Inside and Out - Miguel on the road - The Maduro Leaf
February 20, 2011 | By Miguel Schoedel
The Maduro Leaf
Today’s industry is full of great dark cigars. These cigars are some times referred to as maduro or even the darker Oscuro. Maduro simply translates to ‘Ripe’. These maduro leaves are a result of longer and extended fermentation methods that turn the tobacco from brown to a deep dark Colorado or even near black. Not every leaf has the qualities or the ability to become maduro. The natural fermentation that all cigar tobacco goes through can be tough on sensitive or thin leaves. It truly takes a seed strain that can hold up to the rigorous methods it takes to get that beautiful maduro color.
This leaf is greatly miss understood. Some think all maduro cigars are strong. The truth is the strength of the cigar comes from the filler leaves. The blend usually consists of milder ‘seco’ leaves with medium ‘viso’ and the full bodied ‘ligero’. This is what truly dictates the cigars body and power. In fact the maduro leaf it self tends to have sweetness from the sugars being able to develop from the longer fermentation period.
Where do most maduros come from? Connecticut (Broadleaf), Brazil (Arapiraca/Mata Fina), Mexico (San Adreas). Even Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Cuba are producing great maduro leaves. These various maduro leaves can give a chocolate, bitter, coffee, meaty and even sweet taste to a finished cigar. The maduro can be the frosting on an already great cake. It seems that there is no slowing down to these countries that are filling the world wide market with these sought after leaves.
There is a dark side to the maduro leaf. There are factories that cook or steam maduro leaves to create a more unifying darker color. Some of these methods are totally expectable in today’s cigar factories. While other methods like dying are seen as dishonest and a way around the longer time it takes to work the leaves. Regardless the method one thing is for sure, growers and factories can not produce enough of this prized leaf.
I was always taught not to judge a book by its cover. If you love maduro or if you think you dislike maduro never give up exploring the many choices on your tobacconist shelves. Unlike many trends that have come and gone, it seems that these dark and oily leaves have cast a spell on our industry.
I am going to light up a Casa Torano Maduro Robusto tonight. What maduro will you be lighting up?
Enjoy my Friends-
"Inside and Out" - Miguel on the road