Spotlight: Cigar Wrappers Explained
An instructive guide to Cigar Wrappers, their purpose, their qualities and what is shows.
There are mixed opinions on the wrapper leaves of Cuban Cigars online, with many disagreeing on whether they have an effect on the flavours of cigars. Some, like Habanos SA’s official line, say that it has little to no effect on the flavours, whereas other cigar smokers suggests that it contributes an impressive 40-60% to the cigar’s overall flavour. We’re a little bit in the middle about it all, but what we can be sure of is that the wrapper is the initial impression you get of a cigar and its quality can surely have a substantial impact on its combustibility and overall smoke.
When we browse cigars for sale at merchant stores, we study the wrapper to get an understanding of the quality of the Cuban Cigar, much like the cover of a book, you expect to gain an insight into the cigar.
What to look for in a cigar wrapper?
Our ideal cigar wrapper would be unblemished and the veins would be unpronounced, giving a beautiful smooth silhouette. All of the cigars online through our website will have a slight oil sheen to them which denotes their insurmountable combustibility and the unsurpassable smoking experience they will provide.
What influences the wrapper’s appearance?
There are a number of intrinsic variables which will affect the appearance of a wrapper. In the initial stages of the wrapper, the leaf’s growth and shine is dependent on the soil quality, the particular tobacco, the conditions it’s grown in and the time the leaves are harvested. Post harvest and in the production stages, the shine levels of the cigar wrappers will also be altered. For example, during the fermentation process an ideal temperature must be maintained to ensure that neither too much or too little oil is exhibited in the tobacco which in turn will have a detrimental affect on the flavour of the cigar. This can cause a sharpening or bitterness to the overall flavour, which is something many people avoid when they buy Cuban cigars.
A loss of sheen is to be expected with aged cigars, like the Vintage Romeo y Julieta Cedros De Luxe Cigar, but sometimes if a cigar is stored incorrectly they will too lose their oily nature which can make the wrapper brittle and sometimes crack. As mentioned in our earlier blog post The Ultimate Guide to Humidors on our Cuban Cigar Blog, a constant humidity level must be maintained to ensure that your Cuban Cigars do not go through degradation.
Cigar Wrapper Colours
All cigar wrappers vary in shades ranging from a light tan to a dark brown/almost black. There are around 50 recognised variants in colour, but there are four famous and highly recognised ones which we will now go in more depth with.
A photo which depicts the gorgeous various colours of wrapper variants. Sourced from www.Cigarjournal.com
This wrapper is the lightest of them all and its colour is light green to yellow. The Double Claro undergoes special growth conditions which keeps its shade light in colour and gives it its milder flavour. This cultivation process takes place in Tapados fields, where a muslin cloth is utilised to protect the leaves from adverse weather conditions and direct sunlight. We spoke about this in a previous post called Spotlight: Tobacco Leaves. Some of our Montecristo Cuban Cigars are wrapped in these lighter shade leaves, which compliments their light flavoured profile.
This leaf is slightly darker in colour to the Double Claro wrapper, it is a gorgeous light tan shade. This colour is achieved by picking the leaves before they are properly matured and are then air-dried quickly.
The Colorado Claro is a light to medium brown colour and usually grown in the sun compared to the Claro and Doube Claro, which is known to gives it its fuller flavour. The Colorado Claro is predominantly used to wrap medium flavoured cigars, much like any of the Trinidad Cigars.
The Colorado Wrapper is grown in the shade, which gives it its medium to fuller flavour. These are a medium brown to reddish brown, which are more more robust and rich in flavour compared to the previous wrappers in this post.
The wrapper in between Colorado and Maduro was aptly named Colorado Maduro. This wrapper is dark brown and has a rich, aromatic flavour.
Perhaps the most famous wrapper of all, the Maduro is the darkest of all of the wrappers. This wrapper undergoes multiple ageing processes to ensure that it reaches its gorgeous dark and rich colour. The Maduro leaf is significantly thicker than other wrapper leaves and endures multiple years of aging but is still left unblemished. Very famous and very popular, why not try one of our Cohiba Cuban Cigars in the Maduro series, such as the Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios Cigar.
A beautiful box of the Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios Cigar which depicts its gorgeous wrapper colours.
The darkest cigar wrapper of them all, the Oscuro is almost black due to its unique and powerful cultivated and fermentation process. These leaves would have been left on the plant longer than the others and fermented for even longer. This gives the wrapper its very strong taste. These were once very popular in the early 1900s.
The Cigar wrapper to us is like an album cover and its aesthetic really can influence whether you buy it or not, that’s why we always ensure ours cigars are stored correctly to ensure they are kept in perfect condition.