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What’s the sweetener made of on cigars with sweetened wrapper caps?
Q. Referring to my favorite cigars, Flor De Oliva Naturals, which have sweetened caps, what is the sweetener made of, and how is it applied?
– Bill M. in Covina, CA
A. According to my source, a CMT (“Certified Master Tobacconist”), sweetened caps can be applied in several different ways:
- By dipping the head of the finished cigar in sweetened water
- Using a sweetened gum, similar to the same gum arabic they use to roll the cigars, and applying it with a finger.
- Dipping the cigar’s head in sweetened water before applying the cap.
- For some flavored cigars, spraying the wrapper leaves with sugared water before rolling.
Each manufacturer has their own method of preference, and the sweetener itself can be anything from pure cane sugar, to an artificial sweetener like saccharine or sucralose, also known commercially as Splenda.
I also wrote to José Oliva at Oliva Cigars who said, “We use a liquid sweetener mixed into the edible glue used in applying the cap.” It is not very heavily applied either, which is intentional. Moreover, he told me that some smokers of the Flor de Oliva Natural cigars (FYI – the natural wrapper is a Sumatra leaf), don’t even realize they have sweetened caps because they may clip too much of the head.
Some other good sweet-capped cigars include, Baccarat, Pai Gow, Tabak Especiale, and Maroma Dulce.