The Anatomy of a Cigar
A cigar is a tobacco bundle, rolled from dried and fermented tobacco leaves in such a way that when ignited, the smoke is drawn into the mouth.
A cigar consists of a filler, binder and wrapper.
A wrapper is the upper part of the cigar, and it is the widest part of the tobacco plant.
A binder is the wrapper that was rejected due to imperfections, blemishes, visible veins, etc.
A filler is a wrapped bunch of leaves inside a wrapper, blended to produce the required cigar flavor.
The filler is composed of three diferent tobacco leaves: the ligero - the top, the seco - the middle, and the volado - the bottom.
The Ligero leaves are the top leaves in a tobacco plant that are usually maturing slower than the seco and the volado leaves. Since these leaves are directly exposed to the sun, they are stronger and fuller flavored, containing more nicotine and are usually blended in to give cigars more strength.
The Ligero leaves are burning slower than the other parts of the plant, that is why they are never used in the wrapper, but only in the filler.
The Seco leaves are the middle, as well as the largest leaves of the tobacco plant. They are milder than the Ligero leaves but also used in a filler due to the oily and rich substance which higly contributes to a cigar's taste.
The last, but not the least important part of the tobacco plant are the Volado leaves. This is the bottom of the plant, therefore they are smaller since they get less sunlight than the previous parts, resulting in almost neutral flavors. However, these leaves are known for their excellent burning qualities, that's why they are also used in a filler.
By Sonya Rendall