A Little Bit About Blend

With different edition cigars coming out of Cuba every year, the people who produce these gems are always introducing different blends into the cigar filler which in turn keep us interested in all that is developing in this wonderful passion we all share.  I’m thinking that it must be quite a challenge given the fact that there are NO chemicals used in the production of Cuban cigars and NO additives that give them their incredible flavor.  So how do they differ from cigar to cigar?

A few different factors are taken into consideration when designing a cigar’s flavor.. Well come to think of it, a whole number of factors have to be taken into consideration..

First of all I’m guessing that the quality of leaves in a particular harvest would be something to consider and you have to remember that Cohiba gets the FIRST pick of the harvest which tells you that there is no wonder why Cohiba cigars have, what most aficionados maintain, the best and most complex flavors available.  They cost a pretty penny for a reason, they ARE the finest! But we were talking about the blend, so I’ll continue….

The filler in a cigar is made up from, almost always, 3 different parts of the tobacco plant, the Ligero, the seco and the volado..  The ligero comes from the top of the tobacco plant and these leaves get the most sunshine which in turn makes them a bit darker, stronger tasting because of more concentrated minerals including nicotine and slower to burn.. This is why when you examine the foot of a cigar you can sometimes detect darker leaves rolled into the middle.. When you knock the ash off you can also see a cone shaped red cigar ember burning, that tells you that the cigar was rolled properly and the ligero is where it should be.. Another thing that I want to qualify at this point is that you may not actually taste the ligero if it is a young cigar but you will certainly FEEL what it is doing to you.. A lot of nicotine will make you sweat, feel dizzy and remind you that the cigar may need a bit of time in a humidor.  Aging a cigar will actually diminish the amount of nicotine in the smoke.

The next leaves down on the tobacco plant are called the seco and these are where the perfume and wonderful intoxicating flavors come from. They burn a little faster than the ligero and contribute much to the profile and characteristics of what you are tasting.. The bottom of the plant contains the volado leaves, these are used to help a cigar’s steady burn but will still contribute flavor as well..

Wrapper leaves come from tobacco plants that are grown under a tent of cheese cloth to prevent the sun from burning the plant and also to protect the plant from wind.. Wind will cause the leaves to thrash about and develop small rips and tears in the leaves which will disqualify them from making it to the final stage of rolling.  You need a perfect leave to wrap a cigar so the appearance is flawless.

One of the most exciting characteristics about last year’s release of the Cohiba Behike was the the blend that included the Medio Tiempo leaves that appear, rarely, at the tops of the tobacco plant.  This opened up a whole new line for Cohiba and with award winning results.

I would still need to write volumes to include all of the factors one must look at to fully understand what goes into a Cuban cigar but I thought I’d briefly mention some of the most basic points.