For the new smoker, different styles and sizes of cigars can appear mind-boggling. It helps to recognize that every cigar can be segregated into two general categories: Parejos and Figurados.

Parejos refers to cigars that are essentially straight and they are subdivided into three categories: coronas, panatelas, and Lonsdales. Coronascome in a smorgasbord of styles and noted brands.  They are known as cigars with an 'open foot' (or tip) and a rounded head.  Panatelas are generally lengthier than coronas and are more slender. Lonsdales are also lengthier than coronas, but are slimmer than the panatela.

Figurados denotes cigars that are irregular or somehow hand-shaped so that they are not purely straight.  The smallest of Figurados are the Belicoso cigars, which are known for a larger foot and a smaller, rounded head.  The other basic Figurado cigar is the pyramid, which has a pointed head that tapers to a large foot.  The perfecto is a Figurado cigar that is tapered on both the head and foot, with a more slender middle.  The largest Figurado is the Diademas, known as the 'giant' of cigars because it is always eight inches or more.

 

What are the various parts of a cigar?

 

Many seasoned smokers enjoy their cigars without ever learning the basic parts of the cigar.  While it may be true that you can savor a cigar without knowing how it was assembled, ascertaining the basic parts of a cigar can be helpful in assisting you in choosing the best caliber cigars.The initial thing many smokers observe about a cigar is the wrapper, the layer of tobacco on the exterior of a cigar.

A cigar's wrapper is very important because it provides much of the flavor of the cigar.  The highest quality tobacco leaves are used to construct the wrapper.  They range in color from very clear (Claro) to very dark (Oscuro).

Binders are known as the 'intermediate leaves.'  They are used to hold or 'bind' the tobacco filler together.  Binders can deviate considerably.
 
A cigar wrapper is easy to understand if you remember their are seven basic colors. There are variations on these, but the information provided on this page will allow you to identify the wrappers.Lastly, the filler used to make a cigar.  The filler is the actual tobacco.  Generally, filler can be either long or short.  Long filler consists of whole tobacco leaves, while short filler consists of smaller pieces or scraps.

The Colorado is medium brown with a reddish hue. These are usually shade-grown and often offer hints of spice and can exhibit a bit of strength. A Colorado Claro has a medium brown color and is also referred to as a Natural. These are mostly sun-grown, but not always. This produces a smooth, medium taste. Colorado Maduro is in between a Colorado and a Maduro.

 

Claro has a light tan color. These plants are usually grown under netting, harvested before reaching maturity and dried quickly. This produces a very mild wrapper. The Double Claro wrapper is a light green color with a slightly sweet taste. The light green comes from the wrapper being dried quickly with the use of heat. These were once popular, but not found much today.

Maduro can go from dark brown to almost black. The fermentation process for these takes longer than others. Don't be deceived by its looks. These are generally smooth and rich.

The Oscuro cigar wrapper is very dark, actually black. This tobacco leaf is at the very top of the tobacco plant and is harvested last. This produces a wrapper with a very distinct, strong taste, which is too harsh for many cigar smokers.

The debate over how much a wrapper affects the flavor of your cigar is ongoing. It's true that a wrapper consists of 10% or less of a cigar, but many insist it has the most overall effect. Yet...Others say that the binder and filler has the most bearing on taste, because, after all, it makes up 90% of the cigar.

 

The Decision is Yours.

Choosing a Cigar 101