Cigar Composition: A cigar is composed of three types of tobacco leaves: the wrapper, the binder, and the filler. Each contributes to the overall quality of the cigar.
Wrapper: A wrapper leaf dresses the bunch and gives the cigar its public face. Wrappers come in many different shades and contribute both to the cigar's taste as well as burn. Wrappers are stretched onto the cigar to insure leak-free seams. Vegetable gum is used to seal the top of the head and a small bit of leaf is attached to the head to finish off the product. Basically, a very light colored wrapper is usually a "natural" and a dark one is usually a "maduro". Maduro wrappers are considered to be stronger, but this is not always true. A darker wrapper doesn't necessary translate to strength. A maduro wrapper is darker simply because it has been allowed to darken through the aging process.
Filler: The next part of a cigar is the filler. This is the tobacco that has the most effect on the strength of the cigar. The leaves for the filler are taken from all parts of the tobacco plant. The base of the plant provides leaves of light flavor. From the center come leaves of mild flavor and from the crown, leaves of richer texture. All of the leaves must go through a curing, fermentation, and aging process, with the richer leaves at times being fermented for up to two years. Cigars that are made with "long-filler" are made with whole, long tobacco leaves. Long filler cigars are generally of higher quality than short filler, as short filler tends to be leftover scraps that the roller uses in a cigar.
Binder: The binder leaf goes around the filler leaves creating a bunch. The leaf used as the binder needs its central vein removed, creating two separate halves. The binder leaf is best if it comes from the base or low middle of the tobacco plant. These leaves can come from the same plant as the filler leaves and also go through the same processes.