cubans with light wrapper


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Nope! How many blind tastings have you participated in? How about read the statistics of? If I gave you 25 cigars, all different years and brands, all the same size, no bands. Say all PC's. If I spi

Lamar, on 08 Apr 2016 - 7:59 PM, said: Piggy, this is really a fascinating statement, and I'll be honest its made me revisit my thinking over the past few days. You're totally correct about the

I have learnt more from pigfish about cigars than anybody I know. When you listen to what he says and you put it to the test with an open mind and without the fog of myth .. He's always on the money!

ugh, I had written so much more ready to send mathematically, but others beat me to it and PigFish admitted defeat ;). Thanks for the support, guys!

Just wanted to add, this ratio is very well studied in cylindrical objects other than cigars. For example, wine/whiskey barrels. The wider the barrel, the lower the relative exposure of the liquid inside the barrel to air. The smaller the barrel, the higher the air exposure and the more influence the wood cask has on the flavor of the liquid.

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... still don't feel good about it! I am a sore loser!!! -LOL I may still argue, give me time.... -LOL

Head bowed!

I have not been actively involved in engineering since college.

Cheers mates! (you too Corny) Good conversation. -Ray

...taxes... taxes... back to taxes!

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Christ, they're doing math now . . . shead.gif

Sorry guys, no offence meant to anyone because I am really enjoying this thread, but this comment just made me actually laugh out loud at my desk. LOL!rotfl.gif

Good luck on your taxes, Ray! Got mine done last week - looking forward to a health refund in a few weeks time :D

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Quick graph for visual illustration. Values tending towards infinity for small ring gauges, and towards zero for very large ring gauges (as to be expected from a 1/x-function...)

What becomes obvious from the plot is that we are usually, for the most frequent ring gauges of between 38 (radius 0.75) and 50 (radius 1.0), we are ranging between a ratio of 2 and 2.5, perhaps 2.7 surface/volume. So in practice, there is in fact not too much variability, unless we are heading towards the very thin ring gauges.

Rg_SV_ratio_2.bmp

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However - while we regularly disagree in certain aspects - here, I have to step into the breach for Piggy. The direct influence of the wrapper on taste in a cigar is negligible. It's a dress merely. The binder has an effect, but the - usually - brittly thin wrapper is so small a fraction of a cigar (and still - almost regardless of ring gauge), that is doesn't contribute much to its taste, apart from faint notes perhaps. If it would, the wrapper leaf would need to display a magnitude more flavour than the filler and binder. That simply is not the case. Wrappers are not selected for taste, they are selected for looks.

One can prove that oneself, by dissecting a cigar and burning each component on its own. Check out the aroma... and come to your own conclusion!

That said, I am still strongly convinced that the wrapper, and with it the binder have a huge influence on the final taste, but in a more indirect way:

The particular burn properties of a wrapper leaf (and binder) strongly affect and determine the whole burn of the cigar, the aeration of the ember (cue: canoeing, tunneling), and with that, ember temperature and combustion grade. So the wrapper is vital for the taste. But - and coming back to the original question - this basically is independent of wrapper colour, although a certain colouration gives a hint to the texture, thickness and burn properties of said wrapper. And the best burning wrappers are often not the darkest ones (exceptions proving the rule, as always).

Cheers

Paul

Thank you Paul for your contribution to this thread! I love your reasoned style of argumentation.

I'd like to explore further your arguments in support of the conviction that the "The direct influence of the wrapper on taste in a cigar is negligible." I'm not saying he's wrong or that I disagree, I'm just not convinced either way yet and would like to dissect it further. For some reason, the articles and books I've read generally cite a range of flavor contribution of 30-60% from wrapper, though I've never seen any evidence presented.

To enumerate the claims:

  1. The wrapper makes up a small fraction of a cigar.
  2. Wrappers are not selected for taste, they are selected for looks.
  3. The burn properties of a wrapper strongly influence the whole burn of the cigar.
  4. A certain colouration may give a hint to the texture, thickness and burn properties of said wrapper.

#1 is probably the most quantifiable. The statement can be restated as - the wrapper leaf imparts less perceivable flavor compounds than the tobacco in the filler. Probably not going to get that number unless you work in a lab. You can, however, at least measure the grams for each component by dissecting a cigar. If anyone has those numbers, I'd be very grateful if they could share. I'm sure the wrapper would be a small percentage as Paul says. Of course, the raw weight is not an exact measure for how much flavor is contributed by each, since concentrations vary.

Another way to test this would be to create several cigars with the same filler and other components, but different wrappers. The article I mentioned above did exactly that in the Davidoff factory (link here). Just one small experiment, but so far it's the only one we have mentioned.

#2 can be determined by asking the cigar producers. I'm sure the answer varies, but I'd like to hear some anyway. I'd bet that it's a combination of both looks and flavor.

#3 can be tested by using several wrappers and judging difference in quality.

#4 is a good point. Even if the wrapper itself doesn't contribute too much flavor, are the characteristics of the wrapper representative or correlated with the properties of the cigar as a whole? Again something that would probably be best answered by asking producers, since they construct the blend. I'm guessing they'll say that it makes sense to calibrate consumer expectations. Brewers would rarely make a black beer and make it taste fruity instead of the expected roasty/chocolaty (they could technically, but it would annoy a lot of customers).

Again, not saying that I disagree with Paul's statements, just providing some counter-arguments for a constructive conversation. Thanks all!

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Cohiba Lanceros when rolled well with a light wrapper I have found are quite satisfying - a bit of grassiness and hay profile at times. But from what I can tell just by availability on this forum they seem to have dropped off the radar. I always think of HDM Epi 2 to be nice with a light wrapper as well. And the few SLR DC I have enjoyed. But of course this is just from my perceptions and experiences.

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Love the math! Fugu, nice job! I am now going to grab 4 or 5 PCs from different brands (and similar age), and stick them in a small cedar box for 6 or 10 months. Then, I'm going to do a little taster to see if I can tell an RG from a HU from a SP from a Cohiba from whatever else I've got lying around.

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Love the math! Fugu, nice job! I am now going to grab 4 or 5 PCs from different brands (and similar age), and stick them in a small cedar box for 6 or 10 months. Then, I'm going to do a little taster to see if I can tell an RG from a HU from a SP from a Cohiba from whatever else I've got lying around.

You can't keep different brands in the same box or the flavors will marry and you will have them all become the same.

I read it on the internet. It's got to be true! ;-}

-Dan

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You can't keep different brands in the same box or the flavors will marry and you will have them all become the same.

I read it on the internet. It's got to be true! ;-}

And Dan, don't even talk to us about storing NC and CC in the same humidor. The horror.

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To pick up on your points, Cornelius, sorry it's been taking me a while,

To enumerate the claims:

  1. The wrapper makes up a small fraction of a cigar.
  2. Wrappers are not selected for taste, they are selected for looks.
  3. The burn properties of a wrapper strongly influence the whole burn of the cigar.
  4. A certain colouration may give a hint to the texture, thickness and burn properties of said wrapper.

1. The wrapper making up a very small fraction of a cigar only, yes - As Piggy mentioned before, acc. to his assessments, it is around 2-3 percent of a cigar's mass. Of course this will vary geometrically for large or smaller gauge cigars, as we've seen. But on average that seems to be about right. I just did two dissections myself to see how that figure would fit in with regard to ring gauge and can roughly confirm on the above (see below). Therefore, the wrapper simply comprises too small a fraction of a cigar to be able to account for a significant profile characteristic or profile's change. Granted, as I said, it might add nuances and perhaps sometimes even a bit more, and we should also not forget that this leaf comes from a different tobacco variety.

2. Wrapper being selected for looks - Yes, that's how it is done in Cuba (primarily), if you check out the sorting process of wrappers. Not saying that there aren't certain cigars where the wrapper is being particularly selected and undergoing a certain treatment for special editions., like the darker ones of the limitadas or the maduro wrapper for the Maduro lines. So, I wouldn't dismiss a certain contribution - as is being claimed for those eds - of the (usually thicker) wrapper there. As well as in very thin cigars where the wrapper will comprise a higher proportion of the total amount of tobacco. But in general, and the thread was starting out on different wrapper colour in standard production cigars of the same vitola and brand, it rather is negligible I'd say.
Even in the Limitadas, I am not so sure whether that certain unique profile found in those would be more due to the wrapper or rather due to the general EL blend. Remains to be shown....

3. Burn properties. Yes - empirical. And my firm conviction. The burn is >>> important than any flavour/aroma component of the wrapper.

4. Certain colouration giving a hint of texture and burn properties - Yes, again empirical. Suppleness is what I am looking for in a wrapper. And, e.g. even in the typical thickly-wrapper-ed Limitadas, I am regularly searching out the 'paler' ones. E.g. the Boli Super Corona is a good current example where you'd find very different wrappers, ranging from a dark (leathery) maduro to a very nice smooth darker colorado. The latter usually is much more supple and tends to burn better. So I prefer those. And there is nothing like a silky smooth colorado claro Connie A or Cohiba PE. But there are bright exceptions to that, as well: For instance, the 2003 RyJ EL, I got a box of those with very dark chocolate brown wrappers, and that is among the best burning and best tasting ELs (and cigars) I own. Also, the darker versions of Rafael Gonzales CE or PC are usually sporting a (very RG-characteristic) extremely fine and smooth wrapper, and they usually show an excelent burn, irrespective of their colour.

For some reason, the articles and books I've read generally cite a range of flavor contribution of 30-60% from wrapper, though I've never seen any evidence presented.

We are reading the same pamphlets, yes. One may or may not believe in everything that's written. And that statement is one of those many - from my humble experience - to be filed under urban myths. Just consider - how can 3 percent, or let's even say 5 % of tobacco mass, at all account for 60 percent of flavour? As outlined before, that would mean the wrapper had to act rather like a spice component giving kind of zest to a cigar. For that the wrapper's flavour "concentration" would have to be at least (just to add some maths wink2.gif) 19-fold of that of filler and binder to be able to provide an equal share! Hardly possible in cigar tobacco. Even more so, as that way it would be nearly impossible for a blender to control or even fine tune the taste of a cigar, as that would mean that it all would depend essentially on a single leaf! Ligadores wouldn't be able to come up with a blend in any sensible way. And then, above all that, this single leaf would in addition have to be even perfectly looking (size, colour, veins, texture). This were just plain absurd if it were so, and, as Piggy already mentioned, that would mean an unnecessary and economically highly risky constraint on cigar production. Production cannot rely on such - imagine, even if it got the perfect looks but not the taste, it couldn't be used.

So, we can set our minds at rest and don't waste any further thought onto the 30-60% claim (imho!...ok, ok, biggrin.png).


Yesterday, for the sake of science and gaining knowledge, I sacrificed two cigars and dissected them, primarily in order to check their wrapper share but also to test the organoleptic properties of their components. One was a H. Upmann CJ, the other one a Choix Supreme.

After cutting off only the head section (leaving a cylinder, so 3-4 mm cut off), I carefully dismantled the cigars by unrolling (not cutting) wrapper and binder. Results:

HUCJ (Rg 36 = diameter 14.3 mm), bxc PSL MAR 07

Obtained measures (diam.: ca 13.6 mm, intact weigth 5.901 g)
Wrapper: 0.271 g
Binder: 0.770 g
Filler: 4.665 g
total*: 5.736 g
(*initial weight after cutting but before dismantling, indicating any loss during preparation)

Ratio wrapper to total: 4.7 % (binder 13%, one leaf-strip)

ERDM CS (Rg 48 = diameter 19.05 mm), no bxc 2010/11

Obtained measures (diam.: ca 19.1 mm x 126.5 mm, intact weight 8.911 g)

Wrapper: 0.309
Binder: 1.330 g
Filler: 6.885 g
total*: 8.563 g

Ratio wrapper to total: 3.6 % (Binder 15.5%, two leaf-strips)

That seems to conform with Piggy's findings (perhaps a bit higher a wrapper's share) and also is in line with the general claim that the wrapper becomes more important in smaller calibres. May be I will do some additions towards the lower range (while I don't want to waste too many good cigars for that, next time, I will probably just cut off a significant bit, as this should be sufficient to determine the relative proportions of the components).

But - the proof being in the pudding - what's even more interesting is a tasting of the different components, "a la vela", so to say:
That clearly revealed that, although the wrappers were not at all "tasteless" - in fact they were quite aromatic and pleasant tasting - by no means were they able to outshine the binder or the filler by any wider margin. In the Upmann, I perceived the wrapper as being a tad more aromatic than the binder, in the CS it was vice versa. The filler, always and by its sheer smoke volume was clearly providing the main compontent of the overall taste for me (While I was even able to "smoke" wrapper and binder, by losely rolling them up to their original shape again and carefully drawing in the developing smoke through the obtained tube, that wasn't possible anymore with the filler bunch of course).
Note: Due to the wrapper burning much, much quicker as when attached to the cigar, the produced smoke volume was considerably larger than it would normally be, adding to enhancing the concentration of the wrapper's smoke and aroma. To a lesser extent also holding for the binder. Therefore, there still was a certain overestimation in the aroma contribution of each, and in a real cigar the particular organoleptic contribution of the wrapper would be even much less than that perceived in the experiment.

So, while I am not claiming this to be final proof, it is giving some indications. Indications which anyone may feel free to verify by oneself or come to deviating conclusions. Next up might be smoking a cigar with a purportedly strong wrapper contribution to overall taste, one of the limitadas perhaps, and comparing a wrapperless with an intact specimen. Perhaps a Boli SC (as I can't stand the Parti Maduro....). But since that will also likely influence the burn, it will perhaps be difficult to tell effects apart.

Cheers
Paul
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Paul,

Good job mate.

Your assessment for the RyJ EL is out of the norm however. Many of us found these early EL years (and beyond) to have what we considered "flame retardant" wrappers.

You analysis, much like the tests I did for myself many years ago, quantified what could be quantified and moved the rest into the realm of the subjective. As such, this will never be an exact science, and all one needs to do, is test some for themselves, to learn for themselves!

You cannot judge all cigars by one cigar. Nor can you take one cigar and judge the rest. One cannot take the subjective and project it on all others. We just cannot be fair and do that. BUT we can generalize and then rationalize what we like to smoke and why. We can share that data and encourage others to "explore" on their own.

The entire premise of 'blending' infers the use of different tobaccos to create a taste, strength and mouth feel of a cigar. With that blending comes the complexity and character of the cigar. If there were no differences in the types of tobacco, the sorting of types would be a waste of industrial resources required to perform and document the tasks. Tobacco therefore, is propose grown. Knowing that, either adds to or subtracts from a 'subjective' analysis. One should then ask, what is the primary purpose of the wrapper?

I stand by my assessment that the wrapper (generally) adds little to the taste of what I smoke. As always, I challenge others to test this for themselves and come to their own conclusion. The premise of the challenge is no different from asking one, "Do you wish to smoke the cigar yourself, or read my review of it?"

Cheers mate! -Piggy

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Hmm, have difficulties to relate your commenting to my post, Ray....

You cannot judge all cigars by one cigar. Nor can you take one cigar and judge the rest. One cannot take the subjective and project it on all others. We just cannot be fair and do that.

Never claimed to be doing that, did I? In fact, quite the reverse:

So, while I am not claiming this to be final proof, it is giving some indications. Indications which anyone may feel free to verify by oneself or come to deviating conclusions.

I stand by my assessment that the wrapper (generally) adds little to the taste of what I smoke. As always, I challenge others to test this for themselves and come to their own conclusion.

I was essentially supporting your stance... confused.gif

However, what becomes clear - and also for me this wasn't the first time to taste an isolated wrapper (but never did it so systematically) - is that the wrapper certainly is not "10- or 20-times" more flavour-intense than the rest of the tobacco in a cigar (Maduros and LEs yet to be trialled). That's the basic claim of my post. And I will go so far and generalize on that.

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Paul,

Thank you for your thoughtful response and for sacrificing a couple cigars in the name of science. I was fishing for somebody to provide those raw numbers of the composition, and I am grateful for your contribution. I believe that it's important to discuss and challenge common knowledge, because after all, most of us spend a lot of time and money enjoying this luxury and it warrants a certain level of understanding. I don't currently have any counterarguments to your post, most of it seems quite reasonable. From lack of further evidence, I have changed my views accordingly. I certainly hope to speak about it with industry folks when I get the chance, since it's such a commonly held notion.

I would still love to also try my proposed experiment of comparing a dark wrapper/binder with a light wrapper, keeping the filler the same. Perhaps even blind, to prevent bias. That, surely, is the ultimate test.

I did make one supposition that you didn't address that might still guide my buying decision:

Even if the wrapper itself doesn't contribute too much flavor, are the characteristics of the wrapper representative or correlated with the properties of the cigar as a whole? Again something that would probably be best answered by asking producers, since they construct the blend. I'm guessing they'll say that it makes sense to calibrate consumer expectations. Brewers would rarely make a black beer and make it taste fruity instead of the expected roasty/chocolaty (they could technically, but it would annoy a lot of customers).

Granted, you were arguing something different, which is that the color of the wrapper may hint at the burn quality. I was proposing that the color of the wrapper may hint at the flavor profile. Are cigars with lighter wrappers typically milder in flavor purely to set customer expectations? I bet we could come up with several exceptions, Cohiba being the most obvious, but would you say that is true on average?

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I was proposing that the color of the wrapper may hint at the flavor profile. Are cigars with lighter wrappers typically milder in flavor purely to set customer expectations?

For Cuban cigars, I can answer that with a clear "No". There are light-shaded cigars going strong, and vice versa. You cannot infer strength or any flavour profile from wrapper colour. But others might share a different perspective.

I did make one supposition that you didn't address that might still guide my buying decision

Please don't blame me... biggrin.png You may take this info as a stimulation to make your own experience. Take all of this (and what is mentioned in this forum) always with a grain of salt and not deadly serious! You'll quickly form your own opinion of things.

Happy smokes (and acquisitions)! party.gif

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Hmm, have difficulties to relate your commenting to my post, Ray....

Never claimed to be doing that, did I? In fact, quite the reverse:

I was essentially supporting your stance... confused.gif

However, what becomes clear - and also for me this wasn't the first time to taste an isolated wrapper (but never did it so systematically) - is that the wrapper certainly is not "10- or 20-times" more flavour-intense than the rest of the tobacco in a cigar (Maduros and LEs yet to be trialled). That's the basic claim of my post. And I will go so far and generalize on that.

... your confusion is my fault.

I was agreeing with you... and buttressing your position, the same as mine apparently!

While I was responding to you, the post was largely made to reiterate the personal experience part of any experience, your post or mine, where "personal" is the significant descriptor!!!

When I write "you" I often should write "one." While that does not eliminate all the confusion, it should clarify some of it.

I could have very well left my post as job well done, but I cannot easily do that. There were a lot of lessons in this thread, some of which was a lesson on mental laziness, on my part I might add. I found this to be quite ironic, to say the least.

People relying on others to 'experience' and provide conclusion for them, in some cases, not all, is mental laziness. It is easy to ponder the cigar a bit to understand it. It is easy pull off some wrapper and analyze it... It was easy to do the math right, before "I" spoke.... (LOL) in previous posts. I could have deleted those posts, but for the record I chose to keep them up, specifically as an example of mental laziness at work. I am not immune to the temptation...

I was reiterating (not to you, but others), "find out for yourself and then tell us about what 'you' (one) found." to the general audience, while at the same time agreeing with your conclusion (except about the EL's, but that another day)!

Nice work my friend! -Ray

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Take two cigars from the same box. Smoke one with the wrapper on. Remove the wrapper and smoke the other one. I did this with the Don Carlos robusto. Argueably the most consistent tasting cigar on the market. There is a difference. More than 2-3%.

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... your confusion is my fault.

I was agreeing with you... and buttressing your position, the same as mine apparently!

I was reiterating (not to you, but others), "find out for yourself and then tell us about what 'you' (one) found." to the general audience, while at the same time agreeing with your conclusion (except about the EL's, but that another day)!

Got you!
I guess, even with regard to LEs we are not apart as concerns wrapper qualities. The RyJ Hermosos No. 1 (at least holding for my very box) was mentioned as being a bright exception. Burnproof LE-wrappers we find until today, not a particular issue of the early years in my opinion.
That being said - from time to time I do enjoy a Mac Rib... Some even live up to a great home-made-beef burger. hungry.gif
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Take two cigars from the same box. Smoke one with the wrapper on. Remove the wrapper and smoke the other one. I did this with the Don Carlos robusto. Argueably the most consistent tasting cigar on the market. There is a difference. More than 2-3%.

The problem with such kind of testing is, vinny, you will always be able, for any cigar, to likewise say:
"Take two cigars from the same box. Smoke one with the wrapper on. Smoke a second one with the wrapper on. There is a difference. More than 2-3%."
I am still not too confident whether such testing will give us a final clue, as the removal of the wrapper will influence the burn properties. And, as mentioned in the above, I am a firm believer that it's the effect on the burning performance that determines the quality of a wrapper, not its taste.
Ta for that. Yes, seen that in the past. It is indeed a very interesting experiment Rob did. The difficulty in such always is the general variability you find in the mezcla of the respective bunch. I think, there are two posts particularly noteworthy in that thread and worth further consideration:

Rob, have you tried both cigars........each without their wrappers?

I don't know what it's worth but the quality of the wrapper seems to me to have a large affect on how these taste. I have a box of Magicos and the difference in flavour between the cigars with a fine oily wrapper and those with a thicker, dryer wrapper seems to be contrasting to say the least

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You can't keep different brands in the same box or the flavors will marry and you will have them all become the same.

I read it on the internet. It's got to be true! ;-}

-Dan

Too true. I don't notice that effect most of the time, but I did have a Trini Fundi recently that had a passing familiarity with some PLMC it had for next-door neighbors.

I've got some tubos that have been empty for a while and only smell of cedar anymore. Might make use of them.

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