Cigar 101 – Introduction to Cigar Wrappers
In this installment of our Cigar 101 Video Series Dane gives an overview of the most common cigar wrapper shades:
Hello and welcome to Cigars 101. My name is Dane with Best Cigar Prices. And today we’re going to cover wrappers.
Now, wrappers are not only providing the aesthetic appeal to your cigars, but they also account for anywhere from 60% to 90% of the cigar’s flavor, depending on which experts you ask. So no matter how you look at it, it’s a very important element to the cigar that you’re going to smoke.
It can also be very confusing. There are several different variations. But today, what we’re going to do to try to simplify things as much as possible, is just cover the four basic kinds of wrappers that you’re going to encounter. Which, in layman’s terms, are Light, Very Light, Dark, and Very Dark.
We’ll start with the Very Light wrapper, which is known as the Double Claro, and is also sometimes called the candela. These are a pretty unique looking wrapper, because they actually have a green tint to them. And what gives them the green tint is the fact that the tobacco leaf is actually harvested before it’s fully ripened. And that’s why it still has that green, sort of a tone to it. Think of it as like a banana. Before it’s quite ready it has that greenish tint. And this color carries over throughout the process, until the cigar is made.
Now candela cigars were hugely popular in the ’40s. Not so much now, but you can still find them. And a lot of times what you’ll find are cigars with two wrappers, a Claro and another kind. So you get a sort of a green, brown stripe, which is kind of neat looking.
One aspect of the candela wrapper is it’s a very light wrapper, and doesn’t tend to have a whole lot of flavor. It allows more of the natural tobacco taste, of the rest of the cigar, to come through. So that’s probably more in the 60% range, as far as how it affects the flavor.
The next step is what most people refer to as a Natural wrapper. And natural wrappers encompass an entire gamut of different things. There are Connecticut wrappers, Shade Connecticuts, and a big part of what separates Double Claros from Naturals, from Maduros is the fermentation process. And basically, what that means is, whenever a tobacco leaf is cultivated, to be used as a wrapper, it is fermented. And the length of time for which it’s fermented is going to affect how dark the wrapper is, how oily the wrapper is. The longer it’s fermented, the more the natural oils come up. It causes the wrapper to be darker. It causes it to be a little bit more bold flavored. And does raise the nicotine content a little bit, but that’s a topic for another day.
So we’ve covered the Double Claro and the candela wrapper. And then the Natural wrapper, which is your average Light wrapper. For example, the cigar I have now has a Natural wrapper. It has that sort of a light, golden, tan color to it. Anything that falls in that golden, tan range, is going to be considered a Natural wrapper.
The next step beyond that is a Maduro wrapper. That’s where you start getting into the darker browns, the deeper colors. This is a richer wrapper. Again, it’s been fermented longer. So that is going to give you a little bit more bold flavor.
And then, of course, the last one is the Oscuro, which is also known as a Double Maduro. Now Double Maduros are very, very dark. Sometimes they even appear black. They’re also very oily, because so much of the leaf’s natural oil has been allowed to soak up into the wrapper. So you can even see it, and feel it a little bit, on the outside of the cigar.
So there are your four basic types of wrappers. In and amongst those all, there are a hundred different variations. There are tons of different kinds, which you’ll learn more about as you expand your taste, which we’ll cover in future episodes. But for now, that’s your sort of, tip of the iceberg coverage of cigar wrappers. And it’s something that you just want to keep in mind when you’re purchasing your cigars.
The general rule of thumb, and of course, there are variations because the binder and the filler are also going to affect the flavor of the cigar, but as a general rule of thumb, with a few variations along the way, your lighter wrappers are going to give you the lightest flavor. They’re sometimes described as being creamy, or nutty. And then as you get darker in color, you’re going to get a richer flavor. Chocolaty, leathery is another description for some of the darker wrappers, like Maduros and Oscuros.
So again, that’s just a little bit of an insight into what goes into a cigar wrapper. And we’ll talk more on that in the future. In the meantime, enjoy your cigars. Have a good day.