Sanford Cigar City - Cigar 101

Cigar 101 – What’s In A Cigar? | Sanford Cigar City

Starting your journey into the world of cigars can be a little intimidating and overwhelming at times, so we’re here to help alleviate some of the stress. Before we go into what is in a cigar, let’s first define the word cigar. When we talk about cigars, we’re talking about premium hand-rolled cigars. Not mass produced, machine made, gas station cigars. Cigars that were crafted by the hands of hard-working men and women, cigars that have been an art form for generations, cigars that are the generational trade of families dating back centuries. Premium hand-rolled cigars are broken down into 3 parts: wrapper, filler, and binder. Each part is integral to a well-balanced and well-constructed cigar.

Let’s begin with the wrapper. The wrapper leaf of a cigar makes up around 70% of the overall flavor that you will enjoy. The wrapper can come in a variety of colors from a light green Candela to an almost black Oscuro. A good rule of thumb is the darker a wrapper is, the stronger the cigar will be. This is not always the case, as the filler and binder will play a part in the strength of a cigar and there are some milder, well-balanced maduros on the market. You will also find wrappers from different countries and regions throughout the world such as Connecticut, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Ecuador, and more. The most common wrappers you will find are Connecticut Shade, Corojo, Maduro, Habano, and Sumatra.

Next up we have the filler and binder. The filler tobaccos make up the majority of the cigar blend. It is not uncommon for a cigar to have multiple different fillers inside. The binder tobaccos are placed around the filler tobaccos prior to placing the unwrapped cigar into a cigar mold. These tobaccos are typically very durable and flexible to help create the shape of the cigar and keep the construction in line. Once the fillers and binders are selected and bunched together, they go into a cigar mold to be pressed into the shape of the cigar (we’ll learn about that another time).

Cigar 101

While this is a brief rundown of what’s inside a cigar, there is always so much to learn. And what better way to learn than visiting one of your local cigar lounges. Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge on the Sanford Riverwalk is one of the best places to come and learn more about cigars or just have a drink and nice conversation. Make sure to join us on the last Tuesday of each month for a little Cigar 101 in person. And don’t forget, each and every cigar is a hand-crafted artisan product that went through 300 hands from seed to smoke.

Up Next: Cigar 101 – Cutting Your Cigar

Jason Faulkenburg

Founder and Editor of Ash Quarterly Magazine, a national cigar magazine since 2018, as well as the GM of Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in Sanford. Avid cigar enthusiast, husband, and father to two daughters.