The question of how many leaves one cigar really contains cannot be answered easily, even for enthusiasts who for scientific purposes might be willing to sacrifice a cigar to examine its insides.
Generally speaking, the answer isn’t as straight-forward as you might think. Of course, it’s obvious that the amount of tobacco used will vary considerably from Vitola to Vitola, and that it will also be influenced by the density of the roll. It can be said definitively that, as a rule, the wrapper and the binder each use one half of a tobacco leaf – less the ribbing that is removed and the excess bits that are cut off.
As well as manual skill, rolling cigars also requires a sense of proportion.
Now leaving the wrapper and the binder behind, the inquisitive researcher penetrates into the filler, where he quickly realises that even longfillers do not consist of “entire tobacco leaves” in the actual sense of the term. A standard-format bonche, the heart of the cigar, has between two and three entire tobacco leaves. As the filler is made, these leaves are shaped to guarantee the even roll of the cigar body. Since the blend of a cigar often contains a large number of different tobaccos, different percentages of tobacco are worked into the filler, depending on the mixture needed.
The filler tobaccos of a cigar account for the largest part of the volume, and it is here that one finds the biggest differences that depend on the format. All in all, it can be assumed that a medium-format cigar uses an amount of tobacco that corresponds to three to four entire leaves.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Winter Edition 2014. Read more