There is some uncertainty as to what the term hand rolled cigar refers to. In the cigar world, the primary distinction between types of cigars is whether the cigar is machine made or handmade.
Machine Made Cigars vs. Hand Rolled Cigars
Automated processes in a factory type setting, as the name indicates, assemble machine made cigars. Alternatively, handmade cigars are assembled by actual human hands. Another important distinction between handmade and machine made cigars is that machine made cigars often contain non-tobacco products such as paper or preservatives, while handmade cigars are made with one-hundred percent tobacco product.
The process of producing a cigar involves cutting and binding the filler tobacco, and then rolling the tobacco in a final wrapper. This final stage in the process for handmade cigars is done by hand, so the term hand rolled cigar would be applicable. Therefore, any handmade cigar is a hand rolled cigar.
However, there are some cigars whose binder and filler are bunched and bound by a machine, but then rolled in their wrapper leaf by human hands. So there are some machine made cigars that are properly classified as a hand rolled cigar. All this to say do not be fooled into thinking the terms handmade cigar and hand rolled cigar are necessarily synonymous.
Also interesting about a hand rolled cigar is that because of the labor cost of individually hand wrapping each cigar, most any hand rolled cigar is produced outside of the United States. Not only is the labor cost high, but generally, the talent level is low here in the states.
The process of hand rolling hand rolled cigars is not a simple process. It takes experienced and careful hands to roll each cigar the same
way and all with masterful and artistic quality. The way the cigar is rolled can have an effect on elements of the smoke such as the uniformity of the burn and how long the cigar holds ash. These two signs of a great cigar are ever more present in a hand rolled cigar than in machine made cigars.
A hand rolled cigar is, on average, more expensive than a machine made cigar. But not every hand rolled cigar is expensive. Many major cigar producers make an affordable hand rolled cigar.
A great example is the Arturo Fuente Curly Head, which costs a little over two dollars per cigar when you purchase a box. You can also hire a hand rolled cigar expert to provide hand rolling for guests at weddings or other gatherings where people can have as a souvenir a hand rolled cigar they rolled themselves.
In sum, a hand rolled cigar, while not always the same as a handmade cigar, has some advantages over machine made cigars. Although the qualities exhibited by a hand rolled cigar may be important to some, the way the cigar is rolled will not necessarily affect the quality of the smoke. It depends on what you value in a smoke.