Glossary of Cigar Terms
Band – The ring of paper with the name of the cigar brand, wrapped near the closed head of the cigar and usually held on with a vegetable based glue.
Binder – The portion of a tobacco leaf that is rolled around the filler to hold it together.
Blend – A mixture of different types of cigar leaf tobacco, including up to four types of filler leaves, a binder and an outer wrapper.
Bloom – A fine white powder that forms on the wrapper of the cigar caused by the oils that exude from the tobacco. It can be gently brushed off with a small camel hairbrush, though there is no need to do this. Bloom indicates the cigar is alive, maturing as it should inside a well-maintained humidor. Bloom should not be confused with mold. Mold is a bluish-green and stains the wrapper. Mold usually indicates a humidor is too warm or has excessive levels of humidity.
Blue mold – Blue mold is a damaging fungus that forms on the tobacco leaf and can ruin the crop. Blue mold is a big problem when there’s a lot of dampness or rain.
Bunch – The mix of filler and binder leaves before they are rolled into a wrapper.
Bundle – A method of packaging cigars using cellophane as opposed to a box. A bundle usually contains from 25 to 50 cigars and are less expensive than boxed cigars. Bundled cigars usually contain the seconds from premium brands.
Cap – A circular piece of wrapper leaf cigar tobacco that is placed at the head of the cigar to secure the wrapper. Cuban cigar caps have a distinctive three to four-layer circular look that distinguishes them from cheaper counterfeit look-a-likes.
Cutter – An instrument with a razor sharp blade used to remove the cap or flag from both machine made and hand made cigars.
Draw – The amount of air that gets pulled through a lighted cigar. It can be too easy (hot) or too tight (plugged).
Filler – The leaves of tobacco at the core of the cigar that provide a significant portion of its taste.
Flag – An alternative to a cap that involves shaping the wrapper leaf at the head of the cigar so that it secures the wrapper in place. Sometimes a flag can be tied off in a pigtail or curly head.
Foot – The open end of the cigar you light.
Hand-rolled – A cigar made entirely by hand, usually constructed with a high quality wrapper and long filler and binder as opposed to cut filler used in machine made and cigar seconds.
Head – the closed end of the cigar, or the end you cut and smoke.
Humidor – An entire room, or a box, that’s designed to preserve and promote the proper storing of fragile cigars. An optimum humidity and temperature level in a humidor is 70/70, or 70 percent humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
Ligero – One of the three basic types of filler tobacco. The name means “light” in Spanish.
Long filler – A term used to designate filler tobacco that runs the length of the body of the cigar, as opposed chopped up pieces know as “cut-filler”.
Machine made – A term that refers to cigars made entirely by machine and less expensive cigar tobacco.
Mold – The wooden form used by cigar rollers to give shape to a finished bunch of cigar tobacco.
Ring gauge – A standard industry measurement for the diameter of a cigar in 64ths of an inch. A 50-ring gauge cigar is 50/64ths of an inch thick.
Seco – One of three basic types of filler tobacco. The name means “dry” in Spanish.
Shade grown – Prime tobacco leaf grown under cheesecloth tenting called a “tapado” to produce a thin, elastic tobacco leaf that is most often used in premium cigars.