Since the wrapper is the only part of the cigar wholly seen by the smoker, it makes sense that cigars would be graded and referenced by their wrapper (capa) color. Lighter-colored wrappers don’t necessarily translate into milder taste, unless the cigar exists in the candela-Colorado claro spectrum; for example, you could have Colorado-color leaves from Connecticut or Cuba, and they would both taste totally different.

Cigar tobaccos, from lightest to darkest:

Candela: Ranging anywhere from a greenish-tinted blonde to a light green, achieved by harvesting the plant before it fully matures and then drying it quickly either via fire or air. Mild-flavored; also known as “Double Claro,” “Jade” and “American Market Selection” UAMSV. These were popular in the 1950s and 1960s but are less commonly used in today’s market.
Claro: A blonde or tawny color, resulting from being cut before full maturity (and well before maduro leaves are harvested). Also known as “Natural.”
Colorado Claro: A light-brown color.
Colorado: A medium-brown leaf, occasionally with reddish hues, sometimes referred to as capa roja. Also known as “English Market Selection” UEMSV.
Colorado Maduro: A full-brown color.
Maduro: Dark brown, sometimes with red tints, and taken from the top of the plant, with strong flavor to boot. These leaves wrap the Dominican Montecristo Reserva Negra and are occasionally referred to as “Spanish Market Selection” USMSV.
Oscuro: Virtually black, thanks to having been left in the field the longest, and thus exposed to maximum sunlight. It has been matured longer than other tobaccos, and is also known as double maduro.


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