Written by James Payne

Monday, 02 February 2009

User Rating: / 4

tobacco faqstobacco terms and definitions

Article Index
1. Cigar Lingo
2. Inside the Binder
3. Measuring Up

cig  Are you new to the world of cigars? If so, this guide will teach you everything you need to know to understand the most basic – and complex – cigar terminology. We will start with some beginner language, explaining what a cigar is made of, and work our way through learning how to properly read a box. By the end of this article, you should feel comfortable strolling into your local Cigar Shop and understanding everything you see and hear. In addition, we will discuss how to properly light your cigar, hold it, and take that first, satisfying puff.


Cigar Anatomy 101

Cigars are deceptively complex creatures. Most beginners don’t give much thought to the process involved with the creation of a cigar. How complicated, after all, can it be? The answer to that is simple: as complicated as you want it to.

But before we jump into the complexities of cigars, there is one thing you will need to know, and that is: what are the different parts of a cigar.

A cigar has five parts. The first part is known as the cap. This is the end you stick in your mouth. In a future article, I get into how you “cut” this part of the cigar to ensure a proper draw (a draw is how you “puff” the cigar). For now, just concentrate on the name.

The foot of the cigar is the opposite end of the cap. It is where you light your cigar. There are certain techniques involved in lighting, that we will discuss momentarily.

Working our way from the outside towards the inside, we start with the wrapper. This is a tobacco leaf that is typically oily, shiny, and smooth. Some wrappers can also have lines in them, and even bumps, and come in over 50 colors (again, this is all covered in our series: Choosing the Cigar that is Right for You). Its main purpose is to make your cigar look nice, and comfortable to hold in your mouth and between your fingers. It also adds a modicum of taste to your smoke, though not quite as much as manufacturers and marketers would have you believe.

Beneath the wrapper is the ugly brother, the binder. This rough and tumble tobacco is half of a tobacco leaf, and its main purpose is to hold the cigar in one piece. It also has the added benefit of adding flavor to your cigar.


0 # James Payne 2009-01-28 09:09
This article was designed with the newbie cigar user in mind. In it, you will find some of the lingo you will hear in the cigar world. I also discuss what makes up the cigar. If you have any more to add, please feel free to leave a comment. And thanks again for reading!

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Tim Dennis 2009-02-06 12:17
There are a few items in this article that contradict what I've heard from other sources.

I would have naturally thought that the filler provided most of the flavor of a cigar, but I've always been told that it comes from the wrapper. This is why some cigar makers put out a cigar in both natural and maduro, or others.

There are definitely cigars outside of Cuba that use tobacco for the filler (and binder and wrapper) from the same country, good ol' Puros! The highly prized Opus X is one good example where all the tobaccos come from Dominican Republic. Also, bundled cigars can come banded as well - as evidenced by the pic in this article just below the text saying they don't.

I'm not an expert, and I could be wrong - but it would be the first time. j/k j/k.......

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # James Payne 2009-02-09 11:47
Hey Tim,

I've heard the wrapper argument too; I guess it depends on who you ask and your own experience. And you are right that there are countries outside of Cuba that use tobacco only from their own country; I think the point I was trying to make is that Cuba uses only their own, and most other countries tend to blend tobacco from other countries. As for the band, you are right...(as the picture embarrassingly shows). I guess I should have said mostly :-). Thanks for the comments. And we have something in common...It's the first time I've ever been wrong too! ;-)

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Thanks!Tim Dennis 2009-02-12 06:47
James, thanks for the response!

Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

Add comment

Security code


Sign Up to our


Member Cigar Reviews | Staff Cigar Reviews | Cigar Videos | One on One Interviews | Cigar News | Puffcast | Cigar Forums | Lifestyle | Partners | Contact
© 2015 by Caputo Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Service - Privacy Policy - Ad Blockers Suck! Why? Daily Digest

Thank you for your interest in the Daily Digest. Get notified of all new content on in our free Daily Digest. To subscribe, enter your email address below and click the subscribe button.

Email Address:

Email will come from "". Please whitelist this email address.

Cancel and Return to page