Tagged: nub

Marvelous Maduros
Baccarat Rothschild
CAO Gold Maduro RobustoCarlos Torano Signature Robusto
La Aurora Escogidos Robusto
La Gloria Serie N Glorioso
Nub Maduro 464T
Perdomo Grand Cru Robusto
Saint Luis Rey Serie G No. 6
Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Nova
Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Robusto 

A Short Primer on Maduro-Cured Tobaccos

By Gary Korb

Spanish for “ripe,” when you think of a “maduro cigar” one of the first words that comes to mind is “dark.” And that’s the idea. The longer tobacco leaves are fermented, the darker they get. Note that there is no specific “Maduro” leaf, as there is say, a “Corojo” or “Criollo” leaf. Cigar smokers who think maduro cigars are strong will be surprised that this extra fermentation process actually makes the leaf milder and most often sweeter, as well. This natural sweetness is the result of exposing the leaves to extra sunlight during the growing period. Moreover, the leaf essentially “tans,” becoming darker, and also produces more oils. For this reason, the leaves used for curing most maduro wrapper are taken from the top two-thirds of the plant. Suffice it to say, the strength of full-bodied maduro cigars is due more to the filler used, like ligero, than the darkness of the wrapper.

The secret to getting good Maduro leaf is dependent on one of several fermentation processes based on what the Master Blender wants to achieve in terms of color, flavor and strength. Connecticut Broadleaf, Habano (Cuban seed),
and Mexican-grown Sumatra are the most commonly used leaves for fermenting and curing Maduro. However, as you can see by the list of cigars featured in this month’s sampler, Brazilian-grown leaf has become a staple for its thickness, oily sheen and spicier character.

So how does a maduro leaf attain its dark color? One technique is to ferment the leaves longer at a much higher temperature, generally around 150-degrees, rather than the average 110-degrees used to ferment “Natural” wrappers.

Some blenders use a method called “cooking.” During this process, the leaves are placed in a steam chamber that can reach temperatures as high as 180-degrees or more. As a result, the leaves not only attain an even darker color, they’re also milder in flavor. This is one way to produce “Oscuro” wrapper, the darkest and often the oiliest of maduro leaves.

There is also a third “shortcut” method which most veteran Master Blenders detest. This process involves using dyes and sugar to darken and sweeten the leaf. If you notice some stain on your fingers or lips, the wrapper was most likely made using this process. It may even be a well-made and flavorful cigar, but once the cat’s out of the bag, it’s a buzz kill for a lot of cigar smokers.

It’s likely that you’ve had at least a few Maduro cigars by now. That said, if you haven’t had the pleasure of smoking a well-made cigar with a naturally fermented maduro wrapper, you’re missing out on some marvelous smokes.

*Price is a sale price, and subject to change.


Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

With about an inch to go, I put the matchstick in the stub.
With about an inch to go, I put the matchstick in the stub.
When it comes to table manners, remember how your Mom would tell you that there are only certain foods you can eat with your hands such as hot dogs, fried chicken, pizza, fries, etc. I wonder if there are such rules when it comes to smoking cigars down to the nub. For example, is it proper to use a tool to get those last few puffs out of a really good cigar?

I bring this up because of something that I did a few nights ago. I was smoking an Oliva Serie O Perfecto, which is a bit short to begin with, plus it has a tapered head. The cigar was smoking beautifully and offered a lot of flavor. When I got down to the nub I didn’t want to let it go, but I didn’t want to burn my fingers either. In the ashtray was a cedar matchstick that I had used to light a scented candle. So, I plucked it out of the ashtray and inserted the charred sharp end into the nub at just nubbing cigars
Another look at the stub as it begins to form an ash.
under a half-inch. I found that this works best if you twist the match in about a quarter of an inch. I also noticed that smoke does not escape from the hole, and the cigar continued to smoke perfectly. So, would this technique be acceptable amongst a group of cigar smokers? You may get a couple of funny looks, but I see no reason to cease doing this. If you can get more out of your cigar, more power to you. The only reason I can offer for not doing this is if the cigar has turned bitter by the time it gets down to nub-size length.

Useful tools for uber-nubbing your cigars are toothpicks, paper clips (though they can cause the nub to spin on you), a jeweler’s screwdriver, and of course, the old, reliable forceps that are normally used for nubbing something else.

There is also one other thing I learned by doing this. Normally, when your cigar is still mostly intact, you should let your cigar rest a minute or so between puffs. This helps prevent it from getting too bitter too soon. how to smoke cigars
Finished with less than half-an-inch left. Now THAT’S a nubber!
Now, assuming the cigar still has some good flavor coming from it, you need to let the nub rest about 2-3 minutes. Remember, the nub is going to be pretty hot, so the longer you let it cool, the less chance it will tar up and go sour on you. Just try not to let it go out on you.

As you can see by the photos here, I smoked the cigar down to the matchstick. Whether the credit goes to my technique or to Oliva for making such a great-tasting cigar, even that very last puff was delicious.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any cigar smoker try this in public. Then, I’ve never heard any cigar smokers say it was uncouth, either. If you’re at a cigar bar, ask the bartender for a toothpick and go for it. Practically speaking, if you can, why shouldn’t you try to get all of your money’s worth out of a great cigar?

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