Cigar Wrappers 101
A cigar wrapper affects more than just the first impression; it can change the entire flavor of the cigar. Despite what many may think, wrappers manipulate multiple factors in the smoke. From flavor to burn rates, no aspect of a cigar isn’t affected by the wrapper. A simple alteration can man handle a quality smoke, & wrappers bring everything together. Since cigar wrappers can make the difference between a yard gar & a quality smoke, getting to know the different types is essential. They vary exponentially in taste, & not every wrapper is for everyone.
Once you know the differences you can pick cigars that are more suited for your palate. This is the rite of passage for anyone pursuing an enjoyable pastime smoking cigars. For this reason, we have broken down the most popular cigar wrappers in the industry. They may vary in origin, color & taste, but each one deeply affects the cigars they cover. Prepare to discover which wrappers are right for you!
Different Types of Cigar Wrappers
An ideal cigar wrapper is held at a higher standard than the rest of the leaves. There can be no blemishes & the leaves need to be bigger to wrap around the cigar. All this attention to detail makes wrappers the most expensive part of the plant to produce.
Usually wrappers come from the lower leaves of the tobacco plant that are called “volado” in Cuba. Volado leaves are valued for their combustibility, which makes them perfect for keeping the cigar burning properly. During the fermenting process these leaves naturally emit a distinct layer of resin, giving them a seductive sheen.
The wrappers range in color from a light tan to a dark chocolate color. All leaves start out green, but by the end of the aging process they acquire their final hue. There are a few wrappers that are intentionally aged to stay green, but for the most part a shade of brown is preferred.
In total there are over 50 types of wrapper leaves, but only a few have stolen the show. Out of all these options, many were created by “tweeners” that migrated from two different regions. These hybrids were created to survive in the different climates that they are cultivated in. Following the US embargo on Cuba’s exports, a mad rush of its best tobaccos fled the country. This gave birth to many of the tweeners we enjoy today. Out of all these options, the four major wrapper leaves are Connecticut, Corojo, Habano & Maduro.
Connecticut wrappers are the most popular tobacco that’s produced in North America. It’s also grown in Ecuador as a tweener called the Ecuadorian Connecticut. This tobacco is grown under shade cloth to protect the plant from the harsh radiation from the sun. This added protection keeps the leaf color light & the nicotine content low. These leaves provide a woody, spicy cedar taste.
Corojo wrappers are generally darker than Connecticut wrappers. This was one of the many strains that originated in Cuba. Due to the embargo, it’s predominantly grown in Honduras. This wrapper sports a spicy, peppery flavor. Even though it’s adored for its powerful flavor, it doesn’t burn as easy as other wrappers.
Habano leaves share the same origin as Corojo’s, but these pack a punch. They are now grown in Nicaragua, & the strain only got stronger through genetic modification. They have a distinct spicy flavor that’s extremely high in nicotine. Unsurprisingly, the raw power of this wrapper only added to its allure.
Maduro wrappers are the darkest of the bunch. They take the longest to produce, which makes the leaves sensationally dark. Not every leaf can be turned into a Maduro, since they need to be thick enough to endure years of aging. At the end of the process they harness a sweeter taste. This led to them being revered as “dessert smokes”, since they are great to wind down any meal!