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Cigar Glossary


The Cuban word for a cigar band or ring (known in Spain as a vitola).


The foot of the cigar.


The outside wrapper leaf of the Habano.


The binder leaf. Selected from the largest and finest volado leaves grown on the
lower part of the plant.


The tasters who daily test cigars at the factories.


The template used to check the ring gauge and length of a finished cigar.


The description of a light brown coloured wrapper on a finished cigar.


The description of a dark brown wrapper on a finished cigar. Also Colorado Claro (mid brown) and Colorado Maduro (darker brown).

Edición Limitada

Limited Edition. Special productions of Habanos made annually using fillers, binders and wrappers aged at least 2 years before the cigars are made. The wrappers come from the top leaves of the shade-grown (tapado) tobacco plant, which are darker in colour. Boxes can be identified by an extra black and gold seal indicating that they contain Limited Edition Habanos and the year in which they were released. Each Habano is dressed with an extra band giving the same information.


A cigar with an irregular shape pointed at one end or double-figurado pointed at both ends.


Literally strength. Fortaleza 1, 2, 3 and 4 are synonyms for volado, seco, ligero and medio tiempo.


The factory workshop where cigars are made by hand. Literally the galley.


The official Denominación de Origen Protegida (D.O.P.), or Protected Denomination of Origin used only to describe the most outstanding brands of cigars, which are manufactured in Cuba to the most exacting standards established by the Regulatory Council, from tobaccos grown only in particular areas of the island that are also protected as Denominations of Origin. In English the word translates as Havanas, which are widely considered to be the best cigars in the world.

Habanos S.A., Corporación

The Havana-based company, jointly owned by the Cuban industry and the British Imperial Tobacco Group, which markets all 27 Habanos brands worldwide.


The waiter in a bar or restaurant skilled in the art of selecting and serving Habanos as well as recommending matches with drinks or other products like coffee, tea or even chocolate. A contest to find the world’s best Habanosommelier is staged as part of the Festival del Habano each year.

La Casa del Habano

La Casa del Habano is the name of a network of retail cigar stores franchised by Habanos s.a. There are over 140 La Casa del Habano stores throughout the world on five continents. A full list can be found on the franchise’s global website at


One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. The word translates as “light” although it is used to describe the leaves taken from the top of the plant that are rich in flavour and usually dark in colour. Fortaleza 3.


Literally -ripe-. The description of a very dark brown, almost black, wrapper on a finished cigar.

Medio Tiempo

One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. This one describes the fullest flavoured leaves found only amongst the top two leaves on a sun-grown plant. Very rare. Fortaleza 4.


A cigar with straight, parallel sides.


The head of the cigar.

Pinar del Río

The name of the region that embraces all of the important growing zones in the west of Cuba, and the name of the provincial capital. A Protected Denomination of Origin.


Cuba’s oldest tobacco producing region and a protected Denomination of Origin. It is the source of the leaf for one particular Habano brand: José L Piedra.


Special productions of Habanos that are released from time to time in small quantities. The term applies only to Habanos whose fillers, binders and wrappers have all been aged for at least 3 years before being rolled at the factory. They are identified by a second band on the cigars in black and silver colours.

San Juan y Martínez

A famous small town in Vuelta Abajo which gives its name to a district that is protected as a Denomination of Origin. It has a particular reputation for the cultivation of fillers and binders.

San Luis

The other small town at the epicentre of Cuban tobacco culture, known above all for the cultivation of wrapper leaves. As a district located in the Vuelta Abajo zone, its name is protected as a Denomination of Origin.


One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. This one describes the leaves of medium flavour taken from the middle of the plant, which contribute much to the Habano’s aroma. Fortaleza 2.

Semi Vuelta

The tobacco zone situated in the Pinar del Río region that is not in Vuelta Abajo. Known mainly for its cultivation of binder and filler leaves for the Short Filler Habanos and its production of seeds for all types of Habanos.


Cigar roller. The word translates as “twister”, but that is the last thing a cigar roller should do when making a cigar.

Totalmente a mano

Totally by hand. A description created in Havana to differentiate between Cuban methods of making cigars by hand from the semi-mechanised metods used elsewhere that can legally be described as “Hecho a Mano” or “Hand Made”.


Filler, the blend of two, three or four different types of tobacco leaves that form the heart of a Habano and dictate its flavour.

Tripa Corta

Short filler. Filler that is made from pieces of chopped up tobacco leaves sometimes known as picadura.

Tripa Larga

Long filler. Filler that is made from full-length tobacco leaves.


Cuban tobacco farmer.


A word with many meanings. In Cuba it refers to the size and shape of a cigar (vitola de galera factory name, vitola de salida market name) and also to a particular size of cigar in an individual packing. In Spain it means a cigar band or ring (vitolfilia cigar band collecting). To some it has an almost spiritual meaning encapsulating every aspect of their cigar of choice.


One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. This one describes the light flavoured leaves taken from the bottom of the plant, which help the cigar to burn.

Vuelta Abajo

The finest tobacco-growing land in the world, Vuelta Abajo is the main source of tobacco for Habanos, and the only zone that grows all types of leaf: wrappers, fillers and binders. A Protected Denomination of Origin.

Vuelta Arriba

A tobacco region in the eastern part of Cuba including Bariay where Columbus landed in 1492 and discovered Cuban tobacco. Consequently it is protected as a Denomination of Origin. Tobacco is still grown here, but not for Habanos.

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