A Guide to Cigar Terminology

Cigar Glossary – Terms and Phrases You Should Know

Aging

The act of letting tobacco rest for extended periods of time. This ranges from months to years and is done under precise conditions. Tobacco can be aged as loose tobacco or already-wrapped cigars.

Aging Room

The room in which cigars are stored after they are rolled. The walls are lined in Spanish cedar, and the room allows cigars to rest for an extended amount of time. This allows the cigars to develop flavours and reach an optimal level of humidity.

Anilla

Cuban for a cigar band, which details the brand and origin of the cigar.

Ash

The ash of a cigar can reveal the quality of its tobacco. Cigars grown within the soil with healthy levels of magnesium will reveal a bright, white ash. Flaky or black ash signifies the use of unoptimized soil. It is customary to let ash build upon the end of the cigar before tapping it off.

Band

The ring of paper on a cigar that details the brand and place of origin of the cigar. It is situated near the top of a cigar and usually comes with intricate designs.

Binder

The leaves that hold the filler leaves together and stays between the filler leaves and the wrapper leaf. Binders usually are grown with the intention of being a wrapper leaves but are used as binders because of imperfections.

Blend

The combination of different tobaccos that make up the flavours of a premium cigar. Most cigars will be created with a blend of up to 5 leaves in the fillers, 1 – 2 binder leaves, and the wrapper leaf. This is the recipe that makes a cigar unique.

Bloom

Also called plume. These are small white dots that appear on cigar wrappers, usually on oily cigars like Maduros. These are crystallizations of the oil within the cigar, so they are not harmful and can simply be brushed off.

Box Pressed

Refers to pressing cigars into a flat, squared shape, traditionally to prevent cigars from rolling off of a table.

Bunch

Also known as bonche, which refers to when the filler and binder leaves are rolled into a cylinder before they are wrapped inside a wrapper leaf.

Burro

Also known as ‘bulk’, which is large piles of tobacco that are assembled for fermentation after curing. The leaves are piled on top of each other, and the fermentation occurs as the weight and moisture from the leaves generate heat. This creates changes in the chemical structure of the tobacco that helps it develop flavour.

Canoeing

When one part of the cigar burns faster than the other, resulting in an uneven burn, particularly when the uneven burn results in a narrow strip.

Cap

The tobacco leaf that covers the head of the cigar to secure the wrapper and is the part that gets clipped off before the cigar is smoked.

Cedar

A type of wood that is commonly used for cigar box due to its ability to absorb moisture. Cedar is also a tasting note in many cigars.

Chaveta

A flat blade with a curved end that is used to trim a wrapper leaf during the wrapping process.

Chop

A chopped up filler tobacco, which is commonly used in inexpensive and machine-made cigars.

Coffin

 A small wooden box that is used to carry a single premium cigar.

Corona

One of the most common and classic cigar sizes, which is usually 5 ⅝ inches with a 42 ring gauge.

Corona Gorda

A type of cigar shape that translates to ‘fat’ corona. They usually have a ring gauge of over 50 and are similar in size to Toros.

Curing

When tobacco leaves are hung in a barn to remove its moisture before fermentation. This is when the leaves turn from green to yellow or brown.

Cutter

The tool used to remove the cigar cap before smoking.

 Diadema

 A large, shaped cigar that is similar to a Perfecto but with specific dimensions. It is usually at least 8 inches long.

Double Corona

 A cigar size that usually measures 7.5 inches with a ring gauge between 49 and 52. This shape provides a longer smoking time.

Draw

How air pulls through the cigar. The draw can be affected by the packing of the tobacco as well as how the cigar is cut.

Draw test

A test that measures how air pulls through the cigar to ensure the tobacco is not rolled too tightly or loosely. This is an essential test for the quality of cigars.

Fermentation

The step tobacco goes through after curing, where tobacco is left under pressure and heat. This removes ammonia from tobacco and causes chemical changes that help develop the cigar’s flavours.

Figurado

Used to describe cigars that are not of the traditional shape. This includes Torpedos, Belicosos, Pyramids and Perfectos.

Filler

The mix of tobacco that makes up the body and the overall taste of the cigar.

Foot

The end of the cigar that is lit for smoking.

Gordo

 Translates to ‘fat’ in Spanish, and signifies a type of cigar that is large and thick. Sometimes also referred to as a Double Toro.

Gordito

 A small Gordo, usually short and thick with a 60 ring gauge.

Gran Corona

 One of the largest cigar sizes, 9 inches in length with a 47 ring gauge. They are also known as the ‘Presidente’ in Cuba.

Guillotine

 A cigar cutter with a hole for inserting the cap. This is the most common type of cutter and can come with one or two blades.

Habano

A cigar made only from Cuban tobacco.

Head

The end of the cigar that is smoked. Usually comes with a cap that needs to be clipped before enjoying the cigar.

Hecho a mano

Spanish for ‘made by hand’.

Humidor

 A container or a room with specific conditions in terms of temperature and humidity that is used to preserve cigars.

Hygrometer

 A device that measures the humidity of a space, which is an important aspect of preserving cigars.

Lance

A type of cigar cutter that pierces the cap instead of cutting it.

Lancero

 A cigar size that is slightly longer than a Panatela.

Long Filler

 Filler tobacco that is made from whole or larger leaves that run through the entire body of a cigar. This is more common in handmade cigars.

Machine-Made

A cigar that was rolled using a device rather than by hand.

Maduro

One of the most famous types of cigar wrappers that comes with a dark hue, a result of a long fermentation process that produces deeply flavoured leaves.

Medio Tiempo

Small and potent leaves that grow on the top of a tobacco plant, known for their complex flavour.

Mulling

An extra fermentation step for tobacco leaves that need more fermentation after the initial process. This is usually done to leaves that were on the exterior of burros during fermentation. They are then placed in a mulling room with high temperatures and humidity levels to complete the fermentation process.

Oscuro

 A type of wrapper leaf that is the darkest out of all wrappers, with an almost black appearance. It is darker than Maduros and known for its intensity and rarity.

Perfecto

A cigar shape that is slightly bigger in the centre and tapers off into pointed ends.

Petit Corona

 A small corona, which is one of the smallest cigar shapes, usually around 5 inches long.

Plume

Also known as bloom. These are small white dots that appear on cigar wrappers, usually on oily cigars like Maduros. These are not harmful and can simply be brushed off.

[block]9[/block]Premium Cigar

Refers to 100% tobacco, long-filler, hand-made cigars of high quality.

Priming

Tobacco is usually harvested in layers according to its position on the tobacco plant. Priming refers to the leaves’ position on the tobacco plant.

Puro

A cigar whose entire composition is made from tobacco that is grown in the same country.

Punch

A type of cigar cutter with a circular blade designed to remove a specific area of the cigar cap. They are used with careful pressure in a twisting motion to preserve the wrapper of the cigar.

Pyramid

A cigar shape that goes from a narrow head to a wide foot.

Ring Gauge

Measurement of a cigar’s diameter. Each unit is 1/64th of an inch.

Robusto

One of the most popular cigar sizes, usually 5 inches long with a 50 ring gauge, which provides a short but robust smoke.

Salomon

A cigar shape that is known for its large and impressive shape. It is usually 7.25 inches long with a 57 ring gauge. They require highly skilled cigar makers to create.

Shade-grown

Cigars made from tobacco leaves that were grown under tents, which makes them less potent and thinner.

Spill

 Small strips of Spanish cedar that is used to light cigars in a traditional manner. This offers a more pure cigar experience.

Stacking

 When a cigar smoker tries to ‘stack’ the ash at the end of the cigar for as long as possible.

Stogie

 A slang term for cigars, originally used to refer to a long, thin and inexpensive cigar.

Sun-Grown

Tobacco that was grown under direct sunlight. This produces thicker leaves with a stronger flavour.

Tapado

The cheese-cloth tents used for growing shade-grown tobacco.

Tooth

The pattern that forms on a less smooth wrapper leaf. Tooth refers to the tiny bumps on the cigar wrappers.

[block]10[/block]Toro

A type of cigar that is chunky and is similar in size to Gordos, with a ring gauge of 50 instead.

Torpedo

A cigar shape with a pointed head, similar to a pyramid but with a closed foot. Though Pyramid and Torpedo are often used to describe the same cigars.

Tubo

Cigars that come individually packed in metallic or glass tubes for safe-keeping and easy transportation. Often, these cigars are also wrapped in cedar for the best preservation of its quality and flavour.

Tuck

Another word for the foot of the cigar, the end that is lit.

Tunneling

When the interior of the cigar burns faster than the exterior, resulting in an uneven burn.

[block]11[/block]V-Cut

A way of cutting the cigar that results in a V-shape on the head of a cigar.

Vega

Another word for a tobacco plantation.

[block]12[/block]Wedge Cutter

A type of cutter, also known as a V-cutter or a cat’s eye. This type of cutter cuts a V-shape out of the head of a cigar to form a V-cut.

Wrapper

The outermost leaf that wraps around the binder and gives cigars its finished look. This is the highest quality tobacco leaf in a premium cigar.

 

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