Common Types of Cigar Wrappers

Common Types of Cigar Wrappers
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Cigar Wrappers

Types of Cigar Wrappers

To paraphrase a familiar yet increasingly outdated idiom, you shouldn't judge a cigar by its color. Most experienced enthusiasts know that the particular hue of a cigar's wrapper doesn't really tell you all that much about the strength or flavor profile of the smoke, yet how many herf sessions have you attended where an occasional smoker grabs a lighter colored vitola over a darker one because they 'just don't like strong cigars'? Of course, it only takes one time puffing down something like a potent Rocky Patel The Edge Natural over a milder Arturo Fuente Maduro to learn that looks can certainly be deceiving. However, there are distinct differences in the flavor profiles of each wrapper type which affects how they are most often used, so let's take a dive into the shallow end of the pool where appearance is the only thing that matters.

Candela / Double Claro Cigar Wrapper

Until recently, these delightful frog-green wrappers were a rare find in the modern cigar landscape, but it's not always been that way. From the mid to late 20th century, stogies covered with these fresh-tasting leaves were by far and away the most popular sticks on the market. The delicate flavor that is the result of a quick yet laboriously hot 3-day curing process used to lock in the tobacco's chlorophyll does tend to compliment more subtle and mild filler tobacco, though skilled blenders can always bend the rules. Lending a vegetal component to the profile, think alfalfa or green tea; Candela-wrapped smokes are excellent candidates for daily indulgences that won't overwhelm the palate.

Candela / Double Claro Cigar Wrapper Recommendation: Wasabi by Espinosa

Connecticut Shade / Claro Cigar Wrapper

First grown in namesake Connecticut in 1900 using Sumatra-seed broadleaf, the cultivation of shade wrappers now spans the tobacco-growing world, but especially Ecuador. Supplanting the Candela in popularity just as the Cigar Boom of the 1990s was starting to crest, today, the Connecticut Shade wrapper remains the wrapper of choice for the solid majority of premium smokes from across the strength spectrum. Carefully grown beneath fabric tents that protect delicate plants from direct sunlight, insects, and other threats, these lightly golden-hued leaves imbue a smooth and creamy flavor to the blend, a quality that makes it perfect for when the filler needs to shine.

Connecticut Shade / Claro Cigar Wrapper Recommendations: Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne, San Cristobal Elegancia

Natural / Colorado Claro Cigar Wrapper

Sure, the name doesn't really need much by way of explanation, but that doesn't mean cigars with a Natural wrapper are any less special. Left to ripen in the sun just long enough to develop a warm tan coloration that persists during fermentation, this type of tobacco provides a lightly sweet flavor that has just enough of a peppery kick to really get your senses excited. When married to a bolder filler blend, a Natural wrapper can rise to the occasion by tempering some of the harsher flavors, especially those that can develop during the second half of a smoke, without muting the cigar's overall strength and body.

Natural / Colorado Claro Cigar Wrapper Recommendations: Nicaraguan Series by AJ Fernandez, E.P. Carrillo Inch Natural

Rosado / Colorado Cigar Wrapper

The origin story of these red-tinted beauties can dramatically influence the flavor they impart to the overall profile of the cigar they adorn. Almost exclusively Cuban-seed, these always delicious wrappers can either be shade grown yet left to mature longer before harvesting, or they can be the result of a somewhat rare variety of sun-grown tobacco that passes through a ruddy phase while making the transition from Natural to Maduro during the fermentation process. Both tend to be somewhat spicier than lighter wrappers, but the former method tends to favor more mild blends while the latter helps pump up stronger recipes. While it's good advice in general, when it comes to Rosado-wrapped smokes, you should definitely pay close attention to a specific cigar's strength rating to make sure you know what you're getting into.

Rosado / Colorado Cigar Wrapper Recommendations: Diamond Crown Maximus, Foundry Chillin' Moose

Habano / Colorado Maduro Cigar Wrapper

There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to Habano wrappers, and we'll try to clear up as much of it as possible in a future post but for now, just know that Habano wrappers do and do not belong on this list. That's because Habano, and its hybrid cousin Habano 2000, are specific types of tobacco instead of a color classification. However, since stogies with this wrapper tend to all be dark tan with reddish hints, there are a few times when a front mark just so happens to fall within that color range and is thus called Habano despite not actually having Habano tobacco. Fear not, intrepid aficionado, as most of the time, a Habano is actually a Habano, so you can be assured of enjoying the delectable, leathery, spicy, and potent cigar you're craving.

Habano / Colorado Maduro Cigar Wrapper Recommendations: Cain Habano, Aging Room Core Habano

Maduro Cigar Wrapper

While shade wrappers are content to sit calmly and quietly upon the throne of cigar supremacy, Maduros are the crazed warlords rampaging across the lands of tobacco, declaring themselves champions of the realm. They're not wrong, for Maduro wrappers have in recent years become the favorite of a huge cohort of aficionados not afraid to declare their love of the dark leaf. Aged for extended periods to bring out the best earthy and sweet characteristics of the finest tobacco strains, these most versatile of wrappers can pair with fillers blends of all stripes, from profoundly delicate Dominican elixirs to unruly Nicaraguan concoctions of extraordinary strength. There is a Maduro cigar out there for everyone, so don't stop until you find your absolute favorite, and then keep going.

Maduro Cigar Wrapper Recommendations: Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Maduro, Kristoff Kristania Maduro

Oscuro / Double Maduro Cigar Wrapper

There are more Maduro cigars that should be called Oscuro than the opposite, which kind of highlights the point mentioned at the beginning of this post. If darker equals stronger, in the misguided enthusiast's opinion, then Oscuro cigars can be shadowy beasts filled with staggering potency. In reality, these near-black wrappers can be just as expressive and enjoyable as any other on this list, even while providing a mesquite-like smokiness to any blend they might be laid across. The long fermentation period necessary to develop such a rich, deep color allows for complex flavors and aromas not available in other wrappers, which is why you'll often find the noble Oscuro, the wrapper of choice for flagship cigars of so many famous brands large and small.

Oscuro / Double Maduro Cigar Wrapper Recommendations: Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro, El Rey Del Mundo Robusto Oscuro

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