Components of Premium, Cuban Sandwich, and Machine-Made Cigars
June 6, 2010
Premium (Long Filler Cigars) –
Premium cigars are long filler cigars made by hand. Long filler refers to the whole leaves that are used in the cigar. Long filler allows a cigar blender to use the leafs natural composition to create complex blends that can vary in body strength, and flavor profiles.
The main components to a premium cigar consists of filler tobaccos, a binder, a wrapper, and finally the cap.
Filler tobacco contributes mostly to the body of a cigar, while the wrapper provides the most flavors. The filler tobaccos can also be know as the bunch. Premium cigars will have a recipe of different tobaccos that make each different blend unique. In one cigar there can be any number of countries, leaf varieties, soil make up, texture, character…the list can go on and on. Everything comes into play as it does with wine. California Cabernet doesn’t taste the same as French cabs. There are millions of different cigar blends.
The binder is what holds the bunch of long filler tobacco, or bunch together. The cigar roller will wrap the binder around the filler and place it in a cigar press, which constricts the tobacco together until it holds itself in place at the desired shape. The binder is usually tobacco that was grown for wrapper but doesn’t have the appearance or quality to make the final cut as wrapper.
Third you have the wrapper. The wrapper is what finishes the majority of a cigars appearance. It also provides most of the flavors in the blend. If you change the wrapper on the same blend, you’ll have two completely different cigars with wide range of flavor differences.
Fourth, and finally, you have the cap. The cap closes off the head, or smoking end of a cigar. Traditionally in Cuba they used three caps, and that can be seen a sign of high quality craftsmanship.
A cigar that utilizes long filler and short filler is called a Cuban Sandwich. Traditionally in Cuba, more pieces of long filler were placed at the head. That way you would not get tobacco pieces in your mouth while you smoked. Some manufacturers make Cuban Sandwiches with the cuttings from premium long filler lines. The tobacco can be excellent quality, but what it may have in flavor, it usually lacks in complexity due to the short filler.
Machine-Made (Short Filler Cigars) –
Mass-produced short filler cigars are made like cigarettes. They are machine made and not comprised of 100% tobacco. Short filler cigars cannot even compare to premium cigars. Short filler, machine-made cigars usually can be found in most convenient stores. These cigars are inexpensive, use cheap tobacco, and lack complexity. Short Filler cigars are a world apart from premium cigars. It would be like comparing a box of cold red wine to a Margaux