The most obvious of the three cigar components, the wrapper is the easiest to discern for most cigar smokers. Industry experts claim that up to 75% of the flavor of a cigar comes from the wrapper! These leaves should be thick and oily feeling, smooth and uniform in color, and with small veins running through the leaf. Flaky, dry, and thin wrappers are the bane of cigar enthusiasts and can ruin the overall pleasure of the event. Although wrappers are actually categorized by country of origin, most cigar smokers identify wrappers by color.
A.M.S. or American Market Standard wrappers are light green in color and offer a sweet sour flavor that is akin to green apples. Also known as Double Claro, Jade, and Candela, these wrappers are primarily grown in The United States and were extremely popular during the origins of the cigar industry in the USA. Ironically, even though this wrapper is uniquely American, this leaf is unpopular today.
E.M.S. or English Market Standard wrappers are rich brown in color and are truly the industry standard today. Made popular by English smokers in the 19th century, this wrapper is also known for its variant names such as Claro (somewhat lighter), Colorado (somewhat richer in color), and Natural; a catch-all term for this category. The best E.M.S. wrappers are grown in the Vueleta Abajo region in Cuba, Connecticut, and Cameroon.
Maduro wrappers are now very popular and can be easily spotted by their dark brown to black colors. This color is achieved by allowing the temperature during fermentation to surpass 165 F. This process requires are thicker wrapper to achieve a rich, sweet, smooth flavor that is popular with more experienced smokers looking for more flavor. Other grades of this leaf are known as Double Maduro and Oscuro. The best maduro wrappers come from Connecticut and the San Andreas region of Mexico.