Cigar wrappers are the outermost layer of the cigar and the most expensive component of the assembly.
There are many different kinds of cigar wrappers, and these play a part in the both the cigar’s flavor and its character.
“Of the three major cigar components – wrapper, binder and filler – it’s the wrapper leaves that readily present themselves for inspection when you’re making your purchase.”
The color of the wrapper is often used as a way to describe a cigar and these high-quality leaves play an important part in the enjoyment of the cigar.
Lighter shades usually are grown under gauze canopies (shade grown) to maintain milder tasting cigars.
Darker shades are stronger in flavor, coarser and stronger. These are left in direct sun to mature (sun grown).
The longer they are exposed to sunlight, the darker the shade and the stronger the flavor becomes.
There are seven main types of cigar wrappers.
- Candela – Also called “American Market Select,” this cigar wrapper is green to greenish brown and produces a very mild taste.
Harvested before maturity, while the leaves are still green.The color is due to chlorophyll present on the leaves
- Claro – Usually light tan in color, these wrappers are believed to be some of the finest in the world.
They are grown under large canopies to protect them from harsh sunlight and produce a neutral flavor that is ideal for smooth smoking.
- Colorado – Also called a “Rosado”, this is a reddish-brown wrapper has both and aromatic smell and a robust taste.
- Colorado Claro – Mid-brown in color, these wrappers are also referred to as “Natural” or “English Market Selection” wrappers.
These shade-grown wrappers offer a medium to full-bodied flavor.
- Colorado Maduro – Dark brown in color, these cigar wrappers usually produce a rich flavor and are found in many of the best Honduran cigars.
- Maduro – Maduro cigar wrappers are dark brown to very dark brown, and often have more texture and veining than lighter wrappers.
These wrappers are sometimes described as oily looking and produce a stronger taste, generally described as sweet.
- Obscuro – These are the strongest tasting of all of the cigar wrappers.
The Obscuro leaves are very dark brown to almost black in color and are usually from Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil.
When it comes to choosing a cigar, many people only consider the filler.
While this is important, it’s actually the wrapper that can determine anywhere from 60% to 90% of a cigar’s overall flavor.
Therefore, knowing a little bit about cigar wrappers and your various choices will go a long way towards enhancing your next cigar smoking experience.
Learning about cigar wrappers will make you a better smoker.