There are multiple varietals of cigar-wrapper leaves; as with wine grapes, the country, region and microclimate where the plants are grown translate into a variety of unique flavors and aromas. In fact, the wrapper often contributes 60% or more to a cigar’s overall flavor. Wrappers grown in the shade will be smoother, have smaller veins and should be slightly oily. Those grown in the sun will be darker, have larger veins and should be velvety to the touch. They will tend to have a full flavor and hint of sweetness as the increased sun exposure increases sugars on the leaf.
While there are many wrappers out there, these are some commonly used by Altadis U.S.A.:
Criollo San Andrés:
A flavorful leaf that yields cigars of medium to full body, grown in Mexico’s lush San Andrés valley.
Golden Criollo San Andrés:
As the name implies, a lighter version of the Criollo San Andrés leaf, still flavorful and medium-to full-bodied.
San Andrés Morrón:
A medium-bodied, dark leaf grown in the San Andrés Valley of Mexico, considered thick and flavorful. Morrón means black.
Honduran Connecticut Shade:
Connecticut Shade tobacco grown in Honduras, providing ideal color and balance between strength and flavor.
Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade:
Connecticut-seed shade wrapper produced in Ecuador, slightly more flavorful and richer in color than Connecticut Shade.
Wrapper leaf grown from Sumatran seed using Ecuador’s near-continuous cloud cover, yielding a mild flavor and a hint of sweetness.
Connecticut Shade (U.S.A.):
With a mild to medium flavor, a silky quality, and a hue that gradates from lightly golden to red, this tobacco grown in Connecticut’s Housatonic Valley (also referred to as “Tobacco Valley”) is some of the most sought-after and prized in the world.
Select Connecticut Shade (U.S.A.):
The best of the best of Connecticut Shade, grown in Connecticut’s “Tobacco Valley.”
A Cuban-seed wrapper leaf that’s been grown in Nicaragua since the 1990s, known among producers for its difficulty in producing; only a few leaves from the very top of the plant end up as wrappers.
An aromatic and rich wrapper that is rather light colored (“TBN” stands for “tabaco bawah naungan,” which translates as “tobacco under sheet,” or shade-grown); the best of this leaf is grown in the eastern province of Javanear Jember.
This thick, oily and veiny wrapper leaf, also grown in Connecticut, is full of flavors and aromas.
A fragile and thin leaf produced in the Bertoua region of the West African country of Cameroon, and giver of a light flavor and sweet aroma.
Medium- to full-bodied and often found in Dominican puros.
A Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador in a variety of shades ranging from light to dark. Fuller-bodied and rich, it is sometimes referred to as Corojo 98.