What is a Cigar Blend?
This might seem like a weird question, but to new cigar smokers, it is an important one. We hear the word blend or blending all the time in the cigar industry and, unfortunately, many people are left confused and wondering. It is a simple concept, but I feel as though it isn’t explained enough, especially to newer cigar smokers.
A cigar blend is the blend of tobaccos used to make an individual cigar. Think of it as a recipe. A blender will mix and match various tobaccos to obtain a certain outcome. The blend is made up of three essential parts, and this is what we will be focusing on today.
Learning About Cigar Fillers
The first part of your blend, or recipe, is the filler. Think of these as the base component on which all other ingredients are based around. The filler is the heart of the cigar and is usually composed of one or several different tobacco varieties. The filler is responsible for most of the strength of a blend and can be the most difficult for a blender to get right.
For cigars, there are two different types of fillers. The long filler is used on all premium cigars. The long filler consists of long, whole pieces of tobacco carefully chosen and wrapped. The short filler consists of short scraps of tobacco, usually leftover from long-filler cigars. Short filler cigars are usually machine-made or bundled smokes and are much cheaper.
Introducing the Binder
In terms of construction, the binder is an incredibly essential component. The binder is a tobacco leaf that is wrapped around the filler to hold everything in place. It is usually thicker, heavier tobacco so that it can hold the filler tightly in place. Together with the filler, this grouping is known as the bunch.
The binder is usually a flavorful wrapper leaf that might have a few blemishes, making it unfit for the outside of the cigar, but perfect for bunching. In terms of flavor, the binder can add in some great flavors to a blend, but its most important function is that of construction.
All About the Wrapper
A cigar wrapper is the final ingredient in the recipe. It is a thick tobacco leaf that protects the binder and filler. It is wrapped along the outside, so it is the most visible part of the cigar. Being the outside leaf, it is important that the wrapper leaf is visually appealing because it is what the customer will first see. This makes sorting wrapper leafs a difficult process and the reason many wrappers get discarded and instead used for binders.
Wrappers are responsible for a majority of the flavor from a cigar blend. Most people believe that the color somehow connotates strength, but it doesn’t. A darker wrapper will have a bolder, richer flavor, but strength is mostly derived from the filler.