A Maduro wrapper is one for those who prefer a more robust or flavorful smoke. The wrapper of a cigar is the outermost leaf and hence provides much of the flavor of the stick. Those who prefer a more robust, or stronger, cigar often choose what is called a Maduro wrapper, which defines much of the Maduro cigar’s character and flavor. However, some cigars are called Maduro based on the dark color of the outer leaf or wrapper alone, when in fact the wrapper is not a Maduro at all. In other words, while the Maduro is typically a dark leaf wrapper, all dark leaf wrappers are not Maduros.
While the filler and the binder also contribute to the flavor of the cigar, a Maduro, which is Spanish for ripe, wrapper will typically provide a more robust experience than lighter wrappers, regardless of the filler or binder.
The leaf is usually matured in sunlight, causing it to release or sweat the oils from the leaf. The increased exposure to sunlight and the resultant sweating of the Maduro oils also creates sugars within or upon the leaf, which some aficionados will refer to as sweet. However, this particular leaf is not to be considered as sweet, as the flavor is typically robust and full. Many would categorize it or call it strong.
As the Maduro wrapper is typically thicker than other leaves, and contains more veins, it will be a slow, enjoyable burn, depending upon the quality of the filler and binder. Take your time with this one and savor the complexity, aroma, and flavor. You will really enjoy the complexity of this smoke.
For the novice, one way to identify a Maduro will be a dark color, veiny, and oily in appearance and even feel. If kept in a well maintained humidor, it will have a nice aroma. The leaf should wrap the entire cigar without a break, but of course that is true with any hand rolled cigar, Maduro or otherwise.
For someone who is new to smoking cigars, the Maduro wrapper may not be right for you. However, if you want to dive right in, there are many very fine Maduros and your local tobacconist will be happy to assist you with this more robust smoke. Shy away from the cheaper ones, it is worth your money to get a fine smoke which will last you a minimum of a couple of hours.