Strange as it may seem for leaves to have a wide breadth of coloration, tobacco leaves come in all sorts of different colors, as well as different sizes and shapes. The tobacco leaf used to wrap a cigar has a huge bearing on the cigar’s taste, so color is a great visual indicator; for example, new-world regions are known for their flavorful, eye-catching wrappers.
Tobacco leaf colors range from green (also known as blonde) all the way to black, and understanding the different flavors associated with the colors can help you better enjoy your cigars.
Also known as Double Claro or Clarisimo, wrappers of this type can range from a pale blonde all the way to vibrant green. Their lighter coloration is due to the fact that the tobacco leaves are harvested at a young age and then dried very quickly, locking in the chlorophyll.
The name “Candela” comes from the traditional drying method, which was candlelight. Though things have gotten more technologically advanced since then, Candela is still a classic new-world color.
Known alternatively as Connecticut Shade, these tobacco leaves are grown in the shade of cheesecloth tents and cultivated early; this protects the delicate leaves from the sun and other natural conditions.
When the time is right, Claro leaves are air-dried, resulting in a natural tan or golden colors; cigars wrapped in these leaves have a mild, aromatic cedar flavor.
The process for growing Colorado Claro leaves is rather simple: one simply cultivates them in direct sunlight and allows them to mature. Given that simplicity, perhaps it’s no wonder that these leaves are also known as Natural.
Wrappers created from Colorado Claro leaves are neither too dark nor too light thanks to their sturdy upbringing.
Ranging from medium-brown to dark reddish-brown, Colorado leaves are often left to mature fully in the shade for longer than their lighter-colored siblings. This extra time results in a strong aroma and a rich flavor, making these leaves a popular cigar wrapper choice.
As the name implies, these leaves are a happy medium between Colorado and Maduro. They are a dark brown color, and it’s commonly held that Colorado Maduro’s rich flavor is due to the fact that these leaves are less cured than Maduros.
Although Colorado Maduro used to be a popular cigar wrapper in Spain, these leaves have fallen out of popularity there in recent years.
Maduro means “mature” in Spanish, and this type of wrapper is far and away one of the most famous and popular ones available. Maduro leaves are cultivated from some of the highest on the plant, meaning they have been exposed to the most sunlight; it can take years of curing and fermentation to properly prepare Maduro wrappers.
The resulting wrapper is a very dark reddish-brown (in fact, it is nearly black); because the leaves are thicker and oilier, the taste is both sweeter and more robust.
You may know Oscuro as Double Maduro, or simply Black, due to the fact that it is the darkest wrapper available. Oscuro wrappers are not quite black, but they’re very close; this is because the leaves are left on the plant and left to ferment for the longest of any wrapper type. Naturally, this means that a great deal of work goes into curing Oscuro leaves, so they can be rather rare.
Oscuro is most popular in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Brazil. Cigars with these wrappers are full-bodied with a robust flavor.
With a better understanding of tobacco leaf colors, you can feel confident purchasing leaves of your own. Total Leaf Supply is here to help you through the process—shop our selection to find the tobacco leaf you’ve been searching for today.