The Spanish word cigarro, from which "cigar" is derived, was probably an adaptation of sik'ar, the Mayan term for smoking. By 1600 the cigar had been introduced into Spain, where it was a symbol of conspicuous wealth for two centuries. The use of cigars in New England probably followed closely the settlement of Connecticut in 1633.

The idea of using colorful lithographic labels, now used for all handmade brands, started when Ramon Allones, a Spanish immigrant to Cuba, initiated it for the brand he started in 1837. As the industry grew in the mid-19th Century, so did the need for clear brand identification.