Cigar Lingo
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


Inside the binder is the good stuff. Responsible for 98% of the flavor of your cigar, the filler is cut up pieces of tobacco. In Cuba, this filler is one type of tobacco. Outside of Cuba, this tobacco is comprised of many varieties of tobacco, all blended together to create a signature taste and experience. This tobacco comes from many countries, and many different processes.

There are two types of filler. These are: long and short. Both are a clue as to how the cigar was made. Short filler means the cigar contains cut up tobacco, indicating that a machine had a hand in its making. It does not always mean the cigar was entirely made by machine; only that a machine had a hand in it. Long filler means that there are long, uncut lengths of tobacco inside your cigar. This denotes that the cigar was indeed crafted by hand, and that the cigar is of the premium variety.

Moving back to the outside of the cigar, we find the brand. This is located around the head of the cigar, near the cap. It acts as the manufacturers logo, letting you know who made the cigar/what brand it is. Not all cigars have a brand on them. Two types, bundles and seconds, do not.

Let me rephrase that: not all seconds have a brand. A second is a rejected cigar that did not meet the manufacturer’s rigid standards. The reason a cigar can be rejected has to do with a variety of factors, including blemishes on the cigar, bad rolling, color, firmness, and more.

A bundle is a group of around 25 (sometimes less) cigars that were never intended to be sold as a brand, or that were intended to be offered at a discounted price.

The advantages to bundled and seconds is a matter of price, as you can pick them up for a fraction of the price of a branded cigar. However, the majority of the time you will notice a difference in your overall smoking experience. But what the hell. Sometimes you just want a quick smoke, or perhaps you are traveling and won’t have time to enjoy a proper cigar. In these situations, you may find a non brand bearing cigar is right for you.



Earlier, when we spoke of fillers, we talked about handmade and machine-made cigars. There can be (and often is) a bit of snobbery when it comes to whether a cigar was made by machine or hand. Cigar making is an artisan skill, and great pride goes into their creation. Just as eating a frozen dinner may taste good, having one prepared from scratch is somehow always better. The same is true of cigars.

Another consideration is that hand-made cigars are always labeled as premium. This means that the overall quality is generally better than a machine made one. It also indicates that every cigar in the box should taste roughly the same. Consistency and reliability are good reasons to go with handmade cigars.

Note that not every single handmade cigar or handmade brand is going to be good to you. But overall, handmade cigars should always be better than those made by the cold, unfeeling hands of a machine!


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!

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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.......

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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! ;-)

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0 # Thanks!Tim Dennis 2009-02-12 06:47
James, thanks for the response!

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