While most cigars are made the same way, their composition and the tobacco leaves used makes them all individual. The blend of tobacco and added flavors combine to give you a cigar you can enjoy anytime.
Understanding what a cigar is made up of will help you choose which cigars might be best for you. Cigars are made up of 3 different types of tobacco leaf: the filler, the wrapper and the binder.
The 3 Components Of A Cigar
The filler is the tobacco used in the middle of the cigar and it is made from leaves from all over the tobacco plant. The filler has a great effect on the overall flavor and strength of the cigar, but does not give the cigar its ultimate texture and aroma. This comes from the construction of the cigar and the type of tobacco leaves used.
The flavor of the filler largely depends on which part of the plant the leaves have come from.
- Leaves from the base of the plant will provide a gentler flavor.
- Leaves from the middle of the plant create a milder flavor.
- Leaves from the crown of the plant give a cigar that is rich in flavor and textures which many cigar smokers enjoy.
Before the filler is used, it must be cured and fermented. This cannot be rushed and creating the best leaves can take up to 2 years.
When the leaves are ready, they are folded and gaps are left between each leaf which draw air in. Folding the filler is an art as if it is not done correctly it can make the draw too tight or too loose. The filler goes down the length of the cigar.
The higher quality cigars will have filler which uses the whole leaf. Lower quality cigars have filler which is shorter and it is sometimes made up from parts of the leaf which have been leftover from other cigars.
The filler of the cigar is then covered with the binder leaf.
The tobacco leaves used for the binder generally come from the top of the plant, where they have received plenty of sunshine. The leaves used for the binder can be the same type of leaf which is used for the filler. The central vein of the leaf is removed and this creates a smooth leaf to go around the filler. As this leaf isn’t seen, it doesn’t have to be perfect and can be used if it has blemishes.
The leaf used on the outside of the cigar is the wrapper and this keeps the filler and binder in place. It is also an important part of any cigar as it not only gives the cigar its appearance but also adds to the flavor and burn.
The wrapper gives each cigar its distinctive look and the leaves chosen are always free of blemishes or irregularities.
The leaves are not grown in direct sunlight, as this can dry them out and make them a little less flexible. They are generally grown under canopies which help to diffuse the sunlight to keep the leaves full of flavour. As the wrapper is stretched over the length of the cigar, the leaf needs to be pliable and thin so that it is smooth and has an even look and texture. When in place, it is sealed with vegetable gum as this doesn’t affect the draw.
Cigar wraps are used by cigar smokers who prefer to roll their own. Filler tobacco is bought separately and this is then rolled inside a wrap.
Cigar wraps are made of tobacco, but they are also flavored with herbs and flavouring agents. Some of the flavors can be very strong, so you may need to try a few wraps before you find the right one for you. They smoke slower than other cigar wrappers so you need to allow plenty of time to fully enjoy your cigar.
These are great for those who like a variety of aromas and flavors from their cigars.
A cigar wrap is made up of 2 layers:
- The inner leaf: Made from tobacco, this is a thinner layer and is similar to the paper used for rolling cigarettes.
- The outer leaf: This is a thicker layer which is the outside of the cigar and it is spiralled around the inner leaf.
Whichever cigar you prefer the best, you can be sure that the blend of tobacco used in the filler, binder and wrapper have been carefully selected to give you the smoothest flavor possible. Cigar wraps can be used to create your own individual cigar and is a great way to add variety to what you smoke.