When you look at our cigar descriptions on the website, you’ll see we take effort to break down each cigar into the major elements in order for you to make informed choices. We go beyond the typical shiny wrapper and brand name marketing which has dominated the industry the last few years. It seems like every time I get a new cigar magazine in, some new stick is rated high but what the hell is it made of? What does it smoke like? I have to pay 10 bucks for a smoke that as soon as I light it, I am like nope! The marketing machines are all pushing the same message – buy this new fancy smoke based solely on the label/branding. They don’t bother to describe the flavor profile other than it’s really mild…thanks…that is really descriptive there. Now let me go pay my 10 bucks for a 2 dollar cigar. Ummm, no. I have friends in psychological operations I know how this game works….
I want to read descriptions that actually mean something to me. So on this site, our descriptions range from complex and spicy for a good Saturday evening to smooth mild smokes that I can do on a weeknight and not have a horrible aftertaste the next day.
We’ll dedicate the next several blog post to providing a down and dirty Cigar 101 so if you see an unfamiliar term on the website you won’t think I got into the good bourbon and started mixing up my languages again.
Below is a quick run down on the three broad general types of leaves. Yes, there are subcategories but these are the three definitions that will hep you decide if you actually want to try the cigar:
- 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. The more of the Ligero included, the stronger the cigar will be. These leaves are thicker, heavier and have taken in more nutrients than the bottom leaves.
- Seco leaf is the most popular kind of filler tobacco and is harvested from the midsection of the tobacco plant. Seco grade filler is milder and more generally tame in terms of flavor and smoke output than either volado or lingero leaf tobacco. Seco is also the thinnest grade of tobacco and contributes primarily to the overall aroma of any cigar which uses it.
- Volado leaves are found at the bottom of a tobacco plant. Volado lacks both flavor and aroma and is primarily used for other reasons, chiefly their potent burning properties. Volado leaf is extremely important in maintaining a cigars even burn ratio. In some places volado leaf is also referred to as viso leaf.
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 and have flavor profiles between the Volado and Seco leaves.