The Anatomy of a Cigar - Advanced - Tobacco Leafs
Let us take a deep dive into the essence of a cigar, the tobacco leafs. Lets get cigar nerdy. While enjoying you beloved premium handcrafted cigar, ever wondered about its composition? Handcrafting cigars is an art form, from the nursing of quality tobacco leaves in the farm to the handrolling of the cigars in the craftsmen shop, the process is fascinating. The main ingredient to your favorite cigar is tobacco leafs. By diving a bit deeper into the cigar anatomy, you will gain a better appreciation of your premium cigar and the effort that went to producing it.
Tobacco plants will grow on average six to seven pairs of leaves. These leaves are picked or primed in pairs. These primings, listed in order, from the top of the plant to the bottom are named Coronas, Centro Gordo, Centro Fino, Centro Ligero, Uno y Medio and Libre de Pie. These primings are further categorized into four types of leaves. They are Ligero, Seco, Capote and Volado.
Ligero leaves are at the top of the tobacco plant and are considered the strongest and most flavorful due to their direct exposure to sunlight. Ligero plays a very important part in a cigar blend’s flavor. Due to the thick nature of this leaf, it is normally placed in the center of a cigar so that the surrounding filler can help it burn properly.
Capote leaves are used for the binder leaf of a cigar. The binder is used to keep filler leaves together and gives a cigar its shape after being pressed in a mold. Capote leaves are found just above Volado leaves on a tobacco plant.
Seco and Volado leaves generally comprise the filler tobacco for cigars. The flavors and strength of the leaves become more subtle the lower you go in the primings. Seco leaves are found in the middle of a tobacco plant while the Volado leaves are at the bottom.
Wrapper leaf for cigars come from tobacco plants grown specifically for wrapper tobacco and are primed in pairs as well.
Producing a cigar is an art form, and many aficionados fall in love with cigars because of this. No cigar is created equal due to the manual skills required to produce one, from the quality of each individual tobacco leaf to the expertise of each cigar craftsmen. Next time you enjoy your premium cigar, you will now have a better understanding where the complex flavors come from.