Ligero, Seco, Volado: The Three Types of Tobacco Leaves
There is a lot of work behind the creation of the perfect cigar. From cultivation and curation to the delicate process of manufacturing, Cuban Cigars are products of a long procedure that requires knowledge, concentration, effort, and, above all, impeccable skills. By now we should all be aware of the fact that different tobacco leaves grown in different parts of the world develop different variations in flavours. However, only a few cigar smokers know that there is more than just one type of leaf on each tobacco plant. Without any further ado, here we touch on the three types of leaves found on every tobacco plant, going through the quality and the properties of each of the three categories and discussing the ways in which these contribute to the flavours, aromas, and burnability of our favourite Cuban Cigars Online.
TYPES OF TOBACCO LEAVES – There are three types of leaves found in any tobacco plant and they go by the name ligero, seco, and volado. Each and every single habano requires a combination of all these three types of leaves, however, the quantity of each used when manufacturing a cigar has a strong impact on the final product. To specify, the amount of each leaf used to create a cigar determines the aromas, flavours, and overall smokeability of that particular habano. That been said, we can’t help but wonder what is it that makes each leaf of the plant so distinctively unique from another.
“LIGERO IS USED IN STRONGER TOBACCO BLENDS”
LIGERO LEAF – The upper-most part of the tobacco plant produces the ligero leaf. This particular type of leaf takes much longer to mature than either seco or volado while it is considered the most flavoursome amongst the three due to its ability to enhance the boldness of a cigar’s flavours. In addition, cigar sommeliers argue that ligero leaf is the one that contributes to the taste of spiciness of a cigar while various cigar experts point out that ligero is responsible for producing a lot of smoke. Nevertheless, ligero leaves are often used in stronger tobacco blends aimed for experienced smokers. A highly special and unique habano, the Ramon Allones Patagon (Ex. Cono Sur) Cigar was handmade using an extra ligero leaf to further intensify the already deep and strong flavours of this cigar. Coming in a Petit Edmundo vitola that measures at 110 mm long by a ring gauge of 52, the Patagon puro is the first Regional Edition smoke to commemorate South Africa and is capable of delivering a full flavoured profile due to the additional ligero leaves used for the creation of this fine habano.
SECO LEAF – Almost every type of cigar smoker is familiar with the seco leaf as it constitutes the most popular type of tobacco filler. Seco leaves come from the midsection of the tobacco plant and are the thinnest amongst all types of tobacco leaves. Regardless its slender appearance, seco has a huge impact on the development of the aromas of the cigar. But there is more to seco than just its aromas. Seco leaves are responsible for producing a habano's light flavoured profile and, thus, the quantity of seco used when hand-rolling a cigar defines the degree of mildness of this particular puro. Being handmade using the finest seco and ligero leaves from San Juan y Martinez, the Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de San Juan Cigar delivers a light flavoured smoke. Part of the brand’s Le Hoyo series, this habano comes in 150 mm long by a 54 ring gauge and features a Geniales vitola, one of the best smokes to ever come from Hoyo de Monterrey Cigars.
Top Left: Tobacco leaves from a farm in Pinar del Rio, Top Right: Tobacco leaves laid upon handmade wooden crates before they make their way on to the curing house, Middle: Overlooking fields of tobacco plantations, Bottom Left: The process of picking tobacco leaves in Pinar del Rio, Bottom Right: Field of tobacco plants in Cuba
“USED FOR THEIR POTENT BURNING PROPERTIES”
VOLADO LEAF – Last but not least, Volado is the leaf found at the bottom of the tobacco plant. Volado comes second in boldness and, hence, these leaves have very little to offer in terms of flavours and aromas. Nonetheless, volado’s contribution to a cigar differs massively from what the other two types of leaves bring to the table. Volado leaves are primarily used for their potent burning properties. That been said, we shouldn’t look down on volado leaves and neglect their importance. Their contribution to the creation of a great habano is very significant as all cigars must include the volado leaf in order to secure an even burn ratio. One of the most sought after habanos on the market, the Cohiba Talisman Edicion Limitada 2017 Cigar guarantees an excellent and even burn due to the volado used during its manufacturing process. This cigar comes in a 54 ring gauge and 154 mm in length and delivers plenty of smooth and well-rounded flavours, typical of Cohiba Cigars.
Field of tobacco plants in Pinar del Rio, Cuba
The process of creating a habano requires the use of all three types of leaves found on the tobacco plant in order to secure the right balance between aromas, flavours, and burnability. Ligero, seco, and volado have different properties when it comes to creating a puro; properties that you can experience first hand by purchasing any from our extensive selection of Cuban Cigars for Sale Online. Waste no more time and check out more from our Cuban Cigar Blog to learn everything there is to know about habanos.