For those of you very new to the hobby, cigars are comprised of three parts: a filler tobacco, a binder, and a wrapper. The most popular wrapper leaf used today are Natural-light brown, EMS-Medium brown, Maduro-dark brown, and Oscuro-Almost black. As a rule, the darker the wrapper, the more influence it has on the overall flavor of the smoke. Bear in mind, this has very little to do with strength. Many new smokers see a jet-black stogy and assume it will knock their socks off! That’s not always the case. In fact, many darker leaf sticks are actually creamy and smooth. But that’s a topic for another time.
Today, let’s talk about the forgotten wrapper—the green one! Unless you remember watching Captain Kangaroo, and your first new luxury automobile cost you a whopping $1200, most likely you have never heard of them, let alone smoked one.
The candela leaf imparts an almost floral or citrus taste and aroma to the blend when lit. Candela leaf is regarded as the mildest wrapper, with a sweet, grassy flavor, that offers very little in the way of strength. Daniel Nunez, president of General Cigar, distinguishes between candela and natural wrappers by stating, “A candela bears more of a fresh green leaf flavor, as compared to a natural wrapper, which bears more soil-related, earthy flavors.”
History - The rise and fall of Candela.
The process of making green cigars originated in Cuba during the 1940s. In 1948, there was a great demand by American smokers for light tobacco. Back in those days, only Cuban cigars were sold stateside, so you had just two choices: full-bodied, or fuller bodied. Many smokers were craving something mild. At the time, one of the largest selling brands was La Corona. To appeal to this market, the company began selling Candela wrapped smokes to the US. Very quickly, the amount of this tobacco couldn’t meet the huge demand, so instead of fully curing it, they froze the light tobacco to keep it green. Then, they’d fire cure it to get it the greenest shade possible. This created a tremendous demand, and other Cuban manufacturers followed suit. After the embargo, they tried this same process with domestic tobaccos from the Dominican Republic; they had a rather sour taste, while the old Cuban fire-cured tobacco had a sweet almost pineapple flavor, so the popularity of the non-Cuban double claro quickly faded. Compared to the staggering 90% of pre-embargo green wrapper smokers, today these wrappers only consist of 2 to 3 percent of total sales of all cigars. They are smoked mainly by older guys (farts) who refuse to give them up.
The Double Claro Wrapper Today
Although nearly extinct, except for many machine made, there are several companies still producing these wrappers today on premium cigars. If you are looking for something as tasty as those great old Cuban brands, you may want to try our world famous JR Ultimate brand.
JR Ultimate No. 5 · 6.12 × 44, and the JR Ultimate Toro · 6.12 × 50, both feature the long forgotten Double Claro wrapper. All though not for everybody, these smokes undoubtedly replicate that great pineapple sweet wrapper found on those pre-embargo Habano’s of yesteryear. Why not be adventurous, and experience smooth, highly aromatic, and delicious flavors that your dad, granddad, and the other 90% of Americans once enjoyed.