• Merchant Cigars

Anatomy of a Cigar


How a Cigar is Made



Learning some cigar anatomy and what makes up a cigar will give you a better understanding and appreciation of cigars. In addition, knowing what makes up a cigar will make your smoking experience more enjoyable.

You'll find it very beneficial in becoming familiar with its structure and construction to see what goes in the process of making these "work of arts."


The Structure of a Cigar


cigar anatomy1Cap
A small, round piece of wrapper leaf attached to the head of a cigar. The purpose of the cap is to secure the wrapper.

Head
The closed end of a cigar. The head of a handmade cigar must be clipped or cut about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch down (about 2-3 millimeters) before the foot is lit.

Cigar Band
The label that sits around the head of a cigar.

Foot
The end of the cigar that you light. The foot of a cigar is usually pre-cut.


What Makes up a Cigar

The Cigar Filler

Filler
The filler is the heart of the cigar and is a combination of leaves from the top, middle and bottom of the tobacco plant that are normally used for the filler. The filler gives the cigar most of its characteristic flavor and strength and makes up most of the volume of the cigar.

The Construction of the Filler
The three different types of filler are carefully folded or bunched together. If you look down the end of a premium cigar, you should be able to see the way the filler is folded.

The 3 types of Filler
The filler is typically constructed with the strong ligero leaf in the center, the lighter seco leaf around the ligero, and the volado surrounding both the ligero and seco.
 
anatomy of a cigar

The Cigar Construction


structure of a cigar

Filler
As stated above, the filler is the heart of the cigar. It gives it most of its characteristic flavor and strength. The filler makes up most of the volume of the cigar, and is comprised of at least two and usually no more than five different tobaccos, and are rolled together to form the "bunch." The blend of these filler tobaccos provides the other main flavor component of cigars. The mix of different fillers from different countries or even regions of a country, and the proportions used in the filler give different cigars their uniqueness. 

Binder
The binder is a piece of tobacco leaf that is wrapped around the bundle of filler tobacco and holds the filler of the cigar together. The binder typically complements the filler's strength and flavor, but does not add much in terms of taste. The Binder leaves are usually thicker, tougher leaves than those used for the wrapper. Chosen for its durability, the binder is normally a coarse leaf that is often found on the upper part of the tobacco plant. 

Wrapper
The wrapper is the outermost leaf of the cigar and is a single tobacco leaf that is wrapped around the filler and binder of a cigar. A cigar's wrapper should be perfect: no wrinkles, spots, veins or tears should be evident. Depending on the type of tobacco used for the wrapper, it can provide the majority of the flavor for a cigar, and it is usually the most expensive component of the cigar.


Cap


structure of a cigar cap

The cap is a small, round piece of wrapper leaf attached to the head of a cigar. The purpose of the cap is to secure the wrapper. The cap is the portion you must cut before smoking.

After learning about the anatomy of a cigar, read the article on sizes of cigars or click on one of the links below for other related pages.