Alex Svenson:This is correct but needs some clarification. All maduro wrapper bleeds to one extent or another. If you visit a factory and see someone rolling a maduro, their hands are almost black. This is because they had to wet the wrapper heavily to make it pliable so they can roll it around a cigar. As a result, it bleeds onto the hands of the roller. In many cases, they wipe down the cigars after rolling to try to prevent in from bleeding onto your lips when smoking. So, if you see some dark stuff on your lips after smoking, that does not mean they painted it. All cigars bleed to some degree.
Why paint? This is a good question and it has a very long answer. Maduro literally means "Ripe" in spanish. After a cigar is picked and cured, it goes into fermentation. Fermentation will last anywhere from 6 months to three years... or even more. Tobacco is fermented in Pilones (large piles of tobacco) and the process is a lot like composting. These piles are wet which initiates a chemical reaction that breaks down the composition of the leaf. The process produces heat as a by product so the workers monitor the heat carefully in each pilone. Once the heat reaches a certain point, the pilones are broken down and the tobacco is rotated from inside to out and top to bottom. The process starts again naturally. Each time the pilone is flipped, it takes a longer duration of time for the temperature to rise until eventually it stops fluctuating at all once the reactions start. At this stage, the tobacco is tested by the blender to see if it is ready. If it is, it goes to aging or immediate use... if not the tobacco is rewet and the process starts again. Each time you run a fermentation cycle, the tobacco darkens as the sugars are extracted along with many of its other tannic properties. The idea is to round out the flavor of the tobacco. The amount you can ferment a leaf is dependent on the thickness. For example, a thin leaf cant take the punishment of 3 years of fermenting and eventually just falls apart. But a thick leaf can ferment for many years. So for a good maduro, a fermentation specialist will need to start with a nice thick and hearty leaf. After three years of fermentation, the wrapper will be very dark and what is called a true maduro.
So now we know that Maduro means "ripe" and that it is actually a process, not a description of color. Maduro just means that it is extra fermented which typically means it will be sweeter as the sugars were extracted over a long period of time. Prior to the boom, "oscuro" was the name we used for dark cigars and maduro just meant longer fermented. So how did this all change and when did painting come into play? This is where it gets interesting. At the start of the boom, people started associating maduro as a color because they usually were darker on account of the extra fermentation. They became very popular and all of the sudden demand for premium cigars more than tripled in one year, especially demand for maduro. So at this point, the cigar public adopted the term maduro to mean dark and it has remained ever since. Now, with demand at an all time high, especially for a true maduro which people liked for its sweetness, factories were struggling to keep up with demand. Especially if you consider that it takes 3 years to naturally ferment a true maduro wrapper and no one saw the huge surge in demand. So what did they do? They took under fermented wrapper or natural wrappers and painted them black and sold them as maduros. Wrapper was not only painted, but it was turned dark through a process called "cooking" where the wrappers are broiled to artificially speed up the coloration process. So now you had thick unfermented leaves or even rich cuban seed leaves that were being processed and sold as maduro. Now this caused a whole separate set of issues. These cigars were spicy, bitter and tannic in taste. This led to people starting to think that dark wrappers (which were now incorrectly being called maduro simply because of their color) are associated with strong and harsh flavors (when the truth is that it should be mellow and sweet). hence why you still to this day hear people say they dont like dark cigars because they are stronger.
The bottom line is that the cigar boom screwed everything up in this industry and its effects are still lasting Fortunately, maduro is returning to what it used to be and cigar makers are able to keep up with demand and do the process naturally. Many maduros are done in the tried and true manner today. Some guys still color but only to even out the appearance of the wrapper, not to cheat the process. You see, real maduro is pretty ugly. In my opinion, it is okay for a maker to touch up his wrappers, but only if the wrapper has been properly fermented and is a true maduro. This is actually very common. It is not okay when it is done to cover up unfermented leaf.
1. Maduro Means ripe and it is descriptive of a process the tobacco went through, not the color.
2. Many cigar makers will paint or even the color on their authentic maduro wrappers to make them more asthetic. This is not cheating. However, if the wrapper did not go through the "maduro" fermentation process and is colored to darken the entire cigar to decieve customers, this is a big No No.
3. Best way to tell if youve been had is to smoke a cigar inquestion. If it is rough, bitter, tanic and lacks sweetness, you may have a painted or cooked wrapper that is not a true "maduro".
bearb:While I realize these have not been out for too long, I was wondering opinions about the aging potential of them given how they are now. Unfortunately, I do not have as much time as I would like to partake in cigars, but I still enjoy a variety of sticks whenever they are available....so I might wish to have some for longer term aging. So, my basic question is: will/do these get better with time? if so, then what do you think is the 'max' age before they peak, given how they smoke now? thanks in advance
bandyt09:Don't need the will power as I have the quantity. I just need to keep j0z3r out of them.