A Short Primer on Cigar Shades and Colors

Cigar colors are just as important as the cigar leaves that are used as the filler. The color of the cigar can help the beginning cigar aficionado determine the flavor of the cigar. With the large number of brands and makers on the market, each cigar has its own distinct characteristic, but the color remains the same.

Generally, the lighter the color, the drier the taste (allowing the filler to show through) while on the opposite side of the spectrum, the darker the color, the sweeter more intense the cigar is in taste and flavor. The colors can be divided into seven basic colors ranging from light to dark:

Light colors: 

the wrappers that are light in color, do not offer any additional flavor to the cigar, allowing the smoker to enjoy the full flavor of the filler tobacco. These include:

  • Double Claro is the lightest color, being a light green. The color is set by its quick drying process, which locks in the leaf’s chlorophyll. Due to its light color, it has the lightest and driest flavor.
  • Claro is light tan in color as the leaves are grown under the shade of cheesecloth. Further, it is picked early and allowed to air dry for its curing process. Because of it curing process, this leaf offers no flavor of its own, therefore allowing the filler tobacco to be enjoyed.

Medium Colors: 

These wrappers offer a mild background flavor to the filler tobacco complimenting the main flavor of the cigar. Such wrappers in this catagory:

  • Colorado Claro is light brown in color, a shade darker than claro itself. This color is most often used with African tobacco. It also allows the filler tobacco to take center stage.
  • Colorado is the middle of the scale of the colors ranging from a medium brown to reddish brown. The tobacco is grown in the shade and cured until it reaches the proper color. The color lends a subtle flavor to the filler tobacco.
  • Colorado Maduro is dark brown, the color of wood. Because of its curing process, this color offers a medium rich flavor that blends well with the filler tobacco, making the enjoyment of the cigar a bit richer than a lighter color.

Dark Colors: 

Dark colored wrapper have a flavor of their own. The cigar itself is often made with the same tobacco as the wrapper. These dark colors are known as:

  • Maduro is very dark brown color. The leaf is left on the plant longer, then cured or cooked longer under pressure. The maduro color offers a sweeter taste to the smoke of the cigar.
  • Oscuro is the darkest of the colors being black in color. The top leaves are left on the plant for as long as possible before it is fermented and cured. The curing process turns the leaf black in color and leaves a rough texture.

Color is a good starting point to help determine which cigar to enjoy. A general rule of thumb, the lighter the color, the milder the flavor.