Getting Down The Basics, De-mystifying the Lingo of Cigars

For those just entering the wide world of cigars, terms like “ring gauge” and “bloom” can be quite confusing. However,a few minutes of research can yield very useful results so that next time the old man at your smoke shop says, “It’s a premium Calfrisa blend,” you’ll have some inkling as to what on earth he’s talking about.

Cigar Manufacture

Tobacco Curing: The step in the tobacco manufacturing process where the tobacco is hung, and dried until their leaves turn from the original bright green to a dark, yellowish brown.

Curing Barn, Calfrisa, Casas de Tabacos: Curing barns, also known as Tobacco barns, are special buildings, originally made of wood, which were used to dry freshly harvested tobacco.

Composition – Different Parts of the Cigar

Band: Cigar bands are the thick pieces of paper located at the end of most cigars which generally denote the brand.

Cap: This is a small piece of tobacco which’s placed at the head of the cigar to secure the integrity of the cigar and should be either fully or partially removed before smoking.

Filler: The tobacco used in a cigar body to maintain structural integrity.

Figurado: This can be any cigar of a unusual size. Some figurados include culebras, perfectos and pyramids.

Foot: The end of the cigar which is lit for smoking – the opposite of the head. Generally, the foot is cut in the manufacturing process but is sometimes left un-cut.

Head: The end of the cigar which meant to be smoked. Generally the head is where the band is located.

A “Hot” Cigar: A cigar which’s improperly filled and burns too quickly – typically used derisively.

Cigar Wrappers

Claro: A very lightly colored, brown-green wrapper typical of shade grown tobacco.

Double Candela: A bright green wrapper common to heat cured tobacco leaves which, unlike most other curing method, leaves the chlorophyll for the coloring of the end product.

Maduro: A dark brown-red wrapper, lighter than oscuro, typically of Spanish origin.

Oscuro: A very dark, black wrapper which’s typical of Mexican and Brazilian origin.

Cigar tools

Humidors: These are small sealed box, typically partially made of wood, which are used to store cigars while maintaining the optimal humidity level (hence the name).

Boite Nature: The small wooden boxes in which many cigars are sold. They’re generally crafted of buffed cedar.


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