65 / 100

Types of tobacco in a cigar

A cigar is made up of tobacco leaves. Nothing more and nothing less. Without any other type of additive in the form of compounds, which does not mean that it lacks them. As the precious and delicate crop that it is, the leaf contains numerous nuances provided by the soil’s characteristics where it is sown and harvested and the subsequent drying, fermentation, and aging processes. This is where it is freed from unwanted chemicals, such as ammonia while accentuating naturally acquired flavors and aromas.

Physically, we can distinguish three fundamental parts in the composition of a cigar: filler (Spanish: Tripa o Relleno), the binder (Spanish: capote), and the wrapper (Spanish: capa). The filler constitutes the body of the cigars. The higher quality of cigars uses the whole leaf or long filler; these cigars are considered “Premium.” The lower end cigars are composed of short filler which ground tobacco leaves. There is a third type that uses remnants of premium tobacco and the quick filler, cigars that use this type of filler are called “Cuban Sandwiches.”

The binder (also called a “banda” in Central America), the function is to hold the filler together. It is wrapped around the filler and holds the shape of the cigar. For this reason, it must be resistant while being consistent in type (flavor and aroma) with the tobacco used for the interior.

A cigar’s outermost layer, or wrapper (Spanish: capa), is the last leaf used to make a cigar. This is considered the most essential leaf and the most expensive since this gives a cigar its first impression. However, its function is not merely aesthetic, since, like all the cigar elements, it also contributes to its flavor. 

The cigar composed of five tobacco leaves one Capote, two Viso, one Ligero, and the wrapper. The Capote promotes combustion, the Viso provides aroma, and the light one gives strength. These five leaves are blended; they compose the cigar’s flavor with the wrapper providing up to 10% of the flavor.


Double Claro // CandelaCandela (“Double Claro”)very light, slightly greenish. Achieved by picking leaves before maturity and drying quickly, the color coming from retained green chlorophyll.
ClaroClarovery light tan or yellowish
Colorado ClaroColorado Claromedium brown
Colorado RosadoColorado (“Rosado”)reddish-brown
darker brown
MADUROMadurovery dark brown
OSCURO // DOUBLE MADUROOscuro (“Double Maduro”)black

Some manufacturers use an alternate designation:

American Market SelectionAMSsynonymous with Candela (“Double Claro”)
English Market SelectionEMSany natural colored wrapper which is darker than Candela but lighter than Maduro
Spanish Market SelectionSMSone of the two darkest colors, Maduro or Oscuro
%d bloggers like this: