Cigars come in a wide range of types, shapes, flavors, wrappers, and more, all of which effect their overall taste and experience. The key to choosing the perfect cigar for you is by understanding all of the cigar’s many unique aspects, and the ways those aspects influence one another. This article aims to help you become well versed in the language of cigars and the many different types available.
The wrapper of a cigar is made from the large, lower leaves of the tobacco plant and is used to bind the cigar together. While the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” might be helpful when it comes to choosing a novel or a friend, it certainly doesn’t apply to cigars. A cigar’s wrapper leaf can determine sixty to ninety percent of its overall flavor, informing the consumer about the experience they will have once lit. By cutting an inch of wrapper leaf off the bottom of the cigar and revealing only the filler and binder beneath, a consumer can unmask just how important the wrapper truly is. The wrapper leaf by itself will taste significantly less flavorful than when it is paired with its binding and filler.
Wrappers range from light tan to dark brown with some green shades as well, and will also have a distinct sheen to them as a result of the oils that are released during the aging process.
Different Types of Cigars
Different types of cigars have wrappers with distinct shades of color that include:
- Also known as a Candela or “American Market Selection”
- Has a green shade
- Popular in “Natural” or “English Market Selection” cigars
- Has a medium brown shade
- Usually grown in Connecticut
- Has a light tan color
- Has a very dark brown color
- Includes the deep black shade known as Oscuro
- Has a reddish tint
- Has a medium brown shade
- Is darker than Colorado Claro
The Four Main Wrappers
- The leaves are grown predominantly in Connecticut but are also grown in Ecuador. The leaf has a mild flavor, low nicotine content, and an earthy taste reminiscent of cedar and wood.
- The leaves are grown in Honduras but were originally grown in Cuba. The leaf has a spicy and peppery flavor.
- The leaves are grown predominantly in Nicaragua but were originally grown in Cuba. The leaf is dense with nicotine and has a heavy and spicy flavor.
- The leaves get their name from the Spanish word “maduro,” meaning “ripe.” They are aged for years to achieve their dark color. The leaf has a sweet taste and is nicknamed “dessert smoke.”
Other Popular Wrappers That Are Lesser-Known
- The leaves have a mild taste.
- The leaves have a mild and cinnamon-like taste.
- The leaves have a rich and savory taste.
Shapes of Cigars
Source: Cigar Choice Guide
While the shape of a cigar doesn’t impact its quality, taste, or strength, it does impact the experience the consumer has when smoking the cigar. Parejo is the most common shape of cigar, with Figurados, or irregularly shaped cigars, such as Pyramid, Torpedo, Perfecto, or Presidente. The irregularly shaped cigars are usually much more difficult to make, leading to them being of higher quality and value. A cigar that is particularly interesting is called a Culebra, which is comprised of three long straight cigars braided together to make a single larger cigar.
Where cigar tobacco is grown deeply impacts their flavor profile. Below are the top five locations for tobacco to be grown.
Cuba is widely praised for its high quality, flavorful tobacco and has the reputation for making the best cigars in the world.
2. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is known for the smooth and light flavor of their tobacco, however they’ve recently been producing more powerful strains.
Nicaragua’s tobacco is known for its spicy and powerful flavor.
Honduras’ tobacco is rich and powerful with a strong earthy flavor.
Though having only been growing and exporting cigars over the last 15 years, Ecuador has created a spicy cigar wrapper that is simply delicious.
Other notable exporters are Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Jamaica, and Cameroon.
Now that you are well versed in the different types of cigars, you are ready to pick the perfect cigar. After you’ve taken all the elements of cigars into consideration—the color of their wrapper, their smell, where they were grown, their flavor, and their shape, choose which you’d like to indulge in most and enjoy.