Miss Marie asked her class of 7th graders, “What is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy?”
Middle school class-clown TJ exclaimed, “Wear Crocs and a fedora,” and everyone burst into fits of laughter.
Although seventh grade anatomy is fun for almost everyone involved, it carries a potent air of humiliation. Studying the anatomy of a cigar will be different. It won’t be as fun as sex ed nor as humiliating – don’t worry: I won’t make you go through that again, but lets start with the basics.
Cigars are made up of three parts. The outermost part is called the wrapper, then the binder then the filler. Each part is made of tobacco leaves, but they are all chosen to have that role in the cigar for a specific reason.
Picture the vegetable wrap that you had for lunch when dieting for your wedding, prom or just an everyday weight battle.
The tortilla of your vegetable wrap is just like the wrapper of your cigar. It holds all the lettuce, veggies and other foods you are eating in place of the cheesy bread you really want securely inside.
The tortilla has a major role in determining the entire wrap’s character and flavor. Just like the color and flavor of the tortilla are used to describe and differ this wrap from the others, so does the wrapper of the cigar. Is it sun-dried tomato? Is it honey whole wheat? Is it green – green means healthy, right? The options are endless.
Additionally, whoever’s crafting your vegetable wrap has the same mindset as the person rolling your cigar: Make the outermost layer as pretty and blemish-free as possible. Basically, cigar rollers pick the outer layer based on what tobacco leaf is the prettiest.
Here’s a breakdown of the go-to flavors of wrappers for cigars:
They actually come from Connecticut, so besides that gorgeous freckle-free guy with the milky skin from your college econ class, good things come out of the Northeast.
These are grown in the U.S. and Ecuador (sometimes). These wrappers must be flawless, because they are going to be on display (just like the econ cutie was), so they are grown under giant sheets of cheesecloth, which are basically just loose-woven gauze-like cotton cloth a.k.a. what your favorite sweater will look like in five years.
Being grown under your future sweater will prevent the leaves from being exposed to too much sunlight, which allows them to have a milder and extremely smooth flavor, which is also due to their dry taste and low sugar content. Remember: Econ cutie is all dry business, no sweet talk.
The Maduro Wrapper’s literal translation from Spanish is “mature.” These mature cigar leaves are darker, wiser and a little older than Connecticut wrappers: Their creation can take years to accomplish, and the longer they are given to mature, the stronger, deeper and more complex they become.
Basically, Maduro wrappers are the older, Spanish boyfriend you wish you had: Picture Javier Bardem ten years ago.
After being tenderly raised, the leaves are aged to bring out the natural sugars and distinct caramel sweetness, with leaves a little thicker than most.
Maduro vs. Connecticut: Can’t decide which man – I mean wrapper— you like better?
Double Wrap is the best of both worlds: It features both the Connecticut and the Maduro, so you get the serious, unharmed Connecticut wrapper and the sweet, rich, full Maduro – all in one perfect cigar hybrid wrapper.
These wrappers come from Cameroon, Africa, hence their obvious name. They’re more distinct than the others for having a peppery taste and a “toothy” grain. They’re versatile, so they can wrap around both mild and strong cigars. Now, if this was a man – I don’t know if I would date him, but I definitely smoke him!
Grown from Cuban seeds, they are exactly how you’d imagine a strong, spicy Cuban guy who you’d love to love. He gives you a major nicotine rush and kind of tastes like espresso. He’s lighter than the Maduro and has a little bit of an oily shine, but it just looks like shimmer to you.
If a Maduro wrapper and a Connecticut wrapper had a baby together, a Natural wrapper, also known as English Market Selection or “EMS,” would be born. EMS is the plainest of the wrappers and even has tastes resembling white bread.
Back to our vegetable wrap lunch, the tomato paste, mayonnaise or hummus that holds all of the cucumbers, peppers and lettuce inside the tortilla resembles the cigar binder. The binder holds the filler (the tobacco leaves inside the wrapper) together. Binders resemble the flavor of their tortilla exterior, but are the thicker, less pretty part of the cigar; hence why they are banished to the inside. Although they play an important role in keeping all the goods inside, they are the least flavorful part of the cigar.
Just like your low-calorie wrap, the inside of a cigar is made up of dry leaves.
Fillers are wrapped-up bunches of tobacco leaves that make up a unique blend. The blend ultimately determines the entire cigar’s taste – although the tortilla and tomato paste matter, the real determinant of the flavor is what’s inside.
The stuff inside, referred to as the blend, can be made up of short-filler and/or long-filler. Basically, short-fillers are chopped up tobacco leaves, which are rolled into cigars, and long-fillers are whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the entire cigar.
Long-fillers are of a higher quality, because you know exactly what you’re getting. Have you ever cracked open your wrap and not recognized the stuff inside? That’s what the difference is between long and short fillers: It’s cracking open that wrap and either seeing a full piece of eggplant or a bunch of chopped up stuff that once resembled a vegetable.