Every cigar has it’s own unique composition. While they all use a similar basic structure the small variations that each manufacturer uses on their particular blend are what makes the difference between an average cigar and a “Cigar of the Year.”
Every cigar is constructed of three different parts. They are the wrapper, binder, and filler. Individually the tobaccos that make up these parts have their own flavor profile, but when combined together they create a flavor that is unique to that particular blend. These different blends can contain tobaccos from one country or region or a combination of countries and regions.
The wrapper of a cigar is the outside leaf of tobacco on a cigar. The wrapper should be free from sun spots and veins and should be uniform in color. The wrapper is responsible for a large majority of the cigars flavor.
Claro/ Connecticut Shade- light colored wrapper that is typically grown under cheese cloth.
Colorado/ corojo/ rosado- reddish brown wrapper
Maduro- A wrapper leaf that has undergone a longer more intense fermentation process that results in a darker wrapper color and yields richer, earthier and sweeter flavors.
Oscuro- Almost black in color the oscuro wrapper tends to result in a fuller bodied smoke.
The binder is the second layer of tobacco leaf in the cigar. The primary purpose of the binder is to keep the
filler leaves bound together.
The filler tobacco makes up the middle of the cigar. The filler can be composed of several different tobaccos.
Art and Science
Cigar manufacturing is often referred to an “Art Form” however it is also very much scientific based. In order for a cigar to burn properly it must be made up of the correct composition of tobaccos.
In order to do this cigar manufacturers separate the different leaves of the tobacco plant into primings. Each priming produces a different type of leaf that will be used in the cigar construction. Every priming plays a roll in how a cigar will taste and burn. Lower primings (seco) will produce thinner leaves that result in a milder flavor. Lower primings are the first to be picked in the process. As the lower primings of the tobacco plant are picked it forces the nutrients from the soil to the higher leaves. This along with more exposure to sunlight results in bigger, thicker and stronger tobacco leaves (ligero) often used as wrapper tobacco. However, because the higher primings tend to be thicker leaves it results in slower burning tobacco. These tobaccos need to be paired with lower primings that burn quicker in order for the cigar to burn evenly and consistently.
Cigar manufacturers experiment with hundreds of different blends before determining which of those blends will make it to the shelf of your local tobacconist. These blends may look identical to the naked eye however the science behind determining which percentages of which tobaccos will yield a cigar that not only taste exceptional but also burns and maintains it’s consistency throughout the entire smoke is what makes the art of cigar manufacturing exactly that.