A Culebra cigar is three panatela cigars braided together and usually held in place by a ribbon or twine. It is easy to see where this odd vitola gets its name; “culebra” is Spanish for snake and the Culebra cigar looks like three wily serpents engaged in a slithery ménage-a-trois.
How Are Culebras Cigars Made?
In order to get that unique, braided shape, Culebras cigars have to be rolled when they are very moist to prevent them from simply breaking. Only experienced rollers have the skill and precision to roll these uncommon sticks which means very few are made. Because of their rarity, they are often seen as a status symbol in the smoking community.
History: Who Outsmarted Whom?
There are two main versions of the story regarding how and why these sticks came about; both take place in Cuba in the 1800s.
One version paints the picture of some clever Cuban cigar rollers who outsmart the overbearing factory managers. Cigar rollers were allowed to bring home three cigars from the factory each day to smoke at home. That wasn’t nearly enough for these heavy smoking gents, I mean, who can limit their evening cigar smoking to only THREE cigars? No one, that’s who! So these savvy smokers rolled three cigars into one and through the magic of multiplication they now were able to take home nine cigars a day. Brilliant!
How to Smoke a Culebra Cigar
Some cigar smokers take one look at a Culebra cigar and assume that you smoke them together. WRONG! I guess technically you can smoke them all together, but you would look pretty silly. In fact, the cigars should be separated and smoked individually. If rolled properly, they smoke just like any other cigar.
Why Smoke a Culebra Cigar?
With thousands of cigars available, why smoke a Culebra? Well, for one, it’s a novelty. Buy it, smoke it, and check it off your list. Culebra lovers say that it is like smoking a piece of cigar history. It is also a gentle reminder to share your cigars with friends. My favorite thing about a Culebra stick? If your hands are busy doing something else (writing, mowing the lawn, or anything else I don’t want to know – what you do when you smoke a cigar is YOUR business) you can point the foot away from your face and presto! No smoke in your eyes! Style and functionality! The Culebra has it all.