It is common to classify the different types of cigars based on their size, shape, wrappers, and quality. All you need to do is look at the top cigar blogs for learning more about cigars and this type of information will be abundant. Today, however, we are taking a different approach to defining the different cigar types.
We will be looking at the most common cigar types by looking at the way they are produced, their fillers, and their binders. Without delay, let’s start by looking at how cigars are produced.
Machine Rolled Vs. Hand Rolled Cigars
Two primary methods of making cigars exist:
Usually, hand-made cigars are much better than machine-made cigars. This is because machine-made cigars are never made from 100 percent tobacco. Instead, manufacturers also incorporate preservatives, paper, and other chemicals.
Hand-made cigars, on the other hand, are only made from tobacco – the cigar wrappers, fillers, and binders come from tobacco leaves. These leaves are usually grown, aged, cured, and then fermented according to the desired end product. No additives are present in hand-made cigars.
One other advantage of hand-rolled cigars is that they have a higher probability of having properly spaced filler tobacco. As a result, they allow the right amount of airflow during cigar smoking. Machines tend to roll the filler tighter or more loosely.
A cigar that has a very tight filler has inadequate space between the leaves inside. Hence, drawing the cigar becomes hard and the burning process is also uneven. A loose cigar will burn fast. It will also be too hot. Thus, the overall smoking experience will have little of the intended smoking flavor.
Cigar Type Filler
The cigar filler is the bulge in the middle of the cigar that gives it a much larger size when compared to cigarettes. True, some cigars are small enough to fit the size of cigarettes, but the most common cigar types are usually bulkier.
Hand-rolled cigars usually have a better filler fold quality. This happens because a master cigar roller knows precisely how to avoid making a tight fold. True, the cigar wrapper is the most significant determinant of the cigar flavor and strength.
But this does not mean that the filler has little effect on the smoking experience. In fact, the filler is the second most important contributor to the type of flavor you get from a cigar. Besides, the filler becomes much more important to the overall smoking experience if the wrappers used are mild.
This happens for cigars like Claro that have a light tan. Also, you can determine the number of filler leaves in a cigar by the number of ring gauge it has – the greater the ring gauge the more the filler leaves.
A cigar with greater ring size, therefore, has a higher flavor profile and a more significant bulk. The space between each of the leaves in the filler also allows for a more complex smoke draw. Moreover, if the tobacco leaves used in the filler come from different countries, the flavor will be different.
For instance, United States tobacco tastes different from Cuban tobacco. This is because the two are in different climates. Different tobacco strains and the process of curing and fermentation will also give the filler a different flavor profile.
Another factor that affects the taste of the filling is the part of the plant from which the tobacco leaves were picked. Volado leaves, picked from the lowermost parts of the plant, have a mild flavor and they burn easily.
Seco leaves, picked from the middle parts of the plant, have a stronger flavor. Ligero leaves, taken from the top of the plant, have the spiciest and the strongest flavor. This is because they are exposed to the sun more than the other leaves.
They also burn slower than the Volado and the seco leaves. This is also why the Ligero leaves are only rolled into the center of the cigar. Other terms used to describe the filler of the cigar include the:
- Long filler – These are full leaves used in cigars, making them better quality.
- Short filler – These are pieces and bits of leaves bound together (from the cuttings of long-filler leaves) and used in cigars, making them more affordable.
This is what binds the filler before the wrapper is placed around the cigar. The binder is essential because it contributes to the structural integrity, shape, and size of the cigar. However, the binders are made from the lowest tobacco grade.
Most manufacturers grind the lower grade tobacco into powder, then they reconstruct them into symmetric sheets for easy rolling. These leaves have very little or no flavor and they are thicker than the wrapper leaves.
Other manufacturers use the imperfect wrappers, those that have a blemish and irregular colors, as the binders. This gives the cigar a stronger flavor and the cigar is sold at a more expensive price. Also, different rollers use leaves from different parts of the tobacco plant as the binder.
The binders are chosen based on the elasticity, strength, and absorbency of the leaves. The way the leaves light and burn will also determine the choice of binder. Hence, this part of the cigar affects the cost of the cigar.
As mentioned, many ways can categorize different cigar types. However, the most common cigar types are often categorized by their wrappers, shapes, and sizes. Primarily, the way the cigars are made will determine which category they fall under.
Nonetheless, as an avid cigar smoker, you must learn as much about cigars as you can. Why? This is how you get to understand the different complex flavors of each cigar type and its quality. The right knowledge will also help you pair your cigars with drinks.
What’s more, learning more about cigars helps you identify your preferred smoking experience. In turn, you’ll get to figure out the cigar that’s best suited for you on different occasions.