Think of this as the ‘birds-and-bees chat,’ but about a different kind of anatomy. Cigar anatomy. When breaking down the anatomy or parts of a cigar, you can think about it in two different ways:
- One references the components inside a cigar
- The other, different locations along the cigar
Perhaps the most important part of cigar anatomy is the wrapper leaf. What’s the wrapper leaf you might be asking?
It’s what you see when you look at your cigar, and its purpose is 100% what it sounds like, to hold together the inner-tobaccos of your stogie. However, not only does it act as a cloak for the rest of the tobacco, it provides a majority of the flavor.
Cigar wrappers come in a variety of styles and are often the highest-quality part of a cigar because Master Blenders prefer only the best tobacco for an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
If you hear cigar fans talking about maduros, connecticut shade, or habano leaves, they are referring to the many different types of wrapper leaves. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into cigar wrappers, check out our blog on types of cigar wrappers.
Next up on cigar anatomy, the cigar binder.
This is the tobacco that lies just underneath the wrapper but on the outside of the filler tobacco (we’ll get to filler in a sec.) A cigar’s binder really only has one role, to play “wrapper” to the mixture of tobacco on the very inside. If you were taking apart a 3-part Russian Doll, think of it as the middle one.
So, next time someone asks “what’s a cigar binder?” You can tell them it’s the tobacco that’s just inside the wrapper and its purpose is to hold together the many filler tobacco leaves on its interior.
And finally, filler tobacco.
The filler tobacco leaves make up the internal portion of your cigar. If we’re going back to the Russian Doll reference, it’s the smallest one, or even think of the Earth’s core.
Premium cigars use only long filler leaves which play a huuuge role in completing the flavor profile of your cigar, as well as dictating how strong your stogie will smoke.
Where the wrapper, binder and filler make up the main anatomy of a cigar and tell us a story about how cigars are made. This part of cigar anatomy is all about what is where on your cigar.
Let’s start where you puff. The head of a cigar.
The head of a cigar has two basic components:
- The cap
- And the neck
The cap is the closed end of the cigar that you clip off before you enjoy smoking. Some cigars even have multiple caps, and they’re built to make sure the internal components (the wrapper, binder, and filler) are kept in place.
For orientation purposes, know that the cap end of a cigar is the top, it will help in differentiating different parts later.
The neck of the cigar is the short portion at the top of your cigar that connects the cap to the body. Some people call the neck the shoulder because of its sloping nature. Tomato, tomato.
Moving down the cigar towards the end you light, the next section is called the body of the cigar.
Much like human anatomy, the body is the main portion of the cigar. These come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and will basically determine how long your cigar will take to smoke.
Just like the phrase head-to-toe, we’re now at the other end of the cigar, the part you light, aka the foot.
The foot of your cigar is the open end where you can see that beautiful tobacco within. For anyone just getting into cigars, it’s important to know the foot’s the foot because:
- Testing it before buying can help you pick out a great stogie
- Knowing how to properly toast the foot of your cigar can lead to a better light
Hopefully this guide helped drop a little knowledge on all the important pieces and parts of cigars. Got any questions or helpful tips on differentiating cigar anatomy? Let us know in the comments below!