Cigar Glossary - Cigar Terms

Our Cigar Glossary is designed to give you a simple easy-to-understand explanation of many of today's cigar terms. From cigar ring size to Connecticut Shade Wrapper, we've got you covered! We have also provided multiple links throughout to direct you to other sections of Cigar Info Guide if you require more detailed information.

If you would like to know the meaning of a term we did not cover, please email us and we will respond promptly. Enjoy...

8-9-8 Packaging - Cigars packed in a box three layers deep, with eight on the top, nine in the middle and eight on the bottom.

cigar glossary cigar aging room
Aging - Completed cigars are placed in rooms, usually cedar lined, under humidified conditions. The cigars are permitted to rest, during which time the tobacco is given a chance to marry or blend. Cigars can continue to age in personal cigar humidors. If properly maintained, cigars can continue to age up to ten years.

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A.M.S. - American Market Selection is the name given to the light and mild Candela, Claro Claro and Jade wrapper which was very popular in the U.S. around the mid 1900's.

Air Curing - Freshly harvested tobacco leaves are hung in air vented covered barns and allowed to dry in the breeze. This allows the tobacco to concentrate, while dissipating any unwanted chemicals.

Amarillo - Yellow wrapper leaf grown in shade.

Aroma - The fragrance of a cigar when lit.

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Artificial Head - This is a piece of tobacco leaf cut separate from the main wrapper, inserted into a slit in the wrapper, and proceeds to finish the cap for the head of the cigar. This allows the cap to appear to be part of the same leaf.

Bales - When the fermentation stage is completed, the tobacco leaves are packed up into a bundle and place in burlap. This both serves as a way to safely transport the leaves as well as continuing to allow the leaves to age.

Band - Usually a decorative and colorful strip of paper which identifies the line and maker of the cigar.

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Barrel - Body or shaft of the cigar.

Belicoso - A cigar with a small rounded head that flairs out in the shape of a pyramid and can reach a gauge of up to 52.

Biddies - Small East Indian cigar.

Binder - A leaf which is coarse and tough in nature that is used to hold the filler in place. This is then covered by a the more attractive wrapper tobacco.

Blend - The selection of tobacco which goes into a cigar. This determines the character and balance of the cigar. Traditionally, up to four types of fillers leaves can be used.

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Bloom - As a cigar ages, sometimes the oils produced during the fermentation process creates a fine white powder. This can be wiped off and does not affect the cigar in the least. This is not mold, which can be identified by it's bluish green color.

Booking - The leaves of the bunch are folded in half while making the cigar. This can cause the cigar to burn unevenly and become too concentrated along the folds. Uneven burning can also occur. This is not the preferred method of cigar making.

Bouquet - This is the smell of the wrapper and open foot of the cigar before it has been lit. A properly stored cigar should retain it's bouquet.

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Box Pressed - Cigars that are back so tightly in their box, that they take on a squarish appearance.

Boxes - Usually holding 25 to 50 cigars, these boxes come in many shapes and sizes. Cigars can be sold in natural cedar boxes, basswood, or even cardboard boxes covered in decorative paper.

Buckeye - A small Mom and Pop cigar operation.

Bulks - Large piles of tobacco stored in tobacco barns to allow fermentation to take place.

Bunch - The filler leaves held together by the binder before adding the wrapper.

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Buncher - Some cigar factories employ individuals who are responsible for taking the filler and wrapping the binder around it. This task is often performed by less skilled workers or apprentices.

Bundle - Usually 25 or 50 cigars bound by silk ribbon or wrapped in plastic. This cuts down on expense and can be a good buy.

Burros - The Cuban term for the bulks of tobacco left in barns to ferment.

Butt - My nickname is "Butt Head", but in this case it's the small tied ends of a hand of tobacco.

Cabinet Box - An all Spanish Cedar plain cigar box with brass hinges to prevent rusting in the humidor.

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Cameroon Wrapper - A dark red to dark brown wrapper grown in Cameroon. This is a highly sought out wrapper. Due to high demand, Cameroon wrapper is now being grown throughout the world.

Candela Wrapper - Sometimes referred to as Double Claro, this light green wrapper gets it color from heat curing before the fermentation process begins. Not widely seen these days.

Cap - Also referred to as the crown or flag, a small piece of tobacco wrapped and shaped to close the head of the cigar. A well done cap should be intact below the point of a properly cut cigar. This keeps the cigar wrapper from unraveling.

Capa - Cuban term for wrapper.

Capote - Cuban term for binder.

Carotene - Aged cigars contain this natural occurring organic compound.

Casing - When workers moisten the aged tobacco to make it easier for the hand rollers to handle.

Cedar - The term "cedar" in cigar making is deceiving. The Spanish Cedar used in aging rooms and cigar humidors is actually from Central and South America from seven or so species of trees in the Mahogany family. It is not the cedar we use in hope chests and closets. The Spanish Cedar imparts a delicate woody flavor to your cigars and holds humidity nicely.

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Chavetta - Also referred to as a Tuck, A crescent shaped knife used by cigar rollers to trim and cut the leaves.

Cheroot - A small cigar, 6 inches or less in length with a cigar ring size of 30 or less. Average length would be in the neighborhood of 4 inches.

Churchill - A long straight cigar averaging 7 inches in length and a 48 ring size. Churchill cigars can vary in size from 6 3/4" - 7 3/4" in length and a 45 - 48 cigar ring size.

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Cigar Bar - An establishment that caters to and welcomes the cigar smoker. Fine cigars are available for purchase and smoking, along with fine adult beverages to enhance the experience. Creature comforts such as posh leather furniture and subdued lighting are in many of these establishments, as well as scheduled live jazz and blues performances.

Cigarillo - Also referred to as a Cheroot, but Cigarillo being the most common used today. Dimensions can vary from 4" - 6" and a cigar ring size of 25-30. Length most commonly is in the 4" range.

Claro - Also referred to as Natural, this wrapper is pale green to light brown. Claro means "clear" in Spanish.

Claro Claro - Very light wrapper.

Clear Havana - A 100% Havana cigar.

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Climate - The same tobacco plant grown in an area with even a slight difference in rain or temperature will make the tobacco taste different. Example: A Connecticut wrapper grown in the Connecticut River Valley of the U.S. will always taste different than any that are grown in Central or South America.

Cohiba - The Carribean Taino Indian word for cigar. Cohiba is the name of Cuba's most famous cigar brand. Originally this brand was made exclusively for Fidel Castro. The Cohiba cigar is also goes through 3 stages of fermentation as opposed to two.

Color - This refers to the shade of leaf used to wrap your cigar.

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Consistency - The ability of a cigar brand or line to provide the same high level of taste, construction and uniform of color with it's line. Well regarded premium cigars are noted for this.

Colorado - The sight of my second, but not final marriage ("flashbacks"). For the rest of you it is a light to medium brown wrapper with a reddish tinge.

Colorado Claro - A shade darker brown than the Colorado, with a yellowish-orange tint.

Colorado Maduro - Darker than the Colorado Claro, this medium to almost dark brown wrapper leaf produces a more full flavor than it's counterparts.

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Connecticut Broadleaf - Originating in the Connecticut River Valley of the United States, this leaf is grown in full sunlight. This produces a dense, dark brown color. The wrapper is used for maduro cigars.

cigar glossary connecticut shade tobacco

Connecticut Shade - Known for it's light brown color and smooth flawless appearance, this mild wrapper is considered by many to be some of the finest cigar wrapper leaf available. Originating in the Connecticut River Valley, U.S., it is grown under large cheesecloth tents.

Corojo - The most cigar size and shape available for cigars. Straight-sided with a rounded end and open foot.

Corona - The top two leaves of a tobacco plant are referred to as the Corona. More commonly, it is the classic cigar size, typically being 5 1/2" long with a 42 ring size. Corona sizes can vary from 5 1/4" - 6 1/4" long and a 40 - 45 cigar ring size.

Corona Extra - This cigar is thicker than the Corona with a 45 - 47 cigar ring size. Length is can be 45 -47 inches.

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Culebra - This means "snake" in Spanish. Usually three slim cigars which have been twisted together. These are meant to be smoked separately.

Curly Head - The twisted finish on the head of a cigar. This used to be done by rollers when they were making them to smoke themselves. It is now being done by some premium cigar manufacturers also. This method has is also referred to as "Pigtail" or "Fancy Tail".

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Cutter - A device used to clip or puncture the cap of a cigar to prepare it for smoking. Read our detailed cigar cutter section.

Cutting Board - The laminated hardwood table section of the bench that cigars are made on.

Debudding - The removal of flowers which sprout from the top of tobacco plants. This allows the plant to grow higher quality and bigger leaves.

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Diadema - A large cigar with a closed, tapered head usually around 8 inches long.

Double Binder - Two consecutive binder leaves wrapped over the filler to provide extra firmness and stability.

Double Claro - A very light cigar wrapper.

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Double Corona - A large cigar size, usually measuring between 6 3/4" - 7 3/4" long with a cigar ring size between 48 - 55.

Draw - The measure of air which flows through a lit cigar. Draw should be comfortable. Too easy and the cigar will overheat, causing bitter, concentrated tastes. Too firm, and the cigar will be more work than pleasure.

Dress Box - A cedar wood box which is decorated with labels and art. Also called a "Wrap Set".

Dry Cigars - Also referred to as "Dutch Cigars" which do not require humidification. Most are machine made. Popular in Europe.

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E.M.S. - English Market Selection. A rich brown wrapper with reddish tint. Named after the wrapper color that was preferred by British cigar smokers.

Fabrica - Factory where cigars are rolled.

Fancy Tail - Also referred to as "Curly Head" and "Pigtail". Refer above to Curly Head.

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Fermentation - Placed in large piles, tobacco leaves are moistened and allowed to use their own self-generated heat to remove many of the chemicals and impurities. Also referred to as bulking, curing, mulling or sweating.

Figurado - An unusually shaped cigar that does not have straight sides.

Flag - Also referred to as cap or crown. Refer to "cap".

Foot - The end of the cigar you light.

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Finished Head - The head of the cigar is finished with the cigar wrapper without having to use a separate piece for the cap.

Galera - The large room inside a cigar factory where cigars are rolled.

Gran Corona - A huge cigar. Averages 9 1/4" long with a 47 cigar ring size.

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Guayavera - Traditional four pocket shirt worn by cigar makers.

Guillotine - A single or double blade cigar cutter with the blades mounted in a sliding mechanism and a round hold in which to secure the cap for cutting..

Gum - A vegetable based adhesive used secure the wrapper leaf. It can also be used to attach the ends of the cigar band together.

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Habanos S.A. - The company which distributes Cuban cigars worldwide.

Hand - A group of similar tobacco leaves tired on the bottom by their stems. This is done when preparing them for bulk fermentation.

Handmade - A cigar which has entirely been bunched and rolled by hand without the help of any machinery. Read our detailed handmade cigar section.

Hand-rolled - Be careful..... this isn't misleading by accident! In most cases this means that the wrapper on the outside was put on by hand, but the rest may, and most likely was, machine made. Read our detailed hand-rolled cigar section.

Havana or Habano - A made from Cuban tobacco and made in Cuba.

Head - The part of my body I didn't use the first two times I married! Oops... let's get back to business. The closed end of the cigar which is covered by a cap, which you clip and proceed to wrap your lips around while lighting the opposite end (the foot).

Holder - This device is placed on the head of the cigar. Think of a wooden cigarillo tip. These can be much more though. Collectible can be made from ivory and gems, or the simple can just be plastic. They are available in different diameters to accommodate different gauges. Unusual to see one at all. A true aficionado prefers the tobacco to touch the lips.

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Homogenized Tobacco (HTL) - Artificially manufactured tobacco produced by mixing water, powdered tobacco, cellulose and fibers. Sounds yummy! This all combines to create a pulp, which is pressed into thin long sheets. These are fed into cigar making machines.

Hot - A cigar which is "hot", has less filler than needed. Result being a fast, awkward burn with bitter taste.

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Humidor - A box, container, or room designed to maintain a 65 to 75 percent level of humidity and temperature of 65 degrees to 75 degrees. 70 degrees and 70 percent is considered ideal. Read our detailed cigar humidor section.

Hygrometer - A device used to measure humidity. Digital ones are the most reliable and accurate. Read about digital hygrometers.

Lance or Piercer - For piercing a hole in the cap of a cigar.

Lector - A person who would read to the cigar rollers while they were working. This was meant to keep the day from being monotonous and also help in the education of the workers. This is a dying tradition, and some lectors have been replaced by radios.

Ligero - These are the leaves from the top section of the tobacco plant. Exposure to the sun creates a stronger, robust flavor, while producing an oily texture.

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Long Filler - The length of the leaf runs the entire length of the cigar. This is the filler used in premium cigars.

Lonsdale - A typically long cigar. Size varies from 6 1/4" - 7 1/4" in length and a 40-45 cigar ring gauge.

Machine-made - Cigars are made entirely by machine and are mostly made from short filler and tobacco scraps. The wrapper and binder used is either quite thick, so it can withstand the pull of the machinery or it's homogenized tobacco. Refer to homogenized tobacco.

Maduro - This shade of wrapper varies from a very dark brown to almost black. Longer exposure to the sun, longer fermentation, exposure to heat, or a combination of any or all three can contribute these deep colors.

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Marblehead - A cigar with a rounded head.

Marrying - Same as aging. Refer to aging.

Mold - 1. A greenish blue fungus which can damage your cigars if not properly stored. Caused from too high humidity and, or, temperature. 2. A form is used to "mold" the shape of the finished bunches. This comes in two parts which are firmly pressed together.

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Mulling - Refer to fermentation.

Naked - Term used when a cigar isn't covered by a tube or cellophane.

Nicotine - In it's most pure state, it is colorless and extremely poisonous. It smells like tobacco. Tobacco contains only a small amount of nicotine. The cigar leaf only contains about 2 percent nicotine.

Oil - A properly humidified cigar secretes oil.

Oscuro - A black shade wrapper.

Panatela - A long, narrow cigar size. Dimensions are 5 1/2" - 7" long with a 35 - 40 cigar ring size.

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Parejo - A - A straight-sided cigar with the same ring gauge from tip to tip.

Perfecto - A cigar with a closed cone shape head and foot, usually with a bulge in the middle.

Pinch Test - Lightly pinch the cigar between you thumb and forefinger. It should feel firm, but not hard as a rock. Also make sure it does not feel spongy.

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Pigtail - Refer to "curly head".

Plug - A blockage in a cigar which causes too tight a draw. The cigar is said to be "blocked".

Plume - The appearance of a grayish or whitish dust on the on cigars that have been aging a fair period of time. This is caused by the crystallization of tobacco oils. This does not adversely affect the cigar at all.

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Premium Cigar - A cigar that is handmade from high quality, pure long leaf filler and wrapper.

Priming - When the leaves are being taken off the tobacco plant.

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Punch Cutter - This cutter has a blade in the shape of a full circle, with a hollow center. When properly done, this removes a 1/4" across plug from the center of the cap, while leaving the rest of the cap intact. Read our cigar punch cutter section.

Puro - Describes a cigar whose tobacco is entirely from the same country. The Spanish word for "pure".

Pyramid - A cigar which goes from a narrow ring gauge at the head and expands to a wide foot.

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Ring Gauge - Unit of measurement for the diameter of a cigar. Each unit is 1/64th of an inch. If a cigar has a ring gauge of 32, it is 32/64th of an inch. If you divide 32 into 64 you will come up with a 1/2" diameter. Read our cigar ring size guide section.

Robusto - A short and thick cigar which averages 5" inches long and a 50 ring gauge. Dimensions can be 4" - 5 1/4" with a ring gauge of 47 - 55.

Rollers - The worker who rolls the cigar. Traditionally, the entire cigar is rolled by one person. However, some factories have their most experienced rollers apply the wrapper. Unusual shapes or sizes are also rolled by the most experienced.

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Sandwich Filler - Short leaf tobacco is rolled in long leaf outer filler leaves.

Scrap Filler - Tobacco cuttings used to manufacture inexpensive cigars.

Shaded - Term used for the sorting of cigars by color prior to them being packaged.

Shade Grown - Wrapper leaves grown under cheesecloth tents, such as Connecticut Shade.

Sizes - Cigars are classified by length and ring size (gauge).

Shoulder - Where the cigar cap meets the body wrapper.

Tapado - The cheesecloth tent under which shade grown wrapper is grown.

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Tercio - Burlap wrapped bale of aged tobacco leaves which protects it during shipment and continues to allow it to age.

Tobacconist - A retailer offering a wide array cigar brands and sizes and a strong working knowledge of cigars and cigar-related products. Cigars also need to be properly stored and cared for.

Torcedor - Master cigar roller.

Toro - A longer version of the Robusto. Measurements can be 5 1/2" - 6 1/2" long and a cigar ring size of 47 - 55.

Torpedo - A cigar with a wide foot that gradually tapers to a closed, pointed head.

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Tubos - Cigars that are packed in individual tubes. These can be made from glass, plastic, metal or wood.

Tuck - The foot of the cigar.

V-Cut - A cutter which produces a cut in the form of a v.

Vega - Tobacco plantation.

Vein - Present in a cigar leaf. Prominent veins are considered undesirable.

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Vuelta Abajo - The most famous tobacco growing region in Cuba. Some consider it to produce the choicest cigar tobacco in the world.

Wrapper - A premium tobacco leaf used to wrap around the bunch and binder. This finishes the cigar and gives it it's "look". A great wrapper has very few blemishes, if any. Read our detailed cigar wrapper section.

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