The Short Filler – Long Filler Debate
We all have preferences as to what cigars we smoke. People may prefer Maduro over Habano, Nicaraguan over Dominican or even Robusto over Panatela, but one of the most scrutinized specifications for choosing a cigar is short filler versus long filler. The difference between short and long filler may not seem too big; but in fact, it makes a dramatic difference if a cigar manufacturer chooses one over the other. Here are my two cents on the issue…
Think about the duration of your smoke. As the tobacco burns, smoke travels through the cigar taking with it subtle flavors, depositing them throughout the cigar. As you puff away, more and more smoke brings different flavors through, which will add to the complexity of the smoke the further along you get. Long filler is typically preferred in this case simply because the consistency and slow burn of long fillers helps bring the built up flavors through in the cigar.
Short filler, on the other hand, does not allow for a natural complexity to occur within the cigar. Instead, short filler cigars use chopped tobacco to try and manually add complexity. Sometimes this works, but it usually is all for naught: short filler contains more air between pieces of tobacco which causes the cigar to burn faster and hotter than long filler cigars. This can cause a taste of harsher burnt tobacco, eliminating any traces of complexity that may develop in a cigar.
Now it sounds like I am trashing short filler cigars, and I kind of am. To be quite honest, short filler cigars usually are made from leftover tobacco from the production of premium long filler cigars. But let me try and redeem them because there are outstanding short filler cigars on the market today which are well worth smoking, one being the Liga Privada Papas Fritas. The Papas Fritas is made using tobaccos from the LP T52 and Number 9, two of Drew Estate’s most popular cigars. The cigar offers an unbelievably full flavored and full bodied smoke for a lower price than the long filler premiums from which they are derived.
In my opinion, long filler cigars reign supreme. This isn’t to say there are no good short filler cigars on the market because there are. Like I said, the Papas Fritas is a hell of a cigar and is in fact one of my favorites. But if you want natural complexity, go with a long filler. If consistency in the flavor profile is up your alley, then go with a short filler cigar. At the end of the day, it really is a matter of personal preference.