Yes! Depending on the color of the wrappers on your cigars, their character can shift from a small to even a significant amount of flavor. Read the following excerpt from an article written for the old version of CigarAdvisor.com.
First, Hendrik pulled three of the same type of cigars out of the humidor…The cigars that were chosen were cigars with a fairly mild blend and were identical, in ring gauge, length, filler, binder and wrapper. He then called down to the factory floor and asked one of the supervisors to bring up a few wrapper leaves of different types.
Eladio took the wrapper leaves off of two of the three cigars and replaced them with two different ones…The first cigar, had the original wrapper leaf, which was a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. This cigar exhibited grassiness and a light spice. The second wrapper, which was a hybrid of Cuban seed and Connecticut seed also grown in Ecuador, displayed rich tobacco sweetness and had medium spice. The third cigar wrapper was a Cuban seed grown in the DR. This cigar was very full in spice and had woody flavors and aromas. All three were very different, even though the filler and binder were identical. I never expected that the differences would be so dramatic, but it was clear that, when the filler blend is fairly light, the flavor of the wrapper leaf will be able to assert itself more easily.
Not only will the color and origin of the wrapper affect the flavor of the cigar, but even the same wrapper leaf can impart a different flavor depending on which part of the plant the leaf was grown. Leaves higher on the plant (high primings) get more sunlight, therefore they grow darker, produce more sugars and tend to be fuller in body and flavor, whereas leaves from the lower part of the plant (low primings) tend to be milder in body and flavor.
This latter phenomenon may be noticed by more experienced cigar smokers who have a developed a taste for specific blends. For instance, if you take two boxes of the same cigars and place them next to each other, you may notice a slight difference in the color of the wrapper leaf. That’s because the cigars are sorted by color in the factory so they look uniform when you open the box. Though it’s generally imperceptible, lighter or darker wrappers can affect the flavor of the smoke. You either have to have an extremely sensitive palate, or know how the cigars should taste based on your experience. Moreover, some customers actually call Customer Service insisting that the manufacturer changed the blend, and in some cases, will even return them.
Finally, lest we forget that we are smoking a naturally-grown, handmade product. Though cigars in every wrapper shade can vary from box to box by a shade or two, a little difference in flavor is usually not enough to warrant a return. At the end of the day, it’s all part of the cigar-smoking experience.
One of the side effects of cigar smoking is a tendency cigars have for turning stronger and bitter in the last couple of inches. If this is something you can relate to, there’s actually something you can do about it.
Construction, burn and draw issues aside, all cigars, regardless of their strength, build up in tars, nicotine and moisture as they smoke. In many cases, at least with some of the more complex blends, the flavors will improve and taste great right down to the knuckle, while in others, the cigar will begin to “turn,” leaving a sour taste on the palate, at which point you’re probably better off letting the cigar go. If you paid around $5 or more for the cigar, you might be hesitant to trash it, and there are some cigar smokers who will puff-on as long as possible, even if the cigar tastes crappy, if only to get their money’s worth out of it. I have three words for that: not worth it.
There are a few things you can do to help alleviate this problem and get the most bang (you’ll excuse the expression) for your buck.
The first thing you need to do is take notice of how you smoke your cigar. If you tend to hit on it a lot, the faster those tars will build up. If you draw strongly on your cigar, that may have a negative effect on its taste in the middle and latter stages. Cigars were made for relaxation, so do it! Take your time when you smoke a cigar, and let it smoke itself for a minute or so between puffs. This will allow the flavors to caramelize more slowly, and therefore, offer a much more flavorful smoke that will hold-up longer, as well.
The other thing you can do is when you clip your cigar, try to expose as much cap as possible. The more narrow or smaller the cut, the more likely the concentration of flavors will increase, hence more tars and nicotine, too. If you normally use a piercer, punch cutter or a V-cutter for clipping your cigars, they will tend to be stronger and hotter as you smoke. That’s because the small cut size restricts the amount of smoke coming through the head.
One the other hand, cigars with tapered heads such as Torpedoes, Pyramids and Belicosos are purposely designed to do this. However, they also tend to be wider in ring gauge, so you have a lot more tobacco to filter the smoke.
Using a single or double-blade guillotine cutter or cigar scissors naturally exposes more cap, thereby allowing more smoke to get through and helps decrease the buildup of bitter tars, excess moisture and nicotine.
As noted above, the ring gauge, and even the length of a cigar can determine how much tar and nicotine will build-up. If you smoke Coronas, try smoking a Robusto or a Toro. If you smoke Lanceros, try a Lonsdale. Most cigar smokers tend to settle into a particular shape after a while, so if you’re not willing to change your shape, try doing some of the other things mentioned above and you’ll significantly extend the enjoyment of your cigars.
So you’ve just purchased your first premium handmade cigars. Congratulations. Now what do you do? Smoke them, of course! But there’s more to smoking cigars than clipping, lighting-up and puffing. Some cigar smokers tend to approach it as if it were an art, but although there are several steps involved, how to smoke cigars is really very simple.
While cigar smoking is the kind of hobby that even the most experienced enthusiasts will continue to learn even after many years, it’s not as difficult as it looks to get started. How to smoke a cigar is actually a very easy thing to learn, requiring just a few steps before the uninitiated newbie is puffing away like a pro. It can be intimidating for a new smoker to light up in the presence of BOTLs or SOTLs with lots of experience, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide so you can have a clue what you’re doing before you fire one up for the first time. However, don’t worry if you forget a step! Those savvy vets you’re smoking around are most likely extremely friendly, non-judgmental, and more than happy to help you enjoy your early cigar experiences. The vast majority of cigar smokers take great amounts of pleasure in sharing their passion and helping others, so if you’re not sure how to smoke a cigar properly – just ask a friend who knows! Continue reading