I have been asked, what are the parts of a cigar?  There are three parts to a cigar. The wrapper is the outer part of the cigar, so this is what you see. The binder is the part which holds the filler together and away from the wrapper. The filler is the inner most part of the cigar.

The wrapper is usually the most expensive leaf. It is grown under some protection, so it does not grow too thick or get any discoloration.  You get a lot of the flavor from this part of the cigar. The goal is to get the best flavor leaf possible. Connecticut leaf is one that is used often for the wrapper. It is highly sought after for its smooth texture and golden color.  Connecticut Shade tobacco is grown under shade made of a light durable material. This allows the sunlight to be softer and defused, also allows the air to be more humid and it keeps the temperature slightly warmer.  Maduro is another type of wrapper. This wrapper is dark in color and is produced by fermenting the tobacco at higher temperatures and more humidity. This is done to bring out the sweetness of the tobacco. Sun grown leaves are grown without any shade to get a more robust flavor. A natural leaf offers a full body flavor with a light brown color. The green leaf that you see is the Candela (claro) wrapper. This leave is picked early before the leaf is completely matured. There are more leaf types used and I would encourage you to research these to learn more.

This binder uses the bottom or the top part of the plant. This part of the leaf is thicker and hardier. They need to be durable for the rolling process. Unlike the wrapper they can have blemishes and discoloration since this will not be seen. The bottom leaf tends to have little to no flavor and is very combustible.

The filler is the bulk of the cigar. The leaves are folded by hand to produce the air flow for the smoke after lighting. The filler can have any part of the plant from the top with lots of flavor and strength to the bottom with very little flavor. By blending these different parts of the tobacco leaf the manufactures get the strength and flavor profile for their cigars. The larger the diameter the more filler, so you will get a portion of the flavor profile from the filler. In addition to the variety of the tobacco and parts of the leaf you also get flavor profiles from the regions of the tobacco. When the whole leaf is used this is called long filler. Most premium cigars will use long filler. Cigars comprised of the smaller bits of the leaf are called short filler, a lot of machine made cigars use short filler.

These parts all together help make up the flavor profile of your cigar. By blending the different parts of the leaf and using different leaves from different regions you get different profiles and strength. When I smoke a sun grown wrapped cigar I get a cinnamon and nutmeg profile. Maduro wrappers fill my palate with cocoa notes. Some cigars I will catch a pepper note. The Crown Head Yellow Rose fills my palate with pepper, cocoa and maple syrup. Cigars can be made to have a simple smooth profile to a very complex profile. The next time you smoke one see what profile you get and then look up the cigar and see what others have gotten.

By Tara Lee Maloney

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