What is a Cigar Wrapper?

April 29, 2022

Of the three main components of a handmade cigar, which are the fillers, binder, and wrapper, the latter is what gets the most attention.

The wrapper is the star, the frontman, the main event, the headliner. If a cigar were a rock band, the fillers would be the drums, the binder would be the bass, and the wrapper would be the lead guitarist and the singer. But the question remains, what exactly is a cigar wrapper?

A cigar wrapper is a whole tobacco leaf that wraps around the binder and fillers and provides the majority of a cigar’s overall flavor. Being the outermost component of a cigar, the wrapper must also provide a visual appeal to catch your eyes. When you are admiring the beauty of a top-shelf cigar, you are really admiring the beauty of the wrapper.

Although it seems simple, there is a ton of work behind selecting a wrapper for a premium cigar. First and foremost, as the outer component of a cigar, the wrapper needs to have the best visual appeal. This means that a wrapper will have a solid color throughout, minimal veins and blemishes, and is applied seamlessly. The wrapper also needs to be thick and elastic to be applied properly.

Wrappers have such rigorous visual standards because the wrapper is your first impression of a cigar, so the wrapper needs to be top-notch. A sizeable portion of a crop intended to be wrappers will actually never become a cigar wrapper due to visual imperfections. However, wrappers that don’t meet the strict aesthetic standards are often used as binder tobacco.

The wrapper is also responsible for a significant amount of the flavor you enjoy whenever smoking a cigar. The flavor is why most of us choose to indulge in a top-quality smoke, so if you enjoy specific flavor profiles then the wrapper is what you need to pay attention to.

It should be noted that a darker wrapper does not necessarily mean the cigar will be stronger. There are plenty of cigars out there that have dusky, dark wrappers yet still have a smooth and mellow profile. In fact, much of a cigar’s strength actually comes from the fillers, as they make up most of the cigar overall.

There is vast variety when it comes to a cigar wrapper – hundreds of different kinds of wrapper leaf might adorn your cigar, each with its own distinct flavor.

Whether it be from a certain country or region like Cameroon, Sumatra, or Connecticut Shade wrappers, a certain seed like Habano or Broadleaf, or even certain colors like Colorado Claro, Colorado, Maduro, or Oscuro, there is no shortage of options. Although there are some construction issues that can arise from a cigar wrapper, wrappers have little to do with a cigar’s overall construction.

All in all, a cigar wrapper provides both flavor and visual appeal to a cigar, and they come in many different varieties that make a cigar distinguished. The cigar wrapper is your first impression of a cigar, and in turn, needs to have top-quality flavor and looks to give you a satisfying smoking experience.

If you want an even deeper dive into cigar wrappers, the countless varieties, and all things cigars, make sure you stay up to date on all the amazing lessons here at JR University and the JR Blending Room!

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