Cigars: The Binder & The Filler

Why Use a Binder?The first function of the binder is to hold fillers while the bunch dries in the mold and until the wrapper is rolled onto the cigar. It can have just this purpose. But binder can be chosen for it’s aromatic qualities, so it will be a part of the blend.Binder CharacteristicsBinders for hand made cigars must be large, solid, elastic leaves. They do not have to be beautiful because the wrapper is going to hide it. But they do have to burn well and have a neutral or good taste! To satisfy these conditions, binders are selected among middle or top leaves. Bottom leaves are too thin, a bit fragile, and often have a sharp taste.Producing The BinderTobacco is not grown specifically for binders, which are a by-product of wrappers or an upgrading of fillers.Binder PositionBecause binder, like wrapper, has a privileged position in the cigar, its influence on the taste is probably proportionally greater than that of a filler leaf. There is no way to measure that, it is just a presumption and manufacturers are as careful when choosing the binders, as they are for wrappers and fillers.Filler VineyardTobacco is like wine. The characteristics are connected to the country, the province, the village, the variety, the vineyard. And more, as weather conditions are not steady, the year of a crop is important information, at least for the manufacturer.Aging FillersEven if well processed, fillers have to be aged. The more bodied the tobacco, the longer the aging, improving the taste. Tobacco fillers can be stored for years. Once they have reached the optimum, they keep steady. But very light and thin tobaccos can deteriorate if stored too long.Blend ComponentsBlend components are bought separately. The tobacco buyer has to taste all of them, which is sometimes tough. He has to know the required characteristics and find out the proper grade for the blend. Fortunately, dealing regularly with reliable and steady tobacco suppliers makes the task easier.

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