Understanding Cigar Wrappers
Cigar wrappers come in many different colors, ranging from light green to black and many shades between. Wrapper leaf color is determined by four major factors:
1. The variety of tobacco used
Some examples include Habano wrapper, Broadleaf wrapper, Sumatra or Piloto Cubano wrapper.
2. Where the tobacco was grown
Variety of growing locations include places like Nicaragua, Mexico, Honduras, the US, Cuba, or the Dominican Republic.
3. How the tobacco was grown
There are two methods of growth: sun-grown wrappers and shade-grown wrappers. The latter are grown under tents or cheesecloth.
4. How the tobacco was processed
This includes variants in how long the wrapper was processed, and how much natural heat was produced during fermentation.
The Most Common Cigar Wrapper Colors
While there are many different cigar wrapper colors, here are some of the most common ones you’ll hear referenced nowadays:
While this cigar wrapper was wildly popular back in the day, today it’s probably the most unique-looking wrapper used. Candela, or Double Claro, is light-green in color. To achieve this, the leaf is dried quickly to lock in the chlorophyll. This method results in a more “grassy” taste than other tobacco wrappers
Claro is a very light brown or tan color. Growers achieve this by growing their tobacco under cheesecloth, tents, or heavy cloud cover. It typically delivers a mild or creamy profile.
Colorado tobacco wrappers are medium brown in color, with a slightly reddish tint. They typically offer more in flavor and aroma than Clara wrappers.
Maduro wrappers (maduro means “mature” in Spanish) tend to be dark brown, almost chocolate in color. These wrappers are often thicker and more textured as result of their longer and more heat-intensive (natural heat) fermentation process. Maduro wrappers are “cooked” or “toasted” in a pressure chamber to help speed up the process. These wrappers tend to deliver more significant flavors, sometimes rich and sweet.
Oscuro tobacco wrappers are so dark they’re black. This color is created by using a higher priming leaf that’s left on the plant for an extended time. Additionally, Oscuros undergo an extra-long fermentation process to help them naturally process. It’s significant to note that not all varieties of tobacco are strong enough to handle that additional processing time. The most popular Oscuros come from the US, Mexico, or Brazil. These leaves tend to have the most dominant flavors and are rougher to the touch.
Sometimes, our understanding of how things are made—including everything from food to drinks to the cigars we smoke—is central to our enjoyment of them. Hopefully this information will help you better identify the kinds of cigars you enjoy the most, so that you can spend more time smoking them. As always, keep your palate open to new wrappers and new experiences. We’ll be there to help you the whole way through.