Things Every Guy (And Gal) Should Know About Cigars

There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in a situation where knowledge on a particular topic is assumed by one or the other party. No one wants to look like a fool so we just play along, keeping the interaction as vague as possible. Particularly when it comes to high-end business, cigar smoking is all the more prevalent and this is one topic you don’t want to be caught out on. So, to keep your reputation intact, here are your very own Spark Notes on the art of cigar smoking:

Sizing

Cigars are sized in relation to their length and their ring gauge (diameter). Lengths are denoted in inches and the gauge is measured in 64ths of an inch (practical, huh?).

There are a number of different standard names for different sizes and shapes of cigars. For more detail on sizing, please click here.

Construction

Cigars are wrapped in dried tobacco leaves, so the exterior of the cigar is called its wrapper leaf.

Binder leaves are what sits between the filler leaves and the wrapper leaf and generally come from the bottom of the tobacco plant as they are tougher and thicker but have little to no flavour.

Filler leaves are what make up the core of the cigar and, in conjunction with the wrapper leaf, will give the cigar its primary source of flavour. There are two types of filler leaves that will indicate the quality of the cigar.

Long filler is found in premium cigars and makes up the guts of the blend. These leaves are assembled by hand to facilitate an even burn. You want a thick filler so that the cigar doesn’t burn too hot.

Short filler is found in low-quality, machine-made, budget cigars and basically consists of the scraps left over from the premium cigars.

Tobacco Leaves

Tobacco leaves have different tastes depending on where they grow on the plant. The top of the plant usually produces leaves with the strongest flavour due to its exposure to the sun. This is called ligero.

The most potent of the leaves burns the slowest but also has the most intense taste. This leaf goes in the middle of the cigar.

The longer, thinner leaves, called secos and velados, burn faster and have less potency so are used to balance the cigar’s flavour and burn rate.

Cigars are ideally made out of different plants from different places and of different harvests to ensure the desired complexity is there.

Countries and Flavours

For detailed information on the top cigar producing countries and what to expect from their produce, click here.

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