Cigar Glossary

Cigar Glossary 2018-06-20T17:40:10+00:00

Welcome to Bespoke Unit’s Cigar Glossary.

Below you will find more than 100+ cigar terms including industry lingo and technical terminology, as well as in-depth cigar resources for further reading.

How To Use The Cigar Glossary

Find A Term: Click on any letter in the “Alphabet Key” below to jump to a list of cigar terms that begin with that particular letter.

Learn A New Term: You may come across a new word or phrase while reading a definition. Click on any word or phrase that is linked for a full definition.

Explore Cigar Topics: Many terms include a “Learn More” section after the definition with a link to an in-depth resource or guide on that topic.

Different Cigar Brands & Bands

A

Accordion

A more complex technique of rolling cigars by folding the leaves like an accordion known also as the Entubar method in Cuba.

Ageing Room

A specific location in a cigar factory where rolled cigars are aged properly.

Amatista

Rarely seen today, amatistas are sealed glass jars that contain 25 to 50 cigars.

American Market Selection

Originally an importer of Cuban cigars until the embargo, AMS is often used as a synonym for Candela or Double Claro cigar wrappers.

Ammonia

A byproduct from tobacco fermentation. In large quantities the chemical is undesirable as it taints the flavour with an overwhelming unpleasant and bitter taste.

Aroma

A term often used to describe the specific smells or even tastes in a cigar.

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B

Bale

An unstandardised unit of measurement for fermented tobacco.

Band

A paper ring that wraps around the cigar. They often feature the brand and are largely decorative. However, it has been suggested that they were introduced to hold the cigar together or even to prevent nicotine stains when holding the cigar.

Learn More: Parts Of A Cigar [Diagram]

Banda

Spanish for “Binder”.

Belicoso

A specific Figurado vitola with a short taper.

Binder

A tough and elastic tobacco leaf that holds the filler tobacco in place.

Learn More: Parts Of A Cigar [Binder]

Blending

The process of mixing various types of tobacco leaves in order to create a distinctive taste.

Bloom

Easily mistaken for mould, bloom appears as a white powder on the surface of a cigar. This desirable trait is caused by tobacco oils crystallising on the surface of a cigar during a long ageing process.

Booking

A method of rolling cigars where the leaves are laid one on top of another.

Bouquet

The odor produced by a collection of aromas.

Box Pressed Cigars

These are cigars that are tightly packed into a box, which causes them to develop a square shape.

Brother Of The Leaf (BOTL)

Internet slang for a cigar enthusiast often employed in forums and social networks.

Bundle

An alternative to wooden boxes where cigars are distributed in cellophane wrapping in order to reduce costs.

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C

Cameroon

A type of tobacco grown in West Africa with a renowned dark colour and toothy flavour.

Candela

A green-coloured cigar wrapper produced by quick fermentation and heat-curing.

Learn More: Cigar Wrappers [Candela]

Canoeing

A faulty cigar where one side burns faster than the other. The resulting shape resembles a canoe.

Cap

A small piece of wrapper leaf stuck over the cigar’s head to secure it, which is clipped before smoking.

Capote

Spanish for Binder sometimes referred to as the Capa.

Cedar

An aromatic wood from Spain or Asia often used for making and lining cigar boxes due to its ability to absorb moisture.

Cedar Spill

A strip of cedar that is formally used for lighting a cigar.

Cervantes

See Lonsdale.

Cheesecloth

Used to cover fields of tobacco in order to produce shade-grown wrapper leaf such as Connecticut.

Cheroot

A cheaply-made cigar.

Churchill

A cigar vitola that is around 7 inches long named after the famous British Prime Minister.

Learn More: Cigar Shapes & Sizes [Churchill]

Cigarillo

A short and thin machine-made cigar.

Claro

A particularly pale cigar wrapper often grown in the shade.

Learn More: Cigar Wrapper Colours [Claro]

Coffin

A small wooden box made to carry a single cigar.

Colorado

A medium-brown coloured cigar, which is among the most common.

Learn More: Cigar Wrapper Colours [Colorado]

Connecticut

The Connecticut River Valley is a tobacco growing region in Northeastern USA famed for its shade-grown broadleaf and pale, aromatic wrappers.

Corojo

A Cuban seed mostly made famous by the Camacho brand.

Corona

The most classic cigar vitola that is just over 5 inches long.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Corona]

Corona Gorda

See Toro.

Criollo

A native Cuban seed that is often shade-grown to produce light and aromatic wrappers.

Culebra

Three Panatela cigars braided together, which is named after the Spanish word for “Snake”.

Learn More: Cigar Shapes [Culebra]

Curing

A process that takes place directly after cultivation where leaves are hung in a barn to remove moisture before fermentation. Depending on the time allocated, the leaves will change colour from greens and yellow to darker hues of brown.

Cutter

A tool for removing a cigar cap.

Learn More: What Should You Use To Cut A Cigar?

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D

Diadema(s)

A very large Perfecto-shaped type of Figurado cigar.

Learn More: Cigar Shapes [Diadema]

Double Claro

See Candela.

Double Corona

A very large cigar vitola also known as the Prominente in Cuba. Favoured by Winston Churchill, they are larger than Coronas but not twice as much.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Double Corona]

Draw

The process of sucking smoke through a lit cigar. The draw can vary in handmade cigars and can risk being too tight or too loose, which affects the burning temperature.

Dry Draw

A process where the air is sucked through an unlit cigar after cutting in order to taste its aromas.

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E

English Market Selection

A medium-brown coloured cigar also known as the Colorado Claro. The term EMS is often employed when the cigar inventory had been vetted by British distributors, Hunters & Frankau.

Learn More: Cigar Wrapper Colours [Colorado Claro]

F

Fermentation

After curing, tobacco is moistened and left under pressure and heat. This process removes ammonia from tobacco and causes chemical changes that reveal its flavours and aromas.

Figurado

Any cigar shape or vitola that isn’t a straight Parejo such as a Torpedo or Perfecto.

Filler

The tobacco leaves inside a cigar that produces the smoke and majority of the cigar’s flavours.

Flag Leaf

Wrapper leaf that is used for capping cigars. A small piece of flag leaf should be kept on a cigar when cutting to prevent it from unraveling during the smoke.

Foot

The lighting end of a cigar.

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G

Gordo

Also known as the Double Toro, Gordos are large and thick cigars whose name means “Fat” in Spanish.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Gordo]

Gordito

Diminutive of “Gordo”, Gorditos are short and thick cigars with a 60 ring gauge.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Gordito]

Gran Corona

One of the largest cigar sizes also known as the “Presidente” in Cuba. They come in over a whopping 9 inches with around a 47 ring gauge.

Guillotine

A flat-bladed cigar cutter with a hole for inserting the cap. It’s the most common cutter style and can come with either one or two blades.

Learn More: Types Of Cigar Cutters [Guillotine]

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H

Habano

A term used to signify a cigar made solely from Cuban tobacco.

Habanos S.A.

The Cuban state-owned distributor of their native cigars.

Head

The end of the cigar that’s put in the mouth. It is often capped and requires clipping before doing so.

Learn More: Parts Of A Cigar [Diagram]

Hecho A Mano

Spanish for “made by hand” often labelled on hand-rolled cigars.

Homogenised Tobacco

Scraps of tobacco that have been bound together into a sheet using cellulose.

Honduras

The Republic of Honduras is among the leading so-called “New World” cigar-growing nations. It shares its borders with Nicaragua, which produces comparable quality cigars.

Humidor

A container or entire room dedicated to preserving cigars in ideal conditions.

Hygrometer

A device that detects the level of humidity, which is important when storing cigars.

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L

La Casa del Habano

A cigar store that is part-owned by Habanos S.A. and an officially-recognised producer.

Lance

A type of cigar cutter, which pierces the cap rather than cutting a hole.

Lancero

A cigar size that is similar to a Panatela but somewhat longer.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Lancero]

Lector

Someone who would read to the other cigar rollers in the factory. Although a dying practice, it can still be found in some locations.

Ligero

The strongest basic priming from a tobacco plant, which is found at the highest point.

Long Filler

Filler tobacco made from whole leaves or larger pieces that run through its entire length. The presence of long filler often suggests that the cigar was handmade.

Lonsdale

Also known as the Cervantes in Cuba, the Lonsdale was named after an English lord. It is slightly longer and thicker than a Panatela.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Lonsdale]

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M

Machine-Made

When a cigar is referred to as “machine-made” it means that it was rolled using a device rather than by hand.

Maduro

One of the most famous wrapper hues that is obtained by a long fermentation and ageing process to produce a very dark and flavoursome leaf.

Medio Tiempo

The smallest and most potent leaves found at the top of the tobacco plant’s Ligero.

Learn More: Parts Of A Tobacco Plant [Diagram]

Mould

When a cigar is stored in an environment that’s too humid, it will develop mould, which will ruin the tobacco.

Mousehole Burn

Small burning holes that appear under the cigar’s ember along the wrapper.

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N

Nicaragua

Famed for its potent tobacco in Estelí, Nicaragua is a New-World cigar country in Central America similar to its neighbouring Honduras.

O

Oils

A well-cured and aged cigar stored in prime conditions will feature a glistening sheen on the wrapper. These natural oils produce the best flavours and is a highly-desirable trait.

Oscuro

A dark wrapper shade that is a step above Maduro. Almost black in appearance, it’s a potent and rare wrapper.

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P

Panatela

A long and thin vitola that was often considered a cigar ideal for women. Although its popularity waned, it has experienced a resurgence of late.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Panatela]

Parejo

The most classic cigar shape featuring a straight side and slightly rounded cap. Anything that differs from this design is referred to as a Figurado.

Perfecto

A type of Figurado vitola that features a bulge in the centre and is pointed on each end.

Petit Corona

One of the smallest cigar vitolas that is around 5 inches long. For those seeking a more affordable yet premium cigar, it’s an ideal option.

Pirámede

The Spanish term for a “pyramid” cigar. This is a type of Figurado that tapers all the way down the body.

Learn More: Types of Figurado Cigars [Pirámede]

Priming

A tobacco plant features several layers that are cultivated one after another from the bottom upwards. These are known as “primings”.

Prominente

See Double Corona.

Propylene Glycol

A special liquid used as an alternative to water for maintaining the humidity in a humidor.

Punch

A type of cutter that makes a small hole in the cigar’s head by twisting a cigar blade into the cap.

Puro

A Spanish term used to suggest a cigar has only been made using the tobacco of a single country. For example, all Cuban cigars are traditionally Puros.

Pyramid

See Pirámede.

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Q

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R

Ring Gauge

A cigar’s diameter measured by 64ths of an inch or millimetres.

Learn More: How Are Cigars Measured?

Robusto

Now perceived as the most popular cigar size, a Robusto is typically a 5×50 cigar that provides a short but full smoke.

Rolling

The art of assembling a cigar by bunching and rolling the tobacco leaves together.

Runners

An unpleasant phenomenon where small parts of the wrapper burn unevenly during smoking.

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S

Salomon

A Perfecto-shaped cigar that is particularly large.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Salomon]

Sand Leaf

Small leaves found at the base of the tobacco plant. They’re rarely used and often discarded to improve growth.

Scissors

Cigar scissors are a particular type of cutter that although hard to master, offer more precision than a typical guillotine.

Learn More: Types Of Cigar Cutters [Scissors]

Seco

The layer of leaves just above the Volado on the tobacco plant. They’re thin and large with little strength but with some intoxicating aromas.

Learn More: Parts Of A Tobacco Plant [Seco]

Shade Grown

Some tobacco leaves are grown under cheesecloth tents, which makes them thinner and less potent in flavour. Connecticut shade is one of the most famous examples of this technique.

Short Filler

This consists of small pieces of tobacco used to fill a machine-made cigar.

Shoulder

The curved area on a cigar’s head where the wrapper ends and the cap starts.

Sister Of The Leaf [SOTL]

The feminine variant of Brother Of The Leaf [BOTL] that’s growing in popularity and employed on social networks and forums.

Spill

Small strips of cedar used to light a cigar, which can be scavenged from boxes. It is said that cedar spills offer a more aromatic and purer cigar experience.

Splitting Ash

An annoying occurrence when the cigar’s ash begins to split on the stack.

Stack

Ash that remains at the end of the cigar when burning rather than falling off. A stack is a desirable aspect that improve the smoking temperature and indicates a quality-made cigar.

Stacking

The act of trying to keep a long ash, or “stack,” on your cigar for as long as possible. Some smokers will compete by trying to smoke an entire cigar without losing any ash.

Sun Grown

Unlike shade grown, sun grown tobacco consists of leaves exposed to direct sunlight. They’re often somewhat thicker with pronounced veins, which also provides a more potent flavour.

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T

Tapado

The Spanish name given to cheesecloth tents for growing tobacco in the shade.

Tobacco Beetle

Small beetles that can burrow inside cigars and leaf holes and traces in their wake. A single beetle can ruin the entire contents of a humidor.

Toro

A relatively chunky cigar vitola that’s gaining popularity as an alternative to Coronas. Toros are similar in size to Gordos except that their ring gauge is 50 rather than 60.

Learn More: Cigar Sizes [Toro]

Torpedo

A cigar vitola with a pointed head and a member of the Figurado family.

Triple Cap

A Cuban practice of applying three caps on a cigar’s head. It is a secure approach, which makes unraveling less likely.

Tubo

Cigars that are supplied in metallic tubes for safe transport and easy storage.

Tunnelling

A type of burning issue where the interior of the cigar burns faster than the outside.

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V

V-Cut

A particular style of cigar cut where a v-shaped chunk is removed from the head of the cigar.

Vein

A part of the tobacco leaf that is sometimes visible in cigars. Traditionally, pronounced veins are seen as unattractive and indicative of rushed curing. However, it is sometimes an intentional feature of some cigars.

Vitola

A term which refers to different cigar shapes and sizes. For instance, Perfectos, Coronas, Torpedos and Parejos are all examples of vitolas.

Learn More: Cigar Vitolas

Volado

One of the lowest cultivated layers on the tobacco plant. These particular leaves are large and thin. However, they are almost flavourless whilst offering excellent combustion.

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W

Wrapper

The outermost leaf of a cigar that covers the binder and provides an aesthetically pleasing finish. Some cigars also feature flavoursome wrappers that contribute to the blend’s taste.

Learn More: Types Of Cigar Wrappers

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