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Issue 147 - Filler text - No this is not a typo

Whisky Magazine Issue 147
November 2017


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Filler text - No this is not a typo

This issue we’re talking about filler, also known as 'the bit in the middle of your cigar'.

Unlike plants destined to produce wrappers (which tend to be grown in the shade so that they develop the finer, less veined leaves that help make your favourite smoke look presentable), filler tobacco is generally grown under the full force of the sun. In Cuba there are four classifications of filler, which are named in accordance with their position on the plant.

The rarest is medio tiempo, which grows at the very top of the plant and some say occurs on as few as one in ten plants. Receiving the full force of the sun’s rays, these small leaves develop a rich and powerful flavour but also take the longest amount of time to ripen. These coveted leaves are a key component in the famous Cohiba Behike range and are part of the reason those cigars command such a high price!

Next comes the ligero, the more common full-flavoured leaf, of which there are usually around five rows. On account of their full access to the sun, these leaves tend to be oilier, thicker, and slower to burn. Thus, in order to ensure an even burn, ligero tobacco has traditionally been located at the centre of the bunch inside a cigar.

Further down the plant one will find the leaves defined as viso (sometimes known as volado), then seco. In Cuba the former term tends not to be used and all of these leaves are considered to be seco. Leaves from this section of the plant tend to be of medium flavour and strength, with thickness and strength decreasing as the leaves near the bottom of the plant. Neverth...

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