Let me just tell you, and that will keep us all from mourning the loss of a perfectly good cigar, okay? Okay!
Wrappers determine a lot of the cigar's flavor and character and folks general describe the cigar by the color of the wrapper. One major MAJOR misconception about cigars is that the darker the cigar, the stronger the cigar. No, no, no. Don't judge the book by the cover. (Unless you're judging my books; they have great covers--they have great innerds.)
Binders are wrappers that are rejected because they just aren't good enough. Kind of like that cozy t-shirt you put on but then have to cover with a nicer shirt. Poor cozy t-shirt. Poor binder, the leaves of which are elasticy (elasticish?) because they need to hold everything (the filler) together. Like Spanx.*
Filler/Blend are the innerds that determine how strong the cigar will be. There's much more to it than this, but let's start with the basics, okay? (Remember: Cocktail party fodder for now.) When I was first learning about this, from the great Michael Herklotz of Nat Sherman, my head was spinning from all the info. (I swear it had nothing to do with the sangria.)
- Volado--Taken from the bottom of the plant, with minimum flavor
- Seco--Taken from the middle of the plant, with light flavor
- Ligero--Taken from the upper leaves exposed to the most sunlight, the fullest flavor and strength.
*(For all the men who have unexpectedly encountered Spanx during activities and are shaking their heads: We're sorry, but sometimes we need to hold everything together, just like the binder contains the filler. it's not sexy, but necessary. Does that help ease the horror?)