You've probably heard or read at least one news story about the FDA and tobacco over the last few years. It seems that the FDA may be ready to separate premium tobacco from cigarettes. The next question becomes, what is a premium cigar?
The FDA has defined premium cigars as those meeting all of the following criteria:
Is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf;
Contains a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder;
Contains at least 50 percent (of the filler by weight) long filler tobacco (i.e., whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar);
Is handmade or hand rolled (i.e., no machinery was used apart from simple tools, such as scissors to cut the tobacco prior to rolling);
Has no filter, nontobacco tip, or nontobacco mouthpiece;
Does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco;
Contains only tobacco, water, and vegetable gum with no other ingredients or additives; and
Weighs more than 6 pounds per 1,000 units.
There has been some back and forth, but little has changed at the Federal level. However, Halfwheel recently reported that the Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill in May banning the sale of flavored tobacco products beginning in 2024. That ban, though, does not apply to the sale of premium cigars! It is hoped that the FDA will follow the Colorado example.
If you want a more practical (and simpler) definition, ProCigar (an organization of Dominican Manufacturers) states that premium cigars "hand-made, with good tobacco, with a full leaf". At Bailey's, we only sell premium cigars and pipe tobacco!