Drawing conclusions about the quality of a cigar based on its appearance alone is a mistake that no expert smoker makes. However, and despite the many discrepancies on most issues in the world of tobacco, no one can deny that the wrapper is the calling card of a cigar.
Manufacturers know this and are aware that for many it can be an indicator of what is inside; that is why the leaves that are used as wrapping are carefully cultivated, aged and selected, although, of course, it is not the only reason to take such special care of them.
To be the perfect cigar wrapper, the leaves must be large, thick, and oily in texture. In addition, they must be uniform in color, without prominent veins, and free from the slightest deterioration. Although they are classified by country of origin, it is easier for most smokers to identify the wrappers by color than by country.
About the taste
It's hard to say that there is a more contentious topic among smokers than the effect of the wrapper on the flavor of a cigar. While some claim that it is little or none, others claim that it contributes 40-60%, and even more, to the overall flavor of a cigar. Without placing ourselves in either extreme, the position of those who think that the quality and type of leaf used as wrapper should have some impact, at least on its combustibility and smoke, seems reasonable to us.
Where does the color come from?
It is interesting to know that the color of the wrapper leaf of a cigar is natural and is defined both by greater or lesser exposure to the sun during cultivation, and by the fermentation process to which the leaves are subjected after harvest.
At the cultivation stage, the growth and brightness of the leaf depends on the quality of the soil, the type of tobacco in particular, the growing conditions and the time of harvest. Leaves grown in the shade are light brown, while those grown in the sun develop darker shades. For that reason, the darker wrappers mostly come from high altitudes where sun exposure stimulates oil production as a form of leaf self-protection. Another reason that can generate more intense tones is that they have aged naturally due to spending more time on the plant.
After the harvest, the fermentation time and the temperatures used during the process are what determine the levels of tones and brightness of the leaves.
The color of the wrappers varies from a very light brown to a very dark brown, almost black, with some variations in green. While all leaves start out green, they will turn brown with age. There are about 50 types of wrapper leaves, but all those variants originate from four main, famous and highly recognized types, which, from lightest to darkest, are Connecticut, Corojo, Habano and Maduro.
In our next article we will comment on each of these leaves in detail and perhaps we will end up knowing that, beyond the existing controversy, there is a relationship between the color of the leaves and the intensity of their flavor, although the layer does not necessarily determine the flavor of the cigar.