Anatomy of a Tobacco Plant with Rick Rodriguez

Rick Rodriguez of CAO Cigars took a few minutes to explain to us what the different sections of a tobacco plant are and how these sections are used to make cigars.


Hi, guys. I’m Rick Rodriguez, the head blender from CAO. I’m here to talk about the different sections of a tobacco plant.

If you look at a tobacco plant, we section that tobacco plant into three areas. The first area, the first three primings or three rows of tobacco is going to be Volado. Volado is going to give you some great things from the tobacco. It’s going to burn very well because it’s a light wrapper. It burns very well, but the problem with Volado is it’s going to be virtually tasteless tobacco and the body is going to be near zero.

If you look at the second section of the tobacco plant, that’s called Seco. This is where we get the flavor of that tobacco plant. This is all flavor, so there’s about three to four primings of Seco. This is the area of the tobacco plant where we go for flavor.

The third and last area of the tobacco plant is called Ligero. This is where we get body. If you look at Ligero it’s very thick tobacco. It tends to burn very slow so when we’re making cigars we tend to make a cigar that has a lot of Ligero, we’ll add some Volado to help the burning of that cigar. Ligero to me equals body, so if you have a cigar that has a lot of Ligero it tends to be a medium to full-bodied cigar. A lot of Seco is going to be a mellow to medium-bodied cigar with a lot of flavor.

So those are the three sections of a tobacco plant. If you’re looking for burn characteristic, you’re going to go to the base of the tobacco plant. If you’re looking for the more flavor, you go to the mid-section of the tobacco plant. If you’re looking for body, you go to the top of the tobacco plant. That should help you achieve what you want to make as part of the body of your cigar and the flavor of your cigars.

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