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Cigar 101

Regular vs. Shaggy vs. Closed Foot Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

We all know what a “regular” cigar is, don’t we? It’s the one that has one end closed and one end open. The closed end (the head) gets clipped and the open end (the foot) is the one you light. Then you puff. That said, however, are you aware that this regular cigar has some, shall we say, unusual cousins? They are the “shaggy” and “closed foot” cigars. Let’s explore this mysterious world.

SHAGGY FOOT CIGARS

The word “shaggy” here does not refer to a Scooby Doo character, but to the end of the cigar that you light up. The unusual aspect of the shaggy foot cigar is that its wrapper does not extend all the way to cover the binder and/or filler of the cigar at the foot. Some shaggy cigars have just the filler going beyond the limits of the wrapper. The idea here is that you will be able to taste the flavor of the cigar without the influence of the wrapper for the first few puffs. Lighting the unwrapped binder and filler is not a problem. Not so easy when it comes to lighting only the filler as it can begin burning in some strange ways because it’s not a bound fuel source for the flame.

The advantage of a shaggy foot cigar, proponents argue, is that you’re going to get two distinctive smoking experiences. The first part, without the wrapper which provides a large percentage of the flavor in most cigars, is that you get to sample the guts of the cigar alone. Then, after the burn reaches the wrapper, the cigar becomes a different experience.

CLOSED FOOT CIGARS

As described above, a closed foot cigar has both business ends closed by the wrapper leaf. The argument in favor is that the first puff or two provides flavor only from the wrapper, except the smoke is getting pulled through the binder and the filler. Others argue that the closed foot makes the cigar look “cool.” If you think that you’ll actually taste just the wrapper, look for a loosely closed foot so that the wrapper doesn’t immediately set alight the binder and filler as you take the first puffs.

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