There is a lot of information online about cigar wrappers, mostly listing different shades and providing short characteristics of each type. We've decided to go a bit further and attempted to create a sort of library about cigar wrappers. This page will list all articles about cigar wrappers ever published on CigarInspector.com.
We hope that this information will help you select and understand cigars. Our research has found that cigar makers tend to generalize their wrapper descriptions or have different names for the same type of wrapper. So hopefully we'll help you explain some of the inconsistencies. We also included examples of existing cigars with a particular wrapper whenever possible.
Do not forget though that the wrapper is not responsible for the flavor of the cigar alone, and how much does the wrapper contribute to a cigar's flavor is another discussion in its own. Oh, and before you start, have a look at our Cigar Wrappers F.A.Q. and learn about common tobacco strains.
Reader's question: "I have 10 boxes of Cuban cigars that I want to age for at least 2 years. Should I leave them sealed in their boxes as they came or should I take them out of their boxes before storing them in my humidor? Which is the better option?"
What people do differs a good deal, but it depends in part on how long you plan to leave your cigars in the humidor. If you won’t be keeping them in there for all that long (a few weeks or a month), you can probably just pop the box right in and leave them there. It’s highly recommended you take off the outer layer of cello first since this allows more of the humidity to seep into the box. In fact, you don’t need to keep your cigars in the box at all. Some people take them right out and just put them in the humidor individually. The main reason to keep the box in the humidor is simply for organization.
Another option is to keep the cigars in the box (with the cello layer removed), store them in the humidor, and then prop them open, either all the time or once a week or so. You don’t need to prop them open wide, just wide enough for the humidity to seep in. You can use a match or anything else to wedge the boxes open just slightly, and then the humidity from the humidor can easily get inside. You can store your cigars indefinitely this way.
I recently received this question by e-mail from our reader George and thought I'd write a quick blog post about it:
I sometimes come across tar in liquid form coming out of the end of the cigar, why does that happen?
So this is how your disturbing experience happened. You cut the head of your cigar and noticed, after you started smoking, a dark substance oozing out. Or perhaps you didn’t even notice that it was oozing and got a little in your mouth—yuck. What is this stuff and why does it happen? What do you do about it if it happens to you?
The answer is not entirely clear or certain, but the likely explanation has to do with sap (as plant sap). The stuff oozing out of your cigar is a natural substance, presumably some excess sap from the stem or leaf of the tobacco plant which failed to evaporate during the fermentation process. So it’s mostly tobacco juice, tar, and resin. It is utterly disgusting to taste, so if you see it, you’re going to want to get rid of it. Usually the trick is to make a new cut just below where you see the resin oozing out, and this will typically get rid of it. Thankfully this doesn’t happen all that often, and you can rest assured it has nothing to do with your technique, nor does it point toward a quality problem with the cigars. It’s just a quirk of the manufacturing process that comes up now and again. Usually it’s easy to resolve, and then you can enjoy the rest of your cigar.
I've received several questions lately regarding tubo cigars storage. I decided it was time to write a short article about this aspect of cigar care. Of course, feel free to add your insight in the comments area.
You’ve purchased a cigar and it came in one of those little storage tubes called tubos. Now you’re wondering whether you need to put your cigar in the humidor or whether the tubo is sufficient to keep it fresh. If you do need to put the cigar in the humidor, does that mean you do or don’t still need the tubo?
The key to answering this question is to look at what the tubo is really used for. While the tubo might look like it’s intended to keep the cigar fresh, its main purpose is actually just to protect your cigar from physical damage. The tubo makes it easy to carry your cigar around without worrying about dinging it up. While a tubo will temporarily keep your cigar from drying out, it won’t do it for longer than several days since tubos are not airtight (in the vast majority of cases). This would be useful if you purchased a cigar while travelling, for example, and you needed to keep the cigar fresh for a few days before you could return home to place it in your humidor. Or perhaps you’re traveling and just want to save the cigar for a couple days later on your trip—either way the tubo has you covered.
If on the other hand you’ll be storing your cigar for longer than several days, you will need to place it in the humidor or it will indeed dry out. Your next question is probably whether you should store the cigar in the humidor with the tubo on or not. There is no hard and fast rule on this, but generally speaking you need to maintain airflow to your cigar. You can either remove the cigar from the tubo entirely before placing it in the humidor, or you can leave the cigar inside the tubo but keep the cap of the tubo off. Davidoff Cigars has recognized the importance of airflow when storing cigars by designing a tubo which reveals a slit for airflow when you twist it.
If your cigar isn’t going inside a humidor and you’re planning to smoke it in a few days, then be aware that an aluminum tubo won’t preserve freshness as long as a corked or sealed glass tubo. Also, if you leave the tubo out in the sunlight or under any heat source (even just a lamp), your cigar will dry out faster.
It’s pretty easy for cigars to become dried out. Sometimes you misplace a box of cigars and forget to store them in your humidor (incredible, but it does happen). Sometimes you find a box of old cigars in your grandparents’ basement. Or your non-smoking friend tells you about his trip to Cuba seven months ago and how he brought back a box full of Behikes for your birthday. Anyway, by the time you find those cigars, they’re completely dry. The good news is that depending on how far gone they are, you may be able to bring them back, although, in most cases, somewhat short of their original quality. You’ll still be able to enjoy them, but some of their flavors may be lost. If the wrappers of the cigars are cracked or unraveling, then it’s too late to revive them (they’ll fall apart as you try to smoke them)—but if the wrappers are intact, there is a good chance you can 'repair' them. The process of reviving dried cigars is not a quick one, but with some time and patience you’ll be able to save your cigars.
There are several different techniques you can use to revive dried cigars, most of which will take you several weeks to complete. Don’t ever put your extremely dry cigars into a fully charged humidor right away. This will ruin them. It’s a good idea to equip yourself with a hygrometer which can measure moisture. This will help you to control the process of reviving the cigars and to know when the process is complete and the cigars are ready.
Get a Tupperware container or a plastic bag. Don’t use a cedar box, since wood aerates moisture, both absorbing it and releasing it at the same time. The result is that you won’t be able to build up moisture in a cedar box, which is what you need to be able to do. So use plastic instead. Tupperware containers and plastic bags both can seal, which is critical.
Get a sponge, or alternately oasis foam, and access to distilled water (propylene glycol works too). Start out by placing the cigars in the box or bag with the hygrometer and sealing them in. Walk away for a few hours then come back and read the humidity on the hygrometer. This will give you an idea where you’re starting from.
Next, place about a teaspoon of water on your sponge or oasis foam, and place that inside the box or bag with the cigars and the hygrometer.
Walk away again, but keep coming back to check on the process regularly. You’re waiting for the hygrometer to read 70%. Every 24 hours open up the bag and add another teaspoon of water to your sponge.
Once the hygrometer reaches 70%, you’ll need to maintain the humidity level in the box or bag at 65%-70% for 2-3 weeks, adding distilled water to your sponge as necessary. Every few days you’ll need to gently turn the cigars over a quarter turn.
After several weeks the process should be complete and the cigars revitalized.
Open the box of dried cigars and place the box in a damp location such as a cellar or crawl space where moisture gathers.
Keep the box of cigars in the damp place for roughly a week. You may need to do it longer if your cigars are extra dry. During that week, rotate the cigars a quarter turn every couple of days.
After a week or two is up (depending on the severity of the dryness you’re trying to counteract), put the cigars in your humidor at 70% humidity. Continue to rotate the cigars a quarter turn every few days. The process will be complete when every cigar has been turned the full way around at least two times.
If your humidor isn’t fully charged, then consider placing the cigars inside for a week. Only after a week should you consider charging the humidor fully and letting the cigars sit in the fully charged humidor. Again, never put the dried out cigars into a fully charged humidor to start with.
Dampen a sponge or a paper towel. Either wrap the damp paper towel around the cigar box and leave it for a week, or use the sponge to dampen the cigar box. You don’t want to get the box wet. You just want to create moisture. If you go with the sponge method, put the box in a sealed plastic bag for a couple of days. After that your cigars should be ready. This is a rush method though and it is more likely to fail than the others.
And if you don’t want to do it yourself…
Some cigar shops will actually revive dried cigars as a service to regular customers. As professionals, they are adept at providing cigars with just the right amount of humidity to restore them (some cigar stores will also store cigars for customers in humidors to keep them at the right level of humidity to begin with). This is really a good idea if you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself since you won’t risk ruining your cigars.
Techniques 1 and 2 are probably the best ones to go with if you are going to try to revive your dried cigars yourself. The last technique is probably not a great one to go with unless you’re in a big rush—but the fact is, the best results aren’t going to come with a rush job, and you’re more likely to ruin your cigars permanently if you’re in a hurry to get them back into pristine condition. Take your time reviving your dried cigars—the problem wasn’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. With several weeks to a month of diligence though, you should be able to revive even extremely dry cigars—always assuming they aren’t peeling apart or cracked when you start out.
Again, revived cigars will probably not be as great as they were before you (or somebody else) let them dry out. Expect some lost flavor. If you’ve never tried a particular cigar before and you try one for the first time after reviving it, chances are you won’t be getting an entirely accurate idea of its quality. It’s certainly still better than losing the cigar completely though!
PS Know any other techniques to repair dried cigars? The comment section is all yours.
About once a week, I receive an e-mail from somebody who wants to offer cigars to one of his/her friends and does not really know how to proceed. The question is always the same: "what cigars should I offer to my smoking buddy?". I would reply with 2-3 suggestions that were first to come to mind, but realized that they often depended on my mood and on my recent experiences. So, not only in order to save time but mostly to provide a longer list of recommended smokes, I decided to write this blog post. Many thanks to brothers from Cigar Asylum for helping me out.
Below you will find a list of smokes that most of cigar smokers will like to receive as a gift, whatever their smoking experience. I tried to select cigars that are more or less available across the country, fall within a reasonable budget (with a couple of exceptions, of course) and are suitable for every kind of smoker (i.e. no powerhouses). I think that this list might be useful not only to non smokers, but also to beginners who have smoking friends with longer experience. As for me, from now on I will only have to paste a link when replying :)
The X000 line is probably one of the best price/quality ratios available on the market. My personal favorite is Padron 2000 [review / compare prices]. If you are willing to spend more money on your gift, you can have a look at 1926 / 1964 series. I'm fairly sure that EVERY cigar smoker will appreciate getting a box of Padron 1926 [review / compare prices]. However, please note that this is the most expensive cigar in this list.
Don Pepin Garcia
Don Pepin Garcia is a legend in the cigar business and while some of the blends are quite pricey and may be difficult to find, the Cuban Classic [review / compare prices] is widely available and is not too hard on the pocket. Many smokers enjoy its flavors with a touch of sweetness.
Almost anything from Fuente is quality, however our choice here goes to the Hemingway line. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story [review / compare prices] is an excellent smoke, but you can also check out Work of Art and Best Seller lines.
CAO is another well-known brand that makes quality sticks. It appears that the two blends which will suit everybody's palate are CAO Gold - including CAO Gold Vintage [review / compare prices] - and CAO La Traviata, a great budget stick. The latter one is pretty tough to find, so if you see it at your local Brick & Mortar store, don't think twice.
Another major brand in our selection is Ashton. Ashton VSG [review / compare prices] is the second most expensive cigar in this list, but it's definitely a great gift.
Elected as the Best Bargain Cigar of 2009 by Cigar Aficionado, the Brickhouse line [review / compare prices] is actually good. A decent budget alternative.
Both natural and maduro versions of the Cubao [review / compare prices] deserve the good press and high ratings they earned. The price is also acceptable.
Avo cigars are usually very reliable in terms of construction and provide an enjoyable though slightly one-dimensional flavor. The typical example is the Avo Domaine [review / compare prices] which scores very high in the looks and construction departments.
This list should give you enough choice for your gift. Feel free to bookmark it for future use & share it with your friends. We hope that you found it useful.
PS And, of course, feel free to add your suggestions below. Your feedback is, as always, appreciated.
Cutting a cigar cap can be tricky. We need to cut just enough cigar to open its end, but not so deep as to cause the wrapper to unravel. This is particularly true with a torpedo type vitola. These pointy-end cigars are some of the hardest to roll because the head is elongated, making it’s construction more challenging than a parejo (standard cigar shape). This elongated head means the windings of the cap are spread out over a larger area of the cigar.
At first I thought this would be an easy enough task. Just list the range in cigar shapes and sizes. But the more I thought of this, the more work it became. But that's okay. I want to bring you the reader (all three of you) a comprehensive list of shapes and sizes from both the Domestic and International markets.
I'll start with general shapes and sizes. I will also discuss more of the unique shapes and sizes available.
A cigar with a cylindrical body and straight sides, basically a "normal" looking cigar.
Parejos can also have a pigtail cap. There are often found on lanceros for some reason. The Cuban Trinidad line has all sizes finished with a pigtail cap.
The main sizes within the Parejo shape are (length in inches x ring gauge):
Corona : 5.5 x 42
Robusto : 5 x 50
Toro : 6 x 50
Lonsdale : 7 x 42
Churchill : 7 x 48
These sizes are approximate, a lot of manufacturers would still call any cigar measuring 4.5-5.5 inches long, with a ring gauge of 48-52 a robusto.
Also, parejos may be box-pressed, to even such extremes as wafer thin, and even may be triangle-pressed. A good example of a box-pressed cigar is the Padron Family Reserve No. 85, pictured below:
A cigar with a non-standard shape. There are several basic styles to figurados. They will be listed below. The sky is the limit on figurados, a lot of manufacturers like to tap into their rollers' creativity in creating a myriad of shapes from pipe-shaped cigars to baseball bat and chili pepper shaped cigars. (Check out vitolas.net for an array of funky shapes and sizes).
Torpedo / Belicoso - The most popular of shaped cigars, the torpedo is simply a parejo with a pointed head (pictured above is the Oliva Serie V Torpedo). A torpedo may also be box-pressed.
Pyramid - The most misnamed of all the shapes. A pyramid is tapered from head to foot. Many manufacturers and smokers falsely name torpedoes as pyramids.
Perfecto - A perfecto is narrow at the head and foot (usually to a point at both ends) and bulbous in the middle, like the La Aurora Preferidos above. Odd variations of the perfecto look like a snake has swallowed a mouse.
Diadema / Salomon / Presidente - basically a parejo or a perfecto with a closed foot. Domestically diademas and salamones are most bulbous closest to the foot just prior to the closed tip of the foot. A good example is the Hemingway series from Arturo Fuente, like the Short Story (above).
Culebra - Three intertwined cigars tied together at both ends by twine or string. Culebras have an interesting back story as they are growing in popularity and currently are used in higher end cigars (the most famous being Partagas Culebras, pictured above) but were initially used to ensure that rollers, who were allotted three cigars a day to take home, were not taking any extra with them. The cigars were rolled together so that they would be recognizable outside of the factory. Any rollers smoking a parejo would then be guilty of theft.
Chisel - I've added this size in honor of Litto Gomez who is a true innovator in the industry. The chisel has a head like a torpedo but is pressed in a way that resembles... a chisel. Want an example? Check the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Chisel.