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Cigar Aficionado's Glossary
of Cigar Terms

Machine Made:

Cigars made by machine, rather than by hand. There are machines that work with long filler tobacco, but most operate using short-filler tobacco. While some are made to work with real wrapper leaves, the vast majority of machine-made cigars are made with homogenized tobacco leaf wrappers or binders. Homogenized tobacco leaf (HTL) is a mixture of chopped scrap tobacco and a cellulose adhesive, which is extruded into a sheet that can be cut in any size. Machine-made cigars are also known as mass-market cigars, as they are produced in far greater quantities than handmade cigars and are traditionally sold in convenience stores rather than high-end cigar shops. Machine-made or mass-market cigars are sold in the billions of units annually, compared to hundreds of millions for premium, handmade cigars.

A Padrón maduro cigar.
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Maduro:

A wrapper shade from a very dark reddish-brown to almost black (see photo). The word means ripe in Spanish. The color can be achieved by sun exposure, a cooking process or a prolonged fermentation.

Mareva:

The Cuban term for a petit corona. The Cuban standard is 5 1/8 inches long by 42 ring.

Mass-market:

Mass-market or machine-made cigars are made by machine rather than by hand. There are machines that work with long-filler tobacco, but most operate using short-filler tobacco. While some are made to work with real wrapper leaves, the vast majority of machine-made cigars are made with homogenized tobacco leaf wrappers or binders. Homogenized tobacco leaf (HTL) is a mixture of chopped scrap tobacco and a cellulose adhesive, which is extruded into a sheet that can be cut in any size. They are produced in far greater quantities than handmade cigars and are traditionally sold in convenience stores rather than high-end cigar shops. Machine-made or mass-market cigars are sold in the billions of units annually, compared to hundreds of millions for premium, handmade cigars.

Mata Fina:

The most famous of Brazil’s cigar wrapper tobacco varieties, Mata Fina is grown in the Recôncavo of Brazil, a strip of land near the northeastern coast. Mata Norte is a subvariety, grown in the northern part of the Recôncavo.

Mata Norte:

A sub-variety of Brazil’s Mata Fina tobacco, Mata Norte is grown in the northern part of Brazil’s Recôncavo region, in the northeast of the country.

Media Rueda:

A bundle of 50 cigars, also known as a half wheel. Cigar rollers usually use ribbon to tie the cigars they produce into half-wheels. A full wheel of 100 cigars is known as a rueda.

Mexico:

An important country in the cigar industry both for making cigars and especially for growing tobacco. The San Andres area grows the country’s best tobacco. San Andres Negro is a stalk-cut variety that makes superb maduro leaf and is used around the cigarmaking world.

Mixed Fill Cigars:

A handmade cigar made with a mixture of long-filler and short-filler tobacco. These cigars are also called Cuban sandwich cigars.

Mold:

1. The form used in cigarmaking to give shape to a finished bunch (see photo). It is a form with slots that approximates the size and diameter of the cigar being made. After a mold is filled, the top half of the form is placed over it and the mold is taken to a manual (or automated) hydraulic press. The bunches are usually pressed for 30 to 45 minutes, with the mold given a quarter turn at intervals to prevent tobacco ridges from forming where the mold halves meet. At this point, some factories also put the cigars on a special machine known as a draw tester to suck air through the cigar and check the draw. Traditionally made of wood, many cigar molds are now made from plastic.

2. A potentially damaging fungus that forms on a cigar when it is stored at too high a temperature. Mold tends to have color, and when brushed off a cigar it leaves a stain. Cigars with mold on their feet should not be smoked. A fine, white powder that can be brushed off without leaving a mark is known as plume or bloom, and is not harmful for your cigars.

In this photo, one can clearly see the seams created by a mounted head.
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Mounted Head:

A Cuban-style of cigar head, also known as a three-seam or triple cap (see photo). These heads are flat, and have three seams. This method is being found in a variety of other countries now, including the United States, some factories in Nicaragua and Honduras, and in very rare instances the Dominican Republic.

Mulling:

A finishing step done on some, but not all tobacco, before it is used in a factory. Tobacco is mulled in a hot, humid room to finish tobacco leaves that may have been on the side or the top of a pilón. Away from the center of a pilón, the temperatures are not high, so tobacco may miss part of the fermentation process. The mulling room, at 95 to 100 degrees, with humidity of 90 percent, darkens and sweetens the tobacco as needed.

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