Many of us, myself included, who talk about smokes – either behind their backs or as we are inhaling - use the term "stogie" interchangeably with the word “cigar." But, from a technical stance, this is incorrect; to avoid angering both Merriam and Webster and having them throw their book at us, we shall correct ourselves. A stogie is actually not just any ol' cigar; a stogie is a Cheroot, a cylindrical cigar that – during manufacturing - has both ends clipped, making the cigar sound as if its been neutered.
The word cheroot is derived from the French word cheroute, which comes from a Tamil word meaning "roll of tobacco." It is believed that the French immersed this word into their language during the 16th century, when they attempted to influence the cultures of South India with the cultures of their own.
As for the word stogie, the nickname of cheroot, it was derived from the word Conestoga, which was the name of the area where these cigars were first made popular. Some of the earliest smokers of these types of cigars were folks driving Conestoga wagons through the Conestoga valley of Pennsylvania.
A characteristic of cheroots is their inability to taper. This makes them relatively cheap to manufacture mechanically and inexpensive to purchase, which, naturally, makes them a popular choice for consumers. Mark Twain, one of the world’s most famous cigar lovers, was photographed with a cheroot in hand on many occasions. He was believed to only purchase cheroots or cigars of a comparably cheap price; the expensive ones he smoked were rumored to be gifts.
While Cuba, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic are the roots of tobacco most commonly discussed, cheroots lay claim to Asia. Traditionally smoked in both Burma and India, cheroots are sometimes used as a Burmese reference in American and English literature. Once their popularity grew in Burma and India, cheroots also became prevalent among the Brits as the powerhouse British Empire reigned supreme.