Aging - Completed cigars are placed in rooms and permitted to rest, during which time, the tobacco is given a chance to marry or blend. Cigars continue to age up to fifteen years.
Aficionado – Cigar smoker afflicted with delusions of grandeur.
A.M.S. - American Market Selection. A seldom-used term created by the major importer of Cuban cigars in the 1950s to designate claro-colored wrappers. (Also see English Market Selection.)
Amatista– A glass jar containing 50 cigars (occasionally 25), sealed to be sold “factory fresh.”
Air Curing - Tobacco leaves are hung in air vented covered barns and allowed to dry which enables the tobacco to concentrate, while dissipating any unwanted chemicals.
Amarillo - Yellow wrapper leaf grown in shade.
Aroma - The fragrance of a cigar when lit.
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 - After fermentation tobacco leaves are packed into a bundle and placed in burlap.
Band - A decorative and colorful strip of paper identifying the line and maker of the cigar. A ring of paper wrapped around the closed head of most cigars. Legend says that cigar bands were invented by Catherine the Great or by Spanish nobles to keep their gloves from being stained. Others credit this invention to a Dutch advertising and promotion genius named Gustave Bock, who stated that the band helped keep the cigar wrapper together. Cigar bands are often printed with the name of the brand, country of origin, and/or indication that the cigar is hand-rolled. They also often have colorful graphics, which have made them popular collectors’ items. In many folk tales, a cigar band served as a wedding band in impromptu ceremonies. For the record, it is equally appropriate to leave the band on while smoking a cigar or to remove it, as long as the cigar’s wrapper leaf is not torn when the band is removed.
Barrel – The main 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. Traditionally a short, pyramid-shaped cigar, 5 or 5 1/2 inches in length with a shorter, more rounded taper at the head and a ring gauge generally of 50 or less. Today, belicoso is frequently used to describe coronas or corona gordas with a tapered head.
Biddies - Small East Indian cigar.
Binder - A coarse and tough leaf used to hold filler in place.
Blend - The selection of tobacco that goes into a cigar. The mixture of different types of tobacco in a cigar, including up to five types of filler leaves, a binder leaf and an outer wrapper.
Bloom (Also called Plume)- As a cigar ages, sometimes the oils create a fine white powder. This can be wiped off and does not affect the cigar. A naturally occurring phenomenon in the cigar aging process, also called plume, caused by the oils that exude from the tobacco. It appears as a fine white powder and can be brushed off. Not to be confused with mold, which is bluish and stains the wrapper.
Blue Mold– Peronospara tabacina is a fast moving, airborne fungus that can ruin a tobacco field in just a few days. It flourishes in cool, cloudy weather with light rain and riddles tobacco leaves with small round blemishes.
Boite Nature– The cedar box in which many cigars are sold.
Book Style (also, Booking)– A rolling method by which the cigarmaker lays the filler leaves atop one another, then rolls them up like a scroll. Book style, or booking, is common in Honduras. The alternate style is based on the old Cuban method called entubar (see entry).
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. This is not the preferred method of cigar making.
BOTL – Brother of the Leaf. How cigar smokers refer to a fellow cigar smoker.
Bouquet - The smell, or “nose,” of the wrapper and open foot of the cigar before it has been lit. Badly stored cigars lose their bouquet.
Box Pressed - Cigars that are packed so tightly in their box, that they take on a square like appearance.
Boxes - The container used to package cigars. There are several traditional styles:
– cabinet selection refers to wood boxes with a sliding top, designed to hold 25 or 50 cigars.
– 8-9-8 refers to a round-sided box specifically designed to accommodate three rows of cigars– eight on top, nine in the middle, eight on the bottom.
– flat top, or 13-topper, is the flat rectangular box most popular today, with 13 cigars on top and 12 on the bottom. divided by a spacer.
Bullet Cutter– A cigar punch to open a cigar.
Bull’s-Eye Piercer– A device for opening the closed head of a cigar before smoking. It creates a circular opening like a target’s bull’s eye.
Bunch– Up to four different types of filler tobacco that are blended to create the body of the cigar. The bunch is held together by the binder.
Bundle– A packaging method, designed with economy in mind, that uses a cellophane overwrap. It usually contains 25 or 50 cigars, traditionally without bands. Bundles, oftentimes seconds of premium brands, are usually less expensive than boxed cigars.
Burros– The piles, or bulks, in which cigar tobacco is fermented. They can be as tall as a person and are carefully monitored. If the heat level inside them gets too high (over 110°F), the burro is taken apart to slow the fermentation.
Cabinet Selection– Cigars packed in a wooden box rather than the standard cardboard or paper-covered cigar boxes. These are preferable when buying cigars for aging.
Cabinet Box - An all Spanish Cedar plain cigar box with brass hinges to prevent rusting in the humidor.
Cameroon Wrapper - A dark red to dark brown wrapper.
Candela Wrapper - A light green wrapper that gets it color from heat curing before the fermentation process begins.
Cap - A small piece of tobacco wrapped and shaped to close the head of the cigar, keeping 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 kind of wood that is used to make most cigar boxes and humidors.
Chaveta (roller’s knife) - Or 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.
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. Sir Winston Churchill, who was famous for almost never being seen without a cigar.
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. Favored by some aficionados and scorned by others, these thin, three-inch cigars, popular in Europe, are generally machine-made, and many brands use homogenized wrappers or binders.
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.
Cohiba - The Caribbean 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.
Consistency - The ability of a cigar brand or line to provide the same high level of taste, construction and uniform of color.
Colorado - 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, a medium to almost dark brown wrapper leaf.
Connecticut Broadleaf - Originating in the Connecticut River Valley, this leaf is grown in full sunlight and produces a dense, dark brown color.
Connecticut Shade - Grown under large cheesecloth tents and known for its light brown color and smooth flawless appearance.
Corojo - A common cigar shape, straight-sided with a rounded end and open foot.
Corona - The top two leaves of a tobacco plant are referred to as the Corona also a classic cigar size.
Corona Extra - This cigar is thicker than the Corona with a 45 - 47 cigar ring size and 45 - 47 inches in length.
Culebra - "Snake" in Spanish, three slim cigars which have been twisted together but smoked separately.
Cutter - A device used to clip or puncture the cap of a cigar to prepare it for smoking.
Debudding - The removal of flowers which sprout from the top of tobacco plants. This allows the plant to grow higher quality and bigger leaves.
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.
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.
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.
English Market Selection– Abbreviated EMS, a term used to designate a natural color wrapper, not claro or lighter shades, nor maduro or darker shades. In the United Kingdom, an EMS sticker found on boxes of Cuban cigars refers to inventory that has been vetted by Hunters & Frankau, cigar distributors. (Also see American Market Selection.)
Entubar– A rolling method that originated in Cuba. Rather than booking (see entry above) the filler leaves, the roller folds each individual filler leaf back on itself, then bunches the leaves together. Proponents of this method say it creates superior air flow through the cigar, which results in an even draw and burn.
Escaparates– Cooling cabinets in which cigars are kept at the factory for a few weeks after they have been rolled.
Fabrica - Factory where cigars are rolled.
Fermentation - Tobacco leaves are moistened and allowed to use their own self-generated heat to remove many of the chemicals and impurities.
Figurado - An unusually shaped cigar that does not have straight sides.
Flag - Also referred to as cap or crown. Refer to "cap".
Filler Leaves– The individual tobacco leaves used in the body of the cigar. A fine cigar usually contains between two and five different types of filler tobacco.
Finish– A tasting term. It refers to the taste that lingers on your palate after a puff. Mild cigars do not have much finish, either in terms of length or complexity. But stronger, more full-bodied cigars have distinctive flavors that linger for a while.
Foot - The end of the cigar you light.
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.
Gorda– Spanish for “fat,” as in the corona gorda shape, a “fat” corona. The traditional size is 5 5/8 inches with a 46 ring gauge.
Gran Corona - A huge cigar. Averages 9 1/4" long with a 47 cigar ring size.
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.
Hand - A group of similar tobacco leaves tired on the bottom by their stems.
Havana or Habano - Made from Cuban tobacco and made in Cuba.
Havana– Capital of Cuba. The traditional center of manufacturing of Cuban cigars for export, and a term widely used to designate Cuban cigars. Also refers to the tobacco types grown from Cuban seed in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. Also known as Habana.
Half-wheel (media ruedas) – A bundle of 50 cigars. Cigar rollers usually use ribbon to tie the cigars they produce into half-wheels.
Head– The closed end of the cigar; the end you smoke.
Holder– Cigar holders are an interesting affectation and collectible, but true aficionados let nothing come between their lips and the head of a cigar they’re smoking.
Pre-Castro Cigar– A Cuban cigar made before Fidel Castro’s rise to power in January 1959.
Pre-embargo Cigar– A Cuban cigar made before President Kennedy enacted the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in 1962.
Head - The closed end of the cigar which is covered by a cap.
Holder - This device is placed on the head of the cigar.
Homogenized Tobacco (HTL) - Artificially manufactured tobacco produced by mixing water, powdered tobacco, cellulose and fibers.
Hot - A cigar which is "hot", has less filler than needed. Result being a fast, burn with bitter taste.
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.
Hygrometer - A device used to measure humidity.
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.
Ligero - These are the leaves from the top section of the tobacco plant. Exposure to the sun creates a stronger, robust flavor, producing an oily texture.
Long Filler - The length of the leaf runs the entire length of the cigar. This is the filler used in premium cigars.
Lonsdale - 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.
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.
Marblehead - A cigar with a rounded head.
Naked - Term used when a cigar isn't covered by a tube or cellophane.
Nub – To smoke to the very end where you can barely still hold it.
Oil– The mark of a well-humidified cigar. Even well-aged cigars secrete oil at 70 to 72 percent relative humidity, the level at which they should be stored.
Olor– A variety of Dominican cigar tobacco known for its big leaves; it is used as filler tobacco and especially as binder tobacco.
Oscuro– A black shade of wrapper, darker than maduro, most often Brazilian or Mexican in origin.
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.
Parejo - 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 the thumb and forefinger. It should feel firm, not hard as a rock, and not spongy.
Piloto Cubano– A popular variety of Cuban-seed tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic.
Plug - A blockage in a cigar which causes too tight a draw.
Plume - The appearance of a grayish or whitish dust on the on cigars that have been aging a fair period of time.
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.
Propylene Glycol (PG) – (1,2-Propanediol; methyl glycol; C3H8O2; molecular weight 76.09.)…. A hydroscopic, viscous liquid. Slightly acrid
taste. Miscible with water, acetone, chloroform. Soluble in ether. Will dissolve many essential oils, but is immiscible with fixed oils. It is a good
solvent for rosin. Under ordinary conditions propylene glycol is stable, but at high temps it tends to oxidize giving rise to products such as
propionaldehyde, lactic acid, pyruvic acid, and acetic acid. LD50 in rates is 30grams/kg. It is completely miscible with water and dissolves in
many essential oils. It is used as a solvent for oral and injectable drugs, and is also employed in cosmetics, lotions, and ointments, as well as in
the humidification of tobacco products.
Punch Cutter - This cutter has a blade in the shape of a full circle, with a hollow center. When properly done, this removes a plug from the center of the cap, while leaving the rest of the cap intact.
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.
Relative Humidity – Relative humidity (RH) may be defined as the amount of moisture in the atmosphere as compared with that of complete saturation at a given temperature. Water exposed to air gradually evaporates until it reaches a saturation point, i.e. 100% humidity. At 21 degrees centigrade (approx. 70deg F) and a normal atmospheric pressure, the amount of evaporated water is approximately 11 grams per cubic meter at a RH of 70%. Note: DO NOT confuse relative humidity with absolute moisture content!
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.
Robusto - A short and thick cigar which averages 5" inches long and a 50 ring gauge.
Shaded - Term used for the sorting of cigars by color prior to them being packaged.
Shade Grown - Wrapper leaves grown under cheesecloth tents.
Silver Leaf - The preferred place to enjoy a quality cigar, with the highest level of luxury, comfort and service.
Sizes - Cigars are classified by length and ring size (gauge).
Shoulder - Where the cigar cap meets the body wrapper.
Smoking Time– A 5-inch cigar with a 50 ring gauge, such as a robusto, should provide anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes of smoking pleasure. A double corona, a 7 1/2-inch cigar with a 50 ring gauge, may give over an hour’s worth of smoking time. A thinner cigar, such as a lonsdale, smokes in less time than a cigar with a 50 ring gauge.
Short Filler– Used mainly in machine-made cigars, it consists of chopped scraps of leaf. Short filler burns quicker and hotter than long filler.
Special Solution– A solution of 50 percent water, 50 percent propylene glycol. Added to your humidification device every three to six months, its presence will keep water from evaporating beyond 70 percent relative humidity.
Spill– A strip of cedar used to light a cigar when using a candle or a fluid lighter, both of which can alter the taste of the cigar.
Sugar– Sugars occur naturally in tobacco. Darker wrappers, such as maduros, contain more sugar, making them sweeter.
Sun-grown– Tobacco grown in direct sunlight, which creates a thicker leaf with thicker veins.
Tercio - Burlap wrapped bale of aged tobacco leaves, which protects it during shipment and continues to allow it to age.
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.
Tooth– The grain pattern characteristic of less smooth wrapper leaf, such as leaf from Cameroon.
Tubos - Cigars that are packed in individual tubes. These can be made from glass, plastic, metal or wood.
Tuck - The foot of the cigar.
Value Hunter– Someone who would rather see their dollar go up in smoke a little at a time.
V-Cut - A cutter which produces a cut in the form of a v.
Vega - Tobacco plantation.
Vein– A structural part of a leaf; prominent veins can be a defect in wrappers.
Vintage– When a vintage is used for a cigar, it usually refers to the year the tobacco was harvested, not the year the cigar was made.
Viso– A glossy wrapper leaf grown under cover.
Vitola– A factory term for a cigar shape. Robusto and corona are two examples of vitolas.
Vuelta Abajo - The most famous tobacco growing region in Cuba.
Wedge Cut – A V-shaped cut made in the closed end of a cigar
Wheel – A bundle of 100 cigars
Wrapper - A premium tobacco leaf used to wrap around the bunch and binder.