Candela Wrappers: The Step Child of Cigar Wrappers
Posted on October 14 2020
As a new cigar smoker, you will experience a lot of firsts: first time cutting and lighting a cigar, or puffing on a cigar without coughing. The first time walking into a newfound B&M, etc. All these firsts can be quite intimidating. One of my firsts that stood out was when I was first introduced to a green cigar. Being the first time seeing a green cigar and not understanding why it is different from the rest of the cigar can make you think twice before lighting it up. My first candela cigar experience was the KFC Swamp Thang by Drew Estate. To my surprise, the experience was quite pleasant, hickory BBQ, sweet and grassy notes with a nice warm spice on the palate and retrohale. After that first encounter, I learned not to shy away from trying out new things.
The candela wrapper, also known as double-claro, originated in Cuba back in the 1940s. They introduced candela wrapper as a counteract for a lighter smoke in comparison to the fuller-bodied Cuban cigars. Candela wrapper cigars became an instant hit! They became so popular in America; that they were nicknamed American Market Selection. Cigar Aficionado estimated 90% of cigar smokers preferred them.
Unfortunately, the fad of candela wrappers came to an end by 1962 after the U.S imposed an embargo on Cuba. Cigar makers attempted to make candela wrappers with Dominican tobacco, but they were sour compared to the sweet and fruity Cuban tobaccos. Thus, came the end of an era, and candela wrapper slowly faded into the cigar history. Nowadays, cigar makers utilize candela wrappers as an eye-catching novelty or as an exclusive yearly blend such as the Filthy Hooligan by Alec Bradley or the infamous Black Irish by Roma Craft.
The Making of Candela
Unlike traditional cigar wrappers, candela wrappers take a lot less effort and time to produce. The farmers would harvest the tobacco leaves before they're fully mature. Once in the curing barn, they make every effort to keep the leaves out of any sunlight. The farmer also keeps the entire vent open so air can flow freely. The leaves then are slowly heated, gradually raising the temperature from 90 degrees up to 175 degrees. The end product is dry, unlike traditional cigar wrappers, where the leaves would have a gummy and syrupy texture when they are fermented. After the leaves finish curing, the farmers leave the doors open during the night, using the nightly dews to rehydrate the leaves while they’re resting. Therefore, when they are ready to transport the wrappers to the rollers it wouldn't break apart. If the dews aren’t enough to rehydrate the wrappers, they use a steamer. Lastly, they get graded, sorted, and boxed for storage and rolling.
***Fun Fact; unlike any other wrappers, candela wrappers are not tied to any specific tobacco or region. It can be tobaccos from any country as long as the end product is delicious. ***
Let us know which candela wrapper cigar(s) do you like or would like to try.
- Kevin Sun
Looking forward to revisiting some candelas! Blarney, Formomita…
I really enjoy candela wrapped cigars. The Camacho candela and Sinistro’s Mr Candela are my favorites. I hope more people start enjoying the sweet green leaf so there will be a drive to make more!