Care to know the difference between a natural wrapper and a Maduro wrapper in relation to different cigars? Let our cigar aficionados help you understand.
If you’ve spent any time at all in your local cigar shop’s humidor, looking at cigars for sale online, or cigars for sale offline, then you may have noticed something about cigars. Outside of a few brands, almost every single cigar maker offers the majority of their cigars in two distinct versions; a Natural vitola and a Maduro vitola (some also offer a Connecticut vitola, but we won’t be talking about them in-depth today).
And, if you haven’t smoked many cigars in your life, or you’ve never branched out into the ‘other’ vitola from what you normally smoke, you most likely don't understand what makes the two different. Even if you are one of those people who buys Maduros occasionally from their favorite online cigar shop or cigar lounge near you, you may find that you don’t really understand the difference between these two types of cigars.
Of course, to the naked eye, you can notice a difference between the two. In general, the Maduro wrapper will be the darker one, as compared to the lighter Natural wrapper (and the Connecticut wrapper will be lighter still). But that is not an important difference to notice, merely an aesthetic one. The differences between the two wrappers go much deeper still.
Well, the first thing that you need to know is that, as a general rule, the Maduro vitola will be more powerful, stronger, and likely more flavorful than the Natural one. But why does this happen? What causes two wrapper leaves from tobacco plants to be so wildly different? Is it soil? Choice of fertilizer? Time left on the stalk?
Well, the difference is simpler than that. The big reason behind the difference between Natural and Maduro cigar wrappers is that one has been fermented in a different way than the other. Or, to be specific, the Maduro wrapper has enjoyed extra fermentation that the Natural wrapper has not gotten to enjoy.
Maduro wrappers receive more sunlight through the process of growing and preparing them for use in cigars. This helps to lend them that darker color, which can go from a dark brown shade to a deep, midnight black color. This extra fermentation and sunlight also help to make the cigar more complex in flavor. To be quite honest, you can compare these cigar wrappers to beers; the darker they are, the more complex they tend to be. If that is the case, a Maduro wrapper is more like a flavorful stout pint than a flavorless mass-produced ‘American’ Lager.
On the other hand, Natural wrappers on cigars are lighter in taste and flavor. In order to preserve these wrappers from the impact that extended exposure to sunlight will have on the tobacco leaves, they are often grown under something like cheesecloth, to limit the amount of direct sunlight they receive. The slow drying process that is associated with Natural cigar wrappers also helps to give it an additional hint of sweetness, something that you don’t usually find in the Maduro cigar world.
This is not to say that one is better than the other; as with so many other things in life, there is no ‘best’ answer. If you’re looking to get the most out of your cigar smoking experiences, then you will need to make the effort to try them both. Personally, as someone who has smoked cigars for years and who generally enjoys drinking darker alcohols like stout beers, I find that a good Maduro cigar is one of my favorite things to smoke, and I personally tend to smoke a lot of the Flor De Las Antilles cigars made by My Father. But I have good friends who like their cigars a bit sweeter, and they tend to go for the more Natural cigars on the shelves of the local cigar shop.
The truth is that as you smoke more cigars, and you branch out from the first brand of cigar that you enjoyed, you will slowly find out that you favor Maduros or Naturals. And when you figure out which one you like better, you’ll be better able to find a cigar that you will be more likely to enjoy wherever you go.
El Cigar Shop is an online cigar store that carries a large selection of premium and rare products. We are located in Glenside, PA and serve the entire greater Philadelphia area. We have a walk-in local humidor as well, and staff members that carry an expert knowledge and a shared passion for the joys of smoking cigars. Please CONTACT US if you have any questions or if you want to find out if we have a specific product currently in stock. And be sure to check out website periodically to find new outrageous deals that are always changing.