Cigar Wrapper Guide: Candela

cigar tobacco leaves

Once upon a time, candela cigars were the most smoked cigars in the U.S. In fact, they were so popular in the States, that they were named as American Market Selection and were even smoked by the likes of JFK.

In recent years, the candela has had something of a comeback with top quality brands such as Illusione, La Flor Dominicana and Arturo Fuente having their own candela’s. With their comeback on the rise, we’ve chosen the candela wrapper as the next focus for our Cigar Wrapper Guide series.

What Are Candela Cigar Wrappers?

When you think of a classic cigar, you likely imagine something like the Montecristo No.4 Cigar with a brown tobacco leaf wrapper and filler tobacco. This is where the candelas really stand out because a candela cigar is green.

Yes. Green.

Between the 1950’s and 70’s, billions of cigars were smoked across the U.S. and at that time, the vast majority of them would have been candelas. In fact, they were so popular that the term ‘American Market Selection’ (AMS) was coined by major importers of Cuban cigars to designate green or candela wrappers.

Why Are Candela Wrappers Green?

In order to maintain the gorgeous green of a candela wrapper, the usually long process of curing is cut down to as little as three days. During this heat-curing process, the chlorophyll in the leaves is fixed in place, giving the wrapper that lovely green shade.

Where Do Candela Wrappers Come From?

Candela cigars (also called Double claro) originated in Cuba in the 1940s in response to the demand for milder cigars from the U.S. In order to meet this demand, tobacco manufacturers would free the lighter tobacco in order to keep it green. This was followed by a quick fire-cure that would make the leaf even greener.

This quicker curing process means that candela cigars are particularly popular with cigar manufacturers, since the cigars make it to their customers far quicker.

How Are Candela Cigars Made?

The typical tobacco used in cigar making is hung in a curing barn for 30 to 45 days (or more depending on the desired finish) to dry. In this time, the leaf turns from green to the recognisable brown we see in most cigars. For candelas, the curing process needs to be sped up in order to lock in that green colouring.

This is done by sealing the barn and cranking up the heat far hotter than usual. The temperature in a barn curing candela wrappers can reach highs of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. By exposing the leaf to such extreme heat, the dried leaf becomes crispy and fragile. The leaves then need to be carefully rehydrated in order to make them supple enough to use as wrappers.

What Do Candela Cigars Taste Like?

It was originally said that those first candela cigars were far milder than darker leaves and also sweet, tasting like pineapple. Following the Cuban Embargo, cigar makers tried to make candelas with Dominican tobacco instead, but they were said to taste sour.

Nowadays, candela cigars are still mild and are said to taste herbal, grassy and even creamy to smoke.

What Are The Best Candela Cigars?

Candela cigars may not be to everyone’s taste; Ernesto Perez-Carrillo has even admitted when he was 18 having lit up his first candela only for the cigar to make him sick. That said, if you’re looking to see if the grass really is greener on the other side, why not check out our top picks for candela cigars.

2012 by Oscar Toro Barber Pole Cigar

This cigar can’t technically be called a full candela cigar, but we’ve decided to allow it on account of its magnificent appearance. The 2012 by Oscar Barber Pole features a barber pole wrapper made of both a candela and maduro wrapper combined.

This cigar offers smooth tasting notes of caramel, coffee and even red pepper thanks to the unique blend of binder and filler beneath it’s eye-catching wrapper.

Rocky Patel The Edge Candela

Rocky Patel is a big name when it comes to premium cigars, so we shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve made an addition to their already popular line, The Edge, with a candela option. The Rocky Patel The Edge Candela cigar offers a distinct but sweet profile with tasting notes of green tea, hay, and a lovely buttery finish.

Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan Shamrock

A cigar that’s known to be in high demand and short supply, the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan Shamrock is the one to beat when it comes to candela cigars.

2021 marks the third year that the Shamrock has been released and with only 1500 boxes available, cigar aficionados across the world are chomping at the bit to get their hands on a box of these beauties.

While they may not be to everyone’s liking, there’s no denying that a candela cigar would make a striking addition to any cigar lover’s collection. If you’re looking to buy premium Cuban cigars online, then why not browse our range here?

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