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3rd October 2017Understanding Different Wrapper Leaves
Whether you are a seasoned smoker or new to the game, one of the trickiest components of knowing your cigars is understanding the wrapper leaves. There are hundreds of different colours and shades of cigar leaves that can range from light green to black. There are also a number of indicating factors or “tells” that can help you identify the best cigars for smoking.
What to Look for in Your Cigar’s Form
Purely from sight, you can determine the quality of a cigar. The wrapper should be smooth and pristine, without blemishes. The fewer the blemishes, the lower down the plant the wrapper leaf has likely come from, as the leaves are bigger, less exposed to the weather and often more flavoursome. A good cigar should also have a noticeable sheen to the wrapper leaf, caused by the oils that are involved in the ageing process.
Busting the Myth
It’s commonly held that “the darker the shade of the wrapper, the stronger the flavour of the cigar.” This can be the case sometimes but not always, so it’s wrong to work on that assumption. The thin wrapper holds much of the flavour but also acts as a sales pitch for the cigar itself.
Quintessential Colour Notes
Each leaf, before it is aged, is green so, in the logical sense, the longer the leaf has been aged, the darker the hue, but this isn’t necessarily an indicator of taste. Each shade has an associated type and is labelled as such, in relation to the seed’s region of origin. With over 50 named wrapper leaves, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Distinguishing from one to another can be complicated once again if a cigar is a hybrid, a mix of two different origins. These cigars are often referred to as “tweeners” in the United States.
4 Must-Know Leaves
There are four leaves that are incredibly common throughout the cigar industry. You’ll do well to know them when selecting your next smoke:
Connecticut wrappers (surprise, surprise!) come from Connecticut in the United States and, when it comes to tobacco exports, is really the only one America has. However, the seed for this wrapper leaf is also grown in Ecuador and must be nurtured in the shade. This is what gives it its pale colour and mild flavour. This leaf is low in nicotine and generally gives off a spicy, woody flavour.
Corojo plants were originally grown in Cuba before the revolution but now primarily hail from Honduras. They are darker in colour than the Connecticut leaves and hold a rich, peppery taste. It is one of the toughest of the common wrappers, which sometimes can make for a more hands-on smoke.
Habano leaves display a similar colour to Corojos but emit a heavy flavour due to its high nicotine content. Similar to the Corojo, this plant is originally from Cuba but now is primarily grown in Nicaragua.
Maduro wrappers are the darkest of the common bunch as they have been aged the longest from seedling to cigar wrapper. They are thick and fulsome and will resist flaws through years of ageing. These wrappers are often sweeter in flavour and which is why Maduros are often referred to as the “dessert smoke.”