What is a Cigar Binder?

April 25, 2022

There are three components to a premium cigar: the fillers, the wrapper, and the binder. A cigar binder shares characteristics with both the fillers and the wrapper. However, its role is distinct from either of the other two parts.

The most basic description of what a binder does is that it binds the long-filler tobaccos together, hence the name binder. The binder sits between the long-fillers and the wrapper, and some cigars, like machine-made cigarillos and cigars that use short fillers, forego a binder altogether. Yet most of the handmade smokes you will come across on your cigar journey will be made with a binder.

A cigar binder is the most important component when it comes to a cigar’s construction, as it is what cements a cigar’s shape and filler density. The tightness of a binder’s application around the fillers helps to determine the quality of the draw as well as the burn rate and serves to give a cigar its final structure before the wrapper is applied.

In order for a cigar binder to properly fulfill its role, the leaf needs to be both elastic and strong. As the backbone of a cigar that holds everything together, the binder needs to firmly hold the fillers in place. It also needs to have some sort of elasticity or malleability so it can be wrapped tightly around the fillers. If a wrapper unravels, you will be able to see the binder holding the fillers together.

To meet the prerequisites of strength and elasticity, cigar binders are often on the thicker side and are physically quite similar to the leaf used for wrappers. However, since the binder lies underneath the wrapper along with the fillers, it is, like the fillers, not easily viewed, and doesn’t need to be the best-looking leaf of a cigar.

Thick tobaccos used for a cigar binder provide a bit of flavor to the overall cigar. However, it’s the wrapper that contributes the majority of the flavor. Similar to the fillers, the binder is hidden from view and does not need to have all the visual perfections a wrapper has. In fact, many cigar binders were grown to be wrappers that did not have the necessary visual characteristics.

It is fitting that the binder, which serves as the boundary between the fillers and wrapper and as the backbone of the cigar, shares characteristics with both its neighbors. To learn more about a cigar’s fillers and wrapper, or anything else cigar-related, check in regularly with the JR Blending Room and JR University!



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