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  • Carolina Barriga

Cigar Industry Glossary

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

cigar-industry terms every aficionado should know.


cigar industry glossary

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A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V W


A


A (size) Among the largest standard cigar sizes, an “A” is traditionally 9.25 inches by a 47-ring gauge, although the dimensions can vary.


Accordion

A cigar-rolling method where the leaves are folded in a zig-zag shape just like the air instrument.


Active Humidification System

An electric or battery-powered device that expels and circulates humidity in a humidor. These are typically used in large humidors or cabinets.


Aging

The process of allowing the tobacco to rest under monitored conditions of light exposure and humidity.


Aging Room

The space in a cigar factory where rolled cigars are stored and allowed to rest for an extended period of time, allowing tobaccos to merge flavors.


Amarillo

A yellow cigar wrapper.


American Market Selection

A term once used to identify Candela (or green) wrapper leaves. Also referred to as AMS.


Ammonia

Colorless, highly irritating gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. Tobacco plants possess ammonia naturally. One of the purposes of fermentation is to get this ammonia off the tobacco leaves. When tobacco is not properly fermented, cigars can deliver a harsh, bitter taste derived from unleashed ammonia.


Anilla

A term used in Cuba for a cigar band.


Arapiraca

Tobacco grown in the northeastern coastal region of Brazil. Arapicara tobacco leaves are dark and oily. This tobacco can also be grown in Ecuador.


Aroma

The scent of a lit cigar. Also called a “bouquet.”


Ash

The product of a lit cigar. Burnt tobacco. It is also the action of removing the burnt tip of tobacco from the cigar.


B


Bale

A unit of storage for cigar tobacco. Bales range in weight and size but commonly they’re 100 pounds or more.


Band

Ornamental ring of paper around the top portion of a cigar that identifies the brand and in some cases other details like country of origin, the blend, or the collection name.


Banda

Banda refers to the binder, which is one of the main components of a cigar. The binder groups together the filler leaves.


Barber-Pole

A barber pole is a 2 colored-wrapped cigar. These cigars are rolled with 2 different color wrapper leaves which the cigar roller alternates, giving the appearance of a barber-pole pattern on the surface of the cigar.


Belicoso

A cigar shape, similar to a Torpedo, but shorter and with a more abrupt taper at the head.


Bethune

A recipe of herbs, wine, rum, or liqueurs used to infuse tobacco.


Bicho

Bicho means beetle in Spanish. The scientific name for a tobacco beetle is lasioderma serricorne. At just 2 to 3 millimeters in size, tobacco beetles can accomplish irreparable damage to cigars by leaving tiny, pin-sized holes in a cigar in the path of a trail.


Binder

One of the main parts of a hand-made cigar. The binder tobacco leaves hold together the filler leaves. Binders often start out as wrapper leaves but are classified with a lower grade due to cosmetic imperfections.


Bleeding

The process of releasing an unwanted pocket or bubble of air from the fuel tank on a butane lighter. Bleeding a lighter improves its performance and allows a full injection of fresh fuel to occupy the tank.


Blend

Blend refers to the mix of tobacco leaves that make a precise recipe that goes into a premium cigar. For most cigars, a blend consists of up to five leaves in the filler, one or two binder leaves, and the exterior wrapper leaf.


Blind Taste

The process of smoking cigars without knowing any information about them. Before a cigar blind test, the bands are removed leaving the smokers with only their senses. This allows the smoker to rate or qualify a cigar by the real qualities of a cigar.


Bloom

Small, white, and powdery dots that appear naturally on a cigar’s wrapper as they age. Bloom can simply be brushed off the surface of the cigar and is not harmful.


Blowout Bin

The blowout bin is the clearance section in a cigar shop, on and offline. Cigars are placed when they need to get out of the shop’s inventory for various reasons. These cigars are marked down to the lowest prices, making it very interesting for cigar bargain hunters.


Blue Mold Airborne fungus that attacks tobacco plants and that can ruin an entire tobacco field in days. Some hybrid tobacco varieties were created expressly to be less susceptible to blue mold. The scientific name for blue mold is Peronospara Tabacina.


Bofeton A layer of paper or film (typically featuring the cigar brand’s logo) that is placed over the cigars in a protective manner inside a box.


Boite Nature The formally styled cedar box in which many premium cigars are packaged. An authentic Boite Nature box consists of two hinges, a clasp, interlocking joints, and four lifted collars that form an inner lip and rise above the lower walls of the box. Many cigar boxes are made of cedar, but may not exhibit the full course of Boite Nature appointments.


Bonao An agricultural region in the Dominican Republic infamous for growing Candela wrappers.


Bonche The term in Spanish for “bunch”. The bonche is the combination of filler and binder leaves rolled together in a cylindrical shape.


Boncheros Spanish for “bunchers,” boncheros are the cigar rollers in a factory who specialize in assembling the binder and filler leaves (or a bunch) in a cigar.


Booking

A technique of cigar-making where the roller layers the filler leaves on top of one another, like the pages in a book, and then rolls them up in a scroll.


Bouquet

The bouquet refers to the qualities of a cigar we perceive with our olfactory sense. A bouquet is the aroma of a cigar, lit or unlit. It is also called a cigar’s room note.



Box

A form of traditional cigar packaging. Spanish cedar is the most common material, however, cigar boxes today come in less noble woods and materials like cardboard, tin, and plastic.


Box Aging

The term refers to aging cigars inside the box in which they are packaged. Cigars can be aged for many years and when aged in the original box, they can exhibit distinctively uniform qualities of taste and aroma.


Box Code

Box codes are predominantly used to identify the age of Cuban cigars according to a code found on the bottom of each box. Box codes are uncommon outside of Cuba.


Box Pressed

Box-pressed cigars are flat, somewhat squared-shaped as a result of being tightly packed into a box with a flat top. One box pressing technique is trunk pressing which refers to cigars that are pressed in the most extreme manner using wooden slats between the cigars. Trunk-pressed cigars have very sharp, squared-off edges.


Brooch

A clasp that fastens the top of a cigar box lid to the bottom.


Brother Of The Leaf

Also shortened to BOTL, Brother of the Leaf is a popular contemporary term used to identify a fellow cigar lover. #BOTL is one of the most used hashtags amongst the cigar community on social networks.


Buckeye Small cigar factories in the United States. The term originated from the widespread use (in domestic factories) of tobacco grown in Ohio, the Buckeye State prior to the Cuban revolution.


Bulk Large piles of tobacco assembled for fermentation. Bulks consist of tobacco leaves that have been arranged in bunches, called hands.


Bullet Cutter A type of punch cutter that opens the cap with a circular blade. Bullet cutters are available in a variety of ring gauge sizes and typically create a more constricted draw while keeping the cap of the cigar intact.


Bull’s Eye Piercer A type of punch cutter used to open the head or cap of a cigar with a circular blade reminiscent of the bull’s eye on a target.


Bunch Bunch refers to the combination of binder and filler leaves used in cigar.


Buncher A buncher is a worker at the cigar factory who specializes in assembling the binder and filler leaves of cigars. The task of a buncher is distinct from the work done by a cigar roller. In smaller factories, a single worker performs both the bunching and the rolling.


Bunching Machine Powered by hand, a bunching machine is constructed with a leather pad, a metal handle, and guides that aid in the assembly of the bunch. Also called Liebermans or Temscos, bunching machines are common in the Dominican Republic, but are rare in other Central American nations and are not utilized in Cuba.


Bundle Cellophane overwrap that contains a gro25 or 50 cigars, traditionally without bands. Bundles are usually less expensive than boxed cigars.


Burro

A burro is a large pile of tobacco assembled for fermentation following the curing process.


Butane

A clean-burning, odorless fuel used in cigar lighters, especially torch models. Butane is less likely to produce a residual aftertaste or negatively impact the flavor of a premium cigar making it the most used lighting fluid amongst cigar aficionados.


C


Cabinet Selection

A style of packaging cigars in quantities of 25 or 50, bound with a ribbon on the inside of the box. Cabinet Selection packaging allows for more air between the individual cigars which can facilitate aging.


Calfrisa

An industry state-of-the-art, sealed tobacco curing barn with a duct system that creates consistent and predictable temperatures and humidity. The calfrisa ensures a better tobacco curing result than using ventilators and traditional heating methods.


Cameroon

A nation in West Africa well-known for producing a sought-after wrapper varietal. Cameroon is a term also used to classify tobacco grown in the country’s neighboring Central African Republic.


Candela

The term “candela” refers to a green wrapper. produced by harvesting tobacco leaves before the plant has fully matured and dry them quickly to lock in the plant’s natural chlorophyll content. Candela wrappers are created by fire-curing tobacco after it’s been harvested and then re-humidifying the leaves..


Cantero

Seedbeds used to plant seedlings in trays inside greenhouses. These Canteros are planted as insurance against unpredictable damaging weather or other natural setbacks in the growing cycle.


Cap

We refer to the cap as the piece of tobacco that covers the head of the cigar and secures the wrapper leaf. There are different varieties of caps, like the Cuban-style, triple cap, or pigtail. The cap needs to be cut off from the cigar before lighting it.


Capa

The wrapper leaf on a cigar.


Capote Another term for the binder in a cigar. The binder, or capote, is one of the three main parts of the anatomy of a cigar. The binder holds the filler leaves together.


Carbon

Spanish for charcoal, carbon is used to raise the temperature in tobacco-curing barns when cold weather. Propane heaters are more common for this purpose today.


Carotene

A plant pigment found in may plant structures. As natural-occurring chlorophyll in tobacco breaks down, it is replaced by carotene.


Casa De Tabaco

Another name for a curing barn.


Case The process of moisturize tobacco leaves to be manageable. Casing can be accomplished through different techniques like dipping the tobacco directly in water, exposing the leaves to a continual mist, or storing the tobacco in rooms with a very high humidity level.



Cat’s Eye Cutter Another name for a V-cutter or a wedge cutter. Similar to a bullet cut, a cat’s eye cut delivers a more concentrated draw.


Cedar Type of wood known for its spicy aroma and natural insect-repelling capabilities. In the cigar industry, cedar is used to make most cigar boxes and humidors, Spanish cedar in particular. Spanish cedar positively reacts with moisture and facilitates the aging of cigars after they are packaged. Cedar is also a tasting note in many premium cigars.


Cedar Spill The cedar spill is a long, thin strip that cigar smokers traditionally light up with a match. Then, the burning cedar spill is used to light a cigar. This lighting method ensures zero impurities transfer to the cigar.


Cellophane

The thin, clear protective sleeves that wrap cigars individually. Cellophane provides a safeguard throughout the packaging and transport process of premium cigars and inhibits the loss of humidity. Cellophane is derived from natural sources such as wood, while plastic wraps are made from oil.


Chaveta

Trimming tool used by cigar rollers. The chaveta consists on a flat piece of steel with a curved end.


Chinchal

Small cigar factory or shop.


Chop Short-filler tobacco, or chopped-up filler used in inexpensive machine-made cigars and industrial cigarettes.


Churchill

Named after the British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, Churchill is a parejo cigar shape that measures in average 7 inches by a 47 ring gauge.


Cibao Valley Dominican Republic’s region where most of the country’s tobacco is farmed.


Cigar Association of America

America’s organization of importers, distributors, and manufacturers of cigars.


Cigar Bar

A public or private space where cigar smoking is permitted.


Cigar Boom

Beginning in the early 1990s and lasting the whole century, the cigar boom is the period in time where the premium cigar industry grew the most. Demand for premium cigars quadrupled from 100 million to over 400 million during this time.


Cigar Box Tool

A simple tool used to cut or “break” open cigar box seals. The tool is designed to remove the nail that seals a traditional flat-top box and to pound the nail back in if desired.


Cigar Case

Accessory designed to protect cigars during travel or transport. Cigar cases range in size and function.


Cigar Lounge

Room or area where cigar smoking is permitted. Cigar lounges are primarily found inside premium cigar retail shops, luxury hotels and country clubs.


Cigar Rights of America

An organization that promotes and protects the rights of premium cigar lovers.


Cigar-Maker

The owner of a cigar factory or brand. Cigar-maker can also refer to a cigar roller.


Cigarillo

Smaller machine-made cigars usually packaged in quantities of ten or twenty. Cigarillos are short, thin, and burn quickly. They are often made from dry-cured, short-filler tobaccos.


Cigarro Spanish for Cigar

Claro

A cigar wrapper leaf that is pale in color from a light, faded green hue to a light tan.


Clear Havana

A cigar manufactured in the United States prior to the Cuban Embargo. Clear Havanas were rolled with Cuban tobacco.


Closeout

A brand going out of business or a blend that has been discontinued and will no longer be made. When a company marks a cigar brand as a closeout, they often want to remove it from the market as quickly as possible.


Coffin

An individual box for a single very special cigar.


Cold Draw

Cold draw or cold taste is the gesture of smoking a cigar before lighting it to get a preview of its flavors.


Collars

Wooden slats that line the interior edges of a cigar box.


Color Sorting

The process to ensure each box contains cigars that are similar in color.


Colorado

Color classification of wrapper leaves. Colorado wrappers are brown or reddish-brown in color.


Complexity

Subjective way to observe the depth and breadth of the aromas that we perceive in the lit cigar.


Condega

Condega is one of the three key tobacco-growing regions in Nicaragua. It is known for producing tobaccos that are medium-bodied and rich. The other two regions are Esteli and Jalapa.


Connecticut Broadleaf

Tobacco type. Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers are grown in the Connecticut River Valley under direct sunlight and are almost always processed as Maduro wrappers.


Connecticut Habano A Cuban seed that is grown as a wrapper in the Connecticut River Valley. It is far less common than Connecticut Shade or Connecticut Broadleaf. It is known for its rich, leathery taste.


Connecticut River Valley

Tobacco-growing region in the United States of America.


Connecticut Shade Tobacco grown in the Connecticut River Valley used for wrapper leaves. Connecticut Shade is a specific type of wrapper grown under the shade os structures conceived over the plantations. Connecticut Shade tobacco is prized for its silky, golden blond color and creamy rich flavor.


Corojo Introduced in the 30’s, corojo is the most prominent variety of Cuban-seed tobacco grown today throughout South and Central America.


Corona

The Corona is one of the most common classic cigar sizes and measures typically 5 5/8 inches by a 42 ring gauge,


Corona Gorda

Corona Gorda is a cigar shape. The term means “fat” Corona. Corona Gordas are often crafted with a ring gauge over 50 and approximates traditional Toros in size.


Counterfeit Cigars (also called fake cigars)


Cover Leaf

Another name for the wrapper leaf on a cigar.



Cuban Seed

Tobaccos grown outside of Cuba with seed varietals that originated in Cuba.


Cuban Trade Embargo

Since the 1960s, the United States has imposed an embargo against Cuba. The embargo, known among Cubans as “el bloqueo” or “the blockade,” consists of economic sanctions against Cuba and restrictions on Cuban travel and commerce for all people and companies under US jurisdiction.


Cubierta

The outer lid or top of a cigar box.


Cuje In a curing barn, tobacco hangs from a wooden pole called a cuje. Shorter versions called cuje cortos measure roughly six feet, while longer ones, cuje largos, stretch to twelve feet.


Culebra

Spanish for “snake”, culebra is the term that refers to an unusual cigar shape consisting of three Panetelas that are braided together and meant to be smoked individually.


Curing

The process of gradually removing moisture from tobacco leaves after harvest. Curing takes place in special curing barns where heat is introduced and controlled through a variety of traditional and more contemporary techniques. Premium tobaccos are generally cured for around 45 days.


Curing Barns Structures where tobacco is stored after harvest and cured for roughly 45 days.


A tool used to clip off the cap on the head of a cigar before smoking it.The three most common cutters are a straight cutter or guillotine, a punch cutter or bullet, and a V-cutter also caled cat’s eye.



D


Desflorado Method of growing tobacco where the plant has been “deflowered.” By removing the flowers, seeds, and in some cases the upper portion of the plant, its nutrients are transferred directly to the leaves which makes them stronger and sweeter. The process is also referred to as “topping.”


Despalillo Spanish term for “destemming” tobacco. In order to roll tobacco leaves into cigars, the stems must be removed. The process is done by hand or by machine. For binder and wrapper leaves, the entire stem is removed, but for filler leaves, only the bottom two-thirds of the stem are stripped.


Destemming

The process of removing the stems from tobacco leaves. It is also called “stemming.” Because the stems on tobacco leaves are thick, they need to be stripped in order to roll the leaves into cigars. For binder and wrapper leaves, the entire stem is removed. For filler leaves, only the bottom two-thirds of the stem are stripped.


Diadema A cigar shape with a tapered head and a closed foot that is technically a Figurado, but with particular dimensions. A Diadema length is usually 8 inches long.


Dipping

The process of dipping the head of a cigar in a dark spirit like bourbon whiskey or rhum.


One of the primary producers of premium cigars in the world. Several prominent brands are made in the Dominican Republic, including Arturo Fuente, Ashton, Montecristo, Chateau Diadem, Rocky Patel just to mention a few..


Double Claro

Another term for Candela, a green-colored wrapper leaf known for its mild, grassy flavor. Double Claro or Candela wrappers are created by curing tobacco leaves with heat before they are fully mature, a process that locks in the plant’s natural chlorophyll content.


Double Corona

Cigar size that in average measures 7.5 inches with a ring gauge between 49 and 52.



Draw

The process of pulling air through the cigar. The draw on a cigar is a measure of its construction. The style of cut can also affect the draw by making it more concentrated or looser.


Draw Test Machine A quality control device that pulls air through a cigar to ensure it is not rolled too tight or too loose. Draw testing machines were introduced in the 90s and are now present throughout the premium cigar industry.


E


Ecuador South American country known for growing a number of wrapper leaves. The natural cloud cover and nutrient-rich volcanic soils produce an unrivaled wrapper leaf. The chief tobacco-growing region in Ecuador is just outside of Guayaquil in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.


Empilonar The process of assembling a pilón or bulk of tobacco for fermentation.


Encallado Shading tobacco crops from direct sunlight. Unlike traditional shade-growing where cheesecloths or nylon sheets are erected over the entire crop, encallado involves erecting shade barriers only on the sides of the tobaccos plants. The tobacco is protected from wind but is shaded from natural light only when the sun is lower in the sky.


English Market Selection

Another term for Natural wrappers, or those that are light in color – not Maduro and not Candela. The term is also abbreviated as EMS, but most simply refer to English Market Selection cigars as Natural today.


Ensarte

Strings used to bind the leaves together during the curing process are called sartas.


Entubar

Cigar rolling method where tobacco leaves are rolled into tube shapes.


Escaparates Cabinets at a cigar factory where freshly rolled cigars are cooled.


Escogida

Spanish for “chosen,” which is a reference to color sorting. Among the last steps in process of making cigars, special workers at the factory color sort the finished cigars to ensure every box exhibits a uniform color.


Esteli

The town in Nicaragua around which much of the nation’s cigar production is situated.



F


Face

The front of a cigar, or the side that shows the cigar’s band. Color sorters at a cigar factory determine which side of a cigar looks the most attractive and they arrange them face up in trays prior to the band going on.


Federal Excise Tax

Cigars imported into the U.S. are subject to federal excise taxes. Once a modest tax (under 5 cents per cigar), the passage of the State Children’s Health Care Initiative Program (SCHIP) in the spring of 2009 caused the federal excise tax to erupt to 40.26 cents per cigar. The cost of federal excise tax is paid by the consumer.


Fermentation Crucial step in cigar manufacturing. Following the harvest and curing, tobacco must undergo fermentation. This process can take several months. To ferment tobacco, large bulks, or pilones, of tobacco leaves are assembled. Natural pressure from the weight of the tobacco combines with heat to release ammonia and other impurities from the tobacco.


Figurado

A classification of cigar shapes, such as Torpedos, Belicosos, Pyramids, and Perfectos, which are not considered traditional Parejos like Robustos, Toros, Churchills, and Coronas.


Filete

Another word for the decorative trim on a cigar box.


Filler

Filler is a bundle of hand-folded tobacco leaves with airway vents down the center for smoke to travel up.


Finish The final tasting notes or the residual taste a cigar delivers to the palate. A cigar’s complexity and flavor profile culminate in its finish.

Firm

Adjective. A cigar can be considered firm if its draw is too tight or it is rolled too densely.


Flag Tip

Instead of a cap the extent of the wrapper leaf is present in a twisted-off manner called a flag tip. The more common name for a flag tip is a pigtail or a curly head.


Foil

Cigars can be wrapped in foil. Often it serves to draw consumers’ attention to a product on a store shelf, however, foil can also encapsulate a cigar’s natural flavor as it ages. In some cases, the entire cigar is wrapped, but it’s more common to see only a portion or half of the cigar wrapped in foil.


Foot

The foot is the end of the cigar you light.


Front mark

The name of a cigar’s exact size or shape is called the front mark because it is commonly displayed on the front of the box.


G


Glass Jar

An old form of cigar packaging allso called an Amatista jar. It consisted in heavy glass jars containing 25 or 50 cigars.


Glass Tubes

As aluminum tubes, glass tubes are used to pack cigars individually.


Gorda

Spanish for fat, Gorda or Gordo makes reference to thicker cigar shapes.


Gordito

Size of Cuban cigars measures 5.5 inches by a 50-ring gauge.


Gran Corona

A long cigar shape, typically 9.25 inches by a 47 ring gauge.


Gran Panetela

A long version of the Panetela shape, often longer than 7 inches with a 38-ring gauge.


Gum

A tasteless, odorless substance used to stick the head of the wrapper leaf around the bunch in a handmade cigar.


H


Habano

Another term for a Cuban cigar that makes reference to Cuba’s capital city “La Habana”.


Half Wheel

50 cigars in a bundle are a half wheel. They are traditionally tied with a ribbon.


Hand

Group of roughly 30 or 40 tobacco leaves tied together in the curing process. Several hands are assembled together in a bulk, or pilón, during fermentation.


Hand-Rolled

A hand-rolled cigar is a cigar made entirely by hand.


Head

The end of the cigar that goes in your mouth when smoking.


Holder

A cigar holder is an accessory designed to hold the cigar once its lighted. You can rest your cigar on a cigar holder if needing to do something with your hands etc.


Honduras

Central american Country and the fourth largest cigar-producing nation behind Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba.


Hot

When a cigar has been rolled too loosely or is under-filled burn hot.


Humidification Element The humidification element is the humidity source inside a humidor. Generally, this reservoir consists of a natural foam inside a plastic or metal container with vented slots for the humidity to escape. They are often replenished with distilled water or propylene glycol solution.


Humidor

A box or room especially designed to keep cigars in the perfect humidity level typically 65-70% RH (relative humidity).


Hybrids

When cigar experts talk about hybrids, the term makes reference to seeds that have been genetically modified to avoid commun diseases like blue mold and others.


Hygrometer

A device to measure the amount of water vapor in a confined space. These devices are always present in humidors and allow smokers to control the quality of the environment of their cigar collection.



I


Inhale Drawing the smoke into the lungs or diaphragm. The practice is common among cigarette smokers, but should never be attempted with cigars.


International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association

Formerly called the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America (RTDA), the IPCPR is a trade organization of retail tobacco dealers, or cigar shops, throughout the United States. During its annual trade show, premium cigar manufacturers release new brands and meet with their retailers.


ISOM

Another term for Cuba. It stands for the Island South of Miami.


Inches long

Cigars are measured in the imperial system. Their length is always found marked in inches.


Inter Tabac World's Largest Trade Fair for Tobacco Products and Smoking Accessories.


J


Jalapa

One of Nicaragua’s three key tobacco-growing regions. Tobacco grown in the Jalapa Valley often is used as a wrapper due to its rich and refined taste. The other two Nicaraguan tobacco-growing regions are Estelí and Condega.


Jamastran Valley

One of the key regions in Honduras for tobacco-growing.


L


Lance

A cigar piercer or a cutter that pierces the cap of the cigar with a sharp needle-like point.


Lancero

Cigar's size that is long and narrow and noted for the concentrated flavor it delivers. Traditionally Lanceros are crafted in dimensions of 7 to 7.5 inches with a 38-ring gauge.


Larguero

A term for the front side of a cigar box where the brand name, logo, and other visual or decorative elements appear.


Lathe

Also called a cuje, a lathe is the wooden pole from which freshly harvested tobacco leaves are hung in a curing barn.


Lector

Reader in Spanish, the lector is the person in a cigar factory who reads to the cigar rollers while they make cigars. Although an uncommon practice today, it still exists in Cuba. The Montecristo brand traces its name back to the Alexandre Dumas novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, as it was a favorite of Cuban cigar rollers entertained by lectors who read it to them.


Libre de Pie

Small leaves that grow at the base of the tobacco plant. Also called sand leaf, they are typically discarded.


Lieberman

Also known as a Temsco, a Lieberman is a machine used to bunch tobaccos in the manufacture of cigars. The hand-powered mechanism bunches tobacco with a leather strap, guides that create a uniform bunch, and a metal lever. The use of Liebermans is less common outside of the Dominican Republic and nonexistent in Cuba.


Ligero

Ligero leaves come from the uppermost portion of a tobacco plant. Because they receive the most sunlight, they are thicker, heartier leaves.


Lighter

A device for lighting cigars.


Lighter Fluid

Liquid fuel used in wick lighters. It is not recommended for lighting cigars because it is not refined and it can taint the flavor of a premium cigar. Wooden matches or butane lighters are preferred over lighters that take lighter fluid.


Long Filler

Whole leaf tobacco used in the manufacture of premium handmade cigars. Long-filler is called tripa in Spanish and is distinct from the chopped-filler or short-filler used in machine-made cigars.


Lonsdale

A cigar shape that measures 6 to 7 inches by a 42 to 44 ring gauge. A typical Lonsdale is longer than a Corona, but not as thin as a Panetela.


Loose

A cigar that is under-filled is loose, meaning too much air passes through it on the draw. A loose cigar will burn hot and too fast.



M


Machine Made

The term Machine-made makes reference to cigars are made in machines and not by hand.


Maduro

Spanish for “ripe”, maduro refers to a shade of wrapper leaf, typically very dark brown or nearly black in color. Maduro wrappers can be achieved through exposure to sunlight or an extended fermentation.


Mass-Market

Term used for cheap machine-made cigars.


Mata Fina

A prized tobacco wrapper leaf harvested in the Brazilian region of Recôncavo.


Media Rueda

Spanish for half wheel, media rueda is a bundle of 50 cigars. They are usually bound with a ribbon. 100 cigars make up a full wheel which is called rueda.


Medio Tiempo

Small leaves that grow at the top of a tobacco plant. Because they receive the most direct sunlight, they are prized by cigar-makers for their complex, intense flavor.


Mixed-Filler

Another term for Cuban sandwich cigars. Mixed-filler cigars are still handmade, but with a mixture of short-filler and long-filler tobaccos.


Mold

  1. Cigar bunches (binder and filler leaves) are placed in a mold or mould to obtain the cigar shape that is being made. Cigar molds are wooden or plastic and are comprised of a bottom half and a top half joined together under pressure.


  1. The term mold also refers to the blue or green fungus that can develop on cigars when they are stored at temperatures that are too high.


Mounted Head

A mounted head or triple cap is a cap with three seams. It was originally a Cuban style of making cigars but today some Nicaraguan factories produce cigars with mounted heads too.




N


Natural

A light-brown or golden-blond to medium-brown color of a cigar’s wrapper. Once commonly referred to as Colorado Claro, Natural is used much more frequently today.


Nicaragua

This central american country is one of the top 5 key tobacco-growing countries. The top Nicaraguan regions for tobacco are Esteli, Jalapa, and Condega.


Nicaragua Criollo Esteli

Tobacco type grown in the Esteli region of Nicaragua. Like other seeds, the first Nicaraguan Criollo was developed from seeds smuggled from Cuba.


Nicotiana Tabacum

Scientific name for tobacco, the plant is tropical in origin, is commonly grown throughout the world, and is often found in cultivation. It grows to heights between 1 and 2 meters.


Nosing

Exhaling cigar smoke out through your nose. Nosing produces added layers of complexity in your perception of the flavor and aroma of a premium cigar. It is also called retronasal olfaction.



O


Oil

Desirable wrapper leaves often exhibit an oily quality. It’s also a sign of adequate humidification. Darker wrappers, like Maduro and Oscuro leaves, are more prone to display an oily quality.


Olor

Olor is a tobacco varietal grown in the Dominican Republic and predominantly used as binder and filler. Olor is distinct for the large size of the leaves it produces.


Ometepe

The name of a volcanic island close to Lake Nicaragua. A small portion of tobacco is grown on the island where its fertile volcanic soils yield a distinctively sweet, earthy taste.


Oscuro

Spanish for dark, oscuro is the darkest color of wrapper leaf.



P


Pairing

The action of consuming two or more different things that go well together. Such is the case of cigars and different spirits like whiskeys, bourbons coffee or wine.


Panetela

A long and slender cigar shape. Panetelas are typically rolled in dimensions of 5 to 7 inches by a ring gauge of 34 to 38.

Parejo

A cigar with parallel or straight sides. Traditional Robustos, Churchills, Toros, and Coronas are considered Parejos.


Passive Humidification System

A humidification system that does not rely on batteries or electricity to function. Integra Boost or Boveda humidity packs, are passive humidification systems.


Pelletized

To coat tobacco seeds in neutral materials like clay with the goal of making them easier to handle.


Pelo D’Oro

Spanish for “hair of gold,” Pelo d’Oro is the name of tobacco prized for its rich, distinctive flavor. It is grown in Nicaragua and other regions but is not common due to its susceptibility to disease.


Perfecto

A cigar shape that tapers at both ends. Because there are many shapes and sizes of Perfectos, the term is occasionally confused with Figurado. All Perfectos are Figurados, but not all Figurados are Perfectos.


Petit Corona

A cigar size that measures approximately 4.5 to 5 inches by a 38 to 42 ring gauge. Petit Coronas are a smaller version of the traditional Corona shape.


Picadura

Spanish for chopped-up tobacco, another term for short-filler or scraps, primarily like those used in machine-made cigars.


Piercer

A piercer is a cigar cutter with a sharp needle-like point that penetrates the cap of a cigar to create airflow.


Pilón

During the fermentation process, tobacco leaves are arranged in pilónes, also called bulks, burros, or trojes.


Piloto Cubano

A famous varietal of Cuban-seed tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic.


Plug

A cigar is plugged when the draw is obstructed. Using a piercer to loosen the tobacco at one or both ends of a cigar can sometimes remedy the draw. In other cases, the cigar may have been rolled too tight and is unsmokable because it is plugged.

Plume

Another term for bloom.


Pre-Castro Cigar

Cuban cigars manufactured prior to Fidel Castro’s ascent to power in January 1959.


Pre-Embargo Cigar

Cuban cigars manufactured before the enactment of President Kennedy’s U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in 1962.


Press

Applying pressure to the molds in order to give the cigars their precise shapes. Pneumatic presses are used in larger factories. Industrial hydraulic presses are also used to compress the tobacco bales after fermentation is complete.


Primings

The vertical sections of a tobacco plant are called primings. The most common primings (beginning at the bottom of the plant and going up) are Volado, Seco, Viso, and Ligero.


Propylene Glycol

Also called 50/50, propylene glycol is a solution used to soak the humidification unit in a humidor. It is designed to stop releasing humidity when the environment inside a humidor reaches 70% RH (relative humidity).


Punch Cutter

A cigar cutter with a circular blade designed to remove a perfect small round perforation from the cap of a cigar.


Purging


  1. Blowing smoke from the head of a cigar out through the foot is called purging a cigar. The purpose of purging a cigar is to eliminate the buildup of unwanted flavors.

  2. Purging is also another term for bleeding a butane lighter or releasing the air pocket or bubble from inside of the fuel tank by pressing in on the fuel valve.


Puro

Spanish for “pure” Puro refers specifically to cigars that are wholly made with tobacco grown in one nation.


Pyramid

Also called a Torpedo, a Pyramid is a cigar shape that tapers sharply at the head with an open foot.



Q


Quisqueya

A structure used to cure tobacco in certain areas of the Dominican Republic. A quisqueya is a more rudimentary structure and provides less protection than a curing barn.



R



Retail Tobacco Dealers of America

The former name of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR), a trade organization that consists of premium tobacco retailers in the United States.


Ring Gauge

The diameter of a cigar is measured in ring gauge, or 64ths of an inch, the same as your finger would be measured for a wedding ring.


The most popular cigar shape in the world, Robustos measure from 4.75 inches to 5.75 inches in length with a 48 to a 52 ring gauge.


Roller

In a cigar factory the roller is the worker who rolls the cigar.


Rolling Gallery

The area of a cigar factory where the cigar rollers roll and craft the cigars by hand.


Rolling Method

The way a cigar is made. The three most common rolling methods are booking, accordion, and entubado.


Rolling Table

Often made of wood, a rolling table is the surface where cigars are rolled.


Rosado

Spanish for “pink” Rosado refers to Cuban-seed tobaccos that exhibit a reddish-brown color.




S


Salomon

A large, complex, and impressive cigar shape. A Salomon is a Diadema with bulbous, elongated proportions typically 7.25 inches with a 57-ring gauge (at its thickest point). The head of the cigar is tapered and the cigar swells to its thickest measurement towards the foot which is finished with a nipple at the tip.


San Andrés

A type of wrapper leaf named for the region in Mexico where it is grown. Sometimes called San Andrés Negro, the tobacco is stalk cut, often dark brown in color. It can exhibit either an oily or dyer texture. San Andrés wrappers appear on many celebrated cigars. It is prized for its rich, spicy, and sweet taste.


San Vincente

San Vincente is a tobacco hybrid grown in the Dominican Republic.


Sand Leaf

Also called libre de pie, sand leaf refers to the lowest leaves on a tobacco plant and they are typically discarded.


Santiago

The second largest city in the Dominican Republic and the area where most Dominican cigar production takes place.


Sarta

A string used to bind tobacco leaves together in a curing barn.


Scissors

Scissors are one type of cigar cutter. Special cigar-cutting scissors are made with blades that have a sloping edge designed to embrace the cap on a standard Parejo without cracking the wrapper when the cut is applied.


Seco

One of the three key groups of leaves on a tobacco plant. Seco is the thinnest and mildest leaf used in the filler of a cigar.


Seedbed

Tobacco seedlings are planted in seedbeds, also called canteros. Many cigar-makers now plant tobacco seedlings in trays kept inside greenhouses where they are protected from the elements and conditions can closely be monitored. As a measure of insurance against unpredictable or catastrophic weather, tobacco growers plant many more seedlings than what they actually need.


Seedling

The smallest version of a tobacco plant. The first blooms of a seed after roughly 60 days. A seedling is a few inches high.


Semi-Boite Nature

A plain cedar cigar box with a clasp on the front and two rear hinges.


Shade Grown

Wrapper leaves grown under a tent. The cloth, or tent, filters the sunlight which results in a wrapper that is thinner and more elastic and manageable than tobacco leaves exposed to direct sunlight.


Short-Filler

Also called chopped-filler, short-filler refers to chopped up tobacco scraps predominantly used in cheap machine-made cigars. Short-filler tobaccos burn hotter and faster than traditional long-fillers.


Shoulder

Part of a cigar’s anatomy where the body of the cigar curves to meet the cap.


Single

The unit of measure for a single cigar (as opposed to a box or bundle).


Slide Lid Box

Slide lid boxes or cabinet selection boxes typically contain 25 or 50 cigars bound by a ribbon. This method allows more air in between each cigar. Some cigar lovers believe slide-lid boxes benefit the aging process.


Small-Batch

A small-batch cigar is similar to a limited edition. A small batch collection or blend is harvested in very small quantities, often due to the rarity of the tobacco used.


Smoking Time

The duration of time a cigar will burn for. Each vitola has a different smoking time average.


Spanish Cedar

Tree in the mahogany family. It is harvested in tropical regions and is ideal for making cigar boxes and humidors because it reacts positively with moisture and can benefit the process of cigar aging.


Spill

A thin strip of Spanish cedar used to light a cigar in a traditional manner. The spill is lit with a lighter or matches. A burning spill can generate a sizeable flame and it will not impact the taste of a premium cigar with any residual impurities, as can be found in certain types of lighter fuel.


Stalk Cut

Tobacco harvesting method where the whole plant is cut at once, as opposed to select primings of a plant’s leaves being harvested in succession over a period of days.


Stemming

Another term for destemming, or removing the stems from a tobacco plant. The stems on a tobacco plant are very thick which complicates the manipulation of the leaf when rolling a cigar. The entire stem is removed for binder and wrapper leaves.


Stogie

A slang term for a cigar often used to indicate cheap cigars. The term derives from the drivers of Conestoga wagons in the 1700s and 1800s because they smoked, long thin cigars with a rougher appearance.


Suckers

Tobacco plants can produce unwanted shoots called suckers. Workers must remove these shoots from the plants or they will prevent tobacco of precious nutrients. Bigger, healthier, and more flavorful leaves grow as result.


Suggested Retail Price

Also called Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), it is the price a manufacturer suggests to distributors or retailers for their product depending on the target market and positioning of a collection of the brand.


Sun Grown

Tobacco exposed to direct sunlight as it grows is called Sun Grown, as opposed to Shade Grown tobacco which is grown under nylon or mesh covering. Sun Grown tobaccos exhibit thicker leaves with stronger veins. Sun Grown tobaccos are fuller in flavor and stronger than Shade Grown. All filler tobacco is Sun Grown.


T


Tabaquero

The term used for a tobacco grower in Cuba.


Tapaclavo

The sticker that conceals the nail in the lid on a box of cigars. The Tapacalvo wraps from the top of the box over the front edge.


Tapado

Spanish for “covered,” refers to the tents or tarps used to conceal shade-grown tobaccos from direct sunlight.


Temsco

Another name for a Lieberman, which is the hand-powered machine cigar rollers use to create tobacco bunches. Temscos are more common in cigar factories in the Dominican Republic.


Tercios

Tobacco bales wrapped in palm bark to age fermented tobacco.


Thirteen Toppers

Form of packaging cigars. Thirteen toppers are rectangular-shaped boxes with 12 cigars, plus a space holder, on the bottom row and 13 cigars on the top row. The box is usually sealed with a brass nail.


Tobacco Beetle

Highly destructive minuscule bug, that can wreak havoc in a single cigar or an entire humidor. Tobacco beetles hatch when the temperature in a humidor exceeds 72 degrees. They make tiny pin holes in a cigar’s wrapper leaf, often forming a trail. You can identify their presence when you find tiny, dusty crumbs of loose tobacco in the cellophane wrapper or your humidor.


Tobacco Seed

Tobacco seeds are the tiny grains of tobacco plants.Tobacco farmers will collect seeds from their most prized plants for future crops. Once they reach the seedling stage, a tobacco plant will mature in about 60 days.


Tooth

Oil pockets on a cigar’s wrapper leaf that display as tiny bumps. Cameroon wrappers are more prone to displaying tooth than other wrapper leaves.


Topping

The action of removing the flowers from the tobacco plants which are on the top. The process is also called desflorado. Tobacco plants redirect their nutrients to the remaining leaves, making them stronger.


Torcedor

Another term for the person that rolls cigars.


Torch Lighter

A lighter fueled by butane gas that produces a concentrated single double or triple flame. Torch lighters allow smokers to toast a cigar faster and to retouch unburnt sides of the stick easily.


An extremely popular cigar size measuring 6 to 6.5 inches by a 50 to 54 ring gauge.


Torpedo

Cigar shape with a sharply tapering closed head.


Totalamente A Mano

Spanish for “made totally by hand.” The phrase is displayed on cigar boxes and is preferred over “Hecho a Mano” or “made by hand” which can technically apply to cigars constructed with filler tobaccos bunched in a machine.


Transplanter

An agricultural tool towedd by tractors in tobacco plantations. The goal is to plant large numbers of seedlings in a short period of time.Transplanters are used mostly in the Connecticut River Valley.


Trim

Trim or filete are the ornamental elements that embellish the edges of cigar boxes.


Tripa

Spanish for gut, the tripa is the group of filler and binder or “the gut” of a cigar.


Triple Cap

Another term for a mounted head or a three-seam cap.


Trumpet

A cigar shape where its fattest point is the foot and it continually narrows toward the head.


Trunk-Pressed

Extreme method of pressing cigars into square shapes. Trunk-pressed shapes are achieved by placing wooden edges in between each cigar in a wooden cabinet and applying pressure.


Tube

Type of container for one single cigar. Tubes or tubos are convenient for smokers to take safely one cigar on a journey.


Tunneling

When the filler burns faster than the wrapper. A cigar can tunnel when the smoker lets too much time pass between draws. Rotating the cigar while smoking helps avoiding tunneling.



U


Underfilled

When cigars are rolled with too little tobacco in the bunch are underfilled. Underfilled cigars burn too fast and hot and don't taste right.




V


V-Cutter

Type of cigar cutter that carves a V-shape into the head of the cigar. A V-cutter is designed to create a draw that pulls smoke from the upper portion of the cigar and the lower portion of the cigar and concentrates each stream directly on your palate. Synonyms: wedge-cutter or a cat’s eye.


Vega

Synonym: tobacco plantation.


Vein

Tubular duct in the tobacco plants that delivers nutrients. Veins are crucial for the plant however the visual appearance of the vein is unwanted in wrapper leaves. Veins are stripped out from the wrapper and rolled faceto minimize cosmetic defaults.


Vertical Sampler

A cigar display or container that features all the available sizes of a single cigar blend.


Viso

Viso is one of the three main groups of leaves of a tobacco plant. Viso is below Ligero and above Seco.


Vista

When opening a cigar box, the inner portion of the lid is called the vista. On the Vista we often find printed information of the cigars in the box, the brand or simply the logo.


Vitola

Term for a cigar’s shape. Robusto, Toro or Belicoso are different Vitolas.


Volado

Volado is a priming of filler tobacco on the plant. It is located near the bottom under the Seco. Volado is stronger than Seco and milder than Ligero.



W


Wedge Cutter

Also called a V-cutter or cat’s eye, a wedge cutter carves a wedge, or V-shape, out of the head of a cigar. Wedge cutters create a draw that pulls smoke from the upper half of a cigar and the lower half of a cigar and blends each stream directly on the palate.


Wheel

A groupt of 100 cigars bound by a ribbon.


Wilting

After stalk-cut tobacco has been harvested, it is laid on the ground to wilt or dry under the sun.


Wooden Match

Some purists believe that the best way to light a cigar is with a wooden match, preferably a long cedar match which avoids the transfer of chemical smell and taste that can spoil the cigar’s nature.


Wrapper

Premium cigars are finished with a wrapper leaf. The wrapper is the highest quality and most pristine tobacco leaf in a premium cigar. Ideally, the wrapper leaf is free of any cosmetic imperfections, veins, or tears. The wrapper is also the most expensive leaf in a cigar.



Y


Yankee Hinge

Tobacco barns in the Connecticut River Valley are constructed with long boards called Yankee hinges, which are designed to swing open to increase the airflow.



#


8-9-8

A traditional way to pack 25 cigars inside a box with 8 cigars on the bottom row, 9 cigars in the middle row, and 8 cigars on the top row.






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