THE PURO INDIO
The Original Puerto Rican Cigar
The Taino Indians were making cigars in Puerto Rico 6,000 years ago. Stone molds used to form and cure cigars were used by the Arawak Indian Tribe. The carbon dated stone molds have been found all over Puerto Rico with concentrations in Utuado, Comerio, Isabella, Caguas, Cidra, Toa Alta, Baranquitas, Adjuntas, Jurabo, Humacao, Mayguez, Domingo Ruis, Dorado and Caparra.
Because tobacco is an edible vegetable leaf that can be rolled up and stored for many years it may have originally been a food source used to spice food and is still used in Puerto Rico's best "caldos" today. Stone blocks about 15 inches long were split in half and hollowed out with half circles. The blocks were put back together and the hollow tube was filled with tobacco. The two halves were tied together with coconut string and buried. The molds were dug up a year or so later when the tobacco was cured and used in Taino ceremonies. While Puerto Rico's Taino festival "Sikar" (from which the Spanish language translated to "Cigarro") was the center of this ceremonial activity. But it is well known that the Arawak tribes were well organized from Cuba to Aruba. All the tobacco they cured, planted, traded and smoked has today become the same exact tobacco throughout the islands.
There is nothing special or different about the soil from island to island. The curing processes used even until today originated in Puerto Rico. The archipelago of Caribbean islands are all made of the same rocks and soil. In 1898 during the Spanish American war, all of Cuba's tobacco fields were burned to the ground and replanted entirely with tobacco imported from Puerto Rico. "Puro", the original name for stogies common throughout Latin America originated in Puerto Rico. The tapered Puro Indio was the original shape and form. Today we manufacture the cigar in much smaller dimensions, about 7 inches, one third the original length and width.
The Puerto Rican tobacco is exceptionally smooth and is soaked with different spices (and we have since added rum) to enhance the natural tobacco flavors. For novices, the cigar should be smoked as is. Seasoned cigar smokers should allow the cigars to cure in a humidor for six months to a year so that the full bodied flavor they crave returns and blends well with the spices.