The wrapper of a cigar tells you a lot about the cigar. A lot of cigar smokers can tell you what a cigar will taste like just by looking at the color of the wrapper. However, it is hard to generalize because there are many variations. Cigar fans often have their favorites. Here is some information on some of the popular choices
Connecticut wrappers: these are are grown in the shade from the Connecticut seed in the United States or they can grown in Ecuador. These seeds were grown under large sheets of cheesecloth in order to prevent them from getting exposed from too much light from the sun. This helps them get the mild flavor that is characteristic of this wrap. The flavor depends on how long these are aged. They can taste like cream, pepper, grass, cedar, coffee, and other flavors. The wrapper can also have an ammonia smell to them because the tobacco leaves have a lot of ammonia. As the leaves age, some of the ammonia scent goes away. These wrappers taste a bit drier than other dark wrappers because their sugar content is lower.
Criollo wrappers: This is one of the first type of tobacco leaves used in making cigars. This goes all the way back to the 15th century. “Criollo” means “native seed”. These wrappers are rather delicate because they can get diseased easily. Because of this, the wrappers you see are often hybrids, like Criollo 98. They have a peppery taste, with some hints of nuts, cocoa, cedar, and a little sweet.
Corojo wrappers: these leaves are native to the the Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba. However, in the 1970s, a lot of tobacco farmers left Cuba. Now you can find them grown in the Jamastran region in Honduras. These leaves are very vulnerable to mold and other leaf diseases. As a result, a type of hybrid was created. This tobacco have a strong, spicy taste with hints of earth, black pepper, cedar, cocoa and leather. They have an oily texture. The color is mostly reddish brown. They can also have a darker color. These have a full bodied flavor.
Maduro wrappers: “Maduro” is the Spanish word for “ripe” or “mature”. This tobacco leaves have a dark brown color, and they are mature leaves. After the tobacco leaves are picked, they are cured in a silo for about a month and a half. The color of the leaves turns to a rich brown. Sometimes they are aged for even longer, for years, so that the color gets even darker. The longer the leaves age, the sweeter they get because the natural sugar in the leaves come out. That is why these wrappers have a caramel taste. The Maduro wrappers are thicker than other types of wrappers because any leaves that are thinner will not be able to tolerate such a long aging process. It can take a long time to age them, but they cannot be hurried. Some manufacturers try to speed things up by artificially heating up or drying the leaves. However, the taste is not the same as leaves that were aged naturally, in the old traditional way. This aging process brings about a complex mix of flavors that can include coffee, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, fruits, and even an alcoholic flavor. The flavors depend on how long the leaves have been fermenting. Because the wrappers have that sweet undertone, the Maduro cigars are often smoked after dinner.
Cameroon wrappers: These are grown in Cameroon. The leaves are on the dry side and kind of delicate. The taste is rich and smooth, sometimes tasting like butter, pepper, toast and leather. These leaves are not fermented for very long because they are thin.
Habano wrappers: these are orginally grown in Cuba, but now, they are grown in other countries, like Nicaragua. These leaves have a darker color and a tasted like leather, cocoa, bread, coffee and cedar. The flavor is very strong. For people who are just starting out with cigars, the flavor may be too intense for them.
Sumatra wrappers: these are originally grown in Indonesia. Now, a lot of it is grown in Ecuador or Honduras. The taste is a bit sweet and mild, with a hint of cinnamon, earthy and flowery.
Oscuro wrappers: these are also referred to as double Maduro. These leaves are very dark and they are aged longer than the Maduros. This gives the leaves a very rich flavor that is a deep sweetness. The cigars wrapped in Oscuro have similar tastes as ones wrapped in Maduro leaves.
You can see that the different wrappers will give a different cigar smoking experience. These complex varieties are what attracts a lot of people to cigar smoking. It is like tasting fine wine. To cigar connoisseurs, it is like an art.