March is painted green as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every March 17th. To help spread some green around the interwebs, I took it upon myself to highlight some of my favorite Candela or Claro wrapped stogies, commonly referred to as Green Cigars, for St. Patrick’s Day. Now, I know you’re thinking green cigars are weird and don’t look like traditional cigars. Well let me put that myth to bed right now: Candela cigars were just as popular back in the 60s as our traditional brown cigars are in the present. I probably just blew your mind with that fact, and rightly so. It’s time we shuffle off this stigma that green is a bad thing and start embracing the real traditional cigar again.
What? You thought I would jump right into my list without telling you how Candela wrappers are made? That’s rich, but it’s time to get learned:
We all know, or at least should know, the fermentation process and curing process of brown cigars takes a long time. It’s normally a pain in the tuckus and takes up a lot of real estate for a long period of time. This is quite the opposite for Candela wrappers which take a matter of days to create by essentially blasting some massive heat by means of charcoal or electric heaters at the leaves while they are hanging in the barns (up to about 165 degrees Fahrenheit, or the average temperature on a mild summer’s day in Phoenix). Vents are also opened at the top of the barns so the heat can carry the moisture out, creating the most ungodly dry heat you’ll ever experience. This obviously dries the leaves out at an incredibly quick pace (about 48-72 hours). On the final day of hanging, the leaves are simply left hanging with the barn doors essentially left wide open. This allows a small amount of moisture to naturally be absorbed by the leaves. If the last step in the process was skipped, the leaves would be too brittle to roll cigars and would crumble. This process eliminates the need for fermentation as well, which is also a massive time saver. After all this is done, boom, you’ve got a green wrapper.
You now know everything there is to know about Candela wrappers. Congratulations.
So to kick off my list of green cigars for St. Patrick’s Day, I have selected the ultimate no-brainer: The Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan. You can’t really get more St. Patrick’s Day themed than this sucker. Made by the Filthy Hooligans at Alec Bradley Cigars, these offer a crazy amount of flavor, all presented in one of the best looking boxes out there. It just screams cool. This is of course an extension of the Alec Bradley Black Market that has been wildly popular with cigar smokers everywhere, only on this comes equipped with a green Candela wrapper. I had the pleasure of smoking one last year when it came out, which was also my first Candela cigar, and was blown away by it. It’s the same flavor you love from a Black Market only with a more pronounced sweetness. But don’t worry, it still packs a bit of a punch with a medium-bodied strength level. Don’t let the easy going green coloration fool you if you only smoke mild cigars; however, this may be a good stepping stone if you’re looking to explore stronger cigars.
If you are a mild-bodied smoker, give Baccarat a shot. In my list of Candela Cigars for St. Patrick’s Day, you may be thrown by the use of the word Claro. En Espanola, this simply means “Clear,” or for our purposes “Light.” Essentially, any time you see the word Claro in the cigar industry, we’re talking about a light colored cigar which can be anything from a Connecticut Shade-Grown wrapper to a Candela. In any case, Baccarat Claros are actually one of our hottest selling cigars, not just during St. Patrick’s Day, but the entire year! It’s an everyday go-to cigar for a lot of Candela lovers who shop with us. They swear up and down it’s the best mild bodied cigar money can buy. Honestly, these things are super inexpensive for a box of 25. You can get them for just over 2 smackatoons a stick, and yes, they are in fact scrumptious.
Okay all you full-bodied junkies out there. The next two are stronger than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime only without the funny accent. The La Flor Dominican Double Claro is one that is essential on our list of green cigars for St. Patrick’s Day. How can it not be? I’m a little bias when it comes to La Flor Dominicana to be honest. It’s a fantastic cigar company with a lot to offer with every cigar they make. Plus I love strong cigars and these guys are the masters at knocking people on their asses. The Double Claro is different though. This is more of a medium offering from the lighter Candela wrapper that is featured with the cigar, but still offers a ton of flavor from its Dominican longfillers. I never got a spicy taste with this cigar though others claim they taste a bit of pepper at the beginning, but it smoothes out into a sweet, earthy taste.
The Illusione 88 Robust Candela is the last primo choice on my “Green Cigars for St. Patrick’s Day” list. Honestly, any Illusione cigar can be on this list. If you’ve never tried any Illusione, you’re really missing out. The MJ12 Maduro is my top recommendation out of anything they make, but the 88 Candela makes the cut because it’s green. This is another full-bodied offering that can roundhouse kick you harder than Chuck Norris if you aren’t careful, but is sure to offer you the most complexity out of any cigar on the list. Spicy tones are consistent throughout yet die down a bit towards the end with an underlying sweetness coming to the forefront from a toasted nutty flavor.
So there you have it, folks. 4 green cigars for St. Patrick’s Day that you should try out, plus you got a side of knowledge that I have kindly bestowed unto you.