Cigars 101

Cigar Q&A: What is the taste difference between cigar wrappers?

Cigar Q&A: How Cigar Wrappers Affect Taste

Q. Can you give a little education on selecting wrappers? I’m a beginner, so what cigar wrappers should I select?
– Will V. in Vancouver, WA

A. Basically, you have to experiment and eventually you’ll find which wrappers you like best. Connecticut Shade is generally the mildest and lightest in color. Maduro is often mistakenly percieved as “stronger” but it’s actually richer and more often sweeter than most wrappers. Good African Cameroon is very delicate, somewhat sweet, and “Cuban-like” in flavor and aroma. I also like the flavor and aroma of good Sumatra wrapper. Criollo, Corojo and Habano cigar wrappers tend to be a little zestier in flavor, as is good Brazilian Mata Fina, which has a nice spicy tang to it.

What’s important is the quality of the leaf. The wrapper should be even in color, not too veiny, and have a nice oily patina. Also keep in mind that the wrapper is only one part of the cigar. It may contribute a good portion of the cigar’s flavor, but you don’t choose a cigar based on the wrapper alone. You have to consider the entire blend.

I also suggest you pick-up The Ultimate Cigar Book by Richard Carleton Hacker. It’s one of the best primers on enjoying premium cigars, and incldues a chapter titled, Finding the “Perfect” Cigar, which delves into the flavor properties of the most commonly used tobaccos.

Once again, experiment, experiment, experiment.