Every cigar lover has her/his criteria for choosing new cigars to try. The most objective priorities often relate to cigar size and price. Nicotine strength starts to enter the subjective area, meaning that, for example, what is strong to one person can be of medium strength to another person. Wrapper is often also considered as a criterion, you certainly have heard people saying “I like that wrapper, I want to buy more cigars with that wrapper”.
The wrapper, from a tasting perspective, has a very important role: the sight and touch need to feel joy along with the smell and the taste. During the appreciation of a cigar before lighting it, the wrapper contributes to a prelude to the lit cigar experience, but it is not a reliable predictor of whether we will like the cigar or not, at least not from a flavor perspective (this can be different for cigars made of fire-cured tobacco).
Why? Because the experience we can have with a cigar featuring a specific wrapper is also due to the binder and the fillers and to the synergy that only that blend can create. A blend is much more than the sum of the flavors that each leaf delivers. Because when we think that we understand what the distinguishing flavor of a wrapper is, maybe because we have attended a seminar where we have experienced how different one wrapper is from other wrappers, we forget that every master blender has her/his philosophy, based on which the ultimate enjoyment of the cigars that we’ll find on the shelves depends on how well the overall characteristics are enhanced in a cigar where binder and fillers may have equal or even more flavor influence than the wrapper.
What is special about the Mexican San Andrés wrapper? I honestly cannot tell you until I test different Mexican San Andrés pure grades, each made of leaves that have been processed differently, and then summarize my findings in view of obtaining some relevant points about the characteristics of the Mexican San Andrés. There is a shortcut to this: I heard people expressing their judgement of that leaf just while smoking a cigar made of 5-6 leaves of which only one was a Mexican San Andrés. In fact, the judgement is often directed to the cigar, not to the wrapper. Preconceptions very easily feed legends or myths, based on which people buy cigars but may ultimately be disappointed.
Let’s look at some data.
The chart below shows the tastes and tactile perceptions present in a number of cigars that have a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. Multiple vitolas belonging to a line have been grouped by line.
Let’s focus on a couple of key tastes, I’ll spare you a lengthy analysis on the aromas.
We can say that most cigars with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper are savory to a certain degree. But we have cigars in our database that rank higher than these in the savory (umami) taste. They are cigars with other wrappers, such as Connecticut Habano or Broadleaf, Honduras Criollo, Dominican Negrito or Corojo, Brazil Mata Fina or Corojo, Ecuador Corojo or Sancti Spiritus.
Do you like the sweetness in cigars with a a Mexican San Andrés wrapper? Sure you can find some sweet cigars with such wrapper, but, again, there are many other cigars that are sweeter and feature other wrappers: Mexican Criollo, Brazil Corojo or Cubra, Ecuador Corojo or Connecticut or Sumatra, Nicaragua or Dominican Republic Corojo. Does this mean that all cigars with these other wrappers are sweet? Of course not.
Let’s look at this in a different way and pick one cigar that has a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, for example the Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro Medius 6. From a predominantly flavor profile perspective, the most similar other cigars are (the percentages indicate the degree of similarity):
84% Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown Toro, NIC
84% Drew Estate Undercrown Shade Gran Toro, NIC
83% New Era Licencia Particular Toro, NIC
83% MBombay Classic Torpedo, CRI
83% Maya Selva Flor de Selva Maduro Toro, HND
83% Hiram & Solomon Master Mason Toro, NIC
According to our data, none of these other cigars have a Mexican San Andrés wrapper.
The above is not to conclude that cigars with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper are not good, on the contrary. We just wanted to demonstrate that it is very easy to generalize and come to the conclusion that, if you like a certain wrapper, you are likely to appreciate all other cigars that have the same wrapper. Such generalization might disappoint your palate.
Thoughts? Please feel free to share them with our community of open minded cigar lovers!
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