The Maduro Mystique

Q. Cigars classified as maduro seem to fall in two taste categories: rich and overpowering. I enjoy the rich ones, usually a dark brown wrapper, but the black wrappers seem to mask all other flavors.What wrapper distinctions/descriptions should I be concerned with when choosing Maduros?
A. What you may be referring to by a “black wrapper” is the difference in an “Oscuro” Maduro as compared with your typical dark brown “Maduro.” Oscuro, as the name implies is the darkest leaf, and therefore has a stronger flavor. What it actually comes down to is the blend itself. For example, many of the Oliva’s maduro wrappers, like the Serie O Maduro for example, have a very strong flavor, which many Maduro smokers crave.

I like a maduro that’s “sweet.” A great example is the Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina Maduro (usually out of stock, though). The CAO Maduro is also a charmer, and their MX2 is really stunning. Both are nice and sweet, and not overpowering. The Punch Grand Cru No.2 Maduro and the Padron 6000 Maduro (shown) are both awesome figurados. I normally smoke the latter two brands in their “natural” wrappers, but in this case I’ve made an exception; they’re that good. So again, it’s a matter of taste.

In choosing a good Maduro, it’s best to start with the overall blend and strength that appeals most to you. If you like milder cigars, maybe the Avo Maduro would suit you or the La Aurora Maduro, which is more medium-bodied.

The wrapper contributes about 20% of the flavor on average, but can add more depending on how the tobacco leaves are blended. Regardless, over time, your palate will begin to appreciate the nuances of a good maduro leaf, whether it’s a “sun-grown” Maduro, typcial dark borwn Maduro, or an ebony-hued Oscuro.