About a decade before the 90's cigar boom in the United States, a new, inexpensive cigar debuted in stores around the country, sold under the brand "Backwoods," it quietly generated a lot of interest. Backwoods Cigar labels claimed a link to a lost time when men who wanted a cigar simply rolled their own. It was (and still is), a short, soft, rustic cigar with a bushy foot and a mild flavor. Backwoods Cigars quickly became a favorite with regular and occasional cigar smokers alike, and soon no fishing trip or poker night seemed complete without a few rumply Backwoods pouches in the mix.
Cigar History Museum describes something called the "American Cigar ... (Early 19th century term) Cigars made without binder from Virginia tobacco, thought to be sweeter and lighter than those made from Cuban tobacco or Cuban strains grown in the Northern US." Sounds American to me. Indeed, American tastes are often misunderstood as too bland, but America is all about quantity. This is the land of Big Gulps, 20 packs of beer, ultra-light cigarettes, and the "bottomless cup of coffee." Sure, we could drink stronger beer and knock back tiny cups of espresso, but then what would we consume the rest of the day? Americans are constantly in motion, constantly moving and driving and eating and drinking and smoking and etc. Who wants to smoke just one cigar a day? It's downright un-American.
How are they? I tried three brands. The original Backwoods is the smallest of the three (4 1/8 x 27), and tastes like a mild cigar should - mild, but not so mild as to be flavorless. One could easily (and happily) go through a pack of these a day.
Stonewood Cigars, from Good Times Tobacco, are also larger and could be a contender in this shootout if they didn't have a funny taste to them, like they picked up an unwanted flavor on the shop floor. (Have you ever bought an unwrapped cigar at a head shop? That's what they taste like.)
All three come in a variety of flavors, though for this post, I only reference the "Original" or unflavored varieties. They all, of course, have the signature "bushy foot," which people find to be either amusing, "manly," or irritating. I have mixed feelings on the subject, but when I don't want to fool with the foot, I simply clip it off with a cigar cutter.