The cigar wrapper is perhaps the most important part of a cigar, not because of its taste or even burn rate, but because it is our first contact with the cigar. Before we even light the cigar, it is what we see and what we touch. It is often the deciding factor of the cigars we choose. So understanding more about the types of wrappers can make for a more rewarding experience.
With so many popular cigars to choose from, sorting through all the different wrapper leaves might seem a bit overwhelming. While there are dozens of wrapper categories denoting the color of the leaf, we can break these down into eight main categories.
More appropriately known as Candela, the leaf is green to brownish-green in color. Since the leaf is left on the plant only briefly, it is light in both body and taste. Chlorophyll remains in the leaf because the leaf is quick-dried and not subjected to the usual fermentation process applied to other leaves, thus giving the leaf its green hue and unique taste. Also known as American Market Selection (AMS) due to its former popularity in the United States.
This leaf ranges from a light tan to golden blonde color, which is achieved by early harvesting and shorter periods of fermentation. Leaves of this type are most often Shade Grown varieties, such as the famous Connecticut Shade, which is renowned for its smooth, elegant texture and a mild taste.
These medium brown colored leaves are often included with either Claro or Colorado Claro, however, more accurately overlap the two. These are typically Sun Grown leaves with slightly more body and taste than that of Claro, yet overall, each still provides a smooth, balanced character. English Market Selection or EMS is another name sometimes used for these leaves.
Leaves of this type are generally of a medium brown to tawny color, with some moving into the lighter reddish-brown range. This category usually offers a slight uptick in body and taste. Many Cameroon wrappers, such as those found on Arturo Fuente cigars, can be included here.
Perhaps the most popular of all wrappers, these leaves are generally of a medium to dark brown color, often with a reddish or “Rosado” tint. The leaves offer more of an oily texture than lighter wrappers and deliver a more pronounced richness. Colorado wrappers are often found on many of the best Cuban cigars, including Romeo y Julieta and Cohiba Behike.
This richly textured leaf has a dark brown appearance and is generally highly aromatic. Many Honduran cigars are wrapped with Colorado Maduro leaves. This includes highly prized Honduran Corojo wrappers, which are known for their richness of body and taste.
Maduro, meaning “mature” or “ripe,” leaves are reddish dark brown to near-black in color and are often veiny and oily in appearance. While there are a variety of ways to achieve the color, these leaves most often get their rich and dark texture from an extended fermentation process. Connecticut Broadleaf is one of the most popular Maduro wrappers for non-Cuban cigars. Cuba offers a variety of Maduro wrapped cigars, as well, including select Partagas and Cohiba cigars.
Also known as Double Maduro or Negro, the Oscuro wrapper is the darkest of all wrappers, being almost black. The leaf is left atop the tobacco plant, and then, after harvesting, it is subjected to an extensive high-heat fermentation process. Mexican San Andres and Nicaraguan Mata Fina are often used for Oscuro wrappers.
Discover More Cigar Parts
The cigar wrapper is your first contact with the cigar. It’s what you taste first yet its taste does not always linger. That’s because the cigar filler and binder begins to take over. Inhale, absorb the flavors, feel yourself immersed in the cigar. That’s the cigar tobacco taking over and it’s the main reason most people smoke.
The wrapper is the final, all important cigar part. But let’s stop dissecting it all. Now it’s time to smoke. Explore the finest Cuban cigars from the trusted Cuban cigar store.