Cigars 101

Short Filler vs. Long Filler

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.

Jonathan DeTore

Jonathan DeTore

My job here is pretty simple - I write stuff, I post stuff to Facebook, and I take it to the house consistently at the weekly slam drunk contest. I do it all while sipping on a fine glass of cognac at my desk (don’t tell my boss), and wearing cashmere slippers. Let’s just say "The Hef" has nothing on me.

Show all Jonathan DeTore's Articles
top new cigars dec 24 2018 Cigar Advisor Cover

CA Report: Top New Cigars – Dec. 24 2018

The Christmas rush has hit its peak; you just want to smoke away the holiday stress with a good cigar. Let’s make it something new: 5 top name picks from CAO to Partagas, to treat yourself to something special amidst the madness. See our list now…

Read More
5 things you need to know about Culebra cigars CACover

5 Things You Need to Know About… Culebra Cigars

Culebras: those snaky-looking cigars, entwined in a set of three. Hard to find and rarely made these days, but they sure are fun to smoke, especially with two friends. Culebra cigars also have an interesting back story. We dig into what makes these time-honored cigars so unique, and demonstrate how to smoke them.
Read More

CA Report: Top New Cigars – Feb. 23 2018

This time, we turn the bright Top New Cigars spotlight on some special edition and limited-run cigars from Davidoff, Oliva and LFD; plus, we dip into a pair of boutiques that will have your taste buds off to the races. See our top picks now!
Read More
h. upmann yarguera cigar review

H. Upmann Yarguera Cigar Review – Video

It's a whole new breed of H. Upmann cigar, made with a 1960’s Cuban hybrid. Get the Advisors' opinions and tasting notes in our Yarguera cigar review video!
Read More