Anatomy of a Cigar
So now you've got a Smoking Jacket, now it's time to smoke. One of the most important aspects of learning about cigars, in order to understand them better, is to learn about their base construction. That’s the framework that builds the cigar.
Let’s see, when deconstructed, what are the parts that construct a cigar into a whole…
A cigar’s wrapper is its outer shell. When someone holds the stick, the wrapper is the tobacco leaf they see or touch; it is also the leaf that you’ll be placing in your mouth when you smoke.
The wrapper leaf is usually appealing or soothing to behold, and as you’ll learn in a later segment of this book, utmost care and precision is taken while growing this leaf in order to maintain it at the peak of its beauty.
Pretty much nobody is going to smoke or even buy a cigar they do not find attractive or pleasing to the eye.
The cigar's meat or flesh, as most refer to it, is (as the name itself suggests) what fills the cigar.
It is also the most essential part that lends the characteristic of utmost importance to a cigar, and that is – the flavor.
A filler of a cigar can be composed of tobacco originating from one or various regions; it can also be either ‘long' or ‘short.' In fact, the finer and hand-made quality of cigars consists of these long fillers – which translates to leaves, which are either almost the same size as the cigar's length or are just really long.
Short filler means that the filler is chopped up, broken, or shortened in length. Usually, the short filler will give a burn that is both inconsistent and uneven; this will end up creating a flavor of the filler blend that will be quite different.
As the leaves are not completely whole, the short filler is not as expensive as the long filler cigars.
A binder is the next coating in the cigar following the filler. Its place in the whole structure is right between the filler and the outer shell – the wrapper.
The sole purpose of the binder is to ensure the filler stays in place, and contrary to the beauty standards maintained for the wrappers, a binder does not feel the pressure to look flawless, as it remains hidden from sight.
When a binder is rolled along with the filler, it creates the shape of the cigar.
Once that is done, the next step is to roll it with the wrapper then complete the rolling with a single or even a triple cap. Another purpose the binder serves is that it maintains a proper burn when the cigar is being smoked, and it helps in bringing together both the wrapper along with the filler tobaccos.
The cap ensures everything is in its right place – the cap is also the only reason cigars do not unravel when they are being smoked.
There are around three types of caps you should know about, and they are – a single cap, a triple cap (which is a tradition originating in the island of Cuba), and finally – a pigtail cap. In a pigtail cap, the tobacco has been twisted to form a tiny pigtail, and it is also a traditional method.
The end of a cap can be noticed by looking for this little line around where the tobacco ends. Make sure you never cut past that little line and into the cigar’s shoulder, as that could result in your cigar falling apart.
The faintly rounded or curved area of your cigar, the point where the body meets the cap, is called the shoulder. And as mentioned already, cutting into or below a cigar’s shoulder can lead to the cigar unraveling.