- Double Claro – also called jade, candela, or American Market Selection. Theses kind of wrappers originated in Cuba in the 1940s and were very popular in America throughout the 1960s and 70s hence the name American Market Selection but, have declined in popularity since. The process these leaves undergo is where they are picked before maturity and dried in extreme heat for only a few days which locks in the green chlorophyll giving them they’re distinct color. Associated with being grassy or sweet flavors. Ex: Viaje White Label Project
- Claro – either yellowish or a very light tan. This is achieved by growing the tobacco plants in a shaded area until they have reached full maturity. These wrappers are to the touch silky and have a very smooth flavor. Usually give this type of cigar to someone who a beginner to cigar smoking. Associated with Connecticut Shade-grown leaf and may have flavors of carmel and nuts. Ex: Perdomo Champagne
- Colorado Claro – also called English Market Selection and natural. The color of this wrapper is a medium brown and is grown in many countries. Ex: Davidoff Colorado Claro Short Perfecto.
- Colorado – also referred to as Corojo or Rosado for the distinctive reddish brown color of this wrapper. Also shade grown like Claro wrappers but are exposed to more sun and therefore make them a thicker leaf and a darker color. Associated with flavors of cedar and leather. Ex: Coronado by La Flor
- Colorado Maduro – these can come from Cameroon aka Cameroon wrappers and also be from Nicaragua or Honduras where it is grown from Cuban seed. Considered full-bodied and sometimes referred to as English Market Standard. These wrappers are a darker brown and may induce flavors of cocoa, spice, and leather. Ex: Xikar HC Colorado Maduro
- Maduro – this sun grown leaf is grown in Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, Connecticut, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. It is very dark brown or black. The texture of this wrapper can either be very smooth or rough and veiny depending on the construction. This wrapper lends to a full-bodied smoke that can be spicy or rich in sweetness. Ex: CAO Brazilia Box-press
- Oscuro – also called Double Maduro due to them being a very black color. They usually have an oily sheen that can be felt upon touching. This wrapper rose in popularity in the 2000’s. This type of wrapper is sun-grown is grown in USA, Mexico, Connecticut, Brazil, Cuba, and Nicaragua. These wrappers usually produce alot of strength (nicotine) and are very full-bodied. Flavors are full and rich in sweetness or spice. Ex: Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery Box-press
Shade Grown vs. Sun Grown Wrappers
- Shade Grown – are tobacco plants that have been grown beneath cheese cloth. The reason for this is to prevent veins from becoming too large and create a smoother surface on the leaf. This produces wrappers that have a nice smooth smoke.
- Sun Grown – tobacco plants that are grown in direct sun light. These leaves grow thicker veins because they become resilient to the heat. Also they will have more sweetness, strength, and have a darker wrapper.
Q: Why do some wrappers have two countries mentioned in they’re name?
A: The reason for this is because cigar makers are experimenting with planting different tobacco seeds in different regions of the world to create new types of wrappers. The wrappers will create new unique flavor profiles. Ex: Dominican Sumatra, which means Sumatran tobacco seeds have been transplanted to the Dominican Republic to grow. The first country mentioned in the name is where the wrapper was grown and the second country mentioned in the name is the origin of the seed.
Manufactures often use this type of classification then above:
- American Market Selection or Standard (AMS) – Used to be popular in America and are referred to as either Jade, Candela, or Double Claro.
- English Market Selection or Standard (EMS) – Usually Colorado Claro or anything between Double Claro and Maduro. Standard for most cigar wrappers created today and has roots that go as far back as the 19th century.
- Spanish Market Selection or Standard (SMS) – Either Maduro or Oscuro.
The next layer in on a cigar is the binder. A binder is essentially a wrapper that has been rejected due to either blemishes, excess veins, discoloration, or holes. It is a very elastic leaf used to hold together bunches of fillers. The binder usually has little or no flavor and needs to be of high quality due to the fact it affects how the cigar will burn and the aroma that is given off. Also if the binder is matched with what is inside it, the better aroma it will produce. Another thing cigar manufacturers will do to give a cigar more flavor is they will use a wrapper leaf as a binder. This will overall make the cigar more expensive though because the wrapper is the most expensive part of a cigar. The better quality binders come from:
*Java and Sumatra are highly prized binders due to their flexibility and durability.
- Volado – is light flavored and picked from the bottom of a tobacco plant.
- Seco – is medium flavored and dry. This is picked from the middle part of the tobacco plant.
- Ligero – is strong flavored and picked from the upper part of the tobacco plant that is exposed to the most sunlight. When used in a cigar this type tends to burn slow.
Long vs Short Fillers, And Medium?
Fillers are either long or short. Long filler is considered better quality because it uses of the whole leaf compared to short filler, also called mixed, that uses basically a chopped up leaf. Short filler can also be recognized when smoking as well. It will sometimes leave small bits in your mouth and will burn pretty hot. Long filler however is used in higher quality cigars and will usually burn more even. Then between these two types of filler is something that manufactures dub medium filler. This is when they use larger pieces of leaf and short filler without stems so, basically a step above short filler in quality. The last type of filler out there that’s really in a category of it’s own is called “sandwhich”. Also called “Cuban sandwhich” which is created by rolling a short leaf withing a long outer leaf. Ex: Arturo Fuente Curly Head Deluxe Natural Lonsdale