Cigar School: Definitions

SIZES – Cigars are sized by an ancient system where length is shown in inches and thickness or “ring gauge” is shown in 64ths of an inch.

RING GAUGE – The diameter of the cigar, which affects the overall flavor. The fatter the cigar, the more developed and full a cigar will taste. A wide cigar will also burn slower.

FILLER – Filler is the inner bulk of the cigar and can be either cut-filler (short pieces) or long filler running the full length of the cigar.

BINDER – What holds the filler together. It can be made of a half-leaf of tobacco or sheets formed by pressing pieces of chopped tobacco.

WRAPPER – The outer tobacco leaf covering of a cigar. These can be sungrown or shadegrown under cheesecloth.

WRAPPER COLORS – There are four basic color designations: Candela (Lt. Green); Natural (Med. Brown, called “Cameroon” if grown in Africa); EMS, a slightly browner brown known as “English Market Selection”; and Maduro, a dark brown.

BLENDS – There are two basic tobacco blends used in high-grade cigars – Olor and Cubanito.

  • OLOR – A hybrid tobacco obtained by crossing Connecticut Valley strains with Havana. Grown mostly in the Olor province of the Dominican Republic, it is cured a full year longer than other tobaccos to make it a more mild and aromatic smoke.
  • CUBANITO – This tobacco is a direct descendant of the original Havana grown in Cuba. Now grown in Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico, it furnishes a rich, full-bodied smoke.

PURO – Spanish for “Premium Cigar.”

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