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A cigar is made of three parts: filler, binder and wrapper.
The Filler gives a cigar its essential flavor. There are three different types of leaf that are normally used for the filler.
Ligero leaves from the top of the plant are dark and full in flavor. They have to be matured for at least three years before they can be used in cigar making. Ligero tobacco is always placed in the middle of the cigar, because it burns slowly. If it is too near the wrapper, the cigar will burn unevenly.
Seco leaves, from the middle of the plant, are much lighter in color and flavor. They are usually used after maturing for around 18 months.
Volado leaves, from the bottom of the plant, have little or no flavor, but they have good burning qualities. They are matured for about nine months before use.
The Binder encloses the filler and gives the cigar its proper shape and size. Binders usually come from the bottom part of the plant, where the leaves are thicker and have more strength.
The Wrapper is the outermost leaf of a cigar. Because its appearance is especially important, quality of the wrapper is crucial in any cigar and generally, can account for up to 70 percent of the tobacco by value. A good wrapper should have flavor and steady-burning qualities. Smokers examine a cigar for appealing appearance, texture and aroma and this is where a good wrapper justifies its high cost.
Handmade vs Machine-made
The essential difference between handmade and machine-made cigars lies in the fact that, on the whole, most machine-made cigars aren’t made with long fillers (fillers which run the whole length of the cigar) but with short fillers, which make the drawing and burning quality (they burn faster and become hotter) significantly inferior. The quality of wrappers on machine-made cigars is also usually inferior to those used on the best handmade.
Handmade cigars are so much more expensive than machine-made quite simply because they take longer to make, are labor-intensive, and use much more expensively produced and matured leaves. The hand making process also leads to wastage.
The difference between cigar types
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