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Strength Vs. Flavor - What Does The Darkness Of A Cigar Tell You

Oct 20th, 2023


The world of cigars, with its rich tapestry of colors, can be both mesmerizing and bewildering. From light greens to deep browns, the variety of cigar wrapper shades is as extensive as the myriad of tastes they hold. But here's the catch – if you're new to the world of cigars, the notion that the color of the wrapper is a direct indicator of its strength or nicotine content might have crossed your mind. However, the truth is far more nuanced. In this article, we unravel the enigma of cigar darkness, revealing how it speaks volumes about flavor while shedding light on the misconception of strength.

Unveiling The Cigar Color Myth

Let's get one thing straight: the color of a cigar's wrapper isn't a telltale sign of its strength. It's easy to associate the depth of color with the potency of the smoke, but in the world of cigars, appearances can be deceiving. Rather than being an indicator of strength, the color of the wrapper is intimately connected to the flavors it holds. This misinterpretation arises from the natural tendency to equate darker shades with heightened intensity. Yet, the true story lies in the intricate relationship between color and taste.

So, while the shade might not reveal the nicotine punch, it certainly holds the key to an enchanting tasting experience.

Beyond the misconception, a closer look reveals that the journey from seed to smoke influences the wrapper's color. Factors like the timing of the harvest and the fermentation methods are pivotal in determining the final shade. Again, this means that a deep, dark color doesn't necessarily equate to an overpowering strength but rather a promise of complex flavors waiting to be unraveled.

Our Master Blender, Manuel Inoa, elucidates further, shedding light on the impact of wrapper color on flavor: “The color of the wrapper does not determine the strength of a cigar. What determines the strength is the blend inside. If I use a Maduro wrapper with a blend inside that's only “Seco”, it may seem like it will be strong, but that's not the case because “Seco” tobaccos don't have significant strength. The darker wrapper has more oil; having more oil means more flavor, so darker means more flavor. The color doesn't affect the strength but rather the flavor.”

Journey Through Cigar Colors And Flavors

To navigate this world of flavors, some find it helpful to embrace a simple categorization — lighter shades are often referred to as "natural" wrappers, while deeper, darker tones are commonly associated with "Maduro" cigars. This fundamental distinction forms the foundation for exploring the diverse range of tastes within each shade.

For strength and flavor of the cigars, Manuel Inoa shares his insights: “Balance is achieved by testing the tobacco and determining the notes it contains. Choosing “Ligero” tobaccos provides you with much more strength and flavors. On the other hand, the “Seco” ones give you medium strength, and the “Viso” ones provide low strength. You must know which one to choose to achieve the desired strength or flavors.”

There are seven distinct cigar wrapper colors or shades, and here, we will unveil the flavors they harbor within. Imagine these colors as a painter's palette, each holding a unique blend of hues waiting to be applied to the canvas of your palate.

Exploring Cigar Wrapper Types And Colors

  1. Claro Claro (Candela): Known for its vibrant green hue, Candela or Double Claro wrappers derive their color from harvesting leaves before maturity and rapidly drying using artificial heat, preserving their chlorophyll content. Despite its unique appearance, the flavor experience is characterized by notes of cedar, grass, and a subtle hint of pepper, crafting a symphony of freshness.
  2. Claro: Emitting a golden or tan glow, Claro wrappers are cultivated under protective cheesecloth tents. This method allows the tobacco's natural flavors to shine through, creating an authentic taste experience that isn't overshadowed by the wrapper's hue.
  3. Colorado Claro: Transitioning into a light reddish-brown hue, Colorado Claro wrappers embody a slightly bolder taste. Cultivated in direct sunlight and harvested at a mature stage, they infuse cigars with a delightful blend of fruity sweetness and a rich aroma.
  4. Colorado: With its brownish-red complexion, Colorado wrappers strike a balance between lighter and darker shades. They offer full-bodied flavors without overwhelming the senses.
  5. Colorado Maduro: Bridging the gap between the Colorado and Maduro shades, Colorado Maduro wrappers feature a dark brown hue within the lighter spectrum. These wrappers offer an aromatic flavor profile that harmoniously blends together the best of both worlds.
  6. Maduro: Translating to "mature," Maduro wrappers are a result of sun-exposed cultivation, extensive curing, and aging. The outcome is a wrapper that's both intense and complex, boasting a unique sweetness, high nicotine content, and a textured surface.
  7. Oscuro: As the darkest of wrappers, Oscuro presents an almost black appearance. These wrappers gain their intensity from the leaves on the plant being exposed to maximum sunlight. Their robust flavor profile and darkness also reflects the result of a prolonged fermentation process, resulting in a wrapper that's bold and textured in nature. For those who appreciate intensity, Oscuro is an exploration of deep and pronounced flavors.

Exploring La Aurora's Darker (Maduro) Cigars

Amidst this symphony of colors and flavors, La Aurora's Maduro cigars stand as a testament to tradition and craftsmanship. With a legacy dating back to 1903, La Aurora remains the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Within our Maduro offerings lies a world waiting to be discovered, each blend encapsulating a unique journey of taste and aroma.

Maduro 1985

The LA AURORA® MADURO 1985 features a Brazilian Maduro wrapper and a Nicaraguan binder and filler, embracing intricate notes ranging from coffee to cocoa, with hints of pepper and almond leading to a crescendo of dark chocolate richness.

Doble Maduro

Honoring the León Jimenes legacy, the LEÓN JIMENES® DOBLE MADURO emerges after a minimum of three years of aging, delivering a harmonious blend from the Cibao Valley, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Peru. The Cubra wrapper used is a product of a double fermentation process. The final result is a balance between sweetness and bitterness, evolving from medium to mild, offering cocoa and tobacco flavors with hints of red citric notes.

100 Años Maduro

Embark on a journey of opulence over time with the 100 Años Maduro. This blend unveils a symphony of wood, leather, and alluring almond notes. Encased in a Connecticut BroadLeaf wrapper and elevated by a Brazilian binder, this medium-to-full-bodied cigar is a tribute to intricate craftsmanship and layered complexity.

107 USA

Formerly known as the 107 Maduro, the LA AURORA 107® USA presents a captivating balance of wood, spice, and subtle sweetness. With its dark Connecticut broadleaf wrapper married perfectly with a Dominican Cibao Valley binder, this cigar delivers roasted coffee and wood undertones.

The Maduro Cigar — An Art of Aging

The allure of Maduro cigars extends beyond their dark visual appeal. But how do these dark cigars get their flavors? Glad you asked. Their aging process, a meticulous symphony of fermentation, controlled heating, and moisture, transforms starches into sugars. The result is a subtly oily finish, coupled with a captivating sweetness that accompanies each puff - a tribute to patience, tradition, and craftsmanship. The process of selecting the best wrappers is an art in itself, setting the stage for the entire ensemble. It involves a thoughtful consideration of three key factors: your palate preferences, the occasion, and the time you have to indulge in the experience. For those seeking a leisurely afternoon companion, natural wrappers present a milder, smoother option that promises relaxed enjoyment. On the contrary, if you're looking for a bolder, more intense flavor profile, especially after a hearty meal or during a special occasion, Maduro wrappers are the ideal choice. Their robust character adds a distinctive touch to the moment, ensuring a memorable cigar experience. Take our quiz to find out which wrapper is the best fit for you, or try any one of the cigars referenced below!

Final Notes

As the layers of misconception unravel, a world of flavor and depth emerges from the shadows of cigar wrappers. The journey from shade to shade is a passage into a realm of tastes waiting to be discovered, a realm where the darkness of the wrapper conceals complexity rather than overwhelming strength. From the lighter "naturals" to the deeper "Maduros," each hue offers a distinct experience for the discerning palate. One could say, with cigars, darkness is a canvas, and flavor is an art mastered when the correct strength is achieved by a master blender, like our very own Manuel Inoa.