A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco leaves which is lit for the purpose of smoking. Cigars are broadly categorized according the shape and size and the type of tobacco leaves used.
The type of tobacco leaves used in a cigar determines its flavour and smoking characteristics. The cigar is made of three types of tobacco leaves – wrappers, fillers and binders.
Table of Contents
The wrapper forms the outermost covering of the cigar and determines the flavour and the color of a cigar. It is considered that 40 percent of the flavour comes from the wrapper and the remaining 60 percent comes from the binder and filler. There are many types of wrappers used in cigars.
Some of the wrapper types are Caro, Colorado and Oscuro. Caro is lightest of the shade i.e. greenish, Colorado is reddish brown and Oscuro is very black. Generally, it is considered that dark wrapper adds sweetness to the flavour of cigar while light ones add to the dryness.
Fillers determine the blend of a cigar. “Blend”, which means the flavour of a cigar, is determined and controlled by using different types of tobacco leaves depending upon the strength. The amount of oil present in the filler makes the strong blend.
Fillers used in handmade cigars are long; that is, whole leaves from the tobacco plant are used as fillers while machine-made cigars use chopped leaves, also called short leaves.
Binders are used to hold the fillers. Wrappers form the third layer of a cigar. Binders are made from the discarded tobacco leaves which cannot serve as wrappers.
Types of Cigars on the Basis of Size and Shape
“Vitora” is the term used together for the shape and size of a cigar. On the basis of shape and size, cigars are generally classified as Parejo and Figurado. Parejo is the most common and simple shape of a cigar. It is cylindrical and straight from one end to the other.
The high quality figurado cigars are available in different shapes. From the very famous Torpedo, Perfecto and Presidente, they are also manufactured in the shape of rugby ball and baseball bat. Although these unusually shaped cigars are used as collectors’ items.
The size of a cigar is measured as the length of the cigar and its diameter.
Handmade and Machine-made Cigars
The handmade cigars are considered of high quality – they burn well and have good flavour. While the machine-made cigars are cheaper, they are considered of low quality. The handmade cigars are labelled as “hecho a mano” or “totalmente a mano”.