The Darker the Wrapper, the Stronger the Cigar?
If you've ever shopped for cigars, you've probably heard the old adage that a darker wrapper indicates a stronger cigar.
The color of a wrapper, though, is only one piece of the puzzle. Here's everything you need to know about how the color of a cigar's wrapper impacts its strength.
What Is Meant by Strength?
If you want to understand the connection between a cigar's wrapper color and its strength, you first need to clearly understand what is meant by the strength of a cigar. Though the word "strong" is often applied descriptively to the flavor of certain tobaccos, the strength of a cigar more properly refers to its nicotine content. Cigars with low strength are usually said to be mild-bodied, while stronger cigars are described as full-bodied.
Understanding the Composition of a Cigar
Before launching into what color actually says about strength, it's important to understand the different components that give a cigar its overall strength. Though the wrapper is by far the most visible part of a cigar, it accounts for only a small part of the amount of tobacco in that cigar. Much of the tobacco is found in the filler, the area of tightly packed tobacco in the center of the cigar. The filler can consist of many different leaves harvested from various geographic regions and even from different growth stages of the tobacco plant.
Does Darker Color Actually Indicate Stronger Tobacco?
In most cases, a darker color is indicative of a higher nicotine content in tobacco leaves. However, before you start picking out cigars based on their wrapper tone, remember that most of the tobacco in a cigar is found in the filler. As a result, the strength of a cigar is actually more dependent on the filler blend than it is on the leaf used as the wrapper.
Because of this fact, the strength of a cigar is a function of how different tobaccos are combined to create it. A cigar with a darker filler and a lighter wrapper will be fairly full-bodied, despite the low nicotine content of the wrapper. Likewise, a very dark wrapper filled with light tobacco will produce a relatively mild-bodied smoke. If a blend of dark tobaccos is wrapped in a dark wrapper, though, the result will usually be a very full-bodied cigar. This is why it's important to find out about all of the types of tobacco that go into a cigar you're thinking about trying, rather than just looking at the wrapper as a gauge of strength.
What Can a Darker Wrapper Tell You About a Cigar?
Given the fact that overall cigar strength has little inherently to do with how dark the wrapper is, you might wonder if the wrapper color has any useful information to convey at all. In fact, while the color isn't a good predictor of strength, it is a very good predictor of flavor. While the filler largely determines strength and smoking quality, the wrapper is responsible for the majority of a cigar's flavor characteristics.
The lighter a wrapper is, the milder its flavor tends to be. Connecticut wrappers, for instance, have a light flavor with hints of spice and cedar. A darker wrapper has a more robust flavor rich in spice notes. The darkest wrapper, called a Maduro, delivers a powerfully robust yet smooth and sweet flavor. Maduros acquire this unique flavor through a fermenting process. By learning the flavor characteristics of different wrappers, you can learn to predict cigar flavor from color with reasonable accuracy.
Ultimately, the best way to determine if you like a given cigar is to smoke it. Whether you prefer a mild-bodied or a full-bodied cigar, VILLIGER has offerings that will suit your tastes. Light up a fine VILLIGER today and enjoy the rich, relaxing indulgence that only a premium cigar can deliver.