To those who love cigars, like most things in life that gain our appreciation, cigar making is an art, craft, even a skill. There is a lot of care that goes into putting a cigar together. And this article will hopefully give some insight and make us a little more aware of why we covet them the way we do. Let’s take time to do something that is taboo in the cigar world…. Unravel the cigar!
Let’s start with the center of the cigar better known as the Filler.
The filler in most part dictates the taste of the cigar as well as the size. The filler is the center of the cigar where the leaves are folded together. The fold is very important because it allows the flow of smoke through the cigar which determines the draw. There are three types of filler, long, short and mixed. Just as the name implies, the long filler is a long leaf that runs the length of the cigar. This allows for an even burn throughout the cigar. This gives the smoker a consistent flavor throughout the life of the cigar. Short fillers are normally trimmings or pieces of tobacco from then construction of other cigars. Short filler cigars by nature are just the opposite of long filler cigars. The air flow is not as consistent and the cigars do not always maintain an even burn. Most short filler cigars are machine made. Finally, we discuss mixed fillers. This is a combination of long and short filler cigars know as fumas or Cuban sandwiches. With addition of the long filler the flavor and burn will be more consistent that a short filler but not as even as a long filler.
Next we move to the BINDER…..
The Binder is the leaf under the wrapper and helps the cigar burn smoothly. The binder also adds to the stability to the construction of the cigar. Do to the strength binder leaves they are sometimes used as wrappers. The binder surrounds the filler holding it together and adding to the flavor of the cigar. Binders are used to primarily to “bind” the filler but it can also be an excellent compliment to the taste of the cigar.
Now moving to the outer layer of the cigar referred to as the WRAPPER.
The outer leaf of the cigar forms the wrapper. Here is where the character of the cigar may be formed. Most of the time a cigar will have just one leaf for the wrapper but there are cases where there multiple leaves have been used. The Wrapper will bring your initial flavors on the first pull of the cigar. The flavor of the wrapper can be altered by several factors, such as the leaf itself as well as the oils and sugars and how the leaf is fermented. The flavor of the, lighter colored wrappers are normally milder in nature than darker wrappers, but there is a lot of discussion among cigar smokers as to how much flavor is represented in the wrapper of any given cigar.
Finally we move to the CAP.
The cap is the head of the cigar that plays an intricate role keeping the cigar from unraveling. This is the top of the cigar that is trimmed to fit and attached with a small bit of vegetable gum or fruit pectin. Though small the cap plays a very big role in the construction of the cigar. The cap though small plays a very big role in the construction of the cigar. If the cap is not centered there cigar will come apart when cut.
This is just a small look into the construction of a cigar, and just like a fine wine or well made bourbon there is a lot of detail in the construction of a cigar. So the next time you sit down to smoke, take time to appreciate what goes into making your favorite cigar.