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Glossary of Cigar Terms


See Havana (photo).


A Cuban term for a cigar made entirely of Cuban tobacco.

Habanos S.A.

The worldwide distribution company for Cuban cigars.

Half Wheel

A bundle of 50 cigars. Cigar rollers usually use ribbon to tie the cigars they produce into half-wheels. These are also known as media ruedas.


Individual leaves of tobacco that are hung together after harvest and tied at the stalk. These hands are piled together to make a bulk for fermentation. A hand of tobacco contains about 30 or 40 tobacco leaves.

Handmade or Hand-Rolled

A cigar made entirely by hand with high-quality wrapper and long filler tobacco.


Capital of Cuba. The traditional center of manufacturing of Cuban cigars for export, and a term widely used to designate Cuban cigars. Also refers to the tobacco types grown from Cuban seed in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. Also known as Habana.


The closed end of the cigar; the end you smoke. The head can take many forms, including round, flat, mounted, flag tip, and more.


Cigar holders are an interesting affectation and collectible, but true aficionados let nothing come between their lips and the head of a cigar they’re smoking.

Homogenized Tobacco Leaf (HTL)

A mixture of chopped scrap tobacco and a cellulose adhesive, which is extruded into a sheet that can be cut in any size, homogenized tobacco leaf (HTL) is scorned by purists. It’s found on many cheaper cigars that are made by machine. It was created in the 1950s as a way to cut costs in the cigar business. It can be used as wrapper or binder, and is not used on premium, handmade cigars.


With the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Cuba, one of the four largest handmade cigar producing nations. Honduras also grows fine tobacco.


Describes a cigar that is underfilled and has a quick, loose draw. A cigar that burns hot often causes harsh flavors. Not desirable.

Humidification Element

The device that maintains the humidity in a humidor. These can be active humidification systems, operating mechanically with a blower, or passive systems, that simply rely on air to move about without manipulation. Strive to keep your cigars at around 70 percent humidity.


A room, or a box (see photo), of varying sizes, designed to preserve or promote the proper storage and aging of cigars by maintaining a relative humidity level of around 70 percent. Advanced humidors can also regulate temperature.

A desktop humidor by Siglo.


Hybrids are combinations of two or more types of plants. Modern day tobacco stems from a natural hybrid known as Nicotania Tabacum. Tobacco growers make their own hybrids, combining genetic characteristics of two plants and growing seven crops of the new plant to lock in the genetic characteristics. Hybrids are developed for resistance to disease, increased yields, improved flavors and other advances.

For more, read Hot Hybrids.


A device that indicates the humidity, or percentage of moisture in the air; used to monitor humidor conditions.

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