Flavor plays a big role in how a cigar tastes , and every smoker has his or her favorites. Part of what makes a cigar a good pairing with your favorite beverage is its flavor. You do not want these tastes to clash.
Classifications such as strong and mild describe the tobacco’s nicotine level, not its flavor (although nicotine levels do influence the taste of your smoke). Flavor descriptors go beyond terms such as mild, medium, or full to enter the realm of nature. You commonly see cigars described as fruity, spicy, earthy, and more. Numerous factors influence a cigar’s flavor, including the soil in which the tobacco grows and the age of the leaves.
Descriptions of Flavors
Although flavor-infused cigars continually grow in popularity, cigars also acquire a variety of flavors naturally. The soil of a particular region imparts its own flavor to the tobacco, as do other nearby plants. For example, coffee beans planted near tobacco plants impart a hint of coffee flavor to the tobacco leaves. Additionally, leaf placement on the plant affects flavor, as does blending different types of tobacco. Even the rolling method used plays a role.
When describing cigar flavors, people tend to use familiar words to define taste, hence comparing different flavors to foods is common. Common comparisons include fruits, nuts, beverages, and various spices. However, people also frequently describe cigars with earthy terms such as oak and pine.
These descriptions often describe the aroma of a cigar as much as its actual taste. Our senses of smell and taste closely intertwine. It is why wine connoisseurs include appreciative sniffs of their favorite beverage in order to enjoy the full taste of the grape.
The Four Major Cigar Wrappers
The leaves wrapping a cigar impart a great deal of its flavor. The four major types of wrapper , in order from light to dark, are Connecticut, Corojo, Habano, and Maduro.
The Connecticut leaf comes from, of course, Connecticut, although is also grown in Ecuador. Growers typically use a protective covering for the plant, such as sheets of cheesecloth, to protect it from the sun. Its shady growth cycle helps give the leaf a mild flavor and low nicotine content. Typical plants have a woody, spicy flavor. Try a Macanudo or Montecristo to experience a Connecticut wrapper.
Originally from Cuba, Corojo now hails from Honduras. It is darker than the Connecticut wrapper with robust, spicy flavor. These leaves tend toward toughness, sometimes making it a difficult smoke. For a taste, light a Camacho Corojo.
Another Cuba native, Nicaragua is now the main grower of Habana. These leaves carry strong nicotine content, so expect to feel it when you smoke it. The flavor is heavy with spice and exists in the Perdomo Habano cigar.
It takes a long time to properly grow and age a Maduro leaf. These hearty wrappers hold up to years of aging without losing flavor or becoming blemished. Maduro wrappers have sweet undercurrents, causing some smokers to call them dessert smokes. Experiment with a CAO or Macanudo Maduro.
Four More Wrappers to Try
Although not as common, Cameroon, Candela, Oscuro, and Sumatra wrappers boast their own unique flavors and strengths.
Cameroon comes from the African country of the same name and has a rich, savory flavor. Light an H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon for a taste of Africa. The Candela is aged quickly, lending a green hue to these cigars. It has a mild flavor and often exists in promotional runs.
Oscuro is a dark wrapper often called a double Maduro, due to fermenting even longer than the Maduro. This gives it an intense flavor. Sumatra, named for its Indonesian region of origin, has a mild, sweet, slightly cinnamon flavor. Try a Hoyo de Monterrey Dark Sumatra for a taste.
The Smoker’s Role in Flavor
Although the wrapper has probably the greatest influence on a cigar’s taste and flavor, what you do with it once it enters your possession plays a big role in how your cigar tastes. Proper storage, in 70 percent humidity, gives you a cigar with an even burn. Why does that matter? Cigar manufacturers design their wares to impart flavors in according to proper burn. Too dry and the cigar burns too quickly, creating harsher flavors. Too damp and the cigar burns slowly and unevenly, possibly leading to an acidic flavor.
How you light the cigar also affects its flavor. The best choices are wooden cigar matches, butane gas lighters, and cedar spills. Paper matches and lighters containing lighter fluid may give the tobacco an unpleasant taste.
Quick N Shine carries an enormous selection of cigars, as well as accessories such as cutters, lighters, and humidors. Whether you’re new to the cigar world or consider yourself an aficionado, our friendly staff can help you find exactly what you need.