Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Color of Cigars

Now a little about the color of the cigars you smoke. What is that all about? What makes them that way?

The WRAPPER. That is right the outer layer or the wrapper.

The wrapper is the most important and most expensive part of a cigar. Typically grown under a gauze tent (shade) to prevent the leaf from growing too thick, the wrapper must be smooth and have very few veins. The majority of a cigar's flavor is derived from the wrapper.

After the cigars have been pressed and turned, they are ready for the skilled hands of the rollers. These craftsmen take the fine, silky, elastic wrapper tobacco and stretch it around the molded cigar body. This is the stretching and smoothing process that gives cigars their appealing looks. When a true craftsman applies the wrapper, a small rectangular piece of tobacco is left attached at the head of the cigar. This piece is called a flag. "Flagging" is the process of molding the rectangular piece of wrapper into the head of a fine cigar.
Many handmade cigars are not "flagged." Instead, they have a circular cap of tobacco at the head. The following are reasons a cap may be used.
  1. The roller of the handmade cigar did not possess the skill necessary to perform the difficult process of flagging.
  2. The cigar is machine made.
It is within the manufacturs legal rights to call this product a handmade cigar!
There are many bundled cigars being sold in this country that are legally defined as handmade, but are not hand made by definition. All I SPY CIGARS that say hand made are true hand made.

The Wrapper Color

The wrapper color of a cigar is as important as the brand or shape of a cigar in terms of enjoyment. People recognize slight changes in the wrapper color of their favorite cigars. Color changes and changes in the country where the wrapper was grown and can dramatically change the taste of a cigar. Wrapper colors are generally graded from the lightest to the darkest color as follows:
  • Claro Claro or Double Claro: A light green fire-cured wrapper.
  • Claro: A very light brown with a greenish cast.
  • Colorado Claro or Natural: A light brown.
  • Colorado or EMS: A medium brown.
  • Colorado Maduro or Maduro: A dark brown.
  • Maduro or Double Maduro: A very rich dark brown or black.
  • Oscuro: A very dark brown or black.
Variations in wrapper colors within these seven groups produce the possibility of 32 wrapper colors. A wrapper that is almost double maduro, but not quite, is classified as maduro. The possible 32 wrapper colors have been lumped into five basic color categories. Each category has a variety of names but all have the same meaning. The categories are described below.
Claro Claro or Double Claro (light green).
This wrapper has a mild quality and the taste of the binder and filler are discernible. The following are names the light green wrappers are sometimes called:
  • Double Claro
  • Candela
  • Jade
  • Cambridge
  • A.M.S. (American Market Selection)
Claro (light brown with a greenish cast) or Colorado Claro (light brown)
Both of these wrapper colors and any variations between the two are called "Natural." These wrappers have a noticeable taste of their own, but they do not disguise the flavor of the binder and filler tobacco. They are not as strong as the darker brown wrapper colors.
Colorado (medium brown)
Other names for Colorado are as follows:
  • Cafe
  • Sun Grown
  • Natural
  • E.M.S. (English Market Selection)
Colorado Maduro (dark brown) or Maduro (very dark brown or black)
Both of these colors may be called maduro. This is a dark, oily wrapper and has a heavy-bodied (strong) taste.
Oscuro (double dark brown or black)
This is a difficult wrapper color to find and even more difficult to produce. Other names for this wrapper are as follows:
  • Double Maduro
  • Maduro Maduro (Double Maduro)
The taste of the wrapper is more noticeable in the darker wrapper colors, and the taste of the binder and filler will be less discernible.
Punch and Hoyo cigars use a wrapper called Rare Corojo. The flavor of the Corojo wrapper is sweet and nutty with a very nice aroma. This is a reddish-brown wrapper. It is used on the Rothschild size of Punch and Hoyo and is rarely used by any other cigar brands. 

A beautiful rare limited production red Rosado wrapper surrounds an assortment of select premium Long Filler Caribbean tobaccos delivering a smooth and spicy tasting premium long filler cigar.
I SPY CIGARS will carry a private label ROSADO line of cigars

The American Standard for Wrapper Colors

  • Double Claro (DC): Green
  • Natural (Nat): Light brown or tan
  • English Market (EMS): Medium brown
  • Maduro (Mad): Dark brown
  • Double Maduro (MM or X): Dark brown, almost black
Havana Seed Wrappers
Havana Seed wrappers vary in color depending on the conditions during the year the crop was grown. When grading the Havana Seed wrapper, the 32-shade separating process is not performed. These wrappers are graded on a comparative basis. This means that, at the time of the selection, the darkest wrappers are graded Maduro Maduro (double maduro), the next darkest Maduro, and so on. The result is that the consumer will receive a lighter or darker cigar than he normally would depending on the shades of color that particular year.

Ok now that you have learned about what you see in a cigar next lesson is all about smell and taste and what is inside a cigar.

Note of reference: Most information supplied by CIGAR UNIVERSITY from my friends at J R CIGARS.

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