Friday, June 5, 2015

Words you should know: Maduro

You see the dark wrapper and immediately think "Whoa! That's going to be a full cigar, all filled with strength and spice. I'm not ready for that strong a cigar yet."

Something's afoot! It's the Leaf by Oscar! [source]

We say, "Oh, pshaw." Turn that part of your brain off, please, and open your hearts to the maduro because this wrapper is going to surprise the crap out of you. In a (really) good way. Probably better if you're prepared for all that goodness.

 A language lesson: maduro means "mature" or "ripe" in Spanish, not "This is going to be so mother-effing strong I won't be able to handle it." Okay. Class over.

So why are the maduro cigars so so so dark?


You know how when you caramelize onions they get all dark and delicious? Same thing. Same-ish thing. Extra fermentation, baby. Alllll fermentation.

Here's how a maduro is born:

1. Really nice folks pick the someday-wrapper leaves, which are generally thicker than binder and filler leaves--and even non-maduro wrappers. Why thicker? Because thinner leaves will go "Poof!" and disintegrate during the loooooong fermentation process. That would be a waste of time and energy for the grower and the plant.

2a. Leaves snuggle together in a curing barn for up to 45 days--until their color goes from just-grown green to rich, delicious brown. You know, the opposite of what you generally want to happen with your plants at home.

2b. Want darker, sweeter, more caramelly leaves? Age them even longer--years if you like. (Cigar makers have some serious patience.)

3. Voila! Super fermented leaves with a deep, rich, flavorful profile you'd be a fool* to pass up. What kind of flavor? Well, depending on the soil and all those factors that make tobacco unique, you could be smoking the cigar equivalent of  dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, caramel, molasses, black pepper, dried fruit, black cherry, or other stuff the plants haven't even thought of yet! Almost all maduro wrappers are more complex than other wrappers because they worked very very hard at being delicious.

Mmmmm. (These are Fuentes, by the way.)  [source]

Let's play Cigar Smoker Word Association.
You say "maduro." Many will respond "dessert."

So beyond fermentation, what's providing the delicious sweetness?
A. Genetic make-up
B. Seed-type
C. Organic micro elements in the soil
D. All of the above.

The answer is D, so you can't possibly try this is home. (Sorry!)  And even if you get all those elements correct, tobacco variety tastes differently from one farm to the next and varies from crop to crop, depending on rainfall and  (literally) on which way the wind blows.

The mighty broadleaf. [source]

If you want the most sweetness from a maduro wrapper, seek out the broadleaf, which is genetically programmed to satisfy your sweet tooth.**

We challenge you to give the maduro wrapper a try. Actually, try a couple from different companies, but make sure one of them is a Padron '64 Anniversary series

and another is a Perdomo 20th Anniversary.

Oh crap. I could make myself crazy trying to include all the fabulous ones.

And Valentino really doesn't need me to be any crazier. I'm already at a dangerously high level.***


I pity the fool
that turns his nose up at maduro wrappers.

**But don't chew on it, for heaven's sake. That will land you in #cigarloungedouchebag territory.


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