head of the cigar, closest to the band. You may or may not need to cut the foot of the cigar, depending on how it was rolled. If there is already an opening at the foot, you should see how well the cigar draws before cutting further. Obviously, if the foot is closed, you will need to clip that before you can smoke your cigar.
A salomone cigar is truly a unique experience that only a true cigar aficionado ever gets to experience. Most cigar manufacturers only produce the salomone type for their most high-end and limited edition blends of tobacco leaves. It is usually not a shape produced for typical tobaccos, since it takes so long to produce and so much expertise to roll.
If you manage to get your hands on a salomone cigar, be prepared to take your time. They can take hours to experience. And that is the correct word. Smoking a salomone is not a smoke, it is an experience. Enjoy your once in a lifetime cigar.