The truth about oily cigars
In a recent email, the writer noted that while attending a herf at a local cigar store, one of the store's employees told him that 'many cigar makers use mineral oil to make the maduro wrapper dark and black, and whenever you see a really dark maduro wrapper, it's because they rub it with mineral oil.' Claiming he had never heard of this, he asked if it was true.
Although it's rumoured that some factories use ethylene glycol to make their cigars look oily, to get to the bottom of it we went to one the best sources, Jorge Padrón of Padrón Cigars.
"There are some manufacturers that use some sort of oil to give their cigars the "oily sheen" on the wrapper," said Jorge. "I am not sure what type of oil it is or how it is applied. Needless to say that Padron Cigars would never even consider doing something like this. Much has been talked about oily wrappers and how consumers should look upon this as a positive attribute of a cigar. At Padron we look at oily wrappers as wrappers that have not been fermented completely."
Humberto Gonzalez, a former sales rep for Jesus Fuego Cigars said, "I learned quite a bit about tobacco processing in my travels with Jesus Fuego, and Jesus concurs with Jorge. Shiny wrappers are attractive to the American eye because we, as Americans, love big shiny things. When I did cigar events, I made a point of schooling people into escaping that mindset and used Padron as the example. There is no such thing as a shiny, oily, Padron cigar; yet, they are at the top of their game."
Additionally, as Jorge points out above, during the fermentation process, the trick is to remove as much oil from the wrapper leaf as possible without enitrely drying it out.
~ Gary Korb