Maduro Madness… Welcome to the Dark Side of Maduro Cigars
By Tommy Zman Zarzecki
I am always amazed at cigar smokers who tell me that they’re hesitant to try a maduro wrapped cigar because they are afraid that it’ll be too strong or too harsh… because for those of us who love these darker sticks, we know as fact that well-made maduro cigars are sweet, delicious and oh-so satisfying.
In Spanish, maduro actually means “ripe” or “mature.” The leaf used for maduro comes from the top half of the tobacco plant and is allotted extra ripening in the sun which allows the natural oils and sugars in the leaf to come out to play. Simply put, this is why these cigars appear oiler and have that sweetness that I mentioned in the paragraph above. And yes, some maduro cigars are stronger and richer than others depending on where on the plant the leaves were taken from. Leaf from the middle of the plant produces a milder to medium smoke while the leaves at the top that receive a lot more sunlight are used to create cigars that are bolder in strength and flavor.
The other factor in creating good maduro leaves is that they are fermented for a longer period of time at higher temperatures than natural colored leaves. It’s the extra time and temperature that turns the leaf darker giving it that deep, rich, dark brown color. And what’s interesting is that the longer it is fermented, the milder it actually becomes. Some manufactures will actually put added weight atop the fermenting tobacco bales which aids in the heating up process. And, you’ll note that maduro leaf is generally thicker and heartier in substance (like a Connecticut Broadleaf) because it has to be able to hold up to the entire process.
Another method that is used is called cooking or steaming, where the leaves are actually steamed at a high temperature in order to speed up the maduro making process. Many in the industry look down on this method of rushing things, but many of the maduro cigars that are on the milder side have been produced in this fashion.
And finally, the last method in creating maduro leaf, referred to as “painting” has always been seriously looked down upon by reputable tobacco men. This was a method employed greatly during the cigar boom of the 90’s where tobacco was scarce, causing some to use a machine known as the maduro-matic that actually painted the leaf with molasses based dye, fooling consumers – that is, until the dye came off all over your lips and fingers.
For me, my favorite after dinner cigar is almost always a nice medium to full bodied maduro because that rich and subtle sweetness caps off a good meal better than any piece of pie or cheesecake ever could – and at a hell of a lot less calories, too.
So, here’s a nice little list of eight maduro cigars that I personally enjoy and could smoke just about every damned day. Now read the list and share with us what you enjoy when dabbling on the dark side…
The tobacco used to create AVO cigars is always smooth as silk on the palate and this medium bodied gem has always been one of my favorites in their entire line of smokes. On the inside there’s a blend of five different Dominican leaves, and on the outside is super-tasty US grown Connecticut Broadleaf maduro that brings this stick to life.
San Lotano Maduro
AJ Fernandez is the mind behind the coveted San Lotano brand, a cigar that has developed a heck of a loyal fan base. This maduro is a full-flavored offering that is impeccably rolled producing a mountain of smoke. The wrapper is an oily Mexican San Andreas leaf that gives off some hearty spice. Serious yum.
Camacho Triple Maduro
Buckle your seat belt, people, because this cigar will take you from zero to sixty in seconds flat. The term “full-bodied beast” definitely applies here as this brazen stick utilizes bold maduro leaf for the wrapper, filler and the binder. With a flavor profile that’s both earthy and sweet, it’s in-your-face-flavor that’s never overpowering.
Perdomo Habano Maduro
Nick Perdomo is another guy who blends seriously flavorful cigars, and the Habano Maduro is a favorite for so many. It’s a medium to full bodied puro, consisting of premium tobaccos grown within different regions of Nicaragua. The profile has hints of cocoa and spice, with that gorgeous triple-fermented maduro wrapper just knocking your socks off in the flavor department.
Romeo y Julieta House of Montague
While this cigar is on the medium bodied side, it is as full-flavored as a good maduro gets. The inside is a blend of zesty Nicaraguan and Dominican leaf while the wrapper is a wickedly tasty Brazilian grown maduro. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try this one, I’m just gonna tell you that the time to jump on this bad-boy is now!
This darkened tobacco beast has been a longtime fave among the full-bodied faithful. The fillers are a hearty blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran leaves and the wrapper is an oily Arapiraca from of course, the country of Brazil. It’s a big stick with most of the sizes in the big ring gauge range. One of CAO’s tastiest.
Toraño Master Maduro
When we say welcome to the dark side, we were no doubt referring to this multi-nation blast to the taste buds. While it’s medium to full in profile, it’s just crazy-flavorful, earning some of the highest ratings from the puro pundits. The aged Nicaraguan Habano maduro leaf wrapper makes this player one of the best in the game.
NUB 460 Maduro
This stick is solid proof that good things do come in fat little packages. Short and stout and loaded with clout, the NUB Maduro by Oliva cigar is filled with Nicaraguan leafy goodness and draped in dark and supple Brazilian grown maduro leaf. Notes of coffee and dark chocolate are prominent on this well-rolled fireplug that emits a ton of tasty smoke.
So that’s my list of eight very flavorful maduro cigars that I personally enjoy. Hey… remember, the taste for cigars is subjective and my goal is to let you in on what I like so you can decide whether to try ‘em for yourself. So share with us your thoughts on these sticks and some of the maduros you’d like to see us talk about!