The first thing smokers notice in a cigar is its band and the wrapper. They notice the color and shine of the wrapper. The way wrappers look, the texture, and shape will entice people to purchase the cigar; it provides the manufacturer with an essential marketing platform. Cigars come in different colors with terms such as Maduro and Claro, but these terms refer to the type of wrapper used (the wrapper is the outermost leaf).
While the wrappers have different color appeals, it also impacts up to 60 to 90 percent of the cigar’s flavor. If you want to know how much of an impact the wrapper has on the cigar’s flavor, try striping the wrapper away, leaving only the filler and binder leaves, try smoking it, and notice the difference in the flavor profile. That is why cigar makers have mastered the art of assembling the right amount of filler tobacco and binder beneath the wrapper, and this is called a ‘blend.’
Familiarizing yourself with cigars may seem like a complex journey, and this is even made harder with all the false information floating around. But with this guide, you will learn all that you need to know about cigar wrappers.
What Are Cigar Wrappers
A cigar wrapper is the outermost leaf used in wrapping everything from the filler to the binder. It is the only visible tobacco leaf; that is why it is usually the center of attraction for enthusiasts. Because of this, the actual function of the wrapper is mostly for aesthetics and marketing. But wrappers also contribute to the overall flavor of the cigar.
Cuban manufacturers will say that the wrapper is just a beautiful leaf used in covering the binder. Still, other new world cigars from places like Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Honduras will say the wrapper adds richness and flavor.
The color of a wrapper depends on the curing and fermentation method used. The way a wrapper looks will tell you a lot about the cigar because the tobacco will get a specific color depending on the cultivation, curing, and aging process.
How To Recognize A Good Quality Wrapper
A wrapper’s appearance will make a cigar enthusiast have expectations of how the cigar will taste and feel. For a wrapper to be considered good quality, it has to be delicate and thin while having a few veins; it shouldn’t be too veiny or rough, it should have no blemish and also be bigger than the other leaves to wrap the cigar properly. This means that the wrapper leaves are usually gotten at the middle to bottom of the tobacco plant (called Seco) because that’s where the big and flavorful leaves grow. A good quality wrapper should have a smooth texture and have a distinct sheen that is caused by oils that are present during the aging process.
The coarse tobaccos are usually suited to give the cigar flavor, but their thick and visible veins make them undesirable as wrappers. If the tobacco is fermented correctly, the wrapper will be blemish free and have one consistent color. Low-quality wrappers have blemishes due to the poor curing and fermentation process; cracks can also mean that the cigar was kept in dry conditions, while mold means that it was kept in a humid environment.
An excellent looking wrapper is thin with a few lines; this means that the Ligero tobacco will not be suitable because it is too thick, and the Velado leaves cannot be used either because they are dry and tasteless and don’t give the cigar that oily sheen. Because of this, the wrapper is usually gotten from the Seco primings, which are oily and flavorful without having too many veins or being too thick. When the leaves are being grown, the chosen leaves go through diligent cultivation in the best conditions, just like some tobacco that is grown under a cloth (A cheesecloth like material) to prevent the sun from making it too thick. After harvesting the tobacco, it goes through a curing process that makes sure the wrapper has a consistent color with no blemish.
Cigar Wrapper Colors
Because of the different ways tobacco leaves are cultivated, cured, and fermented, the color and texture will vary. There is a large range of colors due to the type of seeds that provide varying results depending on the technique used. Wrapper colors range from light tan to dark brown, but sometimes you may find a green wrapper such as the ones produced by Garcia Vega Cigars. All tobacco leaves start out green, but the aging process is what gives it the brown color.
The color of the wrapper can give you an insight into the cigar’s flavor. The cigars with light-colored wrappers can be seen as mild cigars, while the dark brown cigars are seen as the full-bodied cigar. However, this doesn’t apply all the time, so keep in mind that the color does not always represent the cigar’s flavor or depth.
The shade of a wrapper is associated with the type of wrapper, which is most times decided by the seed’s original region, where it was grown, and the growing process. In total, there are about 50 wrapper names, but the majority of them are mixes between two different origins. The hybrids are usually names according to where the seed was originated from and the region it was cultivated in; an example is the Ecuadorian Connecticut.
However, the Colorado scale breaks down the colors into seven different names, which are the Candela, Claro, Colorado Claro, Colorado, Colorado Maduro, and Oscuro. Before we talk about this, let us first discuss the two major categories used in classifying wrappers; they are the Natural and Maduro. The Natural usually refers to light while the Maduro refers to dark. The Natural cigar wrapper is usually mild and nutty, while the Maduro has a sweet and earthy taste.
The Natural wrappers have an array of wrappers that fall under the category, such as the Connecticut shade and Ecuador, Connecticut. Most of the Natural wrappers are usually golden blond or light tan in color, such as the San Cristobal Elegancia and the Ashton Classic. They also have tasting notes of cedar, almonds, cashew, and buttered toast with hints of mild spices that are usual in a lot of popular Natural cigars, most especially the ones rolled with authentic Connecticut wrapper.
A lot of brands, sellers, and consumers use the term Natural to describe a different range of wrapper types, so in essence, Natural is any wrapper that is not Maduro. Therefore Natural is a broad definition for other wrappers such as Nicaraguan, Corojo, Ecuador Habano, and a lot more.
Sometimes you may hear people refer to Natural wrappers as ‘English Market Selection,’ but this is just a sort of quality selection for Cuban cigars sold in the UK. This slang is rarely used in the U.S.
Maduro basically refers to the fermentation process of how the wrapper leaves are aged. Maduro wrappers go through a careful process of natural fermentation to give it different shades of the rich dark brown color that is known for its sweet flavor. Maduro wrappers can be very dark brown or jet black in color. An example of a famous high-quality Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro is the Ashton Aged Maduro.
Maduro’s translation is ripe or mature, and this wrapper type is not specific to any country, strength level, region, or flavor profile. Maduros are popular and available anywhere today, but 40 years ago, there were no Maduro cigars. Maduro wrappers came into existence as consumers’ taste level evolved with difference preferences for richness, flavor, and complexity. Because of that, cigar makers came up with creative methods for fermenting and processing tobacco to satisfy the consumers’ continuously growing taste profile.
Maduro wrappers are grown from various seeds and are grown in many countries and major tobacco growing areas around the world. The Connecticut Broadleaf is prized for its flavor and quality and is the best known Maduro wrapper type.
The color of Maduro wrappers can be used to classify them further. A Colorado Maduro wrapper has a dark brown color that falls under a lighter spectrum. The Oscuro wrappers, which are sometimes referred to as the Double Maduro, are usually almost black in color, and they refer to the leaves that are the most lustrous and darkest. The color, strength, and flavor of a wrapper depend on the amount of sunlight the plant receives, the part of the plant where the leaf is gotten, and the temperature and duration of the fermentation process. Maduro wrappers can be mild, medium, or strong, depending on a lot of factors.
Apart from the two categories of Natural and Maduro, there are different types of wrappers that are identified by their region, country of origin, seed variety, and fermentation process. We are going to cover some of these wrapper colors.
This wrapper leaf comes from the Northeastern part of the U.S., and it is the only known tobacco export from America. But the seeds are also grown in Ecuador. The Connecticut plant is grown under certain conditions that made it to be given Connecticut Shade as its nickname. It is given this name because it is usually planted under a form of shade such as a big sheet of cheesecloth. Doing this makes the color remain light and also prevents excessive sun rays from beating the plant. Because of the reduced sunlight the plant gets, the flavor turns out mild, and it also has low nicotine content, but it has a spicy, cedar, and woody taste note. Examples of cigars rolled with Connecticut wrappers include Macanudo, Ashton, Montecristo, and Arturo Fuente.
These wrappers are mostly found in the American market. They are young leaves that range in color from light blonde to a bright green. After the leaves have been cultivated, they are most times flash-cured. This is done through using charcoal fires to dry them quickly, or it is done traditionally by fermenting them with candlelight, which gave it the name Candela.
During the drying process, the leaves tend to lock in chlorophyll, which gives it the green color. Because of this, green cigars are referred to as Candela while the blonde cigars are called Double Claro.
These wrappers are also known as Connecticut Shade. The leaves are grown under a shade, and they are also cultivated early. Growing them under shade reduces the sun’s intensity on the plant and protects the leaves from unstable weather conditions. After the leaves are air-dried, they get a distinctive golden or tan color, and they also have a silky texture. Growing Connecticut Shade is a labor-intensive venture, but the resulting leaves are worth it. The leaves are not too thick or dark, and they have a balanced nicotine level with creamy tasting notes of coffee, almonds, and cashew.
The Corojo was initially grown in Cuba, but it is now majorly grown in Honduras due to the embargo. But because of the new environment they are being grown in; the seeds need to be genetically modified in order for them to survive. Although, some varieties are grown with hybrid seeds in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. This wrapper usually has a spicy, oily, peppery, and robust flavor that cigar smokers favor. Examples of cigars that use this wrapper include Kristoff Corojo Limitada, Argyle Dark Corojo, and Camacho Corojo. The one setback of this wrapper is its toughness; it can be tough to smoke.
The Habano wrappers originate from Cuba, but it is mostly grown in Nicaragua these days. They usually go through a Cuban-style fermentation process. Habano wrappers usually have a tasting profile that is rich and aromatic; they have an earthy, wood, coffee beans, leather, and spicy taste. The leaf also dense with nicotine, and it may be too much for a first-timer. Examples of cigars that use Habano wrappers include La Flor Dominicana Air Bender and Cain Daytona.
There are a lot of cigar wrappers with their different colors and tasing notes, but knowing the one that suits your taste profile will make smoking more enjoyable for you. Now that you have read up on the different kinds of wrappers and their specifications, you will be able to purchase a cigar that will match your needs.
Also, see; [TEXT]A Journey Through Cigar History[Link](https://www.mycigarsite.com/a-journey-through-cigar-history/)