Do you know your head from your foot?
In the cigar world that can seem a bit more complex than in real life. The fact of the matter is that the basic components of a cigar can be reduced to a couple elements.
Filler, Binder, and Wrapper.
The head and foot simply refer to which end of the cigar you are talking about. The foot of the cigar is typically already cut. The head is not. Unlike a cigarette, you are going to have to cut the top of the cigar (the head) to enjoy they cigar.
The majority of the cigar is made up of “fillers.” These are bunches of leaves inside the binder and wrapper. The filler is what people often refer to as the “blend.”
Much like a wine maker dealing with different grapes, the cigar blender will deal with different types of tobacco to make up the filler. It truly is an art to provide a cigar with just the right blend for the size.
The bigger the ring gauge, the cooler the overall burn. This is neither good or bad and a bigger gauge can hold more filler. Like we said…it is an art.
The binder is the first layer that covers the filler. It helps keep the form of the cigar. Binder leaves are generally wrappers that have some sort of visual flaw that keeps them from being seen on the outside. The tobacco still smokes great, but it may have a hole or blemish.
The binder can be totally different from the tobacco used in the filler – thereby adding yet another layer of complexity to the cigar. Additionally some cigars will have a “double binder” – for even greater effect.
The wrapper is the outermost leaf on the cigar. It also comes form the widest part of the plant as it takes a significant amount of real estate to wrap a cigar (so small leaves won’t do).
In addition to the overall look and color of the cigar, the wrapper will contribute much to its flavor.
When trying to determine your favorite cigars or cigars to try, keep noet of what you like. You may find that you like a Habano 2000 wrapper from Dominican Republic. You can then seek out other cigars with similar components – even if from another country.