Cultivating a quality collection of cigars doesn’t happen overnight or merely by chance. You need to have an idea of what’s on the market and where products originate. Fortunately, the matters of fact pertaining to the purchase of cigars are not hard to understand. It starts simply with knowing the classifications of leaves according to their persuasions and continues on through several very interesting distinctions. Cigar aficionados have so many unique blends of leaf and growing techniques to choose from. It’s no wonder that smoking stogies, or just keeping them, continues to be a classic hobby across the globe. The purpose of this guide is to offer a concise yet copious explanation of some of the more popular products on the market today. Let’s get started.

What To Look For In A Good Cigar

Certainly, you may have a favorite go-to brand of cigar that’s pleasing to the senses with a certain sense of nostalgia to it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, you may be the kind of aficionado who can appreciate the abundance of products in today’s international global market. Either way, your satisfaction is only enriched by knowing how to spot a quality smoke.

It all starts with the overall look and feel of the wrapping leaf in question. Generally, the wrapped tobacco of a cigar should have a clean and consistent appearance without looking papery. Also, it ought to have a natural whole-leaf feel yet smooth and free of any bumps or blemishes. 

Inconsistencies like obvious veins can be the cause of an uneven burn. Conducting a once-over inspection while choosing a cigar highly improves the chances of enjoying a quality finished product.

Fun fact:

The heart of the tobacco plant is known as the Seco.

A Couple Of Introduction Terms

When it comes to the terms used to classify cigars, labels are based on information like nation of origin or the types of seeds used to grow crops. All cigars fall into the categories of Natural or Maduro based on having a light or dark color. A few particular types of leaves can be found in both groups, but most are either one or the other due to the traditions and techniques of the makers. To be perfectly honest, the Natural wrap is the default option regarding cigars. Generally, you have to share expectations of Maduro; like using brown sugar in a recipe.

Side notes:

Maduro is a term used to describe the steps taken to process a wrap leaf; not its qualities or attributes.

Natural wraps have a reputation for possessing a more Oaky flavor while Maduro tastes sweet and richer.

What Makes Maduro A Complement

To really understand and appreciate the term Maduro, you should be aware of what actions and precautions it entails. It’s the way a leaf is aged and fermented that makes it so. The process takes patience and expertise to get the job done right. As a result, the longer the leaf undergoes this treatment the more it takes on a darker tone. Some makers even go so far as to produce a solid black complexion, which often means heavily sweet flavors and aromas. Ashton Aged Maduro is well-known in circles of cigar smokers who enjoy a good Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro.

Delving into the Maduro market reveals a few interesting matters of fact on this style of leaf. First off, the term means mature, and the process is not exclusive to any particular region or country. It’s a relatively new technique that’s only become noticeably popular in the last half century or so. Although there’s no official evidence to support the claims, some smokers believe Maduro wraps leave a less harsh aroma in the air and on the breath. Of course, there are varying distinctions for the difference in darker shades of color. There are Colorado Murado, Oscuro and Double Murado.

More Than Just Light Or Dark Differences

Now that we’ve covered the blanket terms and what they mean, it’s time to look a little closer at what makes cigars so distinguishing in their own right. This must be done by paying attention to the unique properties of a tobacco leaf without necessarily comparing it to others in the market. This is where the list of names and qualities gets a little long for various reasons. The terminology can be based on a number of factors. Some of these terms are steeped in tradition while others are relatively new. It’s a growing field, no pun intended. Wrap leaves are explained in alphabetical order.

The All-star Roster At A Glance


Dark in color; a very deep shade of Ebony

Aromatic hints similar to spiced coffee with a slight sweet flavor

Used for La Flor Dominicana La Nox and CAO Brazilia


Colors range from mid to dark brown with a light and dry feeling

Flavors reveal subtle hints of sweet and spicy pairings

Look for Arturo Fuente Don Carlos, Hemingway and Arturo Fuente


Striking green in color

Subdued aroma with layered flavors of pepper, cedar and tea

Associated with Rocky Patel Mulligans Fairway Edition, Argyle Candela and Don Lina 


Colors range from a light to golden brown

Also goes by the name Connecticut River Valley

Associated with Macanudo, Ashton, Montecristo and Arturo Fuente

Connecticut Broadleaf

Medium to dark-brown in color or espresso; sometimes black

Somewhat appetizing flavor and aroma

Used by Hemingway Maduro, Ashton Aged Maduro, Hemingway Maduro and Arturo Fuente

Connecticut Habano

Natural light to medium brown in color

Layered flavors suggest a blend of honey and nuts

Closely associated with My Father Cigars by Garcia Family

Connecticut Shade

Colors vary from honey to deep gold

Flavors dance between nutty and creamy with splashes of coffee in between

Used in Montecristo, Ashton Classic and Cabinet, and Macanudo


Colors of reddish-brown hue with an oily texture

Strong flavor combinations of exotic spices and aroma

Associated makers include Camacho Corojo, Kristoff Corojo Limitada, and Argyle Dark Corojo


Golden, reddish or brown in color

Grown on the esteemed Chateau de la Fuente estates

Ecuador Habano

Medium to dark brown colors with some reddish tint,

Flavors range from figs and dried fruit to floral

Ecuador Sumatra

A rich and oily darkest brown color

Impressive flavors with a mix of cedar, raisins, black pepper,

Closely associated with Carlito Fuente


Colors can range from deep-brown mahogany to a chalkier brown

Layered flavors include blends of cocoa, minerals, wood, and cayenne pepper

Pennsylvania Broadleaf

Dark brown color with a rough texture and authentic look

Bold and adventurous in flavor with playful hints of strong spice blends

Largely used for Rocky Patel The Project and AJ Fernandez Last Call Maduro

San Andrés Oscuro

Oscuro requires a brief fermentation and lower temperatures

Flavors strongly resemble coffee with caramel and spice

Look for Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva or San Cristobal Ovation

Sun Grown

Includes anything grown under direct sunlight,

Playful yet complex blends of flavors include nutmeg with baking spices or cedar and even sweetened coffee

USA Connecticut

Connecticut Broadleaf or Connecticut Shade

Grown and harvested anywhere in US

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Maduro (Connecticut Broadleaf)

Montecristo (Connecticut Shade)

The Meaning Of Coordinating Colors

If cigar makers tried to mass produce wrap leaves in every color given by nature, they’d never keep up a fast enough pace. Also, it’s kind of counterintuitive to place so much focus on the color of something intended to go up in smoke. So in the interest of simplicity and clarity, cigar aficionados use the Colorado Scale as something of a color guide. This scale works, because it lessens the subjectivity of color shades and hues.

The Colorado Scale has 7 different fractions, we’ll call them, in its spectrum. This provides a good point of reference if you happen to have an eye for color. Of these 7 divisions, five different names fill the slots in selected match ups. Two of the of points consist of Maduro and Oscuro. The arrangement actually follows a cool pattern. It goes like this; Candela, Claro, Claro Colorado, Colorado, Colorado Maduro, Maduro, Oscuro.

As a list, it looks like this:



Claro Colorado


Colorado Maduro



As a caveat, you can’t always judge the quality of a cigar by its color, and the same advice applies to the growers, makers and sellers as well. Your best chances of divining any tobacco flavor come from asking about the when and where of cultivation. Also, you should feel free to base the color theme of your collection on a customized scale. That’s assuming you haven’t done so already.

The Purpose Of Using The Colorado Scale

When it comes to making use of the Colorado Scale, there’s really no need for more than 7 points of variance. Think colors of the rainbow or light passing through a prism. Seven different colors just works. It’s best to think of this scale as something of a concept map. Be sure to keep an accurate Colorado Scale as a cornerstone to reverse engineer any color-coordinated spinoffs. This kind of organization helps with the aesthetic aspects of building a cigar collection. Keeping a few, or several, distinct color scales handy should help you navigate the massive amount of colors and hues offered by cigar makers.

A Little Bit Of Information You Should Know

The practice of growing and harvesting Connecticut seeds in distant regions and far-away countries happens all the time. Starting crops in staggered plots is an old farmers trick of the trade. They’re a few big differences between a Connecticut Valley plant and its Ecuadorian counterpart. A considerable factor for this difference comes from agricultural practices and environmental conditions. Very fine cloth is thrown over the leaves grown in the US northeastern valley while optimum soil, precipitation, levels of sunlight and seasonal temperatures make for a tender leaf with down played flavors. For some reason, other regions and crop locations just can’t duplicate the results.

Fun fact:

Connecticut seeds are planted used for crops internationally in Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Final Thoughts For Cultivating A Good Cigar Collection

Whether you’re looking to start a collection of stogies or just stick to the script, try mixing it up every now and again. You don’t know what you don’t know, and big businesses do rotate blends for the sake of freshness every once in a while. Investing a reasonable amount of networking effort while making acquisitions may prove profitable in the foreseeable future. Establishing open lines of communication with other active cigar aficionados could extend your global reach substantially.