A Maduro cigar is wrapped in a darker shade of brown tobacco leaf. Cigar wrappers with this color are called Maduro wrappers. Maduro means “mature” or “ripe” in Spanish. The tobacco for Maduro wrappers is grown in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Cuba. Maduro wrappers are not strictly assigned to a specific vitola. There are Maduro cigars, for example, in the vitolas Churchill, Robusto, and Toro.
What is a Maduro Wrapper?
Many new cigar smokers ask us, “what does Maduro mean in cigars?” When it comes to the color characteristics of a cigar, there are two main categories:
- Natural – all cigar wrappers with light brown and ocher tones fall into this category.
- Maduro – cigar wrappers with colors ranging from milk chocolate brown to Oscuro black. The color of the wrapper leaf varies from brand to brand.
Tobacco leaves for Maduro wrappers used to be harvested from the top of the plant. Prolonged exposure to sunlight provided a darker shade. Today, Maduro color is achieved through curing and fermentation.
Maduro wrappers are made from a variety of seeds, but Connecticut Broadleaf and San Andres are most commonly used for Maduro. These varietals can withstand the fermentation temperatures required to convert tobacco starches into sugars. This processing gives the tobacco leaves a characteristic coloration and an oily sheen.
How strong are Maduro Cigars?
Many inexperienced smokers believe that Maduro cigars are strong, and many manufacturers take this belief into account when creating their blends. But some of the best Maduro cigars are not strong in nicotine content. The strength of a cigar depends on the tobacco used in the entire blend, not just the wrapper. Dark cigars are not necessarily stronger cigars.
What are the Maduro Shades?
The Maduro shades are the result of the curing process. How dark the brown shade becomes depends on the characteristics of the fermentation process. After an intense fermentation, the wrapper leaves turn into a variation of dark brown within the Maduro range. There are four shades in the Maduro range and with some cigar guidance, you can distinguish them:
|Colorado Maduro||This is the lightest shade in the Maduro range. Tobacconists describe it as “dark natural,” but on the shelf, it is listed as Maduros.|
|Maduro||This is the traditional shade of Maduro. The color is similar to that of coffee beans or coconuts.|
|Maduro-Maduro||The “Double Maduro” color is like dark chocolate.|
|Oscuro||“Oscuro” means “dark” in Spanish. Oscuro wrappers range in color from very dark brown to midnight black. The double Maduro and Oscuro cigars are very difficult to distinguish.|
The darker the shade, the oilier and thicker the wrapper. Cigars with thicker leaves have more distinct seams. The flavor of these leaves is also more intense.Double Maduro cigar can describe a darker shade of Maduro but also refers to a cigar blend with Maduro wrapper and Maduro binder.
Natural vs. Maduro Wrapper
Although Natural and Maduro cigars are fairly broad categories, there are some characteristics that distinguish them from each other:
- The first significant difference is the lightness of Natural wrappers compared to Maduro wrappers.
- Maduro wrappers develop a thick, oily character. Their flavor is more complex than the flavor of Natural wrappers. Natural wrapper leaves have a milder and nuttier flavor, while Maduro wrapper leaves are smooth and sweet.
- Maduro wrapper leaves undergo an intense fermentation process to achieve their characteristics, while Natural wrapper leaves are grown with less sun exposure. Some are even grown under cheesecloth. Natural wrapper leaves are dried more slowly.
- Maduro cigars tend to burn slower than Natural cigars.
- Maduro cigars are suitable for smoking in the cooler months, paired with cognac and whiskey. On the other hand, natural-wrapped cigars are ideal for spring and summer because of their light flavor.
To best feel the differences between Natural and Maduro, smoke a brand you like in both wrappers, take notes and compare the experience.
Examples and Recommendations of Maduro Cigars
Here are some of our top recommendations of Maduro Cigars:
La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor
A seductive San Andrés Maduro wrapper envelops a blend of premium Nicaraguan-grown filler and binder tobaccos. This cigar blend reveals complex notes of dark chocolate, almonds, and espresso with hints of coconut and bold undertones of black pepper. This is a cigar that will be loved by new smokers and experienced aficionados alike. Cigar Aficionado’s #2 Cigar of the Year for 2012 with a 95-point rating.
All the tobacco for this limited-edition blend is aged for four years, creating a smooth and complex flavor. Tobacco experts and aficionados have ranked Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series as one of the best brands in the world. So, it should not be missing from the list of recommended Maduro cigars. This is a full-bodied profile of sweetness, coffee, cream, and leather with pepper notes.
The Yamasá Valley in the Dominican Republic gives this rich blend its name. Davidoff’s farmers and master blenders took on the challenge of growing and processing the binder and Maduro wrapper in the Yamasá Valley. They spent 20 years perfecting this complex masterpiece of earthy and spicy flavors. The medium-full profile makes this Maduro cigar perfect for experienced aficionados or after a big meal. Cigar’s Aficionado rated this blend at 92 points.
Not necessarily. Pay attention to the characteristics of the Maduro cigar you want to smoke to see if it is strong.
A Robusto Maduro cigar is blended with a Maduro wrapper and rolled in a Robusto vitola. The Robusto vitola is 4.5 to 5.5 inches long and has a ring gauge of 48 to 56.
You probably read above what is a Maduro cigar, and you know that Maduro is the color of the wrapper and Connecticut is a tobacco plant.